Hard Lessons to play Mickey Finn’sWritten by Laura Kruse | | firstname.lastname@example.org
There are lessons to be learned at Mickey Finn’s Pub on Aug. 1. Hard ones. But with a brand-new album full of rock ‘n’ roll to perform, Augie Visocchi of the band The Hard Lessons promises a good time.
“We have really great shows in Toledo,” he said. “Our latest drummer, Ryan Vandeberghe, has made the band the best it’s ever been, and we’re playing a lot of the new songs from ‘Arms Forest.’”
Released on May 26, “Arms Forest” is the newest album from the group, which is comprised of Augie, Ryan and Augie’s wife, Korin.
The Hard Lessons originally began as a duo in the winter of 2003, when Augie and Korin not only noticed each other on the campus of Michigan State University, but also the guitars in their respective dorm rooms.
“We sort of fell into making music together,” Augie said. “I was getting into some delta blues music at the time, and Korin had this really cool old Stella, which was the brand Leadbelly and Charlie Patton played at times. From there it progressed to writing some songs on my four-track, some of which became early The Hard Lessons songs.”
Quite quickly, Augie and Korin’s private jam sessions transitioned from playing for fun to something more.
“There were so many opportunities on campus that we took advantage of,” Augie said. “In the span of a couple weeks, we played our first gig at a battle of the bands, won $400, recorded a demo for free and pressed a run of CDs to start booking gigs. We played our first club gigs in Ypsilanti, Grand Rapids, Detroit and Lansing that winter [of 2003].”
With their band name taken from the writing on the inside of Korin’s inherited Stella guitar, Augie said The Hard Lessons have always been about playing good old rock ‘n’ roll — nothing more and nothing less.
“That’s becoming increasingly hard for people to understand, as the Internet constantly creates microscopic genres within genres,” he said. “We don’t subscribe to that. I think it’s really sad that a lot of people don’t listen to music anymore. They relate to it like a fashion accessory. They need to know what box a band fits into so they can brag about it on their blog and identify with the promo photo more than the lyrics.”
Now that their newest compilation is on store shelves, The Hard Lessons have been traveling the country via van to share the songs from “Arms Forest” with music lovers everywhere. Just don’t try to label them as simply artists.
“At our level, band members are more than just artists,” Augie said. “This means we work with the artists designing record sleeves, put together mailings and book shows. We have a manager and a label who help out with that as well, but it is still a lot of work. [Korin] and I both write songs. She handles a lot of the finances. I end up driving the van most of the time.”
When that van makes its stop in the Glass City, Augie encourages Toledoans to come see what The Hard Lessons are all about. After all, he said, “We’re more than just neighbors, Toledo. We’re family.”
For more information on the band, visit www.thehardlessons.com.