Harrison Ford Mustang gets in gear
Greensboro rockers Harrison Ford Mustang will hit their stride with a new record and release show at Greensboro’s Flat Iron on July 26.
The foursome recently celebrated four years as a band. They attribute friendship and tunes as gas in their tank to keep going–gas they’ve been burning by gigging hard around North Carolina, putting the metal down with a focus on maturing their sound and spreading their reach.
“We were kind of slack when we started,” said guitarist Josh Peek, noting the band’s more polished direction. Zac Lassiter rounds the lineup on drums and Melvin Holland on bass, who formed the group with Peek fresh out of UNCG in 2015. Peek credits second guitarist, Michael Joncas, who joined the fold in 2018, for their more driving sound.
“With elements of dream pop, punk rock and the influences of your favorite ‘90s indie and alternative heroes,” Peek said, Harrison Ford Mustang has grown to be more than just a punk band, and “creates a modern take on your favorite sounds of the past.” Their sound summarized by Peek as “probably some sort of amalgamation of Beach Boys, Fugazi, and Yo La Tengo.”
Life moves fast for the group as Lassiter is getting married in the fall. He and Holland are graduates of UNCG’s music school, who moonlight in jazz outfits and as professional music instructors. Joncas is a generation ahead with a family and career teaching fifth grade. Rock ‘n’ roll keeps their engine running through the ages.
“We’re all a little less ‘gnarly’ or ‘punk’ than we used to be,” Peek said, “but whatever is leftover from that gives us energy and makes things fun, especially when playing live.” Their refined songwriting and the raucous show will collide to celebrate the new release, out now on PotLuck Foundation Records.
The self-titled album marks the first full-length from the group. Clearly, one more developed than their first release: A recorded Radio Greensboro episode from 2015–though, the jangly banger “1980s Slasher Film” has seen its way as the tightened “Slasher” on the new record.
Tightening up is the name of their game these days. “The first single ‘Water’ actually used to be called ‘Water Is Harder Than Cement,’” Peek explained, “but we were like ‘Nah that’s too long.’”
Otherwise, “there’s no real central theme to the album,” Peek said. “Unfortunately none of us are that deep,” he added with a laugh. “As far as material, most of the songs on the album are songs that we’ve been playing for a while, but hadn’t yet recorded.”
“We spent two days in the studio and had a blast,” Peek said of the process they embarked at Legitimate Business with Kris Hilbert (who HFM asserted can always be trusted to create the appropriate amount of reverb,) which marks the first release for the group as a foursome.
“Some of the songs were written before Michael joined the band,” Peek explained, “and having a second guitar has been fantastic.”
Beyond a fuller sound, HFM gets a boost from being friends. “We’re all just best friends and hang out outside of band stuff,” Peek said. Their relationship and personal drives to make cool music “keeps this thing alive.”
“We’re looking forward to a more mature musical experience,” Peek noted of the direction they’ve taken. “It feels a little better for some late 20-somethings and a middle-aged guy to be writing about their emotions and life experiences rather than writing about pizza and beer and constant drunken shenanigans.”
The release show lineup displays their intention to push boundaries beyond their beginnings, surrounded by friends. The alternative tones in Instant Regrets and pop-punk of Swartzwelder complement the gnarly notes of early days. And the addition of electro-bedroom pop from Tide Eyes and hip-hop artist Shamir Lee highlight Harrison Ford Mustang branching out into their own diverse light.
For the future, good times and tunes remain top priorities.
“Plans are to keep having fun with this thing and keep getting better at what we do,” Peek insisted, “maybe an EP will come out in winter, who knows?”
But for now. It’s summer, and the new record is hot off the presses.
Katei Cranford is a Triad music nerd who hosts the Tuesday Tour Report, a radio show that runs like a mixtape of bands touring NC the following week, 5:30-7pm on WUAG 103.1fm.
Celebrate with Harrison Ford Mustang and friends on July 26 at the Flat Iron (221 Summit Ave.) in downtown Greensboro.