Getting to Know You: Ben Harwood of Hobosexual

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It’s no secret that I am a big fan of local stoner-metal-blues duo  Hobosexual. I like them so much that they are one of the few bands who have the distinction of being featured on the bills of two separate Guerrilla Candy shows.

I already profiled the group at length a while back but I felt like I didn’t quite capture the full essence of Hobosexual so I caught up with Hobo’s Ben Harwood (he’s the band’s big, tall, hairy beast of a guitar player) over email and sent a few questions his way. Here are his responses:

What was the first album you purchased, how old were you when you purchased it and is it something you would still listen to today?

It was the soundtrack to “Ghostbusters.” I bought it on cassette when I was around 10 and wore my first copy out. It was also the first CD I ever purchased when I was given a portable CD boombox for my 12th birthday.

I would not listen to the entire album again today, however, I would gladly watch the semi infamous music video featuring Ray Parker Jr’s “Ghostbusters” theme song any day of the week. It’s a triumph of the human spirit.

What was the first concert you attended and how old were you?

It was probably “The Nutcracker.” I would call that a concert…since it is dance set to symphonic composition. My first down and dirty, throw down, mosh pit, “devil horns in the air” concert experience after that would have been seeing the highly controversial local children’s performer “Tim Noah,” who holds the record for the “most old warehouse stock 1970s tie dyed sweatshirts bearing one’s name re-sold in the 80s by a solo performer”,.. and whom was known to suggestively swivel his hips at small children while chanting at the agape parents to “do the whirligig!” …I think we ALL knew what “whirligig” REALLY meant, didn’t we?

If you could be any other artist in Seattle who would it be and why?

I would be Rachael Ferguson of NighTraiN and Clutch Douglass affiliate.

#1) She’s gotta be one of the most electrifying people I’ve seen perform in years. At a typical show, she usually goes from being this seemingly super shy, reserved, subtly hilarious person, into a miniature “Tina Turner karate fighting a tornado” as soon as the music starts. It’s the Clark Kent syndrome and I dig that.

#2) She has a really interesting voice. No, she’s not belting out 4 octave high A flats, but she works with what she’s got and it’s the tits.

#3) She’s a stone cold fox and could MacGyver a fucking potato sack into a $5,000 Armani runway dress with a paper clip, 3 crispy cremes, and some duct tape . I can barely make a pair of Bob Hope cabana pants not look like they’re being worn by Meathead from All In The Family’s stunt double.

Who is your favorite musician to watch perform and why?

Angus Young. Jesus fucking christ…this is the ONLY correct answer here. Have you seen “If You Want Blood You’ve Got It?”

If you could ask for advice from any musician, dead or alive, who would it be and what would you ask?

I’d fly to Chicago, and ask Freddy King over whiskey and cigarettes during a game of cards in the back room of Mike’s cleaners, to teach me some grifter blackjack plays. That guy was the literal king. I wasn’t even alive when he was making music and I sincerely miss his presence.

Aside from music what are two things you are passionate about and why?

1) For the last 5 years or so, I’ve been obsessed with the past. I don’t know why, I don’t know where this came from, but for some reason reading, listening to, and observing the lessons buried primarily within the prose and fiction of the past (this includes books, films, and television), I’m finding truths that make more sense to me than the truths I’ve seen our culture perpetuate most of my life.

2) I’m also into restoring old toys from the 1980s and my childhood. I just found an original Knight 2000 Voice Car a month or so ago that I was able to get half the phrases on the micro cassette loaded voice box to work…he now says “Scanners indicate danger ahead”…but I’m still trying to get “I shall activate the turbo boost” to work.

When you aren’t making music what do you enjoy doing most?

I enjoy a quiet, sunny, relaxing day at home with my wife, our 2 cats, and our 3 chickens.

…oh, and of course heroin. Sweet, life affirming, arm hair tingling, eyes rolling into the back of your head while lightening fart propelled falcons guide you through a nebula of your innermost dreams and nightmares, …heroin.


Hobosexual performs at Guerrilla Candy’s FunOfficial Bumbershoot Kickoff Party Sept. 2 at the High Dive (9 p.m., $10) along with Smokey Brights, Viper Creek Club and the Physics.

Travis Hay

About Travis Hay

Travis Hay is a professional music journalist who has spent the past 14 years documenting and enjoying Seattle's diverse music scene. In 2009 he established Guerrilla Candy and is currently the site's editor and publisher. He has written for various media outlets including MSN Music, the Seattle-Post Intelligencer, Seattle Weekly, and others and was the founder and editor of defunct music site Ear Candy.