By David Kenney
Ron Hawkins is 34 going on 18.
Since he was 16, the former Lowest of the Low and current leader of The Rusty Nails has been scribbling away, trying to make rhyme and reason of song. Years later, he’s still scrapping away, trying to get his songs right.
"I don’t remember the first song I wrote but I do remember writing a whole bunch of shitty songs when I was 16," laughs Hawkins.
"It was kind of a cool double experience and I think it’s those first experiences, the excitement of doing that pushes, jet-propels you into doing it for a while.
Those 18 years have included relative success with Lowest of the Low, a near nervous-breakdown and a musical re-birth with The Rusty Nails project. Currently touring behind the group’s second album Crackstatic, Hawkins is more at ease with his musical prospective.
"I’ve been touring for 10 years and developed an uncanny ability to sleep in any position," says Hawkins, who with The Rusty Nails plays the Blue Banana Lounge Fri., March 16.
"They could drag me behind the van and I’d still be able to sleep."
Crackstatic is anything but a drag. The album borrows from Elvis Costello’s book of lyrical wit and sarcasm and douses it with some crunchy Clash guitars. Hawkins says the album is reminiscent of the music he was listening to as a teenager.
While coasting on the BC waters, Hawkins and company are brainstorming ideas for the video for Crackstatic’s title track. Surprisingly, this will only be his third video.
"I still feel this way, but back then I felt like they were just commercials for your album and didn’t really want to go that route," says Hawkins, as he’s more interested in creating short films than singles videos.
Hawkins thinks the video for Crackstatic will end up being a take on pirate radio. The proposed idea includes the band taking over a small town and the local radio station to reflect "true" alternative radio. The video is likely to include snippets from Hawkins’ past–back in ’84 he was in the punk act Social Insecurity and part of a pirate radio collective.
"It was kind of cool, it had all the pitfalls that sometimes college radio can have which is that you open the parameters which is very freeing, but at the same time doesn’t mean you’re organized," says Hawkins. "I just have that built in desire, sense of adrenaline through me when people take things back."