Down and Out

Hunx’s bubblegum punk gets sadder, but that doesn’t mean he’s growing up.

Tony

 

WHAT: Hunx and His Punx, Heavy Cream

WHERE: Triple Rock Social Club, 629 Cedar Ave., Minneapolis

WHEN: Tuesday at 6 p.m.

COST: $10

 

A lot of people want Hunx to symbolize something. It’s not difficult to see why. Hunx (real name Seth Bogart) is an occasional hairdresser and the frontman for San Francisco band Hunx and his Punx. The group is known for reproducing ’50s and ’60s girl-group sounds with a hefty dose of trashy revelry. Bogart embodies that winning formula.

Hunx turns the greaser archetype inside out by adding homoeroticism and a John Waters mustache. He somehow manages to simultaneously embody Conrad Birdie and the teenagers who lust after him. Compounded with his high singing voice and girl-group ambitions, it’s easy to position Hunx as an object of cultural study. But Bogart doesn’t have time for that.

“Ugh. So annoying,” he said. “Like every [expletive] reporter wants to talk to me about what it’s like to be gay and be punk.”

Bogart doesn’t really care to talk about the music; he’d rather let it speak for him. His most recent work with his Punx  — last year’s “Too Young T Be I Love” — never lost its pop jangle, but had wistfulness to it.

Hunx’s maturation continued with his first solo album released this year, “Hairdresser Blues.” He’s still hanging around the soda fountain, but without his Punx to back him up, Bogart was able to more fully explore his sadness.

Many of the songs on “Hairdresser Blues” are inspired by lost love, but the toughest thing hanging over Bogart is the untimely death of indie rocker Jay Reatard.

“We became friends like a year or two before he died,” Bogart said. “We went on tour together, talked on the phone a lot, had slumber parties. … I don’t know. I was really super sad about him dying and I felt the need to write a song about it.”

That song is “Say Goodbye Before You Leave” and it’s one of the album’s best. Bogart said he has a DVD copy of “Better Than Something,” the documentary made about Reatard after his death but can’t bring himself to watch it.

Other non-musical commitments are forcing Bogart to grow up as well. Though he no longer owns Down At Lulu’s, an Oakland, Calif., hair salon, Hunx is working on his own TV series called “Hollywood Nails.” The Kickstarter-funded show is set to air this summer, but Bogart was cagey about the details.

“It’s not really about nails. I’m joking. It’s kind of about nails. It’s a variety show,” he said. “It’s like ‘Supermarket Sweep’ meets ‘Pee-wee’s Playhouse’ meets ‘Saturday Night Live.’”*******

Hunx has come a long way since Christopher Owens used his penis as a microphone in the “Lust for Life” music video, but that’s not to say he’s lost any of his bratty attitude or charm. Hunx doesn’t carefully consider his image as a statement or his songwriting as mature or immature. Hunx does what comes naturally, and he’s better for it.

“I’m just trying to work out some problems through song and dance,” he said.