Run don’t walk: Runhoney hits the stage at CityFest
Published Thursday, 07-Aug-2008 in issue 1076
Girl rockers Runhoney are making headlines. Playing gigs from the Whiskey a Go-Go to Humphreys, these music mavens have climbed to the top of the alternative music scene. Sure, the four members – Emily O’Bannon, Sarah Harmel, Maria Naccari-Beahan and Megan Jane – are women, but don’t make the mistake of calling San Diego’s Runhoney a chick band. These powerful women have a killer sound and an attitude to match!
Gay & Lesbian Times: How did Runhoney come about? How did you all meet?
Emily O’Bannon: Three years ago, I (officially) met Sarah at a Fourth of July party, I knew that she was a great singer but she didn’t know I played drums. After hanging out for a few days, she mentioned to me in the car that she wanted to play in a band but could never find the right bass or drum player! Now, I hadn’t played the drums in about nine years and I didn’t think she would take me seriously, but I said, “I can play drums for you,” half jokingly. Next thing you know, Sarah borrowed a drum set from a friend and that next weekend we had our first show at 6 Degrees! It was Pride weekend and it was packed! We just played as a duo for a few months. Then, we finally got Maria on board, after suffering through some nasty, bad and rude bass players – she was always our first choice! Then about a year ago we lured Megan into the group with promises of filthy sex and frolicking. She was thrilled! [Laughs.] Just kidding.
Sarah Harmel: Emily and I met first and started the band within weeks of me finding out she played drums. I met Megan a little earlier but I always knew her as a drummer. I would ask her to sit in with me sometimes. I saw Maria play with a couple bands and just bided my time until she was able to play with us.
Maria Naccari-Beahan: First there was Em and Sarah doing their White Stripes gigs … I used to see them play out when I was on the same bill for the night. I wanted to play with Runhoney from the get-go but wasn’t able to without pissing some people off. Anyway, we wound up playing together about three years ago. Megan and I were playing in the same projects and she kind of jumped on board to do some recording and finally joined last year.
GLT: How would you describe your sound?
Megan Jane: A smack across the face! Seriously, it’s pretty kick ass.
SH: Melodic hard rock.
EO: That is true, but I like to add that our music will slap you around and leave you lying dazed in a puddle of your own excitement.
GLT: What challenges have you faced as a band?
MNB: Finding people to take us seriously – which we wound up overcoming in spades, damn it! Funny how hard it was to get a gig down here in San Diego and people were really digging our music along the West Coast. We wound up getting nominated for the Los Angeles Music Awards doing some showcase. I won Bassist of the Year. From that point on we had a little more clout to hang our hats on and it has helped to go forward and play some really phenomenal gigs.
EO: From the beginning, we’ve had trouble being taken seriously. We would get a lot of “Oh, are you a girl band?” normally followed by a little smirk meaning, “Isn’t that cute.” People think that since we are a band of women we are a gimmick or we suck and we are not serious musicians. The whole “chick band” thing has always pissed me off.
SH: Emily and I had a hell of a time finding a bass player who was right for us. But after we saw Maria play we just waited until she had time for this project.
MNB: Another challenge was writing music together, and nailing down the right parts for the songs which in some cases took a few months. All our styles are so different and putting our own spin on a song was definitely a challenge to really make the songs come alive; and then finding the right producer – which we finally have. Alicia Champion doesn’t try to make us sound like someone else or “cookie cutter” our music into what she thinks it should be. We have someone who gets us musically and has a phenomenal ear and ideas to bring our music into a whole new level.
GLT: Are you all from San Diego?
EO: I was born in Pittsburgh, grew up in Connecticut and lived most of my time in Boston. I moved out here six years ago.
SH: I’ve lived in San Diego for 17 years now.
MNB: I was raised in San Diego since I was three.
MJ: Nope – East Coast, baby!
GLT: What have been some of your favorite venues to play?
MNB: I love the Humphrey’s gigs – just a whole lot of fun, really nice vibe, chill. Also The Jumping Turtle; the Whiskey gigs are fun though the commute totally sucks. Girl Bar was cool, though the sound guy was a little too chatty. Club Savage is always a good time. Rockstar is the house energy drink.
EO: I love to play at the Whisky a Go Go in Hollywood! The stage and sound is great and you never know who is going to be in the audience. I love Canes in Mission Beach, too. It’s just fun! I also really like a new place Downtown called Stage Saloon on Fifth and F. It’s always packed and it’s rowdy … I like rowdy.
MJ: Canes and Whiskey a Go Go, my first big gig with the girls. Any place with a big stage to run around and where people are not afraid to get rowdy and loud.
SH: Definitely San Francisco Pride – [we] played for over 50,000 people!
GLT: What are you working on right now? Any new projects?
EO: We have been in the studio working on our first full-length CD with our producer, Alicia Champion. Other than that, we are really working on making our show as tight, shiny and perfect as it can get! We want to be ready for any label that might want to take a look at us.
GLT: What is your next step in the band’s evolution?
SH: I want to do a tour when the CD is finished, sell merchandise and get on the road.
EO: After finishing the album, we really want to pick up and hit the road, baby. We want to tour; whether it’s playing on the Warped Tour, doing our own tour at smaller clubs or opening for a major act on tour – that’s our intention.
MNB: Completing the CD.
GLT: Are you excited about playing CityFest this year?
EO: F-yeah I’m excited! We had a great time last year and it will mark our one-year anniversary with Megan on guitar. Not to mention, I think the stage is dangerously close to the beer garden. [Laughs.]
SH: I really liked CityFest last year! It was our first show with Megan Jane. We look forward to it this year.
MJ: Hell yeah- marks my first gig with the honies. There is a lot to celebrate!
MNB: Yeah, last year was a blast … we had a great time. Definitely looking forward to playing and chilling at Nunu’s afterwards!
RunHoney will play CityFest this year on Aug. 10 at 12:20 p.m. on the South Stage. For more information visit the band’s MySpace page, www.myspace.com/runhoney.