Another young band was coming together called Hot Water Music – a group of transplants from the Sarasota-Bradenton area – who were inspired by the momentum of the thriving music scene and would create a good bit of momentum of their own in the next few years.
“We always heard of this music Mecca called Gainesville,” said Chuck Ragan – one of Hot Water Music’s two guitarists and vocalists. “It always seemed like something was going on – it always seemed like people were putting out records and there were shows and house shows; and shows every night and you name it, just craziness.”
Today, Hot Water Music is often used as a point of reference in punk and independent music, which Ragan is modest about. Their early style – which Ragan says came from a vast array of influences – which was characterized by gruff and raspy dual vocals and guitars has become a major influence on a lot of bands.
“Looking back on it now, we definitely had to earn it because we weren’t playing the kind of music that a lot of people were way into,” Ragan said, “but man, I mean we just put everything we had into it and we loved it and we could care less whether people liked it or not.”
That sounds about right. Their live shows are a frenzied attack on their instruments from start to finish, with each member pouring all they’ve got into every moment. Sweeting said when Hot Water Music started playing in Gainesville, he had no choice but to get into it.
“They would play anywhere, anytime, and absolutely go bananas, it was really cool,” Sweeting said. “I feel really lucky to have gotten to see that.” He said it didn’t matter if there were people watching or not.
“It’s four in the morning and it’s (Hardback regulars) Danarchy and Freshy and the five girls that go watch them every time, and Chris (Wollard, guitar, vocals) has thrown his guitar through the wall and he’s shirtless and Chuck is bleeding and George (Rebelo, drums) and Jason (Black, bass) are just in the moment. That was their everything, it was awesome.”