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Hog Finds Big-Time Success; Singer-Guitarist Plays Hometown

Fri., May 3, 1996

Like a number of 18-year-old kids, Hog singer-guitarist Kirk Miller abandoned Spokane after graduating from Joel E. Ferris High School in 1983.

Miller didn’t head off to college. Instead, he moved to Los Angeles to chase a career in music.

Miller and Hog play Outback Jack’s Tuesday night.

While living in one of the big industry meccas, he fooled around in a number of bands as a full-fledged member, studio musician or sideman. He did this while juggling a variety of jobs like pumping gas and operating a jackhammer to pay the bills. Some of his ventures were moderately successful, some were not.

During the ‘80s, when the L.A. glam metal scene was all the rage, Miller managed to work in music while not succumbing to one of rock’s most hideous trends.

“I wasn’t really on the glam trip too much,” he said last week while on the road to Birmingham for a concert with Candlebox. “In ‘86, when I was really doing a lot of stuff up in Hollywood, I was living in Huntington Beach. So we would wear on stage what we wore every day. I remember everybody used to make fun of us.”

As if wearing tight leather and Spandex gives a band bragging rights.

In 1994 Miller formed power pop trio Hog (not to be confused with Boss Hog or Spacehog) with two other L.A. musicians, drummer Matt Gillis and bassist Dillinger.

At the time, Miller’s day job was being a deliveryman for a company that manufactured gold and platinum award records for the major labels. “Geffen was one of our biggest clients,” said Miller.

Ironically, after a few major labels caught wind of the threesome, the David Geffen Company (DGC) signed the band. For Miller, Geffen was the ideal major label.

“Geffen was the first one to come in and make an offer,” Miller said. “When Geffen says, ‘We want to sign you,’ it’s like, ‘Thank you, God.”’

Geffen issued Hog’s debut album, “Nothing Sacred,” in February. Sales-wise, the album is faring well in the U.S.

And so is the lead single “Get a Job,” which was also the featured track in the Chris Farley-David Spade comedy, “Black Sheep.” The anti-slacker anthem has become a minor hit. It can be heard on KNJY (Z-Rock) several times a daily.

“Get a Job” has drawn comparisons with Green Day’s “Longview.”

“It’s funny. For me, being an old KISS fan, it’s ‘Detroit Rock City,”’ Miller said. “It’s a shuffle beat, you know.

“Believe it or not, as much as I don’t want to be compared to Green Day, all of the comparison I’ve ever gotten to Green Day has gotten me work.”

Recently, Spacehog squealed about another Hog in the pen. In fact, the English band even tried to sue Hog for its name. That’s when Boss Hog - the New York art noise band that had three albums out before Spacehog was even a band - decided to roll in the mud with Spacehog, threatening a countersuit if the band tried to sue Hog. Spacehog backed off.

Miller is excited to play in his hometown. It’ll be the first time since he left.

“My parents haven’t seen me perform live since I was in junior high school. When I got into high school, I was playing keggers. And my mom and dad wouldn’t see me play at keggers.”

Believe it or not, Miller’s parents enjoy “Nothing’s Sacred,” even if it is raucous and sprinkled with expletives.

“My mom and dad have always been 100 percent supportive,” he said. “That’s probably why I went to L.A. with such high hopes and enthusiasm. They never cut me down for what I did.”

Capitol recording artist My Head joins Hog on Tuesday’s bill. The L.A. band, whose major label debut is titled “Endless Bummer,” features former Infectious Grooves guitarist Adam Siegel and Bad Radio (Eddie Vedder’s old band) bassist Dave Silva. “Endless Bummer” was engineered by Rob Schnapf, who mixed the Foo Fighters’ album.

Music starts at 9:30 p.m. The cover is $4.

‘Play that funky music white boy’

Since the revival of ‘70s disco, you’d figure more bands would have donned bell bottoms and rehashed the ‘70s classics, from Donna Summer to Wild Cherry.

Seattle’s Hit Explosion is the only band in the Pacific Northwest mining the disco niche. Because of this, the band has been a monster hit, commanding hundreds, even thousands, of disco dancers nightly. The eight-piece disco, R&B; and funk band plays KZZU’s Boogie Bash Saturday at the Downtown Red Lion Grand Ballroom.

If you’ve been yearning to shake your booty to the sounds of the ‘70s, wait no more.

Doors open at 8:30 p.m. Tickets are going fast. They’re available for $13 at the two Tux Store locations, Simply Nails and Steinley’s in Coeur d’Alene.

New original music outlets

Two more Spokane nightspots, the Northern Corner and Swackhammer’s, have opened stages to original music.

The Northern Corner, 230 S. Washington, will present live original music Thursday through Saturday and open mike nights on Wednesdays.

This weekend, the downtown bar has Buddha Leadbelly, Maha Reeb and Psycho Babble on stage tonight and the Flies, Sluggo and Cat I Own Saturday. Retrofit, Plugugly and Neckless play Thursday.

Roadside Prophets play Swackhammer’s Sunday and Monday. Mark your calendars: on May 26 Amphetamine Reptile recording artist Lollipop plays the North Side club.

, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Photo

MEMO: This sidebar appeared with the story: NIGHTWATCH PICKS Best bets at area clubs: SATURDAY: Hit Explosion at the downtown Red Lion Grand Ballroom; Desafinado at Hobart’s Jazz Lounge SUNDAY: Fuego at Hobart’s Jazz Lounge TUESDAY: Hog and My Head at Outback Jack’s

This sidebar appeared with the story: NIGHTWATCH PICKS Best bets at area clubs: SATURDAY: Hit Explosion at the downtown Red Lion Grand Ballroom; Desafinado at Hobart’s Jazz Lounge SUNDAY: Fuego at Hobart’s Jazz Lounge TUESDAY: Hog and My Head at Outback Jack’s

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