My memories of Dan Hosker begin and end with his hands. Though he passed away over the weekend, when I think of him, I can still feel the chubby, callused fingers of his handshake, which he offered with a slanted, benign grin every time we bumped into each other at Churchill's Hideaway. Those fingers were indeed the fingers of a guitarist. My memory of his playing is one of those things I will take with me when I catch up with him once again in the inevitable afterlife.
No one played like Dan, not in South Florida or the rest of the world. He had a distinctive voice when on his guitar. He strangled the instrument and rode those strings to their limits, unafraid of the edge. It made him both great at the poppy riffs of the alt-rock outfit he co-founded with Rob Elba, the Holy Terrors, while also exploring the verve of noise in Harry Pussy.
Here, he supplements Harry Pussy's Adris Hoyos and Bill Orcutt in all their subversively minimalist punk glory doing what they did best: Stun the audience.
Somewhere in between the grip of his hand and the sound of his guitar, I met the man, or what he was willing to reveal of himself. He was one of those genuine musicians who talk more with their instrument than with their mouths. This became painfully apparent to me sometime in 1995 when I sat down in front of cable access TV cameras with Hosker and fellow Terror Sam Fogarino (now famously of Interpol) for an interview.
Holy Terrors perform "Turn" on "Music X" and before my interview with Sam and Dan.
Though Dan had a sly, prankster style to his playing that pushed the edges, he never fell off into some crap swagger, be it technical noodling or going totally cruel with the noise craft. He always served the instrument with a sort of respect. Super hunched over on stage, he merged with it, and most of all, had fun with it. No matter how chaotic it sounded, the man had control.