Her Head's On Fire's Sid Jagger: 'More shows, more music, then prison probably'
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Wednesday, June 19, 2024 - 07:12
Her Head's On Fire's Sid Jagger: More shows, more music, then prison probably

Her Head's On Fire, featuring members of beloved bands such as Saves the Day, Garrison, Small Brown Bike, and The Bomb, are back. And how! The band’s sophomore album, ‘Strange Desires,’ will be out July 19 on Iodine Recordings (pre-order) and it finds the band - comprised of singer Sid Jagger (aka Joseph Grillo), guitarist Jeff Dean, bassist Rodrigo Palma, and drummer Jeff Gensterblum - expanding on the sound they established with debut album ‘College Rock & Clove Cigarettes’. 

If terms like post-hardcore, 90’s emo, fiery indie rock, big riffs & even bigger feels and/or general badassery get your pulse racing, then you need to check this one out. Ahead of the album’s release, we caught up with vocalist Sid Jagger to talk about all things ‘Strange Desires’.


PRT: When you look at all of the bands the four of you have played in before, it’s like a who’s who of our scene. What is the main thing that you still get out of starting a new project?

Sid: I get the opportunity to collaborate with other musicians I respect greatly and learn and hopefully expand my own ability to compose and perform music. I’m happy the past exists, and I’m happy to talk about things either myself or my bandmates have accomplished, but I am much much more interested in the present tense and creating music that speaks to others right now.


PRT: If you could talk to the young you, knowing what you know now, what is the one piece of advice you’d give yourself?

Sid: Trust yourself more, trust your instincts. There are a lot of people you meet in the music industry and they all have a lot of opinions. Those opinions are worth listening to, but only you can get what is inside of you out. Trust that if you are making something YOU would want to hear, then other people will as well.


PRT: Were you already friends beforehand or did you mostly know one another from moving around in the same circles?

Sid: We have become friends because of a shared interest in guitar rock essentially. The “real world” is 6 degrees of separation, while the “music world” is 2 degrees, everyone knows everyone else. Even you and I, Thomas, are communicating because there is something about this wide genre of music that makes our hair stand on end and makes us feel less alone in the world. What a fantastic basis for a friendship!


PRT: From what I gather, you guys all live in different places. How does that work out in terms of writing and rehearsing?

Sid: Technology is pretty amazing, we can make something on our phones in 4 different states that sounds better than most of the 7”s that came out in the 90s; The real difficult part is capturing the energy of it all. Her Head’s on Fire have had way, way way more shows than rehearsals, honestly. If we are lucky, we get one rehearsal and then make an album or go on tour. I would say you could count on 2 hands the amount of rehearsals we have had BUT we are building on years of experience and the countless hours of woodshedding we have done. So that counts for a lot of it.


PRT: Whose head is on fire exactly?

Sid: Probably mine.


PRT: ‘College Rock and Clove Cigarettes’ was already a solid album, but on ‘Strange Desires’ you have definitely taken things to the next level. Is that a matter of finding your footing and playing more shows together?

Sid: I’m not sure, maybe. Or maybe getting to know each other better as people and musicians allows us to have that discussion of a shared vision. 'Strange Desires' is a richer listening experience for sure. I think 'College Rock' still has some great moments as debut albums go, but 'Strange Desires' feels like we are weaving in and out of the songs together better.


PRT: What is the secret to making it all sound so effortless?

Sid: Cocaine.


PRT: I read that most of the songs on the new album were written within 10 minutes. When a song simply flows out like that, is that a confirmation for you that it’s a keeper? Or is there something to be said for toiling and slaving over a song as well?

Sid: Applying the craft and working hard on something definitely has its merits and some astounding things can come when you force yourself and your bandmates to push to the next level on something that might not be working at first. But with this project, I think the goal is for it to sound immediate and spontaneous. So that is what we strive for.


PRT: The band’s own Jeff Dean recorded the album, but I saw that Jason Narducy co-produced it. How did that work exactly?

Sid: We collectively know Jason Narducy’s work (Sunny Day Real Estate, Bob Mould, etc etc) and he expressed an interest in producing more. This was essentially us sending him the demos, he made comments about them and we took about 80% of his edits/suggestions. The more I make music, the more I relish the collaborative aspect. Getting someone of Jason’s ability and experience to give it a once over helped tremendously. The devil is in the details as they say.


PRT: You said about first single ‘Why Are We Alone’ that it could be about a broken relationship, the lack of existence of a god, or a desperate love letter to addiction. Do you like to leave a song’s interpretation open for the listener?

Sid: This may sound smug and condescending. Please don’t take it like that. But if I had wanted to write an essay about a topic I would have. Instead I wrote a song. Songs by their very nature are left up to some degree of interpretation. So, “yes".


PRT: Like most of the bands you have all been involved with, Her Head’s On Fire’s sound harkens back to’90s emo, post-hardcore, and indie rock. Was it the idea from the start to go for that kind of sound or is that simply what comes out when you write music?

Sid: There was no master plan other than to write good songs, the genre is less important. What you mentioned above is where we are from so I suppose that comes easiest, but there was no “let’s make it sound like this” discussion. We simply play and what happens happens. Maybe the next album will be Trip Hop. Who knows :)


PRT: What is the one album from that era that everyone should have heard?

Sid: 90s Emo - Cursive’s 'The Ugly Organ' might be the best distillation of that sound. For post-hardcore  that would be Quicksand’s 'Slip' and when it comes to indie rock, you have to listen to SuperChunk’s 'Foolish'.


PRT: What’s up next for Her Head’s On Fire now that the album is out. You have the Fest coming up in a couple of months. Will there be more dates in the future?

Sid: More shows, more music, then prison probably.

Tom Dumarey
Tom Dumarey

Lacking the talent to actually play in a band, Tom decided he would write about bands instead. Turns out his writing skills are mediocre at best as well.