From drummer to frontman
Queen City punk veteran recruits two young guns
by Ed Kapp
Top billing comes with certain responsibilities.
At least that’s what Herb & The Humans frontman Herb Exner is finding.
A veteran of the Queen City music scene, Exner founded his three-piece outfit — comprising fellow Reginans Gino Giambattista and Avery Strong-Garcia, both 21-years-old — in October of 2013.
One responsibility as the man in charge, the former Hot Blood Bombers drummer says, is keeping composed on stage.
“It’s a little bit more nerve-wracking because you don’t really hide behind a kit anymore,” the 31-year-old says with a laugh, “but at the same time it’s fun to be out front.”
Being front and centre does come with other perks.
“When you write everything, it’s kind of nice to have both hands on the wheel, as opposed to just kind of laying down the drums in the back,” Exner says. “I like it,” he continues, laughing. “I haven’t gotten sick of it so far.”
Drummer Giambattista and bassist Strong-Garcia, Exner suggests, have helped keep spirits high for the up-and-coming band.
“They were jamming together before I met them and a buddy just kind of hooked me up with them,” Exner says. “They’re younger guys — they’re just about ten years younger than me — and it’s fun.”
Most of Exner’s musical influence comes from “a lot of old blues, rock and roll, old punk rock and a bit of 90s grunge. He hopes “a new twist” shines through with his music, which he thinks his youthful accompaniments help bring to light.
“They’re bringing a youthful aspect to music that comes from a very old place,” Exner says with a laugh. “It’s a good balance, I feel.
“A lot of people, after watching the band, said this is totally me,” he continues with a chuckle. “People who know me, and know what I’ve done over the years, they say it’s like me, amplified. People that don’t know me seem to get it; they seem to dig it.
“It’s been going pretty well so far.”
Herb & the Humans released its self-titled debut album, which was recorded at Down the Hatch Studio in Regina, a few weeks ago. Since last week, the album has been available for download at Bandcamp.com.
Despite being “not much of a business cat,” Exner took the lead on the administrative, behind-the-scenes front for this album, which he says was the biggest challenge in putting together his newest project.
The hard work seems to be paying off for the band.
“Pretty good,” Exner says when asked how the album has been received.
“It took quite a while just to get our ducks in a row — I think some people were kind of waiting for it — but as far as I know, there haven’t been any sad faces after listening (laughs).
“Everyone has just had good things to say, which kind of makes it all worthwhile.”
Exner would like his outfit to start travelling to perform in Alberta and Manitoba and eventually produce a second record, provided audiences continue to enjoy the work. Before then, they’re set to play Oct. 9 at the Mercury Cafe & Grill.
“I love doing it. I love making music and performing. If the good lord’s willing and the creeks don’t rise, I’ll hopefully have a good future with this band,” he says with a laugh.
“I really enjoy it, and it seems the boys do too.”