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Hurricane Season

7 August 2012 | 8:13 am | Chris Hayden

"I found that most of the time I was making other bands sound better than they were..."

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Legend has it that infamous LA hell-raisers Motley Crue found their guitarist Mick Mars after replying to an overly aggressive ad he'd placed in their local classifieds section. Kim Deal became the Pixies bassist after responding to a classified ad asking for a female musician who liked both Peter, Paul, and Mary and Husker Du. Joining this illustrious trivia night fold are Californian two piece Little Hurricane, who formed after finding each other on Craigslist, realising they lived two blocks from each other and deciding to kick around some blues riffs together.

“I was looking for a drummer, mostly because it's the only thing I don't play, and all the drummers I wanted were already in bands,” lead singer, guitarist and brains trust Anthony 'Tone' Catalano explains down the line from San Diego where Little Hurricane are touring with fellow garage rockers Heartless Bastards. “So I turned to Craigslist and was surprised when I found a female drummer on there. She had an ad posted saying that she was looking for musical projects. I emailed her and we jammed on some music and luckily it clicked.”

The drummer that Catalano speaks of here is Celeste “CC” Spina, the mandolin-wielding other half of the Little Hurricane equation. Spina had never played in a band before this project and, as a seasoned musical veteran of many bands himself, Catalano is enjoying the relative austerity of playing in a two piece. “There have been many similarities between myself and CC with musical styles that made this a really easy project to do,” he explains. “It kind of worked well with just the two of us at first so we haven't added anyone else. I would write songs with my previous band and there would always be different ideas floating around, which can be good for certain situations but mostly just ate up more time and ate into the vision I had for the songs. Now the songs are more simplistic because there's a lot less people that I have to convince.”

As Catalano is implying here, the mechanics of a two-piece band lend themselves to simplicity and Little Hurricane are a perfect example of this. One look at their YouTube channel will reveal a couple of musicians with great versatility and skill, switching instruments mid song and, whilst they don't always pitch the note to perfection, the energy of the performance is never compromised. It's interesting to find that Catalano had very good reason for craving this sense of organised chaos.

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“When my previous band fizzled apart, I worked for MTV and VHI recording the bands for their awards shows,” he reveals sheepishly. “That filled the time pretty well but I found that most of the time I was making other bands sound better than they were, you know with auto-tune and things like that. It was frustrating to be working on other people's music and not my own. I can see what's missing with a lot of acts as far as the honesty and soul of the music goes – as opposed to that perfectly ironed out pop chorus.”

Not ones to do things by halves, Little Hurricane have also adopted this old world aesthetic for their live shows, adorning the stage with vintage furniture (complete with built-in speakers), microphones, instruments and lamps. Catalano explains that the idea behind this technique is to create a world for the audience to get lost in. “We like to have the stage set up kind of like a dishevelled living room, which kind of goes along with the sound that we've got. We bring a lamp that flickers along with the vibrations of the guitar cabinet, which is the nightstand. I feel like it brings people in and helps to relax the atmosphere of the show, so people can just enjoy themselves.”