By: Candace Hansen
Half Goon are a weird, hardcore hybrid that's tough to put your finger on. Sporting a more visceral sound than most bands coming out of Long Beach or OC lately, the fiery four piece have been tearing shit up since playing their first 15-minute set at Alex's Bar in August of 2013.
The band started out with bassist Erik Varho and drummer Colin Knight "jamming on some weirdo heavy noisy stuff because that's what we figured out we actually enjoyed playing" says Varho. Zach Willett came in shortly after, bringing his one of a kind grating-spaced-out guitar tone, solidifying their sound. The three wrote "TERRORIZER" as an instrumental before asking vocalist Adam Sepulveda to join. "We wanted him because he was one of our best friends from high school and [we] had a feeling he could go really wild. We didn't have a PA when we would practice so we pretty much had no idea what Adam sounded like or was saying until he recorded vocals for the first EP."
Knight recorded, mixed, and mastered "TERRORIZER" in his parent's living room. It took them about a week to record all the tracks, but being a perfectionist, it took him much longer to mix it. For Half Goon, it was worth the wait. With equally fresh album art by Drano-Cat, the record has been well received even getting the attention of Maximum Rock n Roll last summer.
Filling sweaty spaces throughout Southern California, Half Goon never fails to leave crowds exhausted and disoriented just from watching them. Their fuzzy lows and well planned rhythms stay in your psyche begging to be analyzed. Willett's insane guitar riffs float ominously, waiting patiently for the right moment to transition from a spiral to a sonic blitzkrieg and Sepulveda's aggressive, Rollins-meets-Jim-Morrison vocals will stick in your mind well after they've left the stage.
After having some success with "TERRORIZER," Half Goon wanted a chance to take their unique sound out on the road. Touring has "been an adventure" says Willett, "It's been on our bucket list since we were kids and we finally did it for the first time together." They hit up the West and the South West with more established OC hardcore outfits Bad Antics and The Coltranes in 2014. Outside of Orange County and Long Beach, Half Goon's patented spacey-doom-shred has been met with mixed reviews. "People have said nice things," says Knight, "but others have actually told me in person that they don't like it at all."
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2014 was a good year for the guys in Half Goon. After playing tons of shows, they managed to self record a new EP called Lips to Waste that Knight promises "should be coming out, uh, pretty soon." Reflecting on some of their past local shows, Varho recalls how "[despite] clearing a few rooms," responses have been "much more positive than I ever thought [they] would be." Half Goon's jarring blend of experimental hardcore couldn't have come at a better time in the local hardcore scene. Varho hopes that people will take away a "general sense of unease" after catching a show. Sepulveda hopes that people take away "Whatever they want. Even if they absolutely despise it, come and see us and tell us why." Half Goon is saying something, but listeners have to work to hear it.
Catch Half Goon at The Continental Room, 115 W Santa Fe Ave, Fullerton, CA 92832, (714) 526-4529, Tuesday February 24th at 8pm, 21+, free. For more information on the band visit their Bandcamp page