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ItÕs a HardNox life

By March 20, 2009

Enterprise music critic

The cutting-edge, alternative hip-hop acts Gym Class Heroes, Shwayze, LMFAO, Tyga, The Knux and HardNox were to have hit the stage during The Skull Candy Concert, taking place at 8 p.m. Thursday at the UC Davis Pavilion.

Unfortunately, the event was canceled just two days prior to the performance. Ticketholders should contact the Freeborn Hall Box Office, (530) 752-1915.

The concert showcases the entrepreneurial talents of local young men on the rise in the music scene: Dallas Imbimbo and Jeff List, of the 6 Trees entertainment company; and Danny (Danny Boy) Kehoe and Jim (Jimbo) Kehoe, of HardNox.

Imbimbo, a UCD alum, is known for his stint on the reality TV show, ÒThe Amazing Race.Ó He now has his sights on music promotion.

ÒIÕve been an entrepreneur my whole life,Ó he said, during a recent phone chat.

ÒWhen I was 12, I started a DJ company.Ó

Imbimbo and List created 6 Trees as a way to bring big acts to campuses. Students can vote at http://the6trees.com for bands they want to see, and the winners perform.

The idea came from another Web site, http://www.eventful.com, which was inherently flawed.

ÒYou can request a performer, but eventful doesnÕt pay for it, and the artist doesnÕt do it for free,Ó Imbimbo said. ÒTalib Kweli was voted to come to Davis, but he didnÕt because no one paid for it.Ó

Fueled by his love of music and frustration at the lack of concerts in Davis, ImbimboÕs 6 Trees teamed up with the ASUCD Entertainment Council to sponsor this show.

ÒWe looked at where the music industry is going,Ó Imbimbo said. ÒNo one buys CDs anymore, but a concert is something you canÕt duplicate. In good times and bad, music can unite people and lift them up.Ó

HeÕs especially excited to have HardNox perform.

ÒWe hung out with them this weekend; theyÕre really cool guys.Ó

HardNox has had the No. 1 requested song Ñ ÒLet the Bass GoÓ Ñ for 13 straight weeks on KSFM 102.5. The song features a catchy, hard beat and clever, often hilarious, lyrics.

Brothers Danny and Jim Kehoe grew up in Concord. Like Imbimbo, they started out as DJs, which inspired their first single, ÒShe Wants to be with the DJ.Ó

ÒWe noticed how girls jock on the DJ,Ó Danny Kehoe said. ÒThe DJ is the rock star of the club, but we were frustrated by the egos of some of them. Instead of making a mean song, we decided to flip it and make fun of them.Ó

Is it difficult being white in hip-hop?

ÒI think it is,Ó he agreed. ÒSociety has a stereotype of white guys doing hip-hop as wannabe gangsters. But we donÕt act like weÕre not white. WeÕre being ourselves.Ó

The brothersÕ tastes are all over the map.

ÒIf youÕre on a road trip with HardNox,Ó Kehoe said, ÒyouÕll hear everything from T.I, Timbaland and Dr. Dre to Nickelback, Slipknot and Bon Jovi.Ó

This is apparent in their songs, which range from rap to rock. A new rock-style single, ÒBackyard Party,Ó soon will hit 98 Rock.

HardNox is fiercely independent when it comes to making music.

ÒWe make our own beats, write the songs, engineer and mix,Ó Kehoe said.

They eschew recognizable samples in favor of original sounds.

ÒMost of our drum sounds come from scratch; we donÕt want anything recognizable. WeÕre computer studio nerds.Ó

HardNox signed a major label deal last April, but it recently fell through.

ÒWeÕre free agents again, in between deals,Ó Kehoe said.

ÒWeÕre doing well: doing everything independently and entertaining different offers.Ó

While they have two albumsÕ worth of music, they donÕt have a CD out.

ÒWe have our singles on iTunes; itÕs the No. 1 record store in the country now.Ó

While Kehoe admits that the CD is a dying format, he understands the bigger picture.

ÒSomeone might download our music for free, and then buy a ticket to the Davis show.Ó

When HardNox perform, Danny and Jim give the show their all.

ÒWe take a lot of pride in our live performances,Ó Danny Kehoe said. ÒWeÕve become known for having a great live show.Ó

Seeing HardNox perform is worth the price of admission, but The Skull Candy Concert also boasts five other acts … and surprise guests.

Shows like this donÕt come around Davis often; such concerts normally are reserved for larger metropolitan areas.

And if you happen to be on the fence, Imbimbo promises, ÒItÕs not just a concert.

ÒItÕs an experience.Ó

Ñ Stay up-to-the-minute with local live music by visiting www.davisenterprise.com and clicking on ÒClub Crawl.Ó Bloggers and bands with inquiries or information can contact Landon Christensen at [email protected] Comment on this column at www.davisenterprise.com

Landon Christensen

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