At 41, Philadelphia-bred, Santa Barbara-based roots-rocker Dave Hause doesn’t mind being perceived as the overtaxed underdog. In fact, he thrives on it. “Kick,” his new fourth album, is a solid serving of meat-and-potatoes heartland anthems, with “Warpaint,” “Saboteurs” and the conversely wistful remembrance “Fireflies.” Even though it has widespread appeal, Hause is comfortable with the reality that in today’s streaming-stressed music industry, the deck is stacked against him. “Sometimes I think, ‘Man if I only keep at it and the right song connects, there would be massive growth!’” He says. “But incremental growth is fine, because I get to do this a lot longer than some of those flash-in-the panners.”
Over the years, all these great regional bands like Pittsburgh’s The Iron City Houserockers have found ways to survive. And a faithful audience.
Well, mine us a strange and twisted journey. I was in a punk rock band called The Loved Ones that toured internationally, had some success with Fat Wreck Chords. But then I went solo after the crash of ’08, given that I had a construction business, a band, and a whole life in Philadelphia. But the crash kind of prompted this move to go and play small shows, and I stumbled into my first solo record, which did well in Europe and started a fire, which has since spread little by little. So nowadays I sort of look at it like a craftsman. Like, guys who do carpentry long term just get better and better at it, and end up making a decent living.
Still have the construction business?
No, no. I met my wife in 2013, when I released my second record “Devour,” and moved to Santa Barbara with her. And she just gave birth to twin boys, so my life is much different now. This is my second life. Thew paradigm is, I’m married out here with kids, living a singer-songwriter, rock-and-roll hybrid kind of life, and it’s a whole host of sobriety issues away from where I was. My problems were booze and drugs, but I cleaned up in 2015 and found more humdrum escapes. That’s what they make baseball for.
You’ve bridged the gap between punk and rock pretty fluidly.
In the beginning, I worked for Sick of it All as a roadie, and I learned a lot about touring from them. But their crew would be like, “Wait, you like Tom Petty and Bruce Springsteen? That’s who we’re railing against!” But I thought, “That’s funny. What’s more punk rock than Springsteen? Or Petty on ‘Damn the Torpedoes’?” If you can find good songs, I’m on board with however you record them.
IF YOU GO
Dave Hause & The Mermaid
Where: Thee Parkside, 1600 17th St., S.F.
When: 9 p.m. Saturday
Contact: (415) 252-1330, www.theeparkside.com