ALL OVER THE PLACE Hansen.
Singer/songwriter (and DJ) Kris Hansen has recruited an all-star lineup of friends to hop aboard Viking Jesus, following the full-length debut album Hansen and fellow veteran musician George Dussault released in the spring. The newly minted Viking Jesus quintet will take the stage on Friday as part of a killer triple-bill at Dusk alongside local heavyweights Northern Lands and 2013 Rock Hunt champs Torn Shorts.
Hansen grew up in Scituate (and later transferred to School One in Providence) and was influenced early on by his parents’ collection of vinyl.
“When my parents split, music was the one thing I still had aside from the memories,” he said. “I could listen to those records and remember who I was.”
Hansen also cites local folk legends Atwater-Donnelly as inspiration during his formative years, and has enlisted childhood friend Uriah Donnelly to serve as full-time keyboardist in Viking Jesus.
Hansen caught my attention in 2009 when he was playing with Dussault and Bob Giusti as part of Hansen’s Left Hand Band, which released a self-titled album in 2008 (available at cdbaby.com), which led me to my first inquiry when we chatted last week. Rewind back to 2001 when Hansen nearly died from a brain aneurysm and was in a coma; when he awoke, he inexplicably felt the urge to get tattoos his left hand.
“I had never wanted a tattoo before, but it was at the top of my list when I woke up,” Hansen said. “I have fret dots on my fingers, a nail in my wrist, Charlie Brown’s T-shirt stripe, a Providence cityscape, my kids’ newborn footprints, and much more, all little pieces of the story on a cave wall that is my arm.”
Lyrically, Hansen wears his heart on sleeve (look up “A Song For My Father”) while often tackling social and political issues (he just penned two new songs, “ICU” and “Boston Marathon”) via an eclectic stylistic mixture which is heavily influenced by artists ranging from the Cure and Elliott Smith to the Beatles and the Beach Boys.
“Our sound is all over the place, and most of the time we are paying some sort of weird homage to an artist we love,” he said.
Eclectic and catchy cuts fill the VJ debut right from the start on album openers “Ebola” (which first appeared on the Left Hand Band disc), “1 & 7,” and “Reinventing the Square.” While Hansen is proud of the album, he noted that “where it gets crazy is with our live show.”
Enter drummer Nick Iddon, who stepped in when Hansen’s brother left the band. I have talked up Iddon’s beastly skill set a few times on this page, recalling his time spent behind the kit with hard-rock kings Kanerko.
“I knew Nick from my days as a sound engineer, and we always talked about jamming together,” Hansen told me. “I was blessed to get him.”
Adding Donnelly, plus the recent addition of bassist Evan Gilroy, has Hansen brimming with positivity.