A different drummer 

With Hurt, Evan Johns finds his place in rock music

click to enlarge Beer goggles  what fun! - JEFF XANDER
  • Jeff Xander
  • Beer goggles what fun!

Going to work with mom or dad as a kid was fun, but you get the sense that Hurt drummer Evan Johns, son of rock producer Andy (Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones), enjoyed his visits a little more than the rest of us.

For instance, at age 8, he unsuspectingly walked into a great moment of rock 'n roll history.

"I was there when my dad was writing a song called "Right Now' with Eddie Van Halen on For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge," says Johns, calling from Springfield, Va. "I just remember my mouth being on the floor, in awe of Eddie's talent. The guy is amazing."

He adds, "To me, it was just kind of growing up. Those are the things I remember, people amazing you."

It was actually a few years prior when a prepubescent Johns found his calling. His father spent nearly a year in Philadelphia, producing Cinderella's bluesy sophomore album, Long Cold Winter, and Johns remembers being fascinated with the percussive side of music.

"When you're 5 years old, a guitar doesn't seem that fun," says Johns, "but drums are just sitting there, and you can hit them as much as you want."

Andy Johns did his best to dissuade his son from entering the family business. However, try telling a teenager to study harder when your job is to play around in the studio with rock stars all day.

Eventually Johns hooked up with singer-songwriter J. Loren, who was performing under the moniker Hurt.

Johns was inspired by the name, and its obvious connection to the popular Nine Inch Nails song of the same title.

"In my opinion, it's ballsy to name yourself after such a great song, and at the same time, it's ballsy to even use a word like "hurt,'" Johns says. "That's what I love about it. Hurt, to me, is something that everyone feels, and once you get hurt, you just hope for light at the end of the tunnel."

Tortured and cathartic are two appropriate descriptions of the material found on Hurt's guitar-heavy debut album, Vol. 1, which includes lead single "Rapture" and follow-up "Falls Apart." While those songs have received attention from radio programmers nationwide, the quartet has been on the road, growing a fan base one show at a time. This included a prominent opening slot on this past spring's Jagermeister Tour, which featured headliners Staind.

While Johns understands that rock radio currently has many different faces competing for attention, he hopes that Hurt, which has already started working on its next album, Vol. 2, stands out.

"For me as a listener, I like to listen to things that don't sound the same as other bands," Johns says. "I like to listen to things that try to change a few heads and actually have a message, and [that] you can tell people have worked really hard on. I hope ... that's what we get across on our album."


Hurt, with I Nine and Sanguine Addiction

The Black Sheep, 2106 E. Platte Ave.

Friday, Aug. 11, 7:30 p.m.

Tickets: $13-$15; visit ticketweb.com.

  • With Hurt, Evan Johns finds his place in rock music


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