Like Chris Shiflett, songwriter Dave Hause cut his teeth on punk and hard-edged rock before embracing a rootsier sound with his solo career. The newest episode of Shiflett’s Walking the Floor podcast focuses on that transition, tracing Hause’s path as a Philly-based punk-rocker fronting the group the Loved Ones to an Americana-loving Californian. Along the way, the two friends sing the praises of U2’s live show, talk about the trials and tribulations of van-based tours and reminisce about the early days of Fat Wreck Chords. Hause released the new album Bury Me in Philly in February.
Here’s five things we’ve learned from the interview, with the full episode streaming below.
Growing up in working-class Philadelphia, Hause turned to punk-rock not only for entertainment, but for as a sense of identity.
“We were metal and punk-rock kids, so we were outcasts,” says the Philadelphia native, who currently lives in Santa Barbara. “I also had a weird upbringing. I was raised in a Christian family. I was living in this gritty, working-class town in the Eighties, but didn’t go to public school. . .So I was the punk-rock/metal kid in my semi-suburban school.”
For a teenager raised by an extremely religious family, punk music also served as a source of rebellion.
Asked to pinpoint the reason he began loving punk music, Hause mentions “the anger and frustration of being in that Christian environment, and being in the working-class town, where you could always see the ceiling. There was never a model for making music as a job, and that was frustrating. Punk rock came along at the right time. [It was] great when you’re 12 years old and pissed off.”
Dylan and Petty are just as influential to Hause as Joe Strummer.
“My folks were into Bob Dylan, and they were into Tom Petty and Dire Straits and Springsteen and all that stuff, so I had that as my baseline when I was a kid,” he says. When it came time to discover music on his own, he gravitated toward hometown heroes the Hooters, who had a 1985 hit with “And We Danced.” Later, Hause began listening to more aggressive sounds, adding the Clash, Aerosmith, Metallica and Iron Maiden to his collection of favorites.
Songwriting is the common denominator between the punky music on his youth and the Americana-leaning rock records that he currently releases.
“If you do the deep dive on any of that music,” Hause says of his teenage punk idols, “there’s lots of great songs. The Misfits were great songwriters. If you’re a super music nerd, even if you’re into metal and punk. . . you’re getting into the songs. So as I was older, that’s what always stuck out to me. . . Usually, it’s because the craft of the song stuck to my ribs. That’s the common denominator.”
Even so, Hause hasn’t forgotten his roots.
Struggling with writer’s block after a long tour in support of his second solo album Devour, Hause turned to his management team for help. “I toured the shit out of Devour and then didn’t know what to do, artistically,” he admits. His management’s advice? Pursue a more Nashville-friendly sound. “‘It should be more like Isbell,'” he says, paraphrasing their suggestions. “‘It should be more like Ryan Adams.'” Hause refused. “No, it shouldn’t be that,” he tells Shiflett. “I love all those people, too. I think that they’re wonderful songwriters. But for me to put a fiddle on a record. . .it would make more sense for me to put a hip-hop beat under my lyrics. I’m from Philadelphia! I don’t know what a fiddle does! It would be bizarre for me to try and push in that direction, just to try to grab the brass ring.”