Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Mike Gentry
Scott Lucas has been writing about a devalued American man/society for a long, long time. It traces all the way back to 1990 when he started Local H with drummer Joe Daniels in the Chicago suburb of Zion. This was four years before Kevin Smith released "Clerks" and right around the same time that Green Day started writing and releasing songs about boredom and masturbation.
The subjects that Lucas is the best at expressing - perhaps the only ones he's even concerned about - are those that deal with the structure of a once cozy life starting to peel and fall apart, watching where everything lands. It's a lot like watching a big, old tree crack in half during the middle of a thunderstorm and seeing it lean, tip and then get caught by gravity and pulled toward the soft roof of a house, where the trunk ruins a few rooms. It's like watching all of that happen in slow motion, but seeing everyone make it out alright - with barely a scratch of them - and knowing that this is just the part where the pieces get picked up, where the roof is draped with a tarp and where the fix is made, only to be made vulnerable for the next strike of the ill fates.
There are pieces of glass everywhere in Local H songs. What you hear sometimes is the sound of people shaking. It's somewhat a freezing sensation and one of them just quivering with anger. It's being agitated, as they look around at all that surrounds them. Lucas, along with current drummer Brian St. Clair, takes us into these places - which we take for run-down cities and neighborhoods - and he exposes us to the pressurized existence of those living hand-to-mouth, those who aren't sure what or who to pray to. The markets have all crashed and the marriages are teetering. There's something in the air that's not all that pleasant, but it's still livable. Most everything is, frustratingly/happily, able to be lived through. Lucas sings, "Darlin', these knees were made for crawling…/Darlin', these times were made for stalling," giving us that clear picture.