When I got to New Haven in 2004, Hot Rod Circuit had pretty much moved on, with members spread out all over the country. I can't write a column about seeing them here first and finding out they're local.
If you want that kind of piece, take a look at my friend Brian LaRue's story in the Advocate. It's really well-written and Brian's knows what he's talking about.
In Play, editor Jeff Petrin, a good guy who likes big Dunkin' Donuts coffees, conducted an insightful interview with Hot Rod frontman Andy Jackson. The singer/guitarist talks a lot about the reasons for the breakup and the future of the band members.
All I can say is that it'll be a sad night tonight when HRC takes the stage for the final time. The show starts at 7:30 p.m. at Toad's Place and will also features performances from the very good Diamond J and the Rough (featuring former HRC bassist Jay Russell) and Titles.
I first heard HRC in 2000, when "If It's Cool With You It's Cool With Me" arrived at my college radio station. At the time, I was program director at the station and pretty much decided a lot of the playlists for the DJs. My friend Brendan Ryan and I loved the disc so much, we put it straight onto the must-play list, we gave it an add, and I think for at least one week reported it as our No. 1 CD to CMJ.
So I might not have a personal connection to HRC, other than interviewing Andy a couple of times and sort of knowing Jay Russell, but it'll be sad to see them go. I honestly think this year's "The Underground Is a Dying Breed" is the band's best.
Not many New Haven bands make it out of here and go on to the national level, but HRC certainly accomplished that. The band made emo before emo was a word, and it ended its run with a record with tinges of country, Americana and straightforward pop. It's a great disc from a great band.
It's certainly a band I'll miss. In some ways, HRC put New Haven on the map, so let's help them go out with a bang. When I moved here, I knew of two bands from here: HRC and Miracle Legion. I didn't even know Michael Bolton came from the area. I think that says something.
So, make sure to head over to Toad's tonight and pay tribute to HRC. Say hi to me. I'll be wearing a Red Sox hat and glasses.