Wednesday, January 04, 2006


Bryan Harvey, the voice and guitar of a very cool late '80s band House of Freaks, has been murdered along with his wife and two daughters in their Richmond, Va. home.

You can read the gruesome details of the murder -- as well as how much the Harvey family was loved and respected in their community -- HERE.

Rolling Stone has more details of Harvey's music career HERE

House of Freaks was one of my favorite bands circa 1989. Tantilla. which I'm listening to as I post this, was in my Top 10 that year.

More than a decade before anyone ever heard of The White Stripes, House of Freaks was a two-man band with Harvey (who's the guy on the right in this photo) as frontman and Johnny Hott on drums. (Some cuts on Tantilla had a guest keyboardist. Marty McCavitt.)

Though minimalist, their sound had a melodic, almost folkish quality. Tantilla was full of gothic Southern tales. Songs about the Civil War, songs about race, of family, of white mansions. There were songs of running from the law, running from the hellhounds. But it never sounded hokey. Critics, myself included, drew comparisons to Faulkner and O'Connor. Christ, it was great album!

(I just stumbled across a web site devoted to House of Freaks where Harvey talks about the album.
"As far as Tantilla goes ... I think a lot of the songs reflected my obsession with race and the south and the lost cause and the nature of southern guilt. Originally I didn't intend to write a "concept" album ("When the Hammer Came Down" was written early on before we even moved to L.A.) but somewhere along the way after the release of Monkey on a Chain Gang, I thought I'd like to record a southern epic. I tried but I don't think anyone in 1989 wanted a historical epic in their rock 'n roll."
I'd wondered what happened to House of Freaks. Though the band had broken up, Harvey and Hott were still buddies. Apparently it was Hott who discovered the crime scene when he went to The Harveys' house for a New Year's barbecue.

Harvey worked for the local school system, though he still played music at night, in a soul-covers band called NrG Krysys.

This murder's got me depressed. Harvey's voice blasting over my speakers isn't helping. But what else is there?

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