Concert Reviews

Air Review's Douglas Hale: "Salt-n-Pepa's 'Let's Talk About Sex' Was The First Cassette I Remember Owning."

Local quintet Air Review has a pretty busy summer ahead, including a stop on KXT's Summer Cut June 1. Frontman Douglas Hale recently shared some of his musical firsts, including his first cassette, video, and when he heard his band on the radio.

What was the first music-related item you bought? Who was the artist and what was the name of the album? Salt-n-Pepa's "Let's Talk About Sex" was the first cassette I remember owning. I wasn't allowed to listen to "secular" music, so I had it stashed away in an old shoebox under my bed that I'd pull out when my parents weren't home.

What are some of your earliest memories of MTV? We had one of those old faux-wood cable boxes. It had a parental lock on it that my parents used to block MTV. It literally had a key that you insert and turn if you want to lock/unlock the channels. My parents left the key in the box so whenever they left for work my big brother and I would unlock it and watch MTV all day. Our love for MTV was one of the few areas of common ground that we could find at that point in our lives. LL Cool J's "Momma Said Knock You Out" is one of the first videos I can remember really getting into. I don't remember much about the video other than thinking LL was a badass in all of his hooded angst.

What do you remember about the first time Air Review played together? Along those same lines, what do you remember about the first Air Review show? Shortly after Jeff [Taylor, bass] and I met about eight years ago, he asked me to do a writing session with him. What he didn't know about me at the time is that I get really uncomfortable when people ask me to write together. It's a very awkward, personal and grueling process for me, so it's not something that I enjoy doing with people much at all, let alone with someone I don't know very well. But for some reason I agreed to it. We got together, and it was horrible. It was awkward and we didn't get anything done at all that I can remember. It wasn't until a couple of years later that we tried again with the addition of Richard [Carpenter, guitar/keyboards]. However, this time it came together much better as we had some ideas that we came to the table with that kickstarted us a bit. Our first show was at Curtain Club in 2009. We had already released three singles to generate some buzz and we had a pretty good crowd show up. It wasn't our best show by any means. It was definitely a little rough. It felt more like the songs were playing us as opposed to us the song. But nonetheless, we walked away encouraged and invigorated.

Lastly, do you remember where you were the first time you heard Air Review on KXT? Jeff and I lived together with our families for about four years. We had been told by KXT that they would be playing one of our songs from Landmarks in the 7 o'clock hour. So we kind of huddled around the kitchen radio with our families until we heard them play "At the Switch." There wasn't any slow-motion hugging that I can remember, but it was a pretty cool experience for us.

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Eric Grubbs is a Dallas-based writer who has published two books, Post: A Look at the Influence of Post-Hardcore 1985-2007 and When We Were the Kids. His writing has been featured in Punk Planet, Popdose, Fort Worth Weekly, The Dentonite and LA Weekly. He supports Manchester City and will never root for Manchester United.
Contact: Eric Grubbs