Paul Hawley began his drumming career banging on ice cream buckets at age seven; he's now been playing on a real kit for nearly a decade. Hawley currently rumbles beneath the punk neo-wave of Victoria-based Hot Hot Heat, whose Jack Endino-produced debut will be released by Sub Pop in October. Hot Hot Heat play Graceland on Fri Aug 30.
How was your recent tour? "Great--we went down the West Coast, then through Boise, Salt Lake City, Phoenix, Vegas, and then all the way back up to Canada."
How was Vegas? "Cool--we just played a small coffeehouse, but there were 150 kids there. We cruised the Strip afterwards, which was crazy--and I liked it a lot."
Any gambling? "I watched [vocalist] Steve [Bays] gamble--he gambled 10 cents, but he didn't win. We talked about getting all the band money together and trying to double it, but decided against it."
Good. That could have turned into a tragic Spinal Tap-ish moment... broke and stranded in Vegas. So how was it working with Jack Endino on your new record?
"He's a totally cool guy--and not just the standard type of cool, like 'that band is cool' or 'this guy is cool'--he's literally [speaking ultra-smoothly] coooool. It's great working with him. He's so in tune with the music and so meticulous about every track."
So what are the best aspects of life in Victoria? "The obvious thing that you wouldn't like is that it's small and kind of isolated, but I've actually come to like that. I like the water and the fact that there are so many trees. It's so small and inbred--in kind of a fun way!"
Inbred in kind of a fun way? Like lots of entertaining two-headed babies running around? "Yeah! There's a lot of freaks here [laughing]. It's actually very mellow and there's less competition between bands, which is nice."
So aside from the inbred freaks, what's the funniest thing you've seen or heard in the last week? "There was this really drunken lady at our show in Kelowna [in British Columbia]. We stopped to get snacks in this store at 3:00 a.m., and this lady tried to pick up every one of us in succession--and we all politely declined. [Pregnant pause.] Actually, that's not even funny! It was funny at the time, but remembering it is kind of creepy."