Songwriter Interviews

Scott Lucas of Local H

by Greg Prato

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Keeping it copacetic with the Local H leader.

For a band that has been consistently issuing music since 1991, it's hard to believe that it took until 2017 for Local H to launch their first European tour. But the tour went so smashingly well that it has given way to their second-ever live album, the appropriately-titled Live in Europe, comprised of 18 tracks that comes close to maxing out a CD (over 76 minutes).

First attracting the attention of rock radio with their 1996 hit, "Bound For The Floor" (off the album As Good as Dead, issued the same year), Local H has been long-led by singer/screamer/songwriter Scott Lucas, who since 2013 has been joined in the studio and on stage by drummer Ryan Harding. Scott recently answered some questions for Songfacts, including the stories behind several Local H classics, their latest release, and confirming once and for the meaning behind his band's mysterious name.
Greg Prato (Songfacts): Why did it take so long for Local H to play in Europe for the first time - resulting in the new live album?

Scott Lucas: You tell me. We were told by Island that they didn't like "rock" over there. Now we all know that's bullshit, but the drum was beating mighty hard for electronica at the time, so who knows?

I honestly think it was in everybody's best interests to keep us in America flogging As Good As Dead, though. I saw what we were doing as a lifelong thing. A career, if you must. Obviously, my view was not shared by everybody.

Songfacts: What do you recall about writing "Bound For The Floor"?
Scott: I had a tiny apartment on the top floor of this house in Zion [Illinois - not the middle-Earth outpost in The Matrix]. I would hang out all day playing guitar and watching stolen cable on a cheater box. I had come across stacked 5th chords from learning to play Police songs, and I was fucking around with this moving bass line thing that I was trying to perfect because of my guitar setup. I figured I'd mash them together. That basically took care of the riff.

Songfacts: What was the lyrical inspiration behind the song?

Scott: I love words that nobody uses anymore. That crops up over and over in our songs. Phrases and words that have been tossed on the scrap heap of linguistics. "Copacetic" was a word I'd heard in war movies about Vietnam. Also, Velocity Girl had a record called Copacetic. So, it was a way to reintroduce a dead word and give a shout out to Velocity Girl. Plus, it rhymes with "pathetic."

Songfacts: What is the song "High Fiving MF" about?

Scott: Assholes.

Songfacts: "Fritz's Corner"?

Scott: A bar in Zion. I'll be there tomorrow.

Songfacts: "Half-Life"?

Scott: When we made Hallelujah! I'm a Bum [in 2012], people were pissed. They were offended that we had the gall to release a political album. Fuck that. We've always been political. "Bound." "Nothing Special." "Half-Life." They're all about the same thing. Being stuck in a station that you had no say on.

Songfacts: What made you decide to cover songs by Britney Spears ["Toxic"] and Lorde ["Team"]?

Scott: Great songs. I also loved when 7 Seconds covered "99 Red Balloons." That stuck with me. A male-fronted punk band covering a song by a female-fronted pop band. It's an obvious dichotomy, but I love it anyway.

Songfacts: Who are some of your favorite songwriters?

Scott: Roger Waters. Rick Nielsen. The Beatles.

Songfacts: Is it true that the name Local H comes from combining the R.E.M. songs "Oddfellows Local 151" and "Swan Swan H"?

Scott: Yup.

February 12, 2018
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