The Boys In The Band: Purling Hiss Make Blistering Tunes and They Have Great Friends.
Text by Brian Wilensky. Images by G.W. Miller III.
Purling Hiss creates some of the most blistering guitar tones in the city. They make hard-rocking, psychedelic, Detroit-style proto-punk.
And yet, there was no live Purling Hiss to speak of until recently.
Frontman Mike Polizze started the band in 2008 as a personal project, documenting ideas and recording music he then posted on his Myspace site. He never gave much thought to his personal recordings since they were essentially just home recordings.
Permanent Records contacted him in 2009 and released his first album under the Purling Hiss moniker. He put out several other albums, all on different labels, but it was just him on every release.
After Hissteria dropped in 2010, Kurt Vile asked if Polizze would hit the road with him and the Violators for a five-week tour.
“Kurt asking me to tour prompted me to get a band together,” he says.
Polizze reached out to bass player Kiel Everett, a former neighbor whom he’s known for a long time. Polizze connected with drummer Mike Sneeringer through John Sharkey of the band Puerto Rico Flowers. Sneeringer doubles as their drummer, too. Sneeringer didn’t meet Everett until Purling Hiss’ first practice.
“Just before Mike rolled up with Kiel, I found out my car had been stolen,” Sneeringer says. “I just decided I wasn’t going to deal with it at the moment and when they showed up, I just said, ‘Fuck it. Let’s play.’”
Polizze says the trio is just three friends who share a desire to create music together, which is probably why it feels natural.
“We just went on tour and played our first show with only about two months of practice,” Polizze says.
They went across the country supporting the Violators for two months in 2010. Last year, they toured Europe for two weeks before hitting the road with The War on Drugs. This year, they’ve been touring the United States with Dr. Dog.
“Their management gave them a list of bands to consider,” Sneeringer says. “Apparently, they just threw the list out and called us, which is really flattering.”
Throughout that tour, Purling Hiss unveiled new material that they expect will see a fall release.
“It’s not 100 percent yet but we almost know who our next album will be with,” Polizze says.
That’s right. He said our.
Now its clear to Polizze that it’s time to embrace the new recording arrangement for Purling Hiss. But he’ll still be doing all the writing.
“Working on this record is solidifying this unit as a band,” Sneeringer says. “He’s (Polizze) the principal creator but he’s talked about how much he wants this to be a band, so we’re all pretty happy with where it’s headed.”