The first release from the Charlotte, North Carolina based band Hardcore Lounge, “Dance of My Life” is now available from Possumwalk Records. The twelve songs on this release represent different chapters in the lives of brothers, Chris and Wes Johnson. In early 2001, Chris and Wes started collaborating on songs that would eventually become part of the repertoire of the yet to be named Hardcore Lounge.
The brothers had been fixtures on the local music scene for years. Chris, works in television broadcasting and played in the local band Cyclone Mack. Wes, works in film and television production, and had been documenting local performing artists in Charlotte since the late 1980’s. Their father, Kenneth, had been part of early broadcasting and recording history with The Johnson Family Singers, performing songs from sacred to secular. The family recorded on Columbia and RCA and had their own CBS network radio show that originated from then radio broadcasting powerhouse WBT. A second career as a minister had the boys singing in church choirs as soon as they could hold hymnals.
Chris and Wes Johnson have appeared with various versions of Hardcore Lounge since their first show in December 2001. When the time came for their first public appearance, they didn't have a name for the group. They hosted a Full Moon Party at a small coffeehouse in Charlotte called Cafe Bisous. That night they called themselves "The Full Moon Ensemble". At the end of the night when Debbie, the owner of the place was asked what she thought of the band, she said " I thought it was hardcore lounge". So that is how they got their name. They aren't really hardcore, and they aren't really lounge, but the name seems to fit.
After working with three completely different line-ups, (which included four drummers, three guitar players, three bass players, and two flute players), Hardcore Lounge finally settled on a core group of musicians that really enjoy making music together. The members of Hardcore Lounge are: Wes Johnson on vocals, Chris Johnson on keyboards/vocals, Mary Massie on flute/keyboards/vocals, Marco Heeter on bass, and Marlon Young on drums/percussion/vocals. This is the line-up that is represented on the CD, Hardcore Lounge, “Dance of My Life”. A roster of some of Charlotte’s finest guitar players: Randolph Lewis (Mike Strauss Band, Les Dirt Clods), Jeremy DeHart (The Aqualads), Paul Jensen (The Interstellars), and Neil Allen (The Virginia Reel) all make contributions bringing their unique styles of playing to particular tracks. The horn section on a couple of songs includes: Rauben Behrends (Hot House Hefftones), Michael Anderson (Snagglepuss), and trumpet master Billy ‘Sauce’ Funderburk.