steering clear of the mainstream
since 2001

june 2010

20 questions
blankred.jpg (4669 bytes)
blankred.jpg (4669 bytes)
blankred.jpg (4669 bytes)
with hopewell's jason russo

With over a decade of existence under its belt, Hopewell has been dousing its listeners in layers upon layers of wonderful sound for quite awhile. Their latest, Good Good Desperation, is a self-described homage to the album rock of yore, presumably matching their uncanny pop sense with a more expansive scope. I challenged Hopewell's founding member and singer/guitarist Jason Russo to a round of 20 Questions in mid-March; read on for the titillating results.

Good Good Desperation, the new album


1. Why name the band after Hopewell Junction, NY?

Why not? Hopewell was farmland when I was a kid and then it turned into suburban sprawl. We formed the band because there was nothing else to do but get into trouble.

2. How have the past few years been to Hopewell? It seems like things have been picking up.

The past few years have been enlightening. Weirdly, as soon as we ceased to consider the business of music, it started to consider us.

3. What bands are Hopewell's kindred spirits?

Hard to say. We are close friends with lots of bands but don't exactly fit in with any of them musically. Everyone has a slightly different spirit.

4. How did you become connected with Tee Pee Records?

They saw a show randomly, they liked it.

5. By that token, what ever happened to Priapus Records?

The folks that were behind Priapus are happy and healthy and keep Kansas alive. They wisely decided to stop trading music for money.

6. What was the worst gig you ever played?

Yeesh, that's a tough question. We have played in huge festivals and frozen New York city bathrooms, we've played on a bus, we played in a creperie, we played in front of thousands of people and we've played to 10 people, we've played outdoor shows in below freezing weather, we once played in Texas in the sun on a day that was 103 degrees.

7. Recommend a few books.

Underworld - Don Dellilo, Infinite Jest - David Foster Wallace, The Heart of The Matter - Graham Green, Already Dead - Denis Johnson.

8. Favourite album of the 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s, 00s. Go.

Damn man. This is subject to change every day but: 60's: Velvet Underground & Nico. 70's: anything by Magma or Plastic Ono Band. 80's: Deceit - This Heat or Nebraska - B.Springsteen. 90's: Boces - Mercury Rev. 00's: Love is the Best Con in Town - Grand Mal.

9. What is there to do in Hopewell Junction?

Bad things.

10. How important (or detrimental) has the internet been to Hopewell's success?

Well, if you consider the demise of the music business as good thing, as we do, the internet has done wonders.

11. You need to make a thousand dollars in three hours. What's your strategy?


12. Tell us a strange story.

Well, about a hundred years ago, my great grandmother was murdered with an axe and thrown down the village well in Sicily. This is why my family came to America. Had this not happened Hopewell may have been named Palermo and we could be making euro pop in Speedos.

13. I've always thought "The Curved Glass" was a great album. Do you ever listen to your old recordings? How do you feel about records like "The Curved Glass" now?

I feel pretty good about it. I tend to hate what ever record we last put out, the Curved Glass is old enough that I have grown fond of it again. We were trying to make a specific thing, failed miserably and a whole new thing was born out of it. In hindsight it's a great process.

2001's The Curved Glass

14. "Beautiful Targets" is your most recent album. Looking back on it, how satisfied were you with it? What was the response like?

Well, we set out to prove we could write songs. There has been a certain amount of success in TV licensing, which means we proved we could reach the lowest common denominator in America. I think the general response was confusion. Which is fine.

15. "Good Good Good Desperation," a new single, came out on March 10. What can we expect?

A taste of the new record. Us doing our best impression of our live show in a studio, our dispensing with string and horn arrangements, a rowdy cacophonous din.

16. In addition to the single, there's also a new album on the way! When is it coming, and is it going to blow our minds?

Yes. It's coming May 4th. Its our attempt to contribute to the lost art of album rock. In an era where mp3's herald the return to the singles format of the 50's and 60's, we decided to really just stretch out and please ourselves.

17. Would you rather have a penis for a nose or have a beard on every inch of your face?

Is both an option? I actually am a little close to having both in real life. It's kind of an Italian thing.

18. What is your favourite colour? Justify your selection.

White, it includes all the colors. It's the most common color used when describing a religious experience.

19. Who would you love to have remix a Hopewell song?

A robot or a mental patient.

20. Aside from the new album, what does the future hold in store for Hopewell?

The future is for suckers. Love the one you are with.

2007's Beautiful Targets

interview conducted by Michael Tau
March 2009
published May 2009



all content copyright 2009