Will Hoge just wants to keep his shit together.
There's a line to straddle when performing live, when one must choose between maintaining a level of artistic integrity and enjoying the comped drinks from the club. Hoge, as a certified player of rock 'n roll, has been toeing that line for years. It's something that has earned him and his band of merrymakers a reputation for over-the-top, powerful live performances.
"Our goal is to play as recklessly together as possible," he says. "It's a lost art in rock 'n roll. We all want to be as drunk and reckless as The Replacements, whose shows would always go to shit. But we want to make sure we give a good performance, too."
Hoge originally attended Western Kentucky University to become a history teacher and coach high school basketball. Eventually, he followed his heart, playing small shows and relocating to Nashville to pursue a music career.
In 1999, his band self-released All Night Long, followed by the studio-recorded Carousel. His third and latest major-label record, The Man who Killed Love, features Hoge's molasses-thick Southern rock tinged with heavy blues and country leanings. Imagine The Black Crowes as informed by Bruce Springsteen, as sung by an artfully tousled young man.
Now watch the ladies swoon.
He invites you to play the CD all you want, but to consider that rock is still all about the live experience.
"It's sort of like car racing," he says. "You go because you might see them crash. Good rock 'n roll should be the same thing."
Will Hoge with The Trampolines
The Walnut Room, 3131 Walnut St., Denver
Thursday, Dec. 21, 8:30 p.m.
Tickets: $10, 21-plus; visit ticketswest.com.