To an outsider, the name of the upcoming tour by locals Holly Hunt and Scraping Teeth, which kicks off Tuesday, April 10, at Churchill's, doesn't bode well. Billed as the "Worst Band in America Tour," it's a reference to a dubious nod the latter group earned from Spin magazine in 1993. Considering the band's name, plus the fact that it's led by notorious noisemaker Rat Bastard, well, that means plenty of confrontational volume and almost no concessions made to an audience hoping for melody.
Whether that makes Scraping Teeth the worst of anything or among the best of its class depends entirely on your personal taste and pain threshold. But the group's tourmates through this 16-day, 17-city jaunt are the opposite of worst anything. Rather, the duo, made up of partners in crime, art, and domestic matters Gavin Perry and Beatriz Monteavaro, is one of the most exciting area acts going.
The band's take on droning dirge-rock is stripped down to its essence — there's Perry's downtuned, circular, chugging guitar, and Monteavaro's rapid-fire, just-loose-enough drumming. Live, their sound is raw but not overpowering, and Perry and Monteavaro serve as perfect performance foils. She unabashedly grins, appearing during each performance to be having the time of her life. Meanwhile, he usually looks to be deeply concentrating, brows furrowed, eyes on his complicated pedal board or his towering stack of amplifiers.
"As with all things creative, I try to stay in the moment," says Perry. "We are committed to preparation — mental, physical, what have you. We are still learning each other, being aware of nuance. It's telepathic."
Though their personal connection has been going strong for some 18 years, Monteavaro and Perry have been playing together as Holly Hunt only for a little over a year. Until very recently too, the band has bubbled under the surface as both members have focused on other creative pursuits — both are accomplished visual artists. So the tour now is more a result of serendipity and friendship than any specific plan.
"If not now, when?" Perry muses. "Rat thought it would be cool to do a tour with Scraping Teeth and offered to book the shows. We graciously accepted his offer. We are stoked to travel."
But the tour does, in fact, signal a new burst of activity for Holly Hunt. "We maintain a strong practice and writing schedule," says Perry. "We are actively writing new material when we aren't prepping for shows or recording sessions. Holly Hunt is in its infancy, and we hope to grow with each new opportunity."