NoHo is ‘almost famous’. Magnolia and Lankershim, plus The Federal provided the backdrop for the song lyrics “No Ho.”
As the NoHo Arts District dot com team will always say: “NoHo is only as great as its people.” So when we get to meet interesting locals and folks who care for our neighborhood, we want to spread the word. Meet Son of Skooshny, a local group who sings about the NoHo Arts District. We asked member Mark Breyer some questions on the group and their song “No Ho.”
Who is Son of Skooshny?
Son of Skooshny is a spin-off from Skooshny, a Los Angeles–based, folk-rock band that developed a small but enthusiastic cult following among critics and fans around the world over the years. Son of Skooshny is my solo project along with producer–collaborator Steve Refling.
In my teens—I was kind of like the kid in Almost Famous—I interviewed Ray Davies of the Kinks and Marc Bolan of T. Rex for legendary Crawdaddy magazine. Then I went on to make my own music. In the 90s, The Sunday Times of London called an album by Skooshny “an irresistible era-defying classic.” That sure was nice to read!
“Powerpop maven Mark Breyer has been writing heartbreakingly beautiful songs for a long time, first with cult favorites Skooshny and most recently on his own, under the name Son of Skooshny. His latest one, No Ho—a collaboration with multi-instrumentalist/producer Steve Refling, streaming at Bandcamp—paints a gently devastating portrait of existential angst and understated despair, a couple doomed from the start traipsing their way through a vivid LA milieu. And the title could be as savage for the girl as the narrator’s prospects are bleak.” — New York Music Daily
What’s the song “No Ho” about?
I worked with a younger woman, Angie, about 15 years ago. We went out a couple of times, but that was about it. I had feelings for her, but I was too reserved to act on them. I kicked myself for years for not having been more dynamic.
Angie got back in touch with me in early 2014, now a single mother with two young daughters. She was back in college, pursuing a master’s degree. She needed help with a linguistics course she was taking and with short stories she was writing. She called me because I had a background both in linguistics and in copyediting.
The song is about regrets over two missed opportunities for a romantic relationship with the same woman. The lesson: seize the moment.
Why did you decide to do a song about NoHo?
I was in the San Gabriel Valley, and she was in the west part of the San Fernando Valley. We chose NoHo because it’s a good halfway point. We met there every week for months for lunch, drinks, and linguistics.
I didn’t plan to write a song. With Angie and NoHo as inspirations, the song came easily to me. It’s not necessarily cheerful, but it is heartfelt.
One technical point: After I had completed recording the song and was about to release the single, I was informed that guidelines for digital releases prohibit the use of uppercase letters within a word in a title. So I had to change “NoHo” to “No Ho” or “Noho” or “No-Ho.” I wasn’t thrilled with the choices, but I opted for the first.
What’s your favorite part about the neighborhood?
Aside from its cool art and music vibe, I like the variety of eateries and drinkeries. We had a couple of Starbucks meetings, a birthday (hers) lunch at Salomi, Pitfire pizzas several times, and then numerous afternoons at the Federal Bar. The geography of NoHo provided the backdrop for the song lyrics. The Federal appears along with mentions of Magnolia and Lankershim.
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