What is HURTSMILE? If you’ve heard of Tribe of Judah or Atunga or Flesh you know that these are groups that have the distinction of having one of the Cherone brothers from Malden, MA. participating in the music making. Hurtsmile has the added bonus of two of the Cherone clan working side by side, Markus and Gary.
On July 17, 2011 the group performed live for Carmelita on WAAF’s BAY STATE ROCK program. TMRZoo had a chat with guitarist Mark Cherone after meeting him at his brother Greg’s ATUNGA gig at Hugh O’Neill’s:
Joe V/TMRZoo: How did Hurtsmile come about?
Mark Cherone: It started out just wanting to write a couple songs with my brother. I didn’t think we were going to start a band or put out a CD. A few years ago I gave Gary a tape of a couple guitar riffs. He called me about a week later and said that he had some lyrics so we invited our drummer Dana Spellman to come over and work out an arrangement. That became our first song on the CD, Just War Theory. It went on like that for a few songs. It really became a band when our bass player Joe Pessia joined. Once Joe joined, the creative process exploded and we were able to write more intriguing songs. That’s when I could see that we were going to be able to make a full length CD.
Joe V/TMRZoo: When did SLIP KID emerge and whose idea was it?
Mark Cherone: Slip Kid started in 2006. Gary and I are such huge fans of The Who. We started talking about how it would be great to perform their songs. Gary invited Dana Spellman to come over and jam with me. The first night we played a bunch of Kiss tunes. Then we brought Paul Mangone in on bass and started rehearsing the early Who material, Can’t Explain, Substitute… and finally Dana brought Jeff Caulder in on keyboards. I think Jeff knew every Who song before we called him so he was perfect.
Joe V/TMRZoo: Gary’s work with Van Halen, Tribe Of Judah, Extreme and solo performances keeps music historians (and fans) busy, how is Hurtsmile different from these other projects?
Mark Cherone: I love all of Gary’s work. It is a lot of fun to write with him. With Hurtsmile, we collaborate on ideas and go with the ones that don’t repeat areas that he has touched on already. It’s hard, because he has covered a lot of ground and I am into a lot of the same things some of his previous bands are into.
Joe V/TMRZoo: What’s going on with the Foxboro gig? Why SHOWCASE live – which is a terrific room -instead of Kowloon or Paradise or Tupelo Hall or the popular room in Natick.
Mark Cherone: Showcase Live is a great venue. It has a big stage and you can see the band from anywhere in the room. I think we are planning on booking a show closer to Boston in the fall.
Joe V/TMRZoo: What can fans expect at Showcase Live?
Mark Cherone: We play a lot from our CD and we throw in a couple covers. Picking which cover song is always a process. You have to find one that everybody can pull off naturally. Our bass player, Joe Pessia and I are huge AC/DC fans. We weren’t sure if Gary would be comfortable, but he loves it. Sometimes we play AC/DC’s Kicked in the Teeth again.
An interesting blog by someone called “Camel Blue” had this information on Mark Cherone’s band, FLESH, which used to get airplay on Harvey Wharfield’s BOSTON MUSIC SHOWCASE back in 1992…when this writer was the producer of the program. It’s great to see musicians I respect still rocking and better than ever two decades later… Camel Blue states: “ Flesh was a Boston-bred band that never make it big, confined to a cult status. Founder members are guitarist Markus Cherone and lead vocalist Paulo Bettencourt, the less famous brothers of Extreme’s lead vocalist Gary Cherone and flash lead guitarist Nuno Bettencourt. In fact, Flesh debut was the first band signed by Colorblind Records, Nuno’s own label, and also was produced by him.
Joe Viglione is the Chief Film Critic at TMRZoo.com. He was a film critic for Al Aronowitz’s The Blacklisted Journal, has written thousands of reviews and biographies for AllMovie.com, Allmusic.com and produces and hosts Visual Radio. Visual Radio is a fifteen year old variety show on cable TV which has interviewed John Lennon’s Uncle Charlie, Margaret Cho, Ray Manzarek, John Densmore, Felix Cavaliere, Marty Balin, Bill Press and hundreds of other personalities.