Thursday, December 22, 2011

My Dog Huck: International Superstar

Talk about universal appeal: My dog Huck has it. This week an elderly couple from Russia (guessing from their accents) praised the pooch. The little Iranian boy who picks trash with his grandfather every week took a break from his chores when he saw us walking up Tujunga Avenue and cheeped "I like your dog." He's a neighborhood fixture. It's the first time I've seen him smile. The Mexican construction workers eating breakfast burritos in front of a taco truck paused as we (he) strolled by and nodded their heads in approval. The haggard Ukranian nanny in the purple leisure suit and bloodshot eyes tells the baby in her carriage "doggie, hi doggie, bye bye doggie!"

Huck was a scrawny, paranoid desert runaway when Marla and I first found him in San Dimas, California.

Now he's the perfect gentleman. Our very own Oliver Twist.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Cast of Neighborhood Characters

Each time I walk Huck the wonder dog through my stretch of Studio City, we run into familiar faces that have no name.

In no particular order, my neighborhood cast of recurring characters include:

The Gypsy. He packs and unpacks stuff from his pick up truck all through the night, lets his pitbull run free, and gets into a screaming match with his bleach blonde girlfriend at least once a month.

Mensch and Grinch. Middle-aged couple speed walks down the street. Man (Mensch) always says "hi." I always say "good morning" back. Grim woman (Grinch) plows straight ahead.

Barry. This pitbull gets walked every morning by a 12-year old girl dressed invariably in shorts and tee-shirt. I don't know her name but wonder why, at 10 in the morning in November, she's not in school.

The Gay Astronomer. Friendly real estate broker has a beautiful house with an observatory on top.

The Artists. Shirtless and drunk, they throw loud parties nearly every weekend. When I complain about the noise, the hipsters stagger over in their buzzcuts and promise to make cookies, explaining that we should all get along because they are Artists.

The Mayor. My wife Marla chats up so many people about their gardens or dogs during her twice-a-day strolls that it's like she's campaigning for office.

Then there's all the semi-famous TV character actors, but that's another post.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Mixed Bag

Okay, this week I wrote stoires about pygmies in Africa, Christian Brothers pedophilia and the freaky sound effects of monster movie the Thing. I interviewed the showrunners from Lost about their new fairytale series Once Upon a Time. I got up early in the morning to do my first Skype interview (with Swedish director of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy). helped Marla pick out spooky photographs for her AOL / Studio City Patch gardening column. I read a book about Darth Vader. I listened to a 12-string guitar track by my Chicago pal J.D. Dragus, who's emailing me contributions to use in my song There Will Never Be Another You. Whew.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Mix Master Lee Popa Gets Busy

Excited to be working with Lee Popa on new songs. We both worked the Chicago club circuit a while back, me as band leader, Lee doing sound for the top clubs. Then he put togther his own anarchy-blues-punk band Slammin Watusis. He's engineered or produced tons of bands including Ministry and White Zombie. Now he's going to mix a few of my songs so they sound radio-ready.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

August Song-A-Palooza

Progressing on Idolizer, recording vocals at Amp Rehearsal in North Hollywood last couple of Sundays, and best of all, working with the great mixer/sound engineer/guitarist Lee Popa to do a mix on one of the tunes, All Fall Down. Aiming toward late fall release to get the whole thing mixed, mastered and released.

They Just Keep Coming On by Hugh Hart

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


I'm working my way through a new album's worth of songs. Most of the recording I do on my MacBook with a keyboard I got at Guitar Center. I use Logic Pro, which my tech wizard Tommy kindly installed when I bought the computer from him.

But I need to sing somewhere i can caterwaul without disturbing neighbors.

I spent two Sunday afternoons July 3 and July 10 up the street at Amp Rehesarsal Studios in North Hollywood. There, I locked myself in a basement room with my trusty Shure 57 microphone and sang All Fall Down, Come Out Swinging, Soul Embrace, Set For Life, Too Many Tears, You Never Crack and Lost and Found.

Next step: I'm excited to bring in Lee Pope, ex-Chicago mixer / guitarist / wild man, to mix at least one of the tracks. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

House of Imaginary Hits

With graphic designer Sean Hartter, I've launched House of Imaginary Hits. Sean designed the "album" cover art for songs pulled from the Hugh archives. Check it out at

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Remote Recording

Fun experiment in virtual recording now in progress: I've sent Wedge guitarist J.D. Dragus an .mp3 of "I Owe Everything To You,: a country ditty his voice would be perfect for. I also sent the "Owe" audio file - - piano, bass + drums - - to brilliant multi-instrumentalist John Rice. They both live in Chicago and I'm here in Los Angeles. Rice yesterday emailed me his guitar and mandolin tracks, which I imported into an expanded version of the song, which I've now emailed to J.D., which he will now take to his friend John Carpenter's Thunderclap Studios to sing to. Pretty wild. Like Rice says, "No messy relationship stuff and the coffee's really good."

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Reptilian Brain: The Movie

For the sequel to Unemployment Polka, I drew on a bunch of sound and image sources. Credits + specs for Reptilian Brain YouTube music video:

Most of the images come from Machinima filmmaker Lowe Runo, who posted clips on the copyright-free Prelinger Archives.

Beast From 20,000 Fathoms also makes a cameo appearance.

Female vocals by Jesse Maltin and the excellent Vikki Gurdas. were excerpted from my Wrecking Ball musical.

Robot vocals filtered through Final Draft "speech" tool.

Harmonica and other stuff by me.

Recorded on Garageband and mixed on LogicPro laptop recording software.

Video was stitched together on Apple's iMovie editor.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Badly translated movie review

Going through old stuff, I decided to Google-translate my review notes for the opening scene of a 2010 action movie from English to Spanish to Swedish to Swahili and back again:
Eyes guys playing cards
When the walkie talkies comes near we hear: "attack abortion"
They are trying to save the Spanish-speaking children on the bus. Bad guy has a knife in the throat of children
Guys eye children from the bus.
Yellow fire catches up to Bush School, which crashes into mountain.
Losers and the children walked through the jungle and get on the helicopter.
One of the children has a teddy bear.
Jet fires on helicopter. Crashes. "Cobra One - Kill! Teddy bear on fire."
People lose their identity

p.s., It's The Losers

Thursday, March 10, 2011

French director words of wisdom

Just got off the phone with renown French filmmaker Bertrand Tavernier. He used to work for a tyrant director and says he likes to take the opposite approach. "I am the boss. I don't need to prove I'm the boss." Yes.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

A Winter's Song

Busy winter, I've recorded 13 new songs in various stages of completion. Some are for my new record Idolizer coming out in the spring. My classmate Jim Ferguson wrote lyrics for a few of the tunes, which we had the excellent Vikki Gurdas sing in late January. Another song, I've sent to former bandmate J.D. Dragus for guitar contributions, and I'm messing around with the "Machinima" images for a robot dance tune called Reptilian Brain.

Also collaborating with Lonnie Gordon, the great Bronx-born L.A.-by-way-of-London soul singer, pictured above,


Sunday, January 2, 2011

Keith Richards and Stephen Sondheim

Over New Year's weekend, I read Finishing the Hat and Life, which represent two totally different approaches to songwriting by Stephen Sondheim and Keith Richards, but with one common goal: great songs. Both have deep respect and detailed awareness of their forebears, and each are fanatics for the right rhyme, in Sondheim's case, and guitar riff, for Richards. Inspiring stuff.