Before we begin, we're going to give you a little quiz called “Which Hollywood star gave us this crap-hole of an album?” We'll give you a list of album titles and you'll need to figure it out by the time you finish the story. Don't worry, we'll give you hints along the way.
Sounds like fun, right? OK, here goes: Our Little Visionary, The Return of Bruno, Heatbeat.
We now return to your regularly scheduled article:
Generally, Hollywood types don't write, sing or produce good music. The Honey Brothers are an exception. If you hear their music before you know who they are, you say something like, “Oh, this is cool, kinda like the Beach Boys meets early Weezer-only, with a lot of ukulele.”
If you hear their music after you know who they are, it's more like, “Oh, that guy from that HBO show's band actually doesn't suck.”
The guy is Adrian Grenier, the show is Entourage and the non-sucky band is made up of Grenier (Fluffer Honey), filmmaker Ari Gold (Hoyt Honey), D.S. Posner (Dr. Carl Honey) and Andrew Vladeck (Dorian Honey). If you're surprised to find out Grenier's got a band, that's because the Honey Brothers are doing everything they can to avoid Dogstar comparisons (that's a hint).
“We hope that people come to us through the music and not so much through other ways,” says Vladeck. “That's why we all have Honey in our names and on our website we're not touting the Hollywood connection. It's great to get exposure, but there's a danger the people won't take the music seriously. And for good reason-there isn't the greatest precedent.”
What? Don Johnson didn't set the gold-standard precedent when he hit the airwaves after Miami Vice? (That's another hint.)
Not only do the Honey Brothers have to battle the Hollywood stigma; they've got to prove to indie-rock hipsters that their ukulele playing isn't a gimmick.
“I've been playing ukulele for a while, and I finally encouraged the other Honey Brothers to start so that after dinner and drinks we could go into the streets of New York and sing to people,” says Vladeck. “That turned out to be so much fun that we started booking shows with us playing two ukuleles and one acoustic guitar. It was just a hoot.”
After years of playing the New York bars and streets with ukuleles, the Honey Brothers are about to get in the van (the prospects of which has Vladeck totally geeked) and head up the West Coast for their first tour of the area. The challenge of the tour wasn't booking gigs, but getting time off from shooting schedules-for the last year Grenier has been busier than Bruce Willis during his Moonlighting days (your final hint).
“Getting time off has been hard since we started this,” says Vladeck. “I've always had solo gigs of my own, Ari's been producing movies and Adrian's had projects even before Entourage. But what that gives us is time to develop new material slowly.”
Right now, the Honey Brothers are happy with their slow pace. They aren't pitching a major label, trying to distribute their music outside of their live shows or using Grenier's name to move product. They just want to rock out (ukulele style) in front of a couple hundred fans.
“There's so much going on with us that we're not in a rush to put ourselves all over the world,” says Vladeck. “We want to be a little more street about it.”
And now the answers to our little quiz: Our Little Visionary is the debut by Keanu Reeves' band Dogstar; The Return of Bruno is the album Bruce Willis recorded after revealing his mad singing skills to the world in the Seagram's wine cooler commercials; Heatbeat is the album for which Don Johnson sold his soul to get Ron Wood, Dickey Betts and Stevie Ray Vaughan to play on.
The Honey Brothers play with Jacob's Loc at Brick by Brick. Doors open at 8 p.m. $12-$14. 619-275-LIVE.