By Vernon Appleton | Photos By Jason Hitchcock & the hacks
Imagine a group a friends making music in a basement, having fun, drinking beers. Sound familiar? This is the origin of The Hacks, a group of friends named for their trying to play music “as if they were musicians or something!” That’s the humble description given by Taj for how the band came together. In fact, The Hacks have existed in some form or another for over 10 years, and this 3 string punk band has had a solid line up for 6 years. The Hacks have some songs on a few local labels, but the bulk of their recorded work is on their two albums. East Colfax Ave. and Landlords, Backstabbers, and Motherfuckers were released on their own label: Switchblade9Records.
With influences like the Ramones, Crimpshrine, Zero Boys, and Toxic Reasons, It is no wonder that the Hacks draw from their experiences while touring to write their music. The song 1600 miles is about the anger and disappointment felt by the band when they drove all the way to Chicago to play a tour of shows and all of them fell through except for three. The Hack’s tour regiment became even more interesting when they purchased the Old Pinhead Circus Tour Van. “It had grass growing through the engine when we bought it from The FamilyMen!” On top of that, the alignment was so bad that the driver would have to crank the wheel about half way around just to keep the vehicle moving in a straight line.
Although the Old Pinhead Circus Tour Van, affectionately called the Hate Tank, was a death trap and “was scary as fuck to drive,” don’t feel too sorry for the Hacks. Taj knew what he was getting into when the purchase was made! A few years before the Hate Tank was purchased by the Hacks; Taj had gone on tour with the FamilyMen (who owned the Hate Tank at that time). During this tour, the tank broke down on a Chicago highway during rush hour! Traffic was stalled and cars were backed up for miles. The people in the vehicles that made it by the stalled tank were cursing them and their families and laying on the horns. Despite this crazy experience with the FamilyMen, this portend was not enough to deter Taj from purchasing the Tank for the Hacks when the time came! Due to the band’s unique character, they do not allow the discouraging things in life keep them down.
The bands credo: Have Fun, Meet New People, and Play Some Punk Rock! The Hacks believe that music is the universal language of life and without it the world as we know it would crumble down on itself. The members have spent hours learning this language and choose to live their time on this planet realizing the experiences implied by their credo!