April 24, 2020
The music industry is in a tough spot. Since the dawn of internet piracy and the age of streaming, it’s become increasingly difficult for musicians to earn a living off the songs/albums they record. This has led to many artists to play as many live shows as possible in order to earn income.
But now that we are in the midst of a global pandemic, artists are having to cancel or postpone tours and find creative ways to make up for lost revenue and missed opportunities to build their audience. Some are taking to live streaming concerts from their homes, while others are creating subscription services through Patreon or similar platforms. When evaluating their situation, local rockers Hungry Girl determined their best approach would be to release a live album they previously didn’t know would ever see the light of day.
Live at the Visulite Theatre, Hungry Girl’s first live album, is comprised of recordings from their album release show for 2019’s Rip Currents at Visulite Theatre in November. Visulite’s production manager, Joel Willis, approached the band about recording the show for potential future use. “I think we kind of assumed we wouldn’t really get around to putting together a full release,” drummer Jimmy Lail explained. “The plan was to play live as much as possible to support the new record, but now that we can’t play shows, it just seemed like a good time to do it.”
The power trio rips through a set of cuts from the release, with fan favorites from older albums and EPs peppered throughout. They put on a frenetic show, but with a precision that holds the songs together as the band blasts through them. “I wanted to keep the live portion strictly close to what was originally played in the moment,” Willis said of mixing the record. “What you hear is them, rowdy and raucous. It was rad working with these guys who brought such a huge sound from just the three of them.”
The record ends with a studio recording of “All Too Well,” a B-side from the Rip Currents sessions. Frontman Jason “Dede” Skipper took the existing song, scrapped the vocal melody and lyrics, and replaced them with completely new ones. “It’s not the easiest thing for me to completely scrap vocal melodies and start fresh because it can be hard to get the original idea out of my head,” Skipper said. “Jimmy and Jake were really helpful with steering that one in the right direction.”
The resulting track is textbook Hungry Girl: riff-driven, melodic punk with punchy drums and soaring vocal lines in the chorus. Local mastering engineer Dave Harris of Studio B put the finishing touches on the recordings to make everything sound just right and provide smooth transitions from track to track. “Joel already had the mixes in great shape. I mainly just wanted to make sure we maintained that live energy,” Harris said.
With stay-at-home orders still in place, the live entertainment industry remains troubled. In the meantime, the guys from Hungry Girl are just trying to figure things out one day at a time. “My wife and I are both working from home and doing our best to entertain our almost two-year-old daughter,” Skipper said. “Musically, I’ve been writing riffs and researching new gear to buy in the near future. Trying to stay productive as possible without leaving the house.”