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Harley Poe sells out two shows at the Melody Inn this weekend, drops new album on Valentine's Day

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Heading into two sold out shows at the Melody Inn, Joe Whiteford's a little worried.

Not about the shows – after more than a decade playing as the spirited front-man of Harley Poe, he's got that part under control, even if he thought he'd permanently hung up his touring shoes. These two shows are a chance to highlight the band's most popular material for fans who are clearly salivating to hear all of it.

It's the new album coming out Tuesday that's sparked his nerves.

“With Lost and Losing It, I'm a little afraid that people are expecting nasty, raunchy lyrics, or maybe lyrics about vampires or monsters or killing people or shitting on peoples' faces, things like that,” he says, carefully. “And it's not.”

When Whiteford released Falling Down in 2015, he'd just gone through a painful divorce, and he says the break-up of his family caused him to reconsider the way he'd been dividing his time.

“I've always liked recording,” he explains. “I've always liked watching the songs come to life. I love that part. I've always loved performing too, but with a family and wanting to do other things it was just always too much in the way. I was always trying to balance it, and when I'd pretty much lost my family the way it was, I had no desire to perform at all. I felt it had a lot to do with losing my family.”

Yet, galvanized to write in the wake of the divorce, he had these songs pouring out and still the album's release kept pushing back. Meanwhile, LazyHawk promoter Will Schlosser and long-time Harley Poe drummer Christian Riquelme had continued to push for a reunion show, sensing the pent-up demand.

“I figured it's fine, let's do it,” Whiteford laughs. “And there is a new album coming out … so it worked out. The album was supposed to be out in December, and before that it was supposed to be Halloween. So, it was supposed to be out months ago but it's good that it all worked out so that the album will come out right after the shows. It all really kind of fell into place the way it needed to, I guess.”

Lost and Losing It, which will be digitally released on Tuesday via CD Baby, is a Harley Poe album but was recorded with a different band – only Whiteford and bassist Gregg Manfredi play together on the album from the original lineup. And though the album is a departure from what fans may expect to hear if they're expecting another “Maria” or “Corpse Grindin' Man,” Whiteford says the songs needed to come out. Even if he can't do more shows like the ones this weekend, he has no intention of letting the writing well dry up.

“I really didn't plan to put out another album but I really just couldn't help it,” he says. “I had to release the things that were … I don't know, it was just a lot of issues. I just needed to find a way to vent and that's how I've always done it. And I don't plan to stop playing music and writing music, I don't think that I could. It's just the thought of 'performing,' I didn't have this big pull or desire to do it right now.”


The fact that both shows at the Melody Inn sold out in roughly three hours combined did catch Whiteford off guard. “Oh yeah!” he says. “That was awesome. I didn't expect that!” And if these wind up being the last two chances for fans to see the band's original lineup in the near future, they're sure to get a great show. He says the band has worked up close to two dozen Harley Poe classics to pull from, and Harley Poe's live reputation is as impeccable as any local band's.

As for using the Harley Poe name, he says he's stopped worrying about whether he should try starting over under his actual name for solo work.

“[This new album]'s got a different feel to it but it's still Harley Poe,” he says. “It sounds like Harley Poe because I wrote the songs, so there's no getting away from the way I write or my vocals. And there's no reason to call my music something else at this point. When I did Fallen Down ,Tyler Watkins mastered it and I asked him, 'Should I just call it Joe Whiteford?' and he said ,'No, not at this point. You've done it for so long, you created it. It's yours, keep going with that name.'

“And Harley Poe was supposed to have been a solo project anyway after the band I'd been in before,” he laughs. “So, look how that turned out!”

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