The Hussy's energetic blasts of melodic garage punk once caught the attention of the folks who run the venerable Olympia, Wash., indie label Kill Rock Stars. Their song "The Snake" was picked as the label's demo of the week in the fall of 2008.
Bobby Wegner, the Hussy's self-effacing 23-year-old guitar riff master, doesn't make much of that. Slouched in a chair at a State Street coffeeshop, he holds up the Hussy's 2009 record, Winter Daze, and offers this rant:
"We make seven-inches, and that's the plan. We want to fit three songs on each side because I don't want to screw the customer. I don't want to screw the person who is going to spend their money buying something stupid that I wasted my time doing when I was 23. This is stupid. What is this ever going to amount to? Nothing, man. This is the most pointless thing in the world. So I figure, dude, if there's actually somebody out there that is that stupid to want to listen to my band, I'm going to give them 150%."
That kind of pessimistic idealism and righteous resignation is characteristic of the Hussy. The duo will celebrate the release of their new split seven-inch record (also featuring Milwaukee's Zygoteens) with a set at the Frequency on Thursday, Jan. 14.
The Hussy are a duo merging Wegner's torrid guitar licks with Heather Sawyer's frenetic percussion. Their up-tempo tunes typically clock in at less than two minutes. Wegner says this brevity matches "the skill set I have."
"I can't really write that good of a song," he says. "I usually write the guitar riffs and Heather writes the melody. It's such a stupid format - verse/stupid/verse - you can't really go past that or you are overthinking it. I don't want to overthink it."
The Hussy formed 18 months ago "in a really small cement tomb" on Willy Street, says Wegner. "We fell into it and some people let us practice there that we are not really friends with."
Wegner and Sawyer played 63 shows together last year. They relied on a network of punk-rock friends in Milwaukee to book them. Punk camaraderie attracts Wegner to the genre.
"We have friends in Milwaukee who just know everyone," he says. "They've toured their asses off and really worked hard."
The band's latest record includes two new songs, Sawyer's "Round and Round" and Wegner's "Social Critique of Madison." He says the latter song has upset some people for the context in which it uses the word "gay." The full lyric is "This city's gay and I don't know why."
"I have many, many gay friends, and they get it," says Wegner. "What's funny is that a bunch of people really think about [the lyrics] and we didn't think about it at all.
"When we write a song, we worry about writing the song and then we practice it a few times and then we go, 'What can we scream over the top of it?' And then we try some things and then Heather says, 'Yeah, that's good.' And then I say, 'Okay, where's some more weed?' And then we smoke more weed."
In the end, says Wegner, the band is important to him because "it makes me and Heather friends." He keeps the rest in perspective.
"I don't want my life to be driven by the band. It's just not worth it. There's no recognition, which is fine. You just do it for yourself, to try something new."