Former Van Halen singer Gary Cherone has teamed up with his brother Mark to write his most succinct record to date, which is released today, February 15th. The self-titled, HURTSMILE hits you like a raw sonic sucker punch to the face!
Hurtsmile is a powerful guitar-driven rock ‘n’ roll album. From the opening buzz saw riff of “Just War Theory” to the epic finale of ”Slave” and “Beyond The Garden/Kicking Against the Goads”, Gary continues to move you with his lyrically provocative themes.
The musicians in Hurtsmile have an enormous amount of talent. Like Van Halen, the band is somewhat of a family affair, comprised of Gary Cherone on Vocals (Extreme, Van Halen, Tribe Of Judah, Slipkid), Markus Cherone on Guitars (Flesh, SuperZero, Slipkid), Joe Pessia on Bass (DramaGods, Tantric, Lucia Moniz) and Dana Spellman (Tribe Of Judah) on Drums.
“Hurtsmile was a long time coming… I always wanted to write a record with my brother,” Cherone says. “I’m a big fan of Mark’s songwriting and his snarling guitar riffs. Hurtsmile was about returning to my roots, writing a record in my basement, a straight-up rock ’n’ roll record… but it turned out to be more diverse and ambitious than I expected.”
What does the album sound like? First, it’s similar to Extreme, but it’s apart from Extreme in a sense that it’s not afraid to go in different directions. For the Extreme fanbase, it’s a little closer to Extreme than Tribe of Judah was. It is definitely influenced by some of the classic rock music that rock fans grew up on, with some smatterings of Led Zeppelin, Queen, Bob Dylan and maybe even a little Rage Against The Machine. There’s quite a spectrum of music on the record. It’s chock full of heavy riffs – it’s definitely a hard rock album first – but has some acoustic guitar, acapella, and even a reggae song.
The band has been working on many of these songs for a few years now, and the project was apparently shelved due to the recent Extreme reunion, album, and tour. Thankfully for us, Hurtsmile didn’t leave this material locked away for too long.
And not to worry, Extreme fans. That band is still exists and plans on reconvening in the future despite Hurtsmile and Nuno Bettencourt’s ongoing gig as the guitarist in Rihanna’s band.
As for touring, Hurtsmile will do a U.S. club tour that should kick off on the East Coast, and they’re currently trying to put together a tour for Japan and Europe.
The Van Halen News Desk certainly recommends ‘Hurtsmile’ to rock fans anywhere looking for something some good rock ‘n’ roll right now. We think you’ll dig it!
1. Just War Theory
3. Love Thy Neighbor
4. Kaffur (Infidel)
5. Painter Paint
6. Tolerance Song (Edit)
7. Set Me Free
8. Jesus Would You Meet Me
10. Beyond The Garden / Kicking Against The Goads
11. Just War Reprise
12. The Murder Of Daniel Faulkner (4699)
Below is the video for the album closer, “The Murder Of Daniel Faulkner (4699),” which is a bit of a departure from the rest of the album. The song was inspired by Bob Dylan’s “Hurricane,” and tells the story of the 1981 murder of a police officer in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (The video contains lots of actual news soundbytes which are not in the album version of the song).