Hudson Falcons: working-class heroes
It’s a dreary Saturday afternoon. The threat of phone tag is always a possibility, and to the top the occasion off, the “high-tech” voice recorder being used to do the interview isn’t behaving.
Mark Linskey, founder/songwriter/lead guitarist/vocalist for New Jersey’s Hudson Falcons, is calling back to finally get the interview done that’s been in limbo for a few days now. As always, he’s a gracious soul.
Linskey’s musical work, Falcons-related and solo, is always a pressing issue because it’s not only rock ‘n’ roll for him. In his music, he writes and sings about what he does – he’s a union organizer, so he literally practices what he preaches. For Linskey, in one way or another, it’s all intertwined.
Luckily Linskey was able to spare a moment when we were finally able to connect so he was able to give quality time to discuss the band, his work, his processes, and whatever else might come up.
There aren’t a lot of bands that can really do what the Hudson Falcons have managed to do. They have consistently been present and visible on the rock ‘n’ roll scene since the release of their first album, “Desperation and Revolution,” more than a decade ago.
Now in 2013, when most of their contemporaries are sitting around with their buddies bragging about how many people saw them at whatever festival wherever they were at the time they peaked, the Falcons are gearing up for yet another eighteen day mini-tour. They’ll be playing a few dates up and down the eastern seaboard, touching inward a few times, including a stop in Huntington at the V Club on February 22.
Though their fifth and latest full-length studio album, “Dancing Under the Moonlight,” was originally released in 2011, they’re still in the process of supporting it. Linskey always seems anxious to get out and play his brand of rock ‘n’ roll to the faithful fans for years and the always growing number of newcomers.
Actually, anytime he’s talking about his music, or his line of work, being on the road is always a topic that comes up. When talking specifics about this leg of dates and plans following, he explains, “We’re out for about eighteen days, come home for a month, and then back out for another full-scale U.S. tour into the summer. We’re also going up to western Canada, which we’ve never been able to do, mostly due to border issues.”
The average person would most likely not be able to keep the schedule Linskey and the Falcons have to maintain in order to do all that they do.
He’s got two full-time jobs – working as a union organizer for the New York State United Teachers Union and computer administration work for Pace University.
“The schedule is crazy and exhausting with the two jobs and daily responsibilities, so sometimes I need to get away. I go to Ohio for a couple of weeks.” Linskey confesses, adding, “That’s where a lot of writing gets done. All of the songs are written on my twelve-string acoustically, and then translated to electric with the band during rehearsals.”
When you hear the Hudson Falcons musically, a lot of the material could easily be classified as it punk rock, though some years back, they described it as more of a “punk ‘n’ roll” style. The punk rock essence is definitely there, but there are also traces of so many other influences from the Rolling Stones, to the Allman Brothers, to the New York Dolls, to The Clash, to Steve Earle, to Springsteen, to Howlin’ Wolf, to Rose Tattoo, and so many others.
Linskey comments on the subject of influences, “With age, you learn to channel your inspirations.”
The lyrics Linskey sings, as with all great songwriters, come from within him.
And regardless of how angry, requited, desperate, encouraging, hopeful, capricious, it’s all from a place of honesty. Whether he’s singing them in the studio or to a live audience he says, “If I’m just going on ‘autopilot,’ I feel like I’m causing it to lose its meaning. When I’m singing, I’m reliving the lyrics.” he reveals, “I will envision where I was, what I was doing, what I was feeling at the time.”
One of the biggest appeals the Hudson Falcons have is Linskey’s commitment to all of the people involved – his band and the fans. He gladly declares, “On tour, it’s about the camaraderie and closeness. Music can create some very strong bonds. Everyone stays in the family.” Once a person experiences a Falcons show, they usually leave a converted fan, if, in fact, there was ever any doubt to begin with. The fans’ satisfaction is everything to Linskey.
“I’m concerned with what the people want to hear. I love to please the people.” he explains.
His connection to the people that support him and what he does is quite strong and unwavering.
It’s likely that there will be many more stints out on the road playing to the Falcons faithful before the release of another new studio record. With that in mind, though, it’s safe to say that the band will be busy, one way or another. Once a tour is completely over with, more writing will begin, and then it’s time to hit the open road again.
Whenever possible, the Falcons really do love to come through West Virginia. According to Linskey the state encompasses everything he stands for: good, working-class people who rely on each other when they need a helping hand, just trying to make it day to day.
As the conversation was wrapping up, Linskey left a parting comment about his upcoming trip to West Virginia, “(I) can’t wait to get back to Huntington and Tudor’s Biscuit World.”