L.A. rap rubbed off on House of Pain

September 23, 1994|By J. D. Considine | J. D. Considine,Sun Pop Music Critic

Talking to House of Pain's Danny Boy over the phone from a tour stop in New Jersey, two things become immediately clear: first, he doesn't have any brogue, and second, he barely has any voice.

That last is only a temporary thing, fortunately. "The soundman [bleeped] the whole show up," he rasps. "So I screamed through TTC four different mikes, and here we are."

But the accent thing is a permanent situation, and that's as it should be. Because despite the Irish element to House of Pain raps like "Shamrocks and Shenanigans" and "Danny Boy, Danny Boy," the truth is that no one in the group is from Ireland. In fact, they're not even all of Irish extraction. "Our DJ is from Latvia originally," says Danny Boy. "So it's one Russian and two Irish."

Although all three members spent their childhood on the East Coast -- Danny Boy and Everlast in Brooklyn, DJ Lethal in New Jersey -- where the House came together was in Los Angeles. "We've lived in Los Angeles maybe seven years now, but like on and off," says Danny Boy. "Me, actually, I've had parents on both coasts, so we go back all the time.

"But a lot of L.A. has rubbed off on us, too," he adds. "Because during the whole high point of rap, we were in L.A."

Everlast was the first to benefit from proximity to the Cali rap scene, having been signed as a solo artist to Ice T's production company, Rhyme Syndicate. But all three had regular contact with the cream of the Los Angeles rap scene.

"We lived in the San Fernando Valley, which nobody would believe was a rap mecca, but for us it was," Danny Boy says. "I mean, we grew up with Def Jeff and another guy, Divine Styler, who had a record out. It's not well-publicized, and I don't know why, but Ice Cube went to high school with us. So there was tons of rappers. It was a scene in itself."

The fecundity of that scene actually made it tough for the group to find its own sound first time out. Although House of Pain's self-titled debut had a smash hit in "Jump Around," Danny Boy describes the album's overall sound as "a conglomeration of everybody's ideas. It was like Everlast still had a little bit of him left from the Rhyme Syndicate, and I was inputting more on the Irish end, and the old-school routine stuff. And then we had a couple different producers."

As a result, they decided to do things differently on the new album, "Same As It Ever Was." Explains Danny Boy, "After a year or two on the road, you kind of figure out who you are and what style you really all agree on. It was like we had to prove ourselves, that we weren't one-hit wonders. We had talent, we had skills, and we wanted to make an album that you'd listen to from start to finish, not just skip through for the hit songs. "It's like on the first album, we were trying to shove our whole life into one album, and try to have every aspect of it represented. On this one, it was pretty much just the one year -- what the lifestyle can do to you, what we've learned, and this and that. We just did a straightforward, solid album."

House call

To hear excerpts from House of Pain's "Same As It Ever Was," call Sundial, The Sun's telephone information service at (410) 783-1800. In Anne Arundel County, call 268-7736; in Harford County, 836-5028; in Carroll County, 848-0338. Using a touch-tone phone, punch in the four-digit code 6199 after you hear the greeting.

In concert

When: Sunday, Sept. 25, 6:30 p.m.

Where: Michael's Eighth Avenue

Tickets: $19.50

Call: (410) 481-7328 for tickets, (410) 768-7901 for information

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