To pinpoint the eclectic sound of Hashbrown, one needs to examine the musical tastes and influences of members Clarence Spencer (vocals), Duncan Cameron (guitar), and Wayne "DJ Crash" Walters (drummer).
"We can't help but be a hybrid sound," Walters notes over the faint static of his portable phone. "I come from an R&B and hip-hop background; Duncan was into all the metal hair bands like Poison, and then some jazz; and Clarence is more of a hardcore punk guy -- he listens to bands like Pantera sometimes, but he also has an R&B background. It all mixes together when we write our songs."
The Fort Lauderdale-based trio tapped into its collective musical subconscious on its debut CD, 1996's 50 Ft. Doubledoor Boxcar, giving off whiffs of sounds reminiscent of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Beastie Boys, and Lenny Kravitz. On "N.O.T.I.C.E.," Spencer could pass for a funky, crooning twin of Chili Peppers' frontman Anthony Kiedis, as Cameron pours out unlimited riffs to intermingle with Walters' crashing drums. On "Dey Don't Know," the trio enlists the rapping talents of MC Boogie and DJ LP to achieve a jumpy, hip-hoppy feel. And on the smooth-grooving "Oye Chica," the band brings the flavor down a notch with gentle vocals and a background chorus that explains the essence of the disc: "Come on and move me." (A smattering of horns and strings can also be heard throughout Boxcar, adding yet another dimension to the overall diversity.)
Cuts from Boxcar can be heard on WZTA-FM (94.9) and WORC-FM (90.9). To see Hashbrown perform live, one needs only to stumble around downtown Fort Lauderdale on select nights and enter Manhattan's, Squeeze, the Chili Pepper, or Tavern 213, where they can be seen this Thursday. Upcoming plans for the four-year-old band include an as-yet-untitled six-song EP slated for a late February release, plus more local gigs to support Boxcar.