Hail Alien started as most punk bands do, in a basement with three guys, a guitar, a bass, drums, and some good old fashion teenage-early twenties rage. Spencer Rogers (lead vocals and guitar), Matt "Mini' Maniaci (drums) and Rex Curtis (bass) had all known each other for years, but it wasn’t until a fateful summer day in 2012, stemming from boredom and the realization that they all played instruments, that Hail Alien was born.
Inspired by godfathers of punk like the Ramones, The Sex Pistols, and Blink 182, Hail Alien began as a way to channel emotion, congregate in small spaces to mosh, and just, well, have fun. However, it took a while for them to grow into the perfectly unpolished sound they have now.
The group admits their first tries at writing left much to be desired. “We wrote the shittiest song,” says Matt.
“Yeah it was really bad,” adds Rex.
“DUCT TAPE!” adds Spencer.
The three finish each other’s sentences with the humor and ease that comes with being friends and playing together for years. Even close to six years after its formation, the band still has just as much fun playing their music.
“The thing about playing the type of music we do, shitty punk, is it’s just really fun to do,” says Rex.
However, there’s more to the band’s music than moshing and learnable guitar-licks. Although Spencer claims the songs are more music-focused and that the lyrics “don’t mean anything,” the other band members have other opinions.
“I think he thinks the lyrics are ‘whatever,’ but if you listen to what he puts together, the lyrics are amazing and they definitely have meaning that would strike many people,” Matt says.
“They come from a very deep and emotional place, which he might not want to acknowledge,” Rex adds.
“I have emotions, I just don’t like them,” says Spencer.
While some people cling to Hail Alien’s relatable lyrics and effortless head-banging beats, the band realizes a lot of people where they grew up — the affluent Detroit suburb of Bloomfield Hills — don’t like the fact that they deviate from the norm. And they don’t give a damn. So. Punk. Rock.
“The fact that we play punk music is kind of like a middle finger to where we grew up because nobody likes it,” says Rex.
“It was hard growing up like that, being an alternative kid in a preppy area,” Matt adds.
“That was one of the things that attracted me to what they were playing in the first place. It was something that no one else I knew would have appreciated, even in my friend group,” says Rex.
The band has definitely experienced the cons being part of a small subculture in Detroit. It’s been a struggle for them to find a solid group of people who are truly punk rock. "There’s been a shift in music taste and our music taste just happens to be a little old-fashioned for the generation now,” says Rex.
That said, the band’s not really concerned about people liking their music or not, “It’s almost like the more people don’t like us, the more punk rock we are,” Matt explains. They’re more concerned with making music that moves them, and maybe a few other head bobbers out there. “The whole point is to affect people.”
The band’s latest EP, How To Be Happy, is bound to do just that. The culmination of months of writing and years of playing together, HTBH is the quintessential angsty punk album that the world needs right now. Complete with grungy guitar riffs, polished baselines and thrashing drums, the EP takes listeners back to the good ‘ol days of crowd surfing, moshing and underage drinking — just the right amount of nostalgia. The punk pariahs will be celebrating their EP release with a show at The Forge on November 4th, following the digital release on November 1st at 12pm EST. Be sure to download the EP so you can come to the show ready to bang your head and sing along.