Ok, so hot-stuff garage/blues/rock duo Little Hurricane is anything but a secret anymore. If you didn’t read about them when they won Best New Artist at the 2010 San Diego Music Awards, then there’s a good chance you caught some of the press when they took home a trio of awards -- including Album of the Year -- at 2011's ceremony. And if somehow that all escaped you, their appearances at Lollapalooza and SXSW, write-ups in Rolling Stone or any of the other national attention they’ve collected has hopefully caught your attention.
There’s always the chance you own a copy of their terrific debut, Homewrecker, or have seen them play around town. But all of that’s not important right now, and it certainly isn’t going to stop me from telling you a bit more about them, even if you already know them better than that weird cousin of yours who lives out in Ohio. What you do need to know is that the band is playing a free all-ages, 45-minute set on Sunday at the Fiesta del Sol in Solana Beach. They start at 6:15 p.m., but it’ll be crazy up there at the beach, so get there early. It’s one of the last times you’ll be able to see them before they take off on an extended tour with Austin rockers Heartless Bastards. Now, they are playing the San Diego OysterFest on June 16 before hitting the road, but that’s only for those 21+ and will cost you to get in. Regardless, to preview Sunday’s show, I spoke with singer/guitarist Anthony “Tone” Catalano and drummer/charmer Celeste “CC” Spina about San Diego, new music and beyond.
Scott McDonald: Hi guys. How are you?
CC: Great. Thanks.
Tone: Good, man.
SM: Seems like things are better than ever.
CC: We’ve been working hard. It’s great to see things starting to pay off.
SM: You’re playing the Fiesta del Sol on Sunday.
Tone: Yeah, it’s out first time at the festival. We’re looking forward to it.
SM: With all you’re doing these days, I hope we can keep you in San Diego.
CC: We met in San Diego. The band formed on 30th Street, and we played our very first shows here. If it wasn’t for the city, we couldn’t have gone on to play all of the bigger shows we’ve played. I think we’ll always be a San Diego band.
Tone: I’ve lived in California my entire life. And I’ve lived in San Diego for the last eight. After touring across the country, it’s great to come back here. It’s home. It’s a great place to live.
SM: I have to ask you the “new music” question. Do you have a timetable?
Tone: As people in San Diego know, we’ve been playing all of these songs for a little while now. But we do have a handful of new songs we’re working on, and we’ve stage-tested a few of them. But it takes some restraint to save some of the new ones. And it’s still fun to play the old songs, especially in San Diego, and have everyone sing along. Hopefully we can get a fall release going, but I don’t want to put a definitive deadline on it. That said, we are always looking forward.
SM: You guys have been so busy. Do you have to schedule time to write?
Tone: When the inspiration is there, the outlet is the songs. It could be on the road or home, or wherever. If we get an idea for a song, we start sketching it out. There’s always a hubbub around the bigger things that we do, but for me, it’s all about songwriting. This band is all about creating something. And that’s the exciting part.
SM: You guys sick of the White Stripes comparisons?
CC: It’s just part of the territory. We’re a guy/girl two-piece. People just like to have a frame of reference. I don’t take offense to it.
Tone: It’s reasonable. And it doesn’t upset us. When I was in high school, I was in a three-piece rock band, and people were forever comparing us to Green Day. It was the farthest thing from reality, but if you’re a three-piece and rock, someone’s gonna be talking about Green Day.
SM: Can you guys ever see this expanding beyond the duo?
CC: We’d love to have more members. We’d love to have an entire horn or string section. We want Little Hurricane to be the biggest band possible. Logistically, right now, that doesn’t make sense, but it is something we’re looking forward to in the future.
Tone: It would be really cool to see the songs expanded sonically as well. It’s a little difficult to bring more people on the road at this point. With two people, things are just much easier.
SM: San Diego’s really embraced you. Has to feel pretty good.
CC: I’ve been surprised. When I originally posted that Craigslist ad, I just wanted to know what it was like to play in a local band. I really didn’t know what that meant. But it’s been great having people react the way that they’ve been reacting -- especially in San Diego. And there are a few other cities, like Portland, that have really taken us on. But getting all of those reactions, especially to songs that we wrote that are so personal, it’s all been really inspiring.