The Material Boys

An interview with Alex Hohlstein from The Material Boys
by Mike Huberty
September 2016

The Material Boys

The Material Boys

The recent Americana resurgence on that national scene has brought a lot of attention back to Bluegrass, with bands like Trampled By Turtles and Mumford & Sons selling out theaters across the country. After enjoying the music and it’s organic acoustic sound, you’ve probably been thinking that the only thing you’re missing is versions of 80s songs done Bluegrass style. I’m here to let you know that your prayers have been answered by The Material Boys.

What started admittedly as a drunken joke (the idea of playing Madonna covers and other 80s classics by dudes playing bluegrass) has now become a 7-man Madison original as well as cover song bluegrass juggernaut.

Alex Hohlstein plays 12-string guitar, ?Larry “Hound Dog” Hill plays steel guitar, Kirk Haskins handles mandolin, Glenn “The Blacksmith” does banjo, Reid Gromnicki plays the five-string violin, Erik Riedasch plucks the string bass, and Shane Gurno strokes the washboard. They all sing with Alex, Larry, and Kirk sharing lead duties. They’ve performed with acts like Horseshoes and Hand Grenades and will be releasing their first album in October.

We took some time to talk to Alex Hohlstein about their upcoming CD release party at the Crystal Corner Bar on Saturday October 15th.

MI: Why’d you become a musician?
It was when I was 10 watching Eddie Van Halen on MTV. “Hot For Teacher” was just too cool!

MI: Who were some of your favorite artists growing up?
I listened to a lot of Grateful Dead in high school and college, then I got into jazz for a long time, now a little of many things.

MI: What’s the track for people to hear The Material Boys for the first time?
Probably the first track, “White Lightning”. I took a trip to Boulder, Colorado And wrote it on the trip. It’s about distilling moonshine and it does really well live.

MI: What inspired your band name (was it the Madonna song)?
We started out playing Madonna songs in the bluegrass vein, and Mandonna was already taken.

MI: What’s been your favorite show so far? What happened there that made it so memorable?
We just played at Schenk’s Corners Block Party and that was a blast. We’ve played at the Barrymore and the Majestic, as well as the Atwood Street Fair. All four of those had really nice big crowds which always gives us do much energy to perform.

MI: What can people expect from the Material Boys release party at the Crystal Corner?
We put on a really high energy fun show where you will probably recognize a lot of songs they will just be played in our style. We have big three part harmonies that are really fun. We get the whole band singing and it’s a huge sound.

And the coming month will be busy for the band. If you’d like to be part of their Material World, you can see them at the Great Midwest Marijuana Harvest Festival in downtown Madison the first weekend of October or with Mudroom and El Donk at The High Noon Saloon on October 9th.

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