Ever since Staticlone emerged in late 2021, I've been impressed with each of their new releases.
Comprised of George Hirsh of Blacklisted on vocals and guitar, bassist Dave Walling (also of Blacklisted, and currently in Shark Attack), and drummer Jeff Ziga (Affirmative Action Jackson, Armalite), the trio's sound is hardcore in its approach, but there are potent injections of deathrock and heavy metal (but not in a thrashy way).
Staticlone's latest drop is Flexi II, which follows last year's Flexi, and the band's 2021 demo. It's a winner.
I spoke with George again to get some context on its creation and what Staticlone's future plans include.
Going into writing the material for Flexi II, was there something that you wanted to do or say that you didn’t on the first one? Do you see it as a natural progression, or were you specifically aiming to do some different things?
My goal has been the same since starting Staticlone—write and record my version of hardcore punk. Simple. I can’t say these songs are a “progression," they are just a continuation. Any of them could have been on the previous flexi, or the demo. "The Glass Tiger Mask" is actually one of the first songs written for Staticlone, we just never used it until now.
In 2016 I picked up a book called 'Eileen' by Ottessa Moshfegh. Since then, I’ve bought all of her books. 'Death In Her Hands' hit me particularly hard, and was a really big deal for me. For the first time in a long time I felt “seen." But more-so it gave me the push to keep recording and continue on in my own bubble, which I am not sure if that was the author's intention, but it worked for me. I guess that’s different.
Books, and films have always affected and influenced me, but not in the way her book has. Kind of a “you exist. That’s enough” kind of way. Really simple. After reading it, I contacted the other two in the band and said “lets do another flexi and start working on an LP," before that things felt like they were just going to die on the vine. So I am glad it happened this way.
The lyrics to “The Ghost” read like a possession story, but since the song runs under the 2-minute mark, you don’t have much room to explore that. Did you see that as a challenge to get your point across in a succinct way quicker?
I am always trying to pare down my writing. Lyrically and musically. One of the biggest things punk taught me that I carried with me into the “normal world” is the power of minimalism. So its not really a challenge, but I am an unreliable judge, because I know what the song means, and I gotta say, lyrically, I nailed it.
I write all the songs “singer-songwriter” style with the riffs and lyrics together. Most times they stay that way, "The Ghost" was the first that really got turned on its head at rehearsal and restructured in a big way. So I had to edit the lyrics and cut out a portion and move some stuff around.
But, I was really into it happening that way, because for me that is what being in a band is, and one of the other important elements of Staticlone for me is being in a band with Dave and Jeff. Otherwise, I would just make more “solo” albums under the various names I’ve already done that with.
Meanwhile, “The Mirror” runs past 3 minutes in length, and takes its time to build. That song reminds me of Killing Joke and Christian Death in parts. It also sounds way different from Blacklisted or [George's solo project] Harm Wulf. That must be exciting to explore.
I have trouble socializing. Connecting with people, etc. etc., in “normal” life. The subject matter I write about has always been for lonely people. Be it Blacklisted, Harm Wulf, Rose Clouds, or Staticlone. That's just what it is and always will be.
I was gifted a way to circumvent the “normal” practices of socializing and connection and given the opportunity to do it through music and writing. And I’ve been lucky/fortunate to be able to travel the world and do just that. But, that doesn’t really sustain itself in a human way. "The Mirror" reflects that.
About 9 years ago I moved to Chicago and on the way there I flipped my moving truck and lost a good majority of my records and other personal belongings. (Read lyrics to “Turn in the Pike” by Blacklisted for full story). Coincidentally about 8 months ago I moved back to Philadelphia and started rebuying a lot of records.
[Christian Death's album] Only Theatre of Pain was a rebuy. The [Agnostic Front's album] Victim In Pain of death rock. Accept no substitute.
Tell me a bit about your collaborators in Staticlone and what they bring to the table creatively.
A big part of why I do the band is to play music with them. I know there is a lot of “I” in my answers. But it really is a “WE."
When Blacklisted ended I was set on being the person who just records in their basement and disappears. Both of which I am succeeding at gracefully I might add. But they are both too talented and valuable to not play music with.
So its not really about what they bring creatively, more so that they are just them. I know them. I'm a big fan of them. And they will quickly tell me if I’m getting off the path and being too “experimental” or if my Flanger is too loud.
What’s the plan for Staticlone now that you have a few releases out? I would love to see you get the music on the streaming outlets and start playing shows.
The songs are on streaming services now actually. It took a bit, but we are now part of the fast food music culture. We are currently writing an LP. We are a little more than halfway done. And we’ve been talking about playing live. So if anyone wants to book it, we are down.
The Flexi II 7-inch is available via Six Feet Under Records.