Guitar World

Hot Water Music


- By Jim Beaugez

“HOT WATER MUSIC is a very liberated band in the punk world,” says Chris Cresswell, one of the long-running punk band’s three guitarists and vocalists. “With punk being a genre, there’s still a lot of rules, which is ironic. But Hot Water breaks them all the time.”

Cresswell is speaking in the third person, but since 2017 he’s been a full-fledged member of the Gainesvill­e, Florida-based crew, standing shoulder-to-shoulder with co-guitarists and vocalists Chuck Ragan and Chris Wollard in addition to fronting his own band, The Flatliners. Hot Water Music’s new ninth studio album, Feel the Void [Equal Vision], marks the first album they have written and recorded music as a quintet.

Over the course of their original sixalbum run before going on hiatus in 2004, Hot Water Music nearly became a genre unto itself. Their blend of wooly riffs, syncopated rhythms and growling vocals propelled long-players No Division [Some; 1999], A Flight and a Crash [Epitaph; 2001] and Caution [Epitaph; 2003] into the canon of post-hardcore essentials.

After reconvenin­g in 2008, the band released a pair of solid albums, but something was missing. That ingredient, Wollard says, is the collaborat­ion that defined their earlier work. In an about-face, the 12 songs on Feel the Void gestated for nearly a year as the band built, deconstruc­ted and rebuilt them, then recorded them in Gainesvill­e where it all started in the mid Nineties.

Tracked with an enviable cast of workhorse guitars and amps — Les Paul Customs and Juniors, Melody Makers and Telecaster­s cranked through a Marshall JCM800 (the “problem solver,” notes Wollard), a Mesa Dual Rectifier, an Orange Rockerverb and a pair of custom GoshSound heads — standouts “Killing Time,” “Newtown Scraper” and “Lock Up” prove there’s always room for more guitar, even in punk rock. And in the band’s live sets, they cast aside even their own rules.

“We spend a lot of time writing and being really particular and careful with our note placement, but then you get on the road and you’re like, ‘Yeah, fuck all that,’” laughs Wollard. “There’s been times when on the record there’s no guitar solo, [but] from now on, there’s a long fuckin’ guitar solo here. And the band supports that. The band is built for that.”

“With punk being a genre, there’s still a lot of rules, which is ironic. But Hot Water breaks them all the time” — CHRIS CRESSWELL

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