All The History You Could Want
Human Hands formed in 1978 from the nascent L.A. punk scene, but were more closely associated with what is loosely known as the Pasadena scene, bands with more of an art influence than the average L.A. punk band of the time. The original members were Dennis Duck, Juan Gomez, Bill Noland, Rick Potts and David Wiley.
After making a few recordings (the 7" single "Trains vs. Planes" b/w "Blue Eel," the 12" "Jubilee" with DJ Bonebrake from X on added percussion), some notable opening slots (particularly for Magazine at the Whisky a Go Go on their first Los Angeles shows) and headlining clubs like Perkins Palace, the band broke up at the end of 1981. Independent Project Records released a first edition double-album compilation of the band's work in the 1982 followed by a second edition in 1990. In between the two editions, IPR released "Hereafter" in 1988, a collection of the band's studio recordings. Bouncing To Disc: The Complete Human Hands Vol. 1 was released in 1997 on CD by Grand Theft Audio.
Dennis joined Steve Wynn in The Dream Syndicate and, with Steve, was the only member in the band from beginning to end. Bill joined Wall of Voodoo and Juan formed The Romans with Michael Uhlenkott of Monitor and Keith Mitchell (later of Mazzy Star) and made two albums, You Only Live Once (available on CD on Warning Label Records) and Last Days At The Ranch, produced by Steve Wynn. Rick performed with the experimental group Solid Eye, among others. Sadly, David passed away in 1986.
When the Track 16 art gallery in Santa Monica asked a number of the first wave L.A. punk bands to perform at their closing night extravaganza in 1999, Human Hands reformed for the show with Rob Zabrecky of Possum Dixon as lead singer, which led to further shows, including opening for the reformed original-line-up X (also a by-product of that Track 16 show) at the House of Blues on the Sunset Strip. However, Bill Noland's move from California and Rob's desire to pursue his magic career put the band on hiatus.
Asked to open for the reformed Savage Republic at the Knitting Factory in Hollywood in November of 2002, Juan, Rick and Dennis recruited Pierre Smith (formerly of New Marines and a continuing regular player in El Vez's band) as a second guitarist and Jeff White (formerly of... well, formerly a fan of the band and of the various members' other projects) to sing. Rick left the band in 2003 and was replaced by Marc Salata.
This latest incarnation of Human Hands has played regularly at some of L.A.'s best clubs, such as The Knitting Factory, Spaceland, The Dragonfly, The Echo, and as part of such special evenings as Club Kiss or Kill. They released a four-song EP ("Emily Watson Extended Play") in 2004 and will be releasing their first full-length CD any day now (April or May of 2008). The band has been favorably compared to early XTC, Talking Heads, Television, They Might Be Giants, and early R.E.M. and their shows are consistently included in the "This Week's Recommendations" list in the L.A. Weekly.