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Hot Snakes To Play in San Diego?

Legendary San Diego band may snub a hometown reunion show

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  • GG Allin and John Reis
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Since the announcement of a forth coming reunion by legendary San Diego rock band Hot Snakes, rumors and speculation have been running wild as to whether or not the band will perform in San Diego prior to their scheduled performances at the Fun Fun Fun Fest in Austin, Texas this November, and the All Tomorrow’s Parties festival in Minehead, England in December. Formed in 1999 by John Reis, Hot Snakes evolved from a side project when Reis was taking a break from Rocket From The Crypt, who were in between record labels at the time and had just split ways with original drummer, Atom Willard. During that time off Reis recorded a handful of songs with Delta 72 drummer Jason Kourkounis and asked former Pitchfork and Drive Like Jehu band mate Rick Froberg to contribute vocals. The end result became Hot Snakes’ debut album Automatic Midnight (2000), and also the first album to be released by Reis’ independent record label, Swami Records

Touring in support of Automatic Midnight was erratic due to the geography of the band; Reis lives in San Diego and Froberg resides in Brooklyn with Kourkounis being based out of Philadelphia. As a necessity, in order to round out a full touring band, Gar Wood from Beehive and The Barracudas was brought on to play bass. In 2002 the band reconvened and recorded their follow-up, Suicide Invoice. Suicide Invoice would be the last album Kourkounis would play drums on and would soon be replaced by Rocket From The Crypt drummer, Mario Rubalcaba. Hot Snakes’ third and final album would end up being 2004’s, Audit In Progress. Also released through Reis’ Swami Records, Audit in Progress saw the band tour not only North America but also Europe and Australia. On May 10, 2005, while in Australia, Hot Snakes recorded a live album called Thunder Down Under at the Australian Broadcasting Corporation studios for rebroadcast on the Triple J radio network. The album features 13 tracks in all and contains songs off each of the band’s studio albums. Upon their return to the United States, Reis announced the Hot Snakes break up and their final album, Audit in Progress was named, “Best Punk Album” a the 2005 San Diego Music Awards. After the demise of Hot Snakes Froberg went on to form the Brooklyn-based garage band Obits, with Reis focusing his attention on Swami Records and his new band, The Night Marchers. As fate would have it, years later on July 29, 2010 The Night Marchers and Obits shared the stage together during a performance at The Casbah in San Diego. During the encore, the original Hot Snakes lineup featuring John Reis, Gar Wood, Jason Kourkounis and Rick Forberg performed an unannounced set as Hot Snakes, shredding through such songs as, “If Credit’s What Matters I’ll Take Credit”, “ Automatic Midnight” and “No Hands”, making this the only reformation of the band since their break up in 2005. In a recent interview with Canadian journalist Vish Khanna, singer and guitarist Rick Froberg revealed that Les Savy Fav’s invitation to perform at All Tomorrow’s Parties was the first time anyone had asked the band to get back together in the six years since they had broken up. “We got asked and decided to do it. It just kind of came out of the blue. We got offered good money to do it, and we figured since we’re doing it we might as well do a few more.” The “few more” Froberg alludes to are Hot Snakes only other scheduled appearance at Fun Fun Fun Fest in Austin, Texas which takes place from November 4-6, With the ATP’s Nightmare Before Christmas taking place December 9-11, it seems inevitable that Hot Snakes will certainly be adding more dates to their tour itinerary with a month’s span between shows. When asked whether original drummer Jason Kourkounis or his replacement Mario Rubalcaba will be playing drums on the reunion tour, Froberg replied, “It depends on who’s available, I think for ATP it’ll be Jason.” Froberg also revealed that the band would start rehearsing, “probably a week before going out to Texas.” On the Swami Records message board Reis has made it clear that there will be more Hot Snakes shows taking place in 2011, but fans can expect those gigs to happen on the East Coast and Europe, adding, “we are talking about maybe doin a couple more shows before hand. not sure where but not west coast.” Local fans of Hot Snakes have been left wondering why Reis would offer such a flat out diss on the bands’ hometown turf. Is Reis bluffing and are the Hot Snakes planning a secret San Diego show before embarking on the road to Austin’s Fun Fun Fest? Since Froberg stated that the band will begin practicing a week before their scheduled appearance in Austin, on November 4, speculation has risen as to if Hot Snakes will be rehearsing in San Diego. If the band does hold rehearsals in America’s Finest City, it would seem almost too easy for the group to set up their gear and kick out the jams at Reis’ Bar Pink in North Park. When and if Hot Snakes decided to perform in San Diego remains to be seen, but local fans are helplessly waiting to watch their beloved Hot Snakes perform one last time.  

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