“Hard Money is a rock band from Pittsburgh, PA. They play upbeat, mildly euphoric psychedelic pop music appropriate for most settings and environments.”
Hard Money is a new discovery for me. This is original Pittsburgh music and I could not be happier listening to their latest release, “Bananas, Apples and Oranges“. Get a better test of the band live at Howlers this Saturday (12/6) as they share the stage with Erie’s This American Song and seemingly everywhere blog faves City Steps! I want tot thank Michael Baltzer (Guitar/Vocals) for tking the time to participate in this edition of First/Last.
The first album you ever bought?
How about: 1st 7-Inch: “Your Wildest Dreams” by The Moody Blues. 1986, age 8.
1st Cassette: “Fear of a Black Planet” by Public Enemy. 1990, age 12.
Your last album bought?
How about: Most recent iTunes: “Record Collection” by Mark Ronson and The Business Intl. 11/17/2014, age 36.Most recent vinyl: “Ultravox!” by Ultravox!, “Station to Station” by David Bowie, “True Stories” by Talking Heads, “801 Live” by 801 Live (Eno and company), “Pretzel Logic” by Steely Dan, “People are People” by Depeche Mode. 11/29/2014, Age 36.
Favorite album of all time?
Can I narrow it down to 5 albums that at this moment represent my all-time favorites, and might vary if you’d have asked me 5,10, 20 ago, or next week? Yeah? Well, here you go: “Fear of Music” by Talking Heads, “Alien Lanes” by Guided by Voices, “Heaven or Las Vegas” by Cocteau Twins, “69 Love Songs” by The Magnetic Fields, “Purple Rain” by Prince and the Revolution. You could swap one of those with “Taking Tiger Mountain (by Strategy)” by Brian Eno if wanted to.
Least favorite/most disappointing album?
Seeking out music that I like and actively keeping myself out of situations where I’d have to hear things that I don’t want to means that I’m not exposed to too much that I consider to be bad. The only albums that really disappoint me are the projects that I started with other bands that split before we were finished.
First concert attended?
I’ll get to the point: my grandfather is a nice guy, and when I was in 6th grade (and my sister was in 4th grade), in 1989 or 1990, he bought a bunch of the grandkids tickets to whatever godforsaken New Kids on the Block tour was happening then. When I found out that this was happening, I told my mom that I sure as heck wanted no parts of it. But, she pointed out that it was really nice of him to have done this, and it would be rude not to go. So I went. It was what it was.
In terms of local, lesser-beaten-path shows, the first one that I remember going to was for the industrial band Venus in Furs at some joint in North Oakland that was called Charlie’s at the time (’94 or ’95). Since that place is closed now, it shouldn’t get anyone in trouble to say that I was maybe 3 or 4 years too young to be there.
I’ve been busy recently, so the last concert that I was at was one that we played on 11/14 with Love Letters and Colonel Eagleburger’s Highstepping Goodtimes Band. It was the greatest!
Favorite concert ever?
The show that made me decide that I get up on stage like any of the other jackasses that I found myself surrounded by The Human Brains and The Viragos at the Next Decade in North Oakland in early ’99, right after I turned 21. If you are not familiar with either of those groups, let me know and I’ll send you some straight fire! Anyway, both bands played heavy grooves through beaten old amps, but lacked any harshness in the vocals, so the mood was super giddy and positive. At the end of the Brains set, a lady (who would go on to run one of the greater art facilities in PGH before going on to run something crazier and bigger in Europe) decided that the best way to begin courting the bassist was to toss a full beer cup at his chest. Immediately thereafter, the entire room was awash in beer being thrown from every direction. There was Iron City dripping from every light fixture, and exploding in sheets from atop the drummer’s snare.
Least favorite concert?
Sometime in the early 00’s I was dating a young lady that worked at Camelot (or one of those sort of stores), and she got free tickets to some sort of cross-genre festival being held in a massive warehouse space that was briefly open in the Strip or lower Larryville. Again, like NKOTB, I went to be nice. The Black Eyed Peas performed, among other bands whose names escape me. It wasn’t a great time.
Favorite thoughts, experiences about Pittsburgh?
It is getting late, so I have to cut this short. Suffice to say, Pittsburgh is the best place that I can be. I was born here, I’ll probably die here, unless it’s while I’m on vacation. The music situation here is as weird as you need it to be. There’s something for everyone, and anyone that wants to contribute to the cacophony may do so at their discretion. You won’t be spoon-fed your culture, but if you put forth a little effort, you will find something and it will be amazing.
I’m not sure at what point something in my head clicked, and I stopped thinking that I was a special enough snowflake to someday play music for lots of people in faraway places, and instead only be concerned with impressing myself and the people that are nice enough to play with me.
When I play here, I know that there will not be a lot of people in the audience. That’s OK. I can be assured that every one of those people that show up are friends, or friends-of-friends, and will be good to talk to.
Thanks, Michael. I always appreciate the frequent NKOTB mentions on the First/Lasts. It is almost always under the ‘disappointment’ answers. So great.