It’s been a dozen years since Suzanne Santo and Ben Jaffe sat together in the lobby of a West Hollywood pot dispensary, acoustic guitars in hand, strumming the song that would eventually become the closer for every HoneyHoney show.
“Those were some of our first gigs, playing the weed shops in L.A.,” Jaffe remembers. “They were certainly the first gigs that paid us. We’d play the waiting area for an hour and pick up a few hundred bucks, which was a jackpot back then.”
“Come on Home” made its debut during those pot-shop performances. Santo had come up with the song’s main riff as a guitar exercise, while Jaffe helped her expand and finish it, both songwriters working together to build the band’s bedrock of harmony-heavy Americana and country-soul stomp. It became HoneyHoney’s first collaboratively written track, and it remained with them for years, bringing every gig they played – from club shows in the U.S. to 2,000-capacity theaters in Europe, where they toured with Jake Bugg – to a rowdy close.
The gigs haven’t been as plentiful these days. Since wrapping up the tour cycle behind their Dave Cobb-produced third album, 3 – a tour that found the band crisscrossing the country for months, putting 125,000 miles on a Cadillac Escalade formerly owned by Elon Musk – the two bandmates have been focusing on their own projects. Jaffe stretched his musical horizons with a gorgeous solo record, Oh, Wild Ocean of Love, while Santo teamed up with Butch Walker for her own Ruby Red. Later this summer, she’ll fly to Dublin to begin rehearsing with Hozier, the chart-topping “Take Me to Church” singer whose upcoming tour will feature Santo on electric guitar, violin and backup vocals.
Before kickstarting that big break, though, HoneyHoney will tour the western half of America once more. Equal parts reunion and temporary sendoff, the trek visits many of the markets that helped launch the band’s career a decade earlier. It all begins with a July 13th show in Las Vegas. To whip up anticipation, Santo and Jaffe have released a live video of two songs – “Oh Mama” and “Come on Home,” both originally released on the band’s 2008 debut, First Rodeo, and recorded live during a Lincoln Hall performance in Chicago – accompanied by a highlights reel of tour footage, van hijinks, truck-stop candids and other bright moments from their time together on the road.
“Watching that video brings up a lot of emotions,” Santo says from her home in Los Angeles, where she’s busy learning Hozier’s new material. “We’ve moved on to other projects, and that video makes me remember how much fun we had. It’s such a beautiful depiction of all these amazing places we got to visit and experience.”
Directed by Sage Atwood, the video follows HoneyHoney as they travel from venue to venue – the El Rey Theatre in L.A., the Independent in San Francisco, the Egyptian Theatre in Boise – while making time for beach trips, birthday celebrations and Airbnb jam sessions. Tossed somewhere into the dizzying whirl of on-the-road footage are clips of Santo and Jaffe, both dressed up in wigs and spirit-glued facial hair, serving as the backup band for Wheeler Walker Jr.’s very first show. There’s also a cameo by tourmate Ryan Bingham, an impromptu dance party beside the Escalade, and, most importantly, a knockout performance from HoneyHoney, whose songs will outlive any sort of hiatus between the band’s partners.