House Of Pain
Almost 20 years since Jump Around first knocked us on our asses, House Of Pain rapping mainman Everlast (Erik Schrody) agrees the quirky little number still sounds like it couldn’t have been dropped yesterday…
“It’s just been one of those special things, one of those rare things,” Schrody explains. “Right place, right time – you know? It was the sound that just suited that time and that still sounds relevant today. Clubs still play it today!” he laughs. “You wouldn’t believe how many places you still walk into today and they’ve got that track playing.
“The weirdest thing is seeing the much younger kids going off to it; some of them weren’t even born when that song came out. It’s a quirky little fun number and there’s nothing heavy about it. Nothing is taken too seriously with that track and it’s purely a song that nine out of 10 times, when you’re listening to it, chances are you’re having fun as well!
“I’m very proud,” he adds, “to have been a part of a song that leaves that kind of impact on the brain, for people to always associate it with fun and having a good time.”
Friends ever since high school, Schrody along with fellow rapper Danny Boy and DJ Lethal, formed House Of Pain in 1991, quickly reaching success thanks to the 1992 smash single Jump Around. Despite two more albums notched up under their belts by 1996 – Same As It Ever Was (1994) and Truth Crushed To Earth Shall Rise Again (1996) – Schrody says it was mainly immaturity and financial issues that played the biggest part in the group’s demise.
“When you strike it that lucky before you’re even 25, things can get to your head. The money that came along with the music and the whole business thing… that can really get in the way of friendship. We were just all unhappy, period. Nobody was having any fun anymore.”
And while Schrody refuses to confirm any rumours of an official, permanent House Of Pain reunion and new album ever since the Irish-American group called it a day in 1996, he claims that with a 20th anniversary coming up, you just never know what might happen.
“I never make long-term plans, I don’t see any point to it,” states Schrody. “Right now, all I know is that we’re doing a bunch of shows and just having some fun with it. If anything else comes out of that, it will be organic. Nothing is permanent, nothing is guaranteed, so I don’t like to venture off into making serious plans or promises to other people or to myself.
“There’s been talk of making another record, but if that is to happen, it has to be a good one, it can’t be anything middle-of-the-road. Everybody expects 100 percent from us, including ourselves. Next year will be our 20-year-anniversary, so it’s as good a time as any to think about it. I’ve had enough brushes with death to know that my whole life has been a highlight and tomorrow ain’t guaranteed.”
Not that we’d ever expect anything half-assed from House Of Pain or Schrody himself, at that – ever since the group disbanded 15 years ago, Everlast has reached multi-platinum solo fame as well as Grammy nominations for his 1998 effort Whitey Ford Sings The Blues. With a new solo record recently done and dusted, Schrody hopes there’s more of that to come once the album is released later in the year.
“I’ve just put it in the can and it’s just a further progression of the style I’ve been pushing on my solo records,” he explains. “It doesn’t matter what kind of style I’m doing, though – to me, I see everything as filtered through the eyes of hip hop. Everything I do is hip hop – even if it’s a country ballad, it’s still just hip hop to me!
“I don’t listen to a lot of music, to be honest,” he reveals, “except for maybe some of the older music, like Otis Redding. But having just done my own record has definitely whet the appetite to get something going with House Of Pain. It’s always kind of strange how what goes around comes around eventually.”
After a 15-year-hiatus, Schrody recalls the pure magic and incredible chemistry that was still apparent between himself and fellow rapper Danny Boy at the second annual Epicenter Music Festival in California last September. And while third member of the group, DJ Lethal, has not been able to join forces with the two during their world tour, Schrody says hopefully that will change soon.
“It wasn’t really a surprise because Danny Boy and I have been playing together over the last few years anyway,” says Shrody of his other project, La Coka Nostra. “During that time, every now and then, audiences know that we’ll throw in a couple of old House Of Pain tracks into the set there, just for nostalgia’s sake.
“For me, my solo stuff still comes first and foremost at this point. I’m glad that Danny and I have the chance to revisit the old days still, though, that’s why these House Of Pain shows are going to be so much fun! To be honest, neither of us sees this as some kind of ‘reunion’, if anything this is going to be a huge mix of House Of Pain stuff with La Coka Nostra. We’re bringing the guys from La Coka Nostra with us, so it’s just going to have more House Of Pain songs in the set,” he laughs.
HOUSE OF PAIN will be jumping around at The Prince Bandroom this Friday April 29 (tickets from princebandroom.com.au, 95361168 and moshtix.com.au) and at GROOVIN THE MOO at the Bendigo Showgrounds on Saturday April 30.