Hush Up, Kids

A brand-new sound — like, really new.

The Hush Sound's guitarist and co-lead vocalist, Bob Morris, has his hands full. His band is set to perform with Panic! At the Disco, his mother won't stop ringing him (she's in line outside, confused by how to collect her ticket), and, oh yeah, there's this interview to contend with. Luckily, Morris hasn't realized any of this should leave him stressed. If you haven't heard of the Hush Sound, that's probably because you've had steaks in your freezer longer than the band's existed. The Sound recorded its debut, So Sudden, last spring after only three months of being together. Not long after that, Panic! At the Disco's Ryan Ross urged Fall Out Boy's Pete Wentz to sign the Hush Sound to his Fueled by Ramen-backed Decaydance Records.

"All of us except Greta [Salpeter, piano/guitar/co-vocalist] had been in local bands before, and we knew when you're playing shows and nobody knows your songs, it's no fun," Morris tells Outtakes. "So once we figured out how to play the songs, we just went in and recorded it."

For their self-produced effort, they got an album chock-full of folk-pop with healthy doses of swing, classic rock, and classical music to quirk up the piano-driven melodies. The eclectic sound, an endearingly uneven mix, was, however, entirely unintentional.

Not the guy from Office Space
Not the guy from Office Space

"The sound's just all over the place, really," Morris admits. "We had no specific idea what we were trying to do. We were just trying to do something we hadn't done before."

Their blind swinging struck a chord with Wentz, who quickly got them back in the studio to record a follow-up, Like Vines, which was released the same day the band hit the road with Panic! At the Disco for a co-headlining tour.

"It's definitely an extension of our thoughts on So Sudden," Morris says. "It's a lot more professional, and not only the sound and the arrangements. We put a lot more thought into it. Instead of being so sudden, it's so thought-out."

Once in the studio, the experience of recording Like Vines proved to be "the polar opposite" of So Sudden. "With So Sudden, it was fun because we didn't really have to worry about anyone else," Morris says, regarding having producers Sean O'Keefe (FOB, Motion City Soundtrack) and co-producer Patrick Stump of FOB in the studio with the Hush Sound this time around. "We just got to play music, which was amazing. This time, we knew how much we were learning. It was like taking four years of college in three weeks of recording."

But that pretty much sums up the Hush Sound's existence: turning out music that sounds like it took years to make. Morris, for one, isn't willing to say he didn't expect to be here, playing in the big leagues so soon.

"Well, if you don't think that when you're starting a band, that you're going to do this, you shouldn't start a band," he says. "You're starting a hobby, not a career." — Cole Haddon

The Hush Sound joins Panic! At the Disco at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, June 22, at Revolution, 200 W. Broward Blvd., Fort Lauderdale, 954-727-0950. Got tickets? Good — it's sold out.

Who's an Ass-Clown?

Michael Bolton is the type of celebrity who gives every average human the sense that he or she is incredibly lucky to have no talent for singing. He proves it is in fact not only bearable to have unremarkable mousy-brown hair but also desirable. And he makes clear that for a longtime life partner or casual date, it is far better to be dull than Desperate.

In an effort to escape the hatin' and blend into naturally occurring mediocrity, Bolton is frequently attracted to South Florida. He was spotted this past May lurking about the Setai in Miami Beach between stops at SunFest in West Palm Beach and rehearsing for a June 24 concert at Cable Beach in the Bahamas. Bolton has also launched an assault on the classics in a new album, Bolton Swings Sinatra.

Yet the singer is known to millions who have never heard him belt out even a note as the ridiculed object of an indie film construct, much the way Flock of Seagulls is recognized for Samuel L. Jackson's sneering reference in Pulp Fiction.

It was in reverence to this spirit that, electronically wedging herself into a recent teleconference interview with Bolton, Outtakes was able to lob just one question, which, judging by the length, complexity, and passion of the answer, hit its mark:

Outtakes: Mr. Bolton, how do you feel about being known to millions of people who have never heard your music as a "no-talent ass-clown" as a result of the film Office Space?

Bolton: "Office Space is funny. I've autographed a lot of those DVDs. But seriously... First of all, what do you do when someone knocks you when you've been nominated for Grammys — Best Male Vocal — four times? When you're looked at with respect in the industry? When you write with Bob Dylan, Joe Cocker, Kanye West? The answer is, you don't have to be insecure about ever being a no-talent anything. You are light-years beyond that possibility. But I admit sometimes I am a clown.

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