Hostages set up for its show at the Eugene coffee shop and music venue, Wandering Goat, on Feb. 26, 2016. While Gerson and Vaughn have been friends since they were children, Hendey only met them last fall after responding to a Craigslist ad for a drummer.
Gerson solos during the slow, heavy track “Natural Causes.” “The best feeling is playing a nuts show where people are going insane because of what you're playing,” said Hendey. “That's mind control. That's the most powerful thing you can do.”
The sizzler on Hendey’s cymbal gives it a rattle-like sound. He has been playing drums since he was 12, but only had a few formal lessons.
Hendey and Gerson pack their gear while chatting with Eugene-based group Girls Punch Bears. “I like the music scene in Eugene because it’s very explosive in some ways,” he said. “Bands here are born, live and die in the blink of an eye, and they’re all unusual and amazing in some way or another.”
Hendey plays guitar in his Eugene, Oregon apartment. While he originally studied jazz at the University of Oregon, he switched to philosophy because he felt that his peers were too competitive with each other.
After learning to play the recorder, Hendey picked up the tune whistle. He said the instrument, which was a gift from his friend and mentor David Brewer, was his entry into Celtic music.
His favorite tin whistle was made by Michael Copeland, and he describes it as the “Stradivarius of tin whistles.” Over the years, he has met multiple musical inspirations, including Joey Abarta, and realized they owned his tin whistle before he did.
Hostages practice in Gerson and Vaughn’s garage. Hendey was nervous joining a group with two best friends, but he said “playing music is sometimes about making outwardly stupid leaps of faith.”
While all three band members either work or go to school, they still rehearse at least once a week. “We met once, and we all got along pretty well, so they invited me to play a show with them about 10 days later,” Hendey said. “We had one rehearsal, and everything just kind of clicked.”
Hendey records the drum track for “Cowardice” while Gerson listens. “I know he (Hendey) wasn't familiar with heavier music before meeting Matt (Vaughn) and me.” said Gerson. “But he's worked really hard to learn, listen and become an integral part of our sound.”
Hendey said that because of Hostages’ louder rock sound, he goes through more drumsticks. While in the past, a pair would last him months or even years, now he breaks his drumsticks at almost every show and practice.
“I think a lot of people kind of have a public image, and mine is that I'm very outgoing and a go-getter and everything,” he said. “But a lot of the time, in reality, I think I'm a very antisocial, introverted kind of person… Because being a musician, you have to have a game face on all the time.”