A Hobosexual Walks Into a Hobo Bar . . .

Rockers Ben Harwood and Jeff Silva don't really want to bone a bunch of boozy transients.

Heavy-rockin' duo Hobosexual is on a short list of recent bands who've used, as a launching pad, the stage of the Blue Moon Tavern, one of Seattle's premier hobo bars. But it's not the city's top hobo bar: Now that the Dome Stadium Tavern, Rose Garden, and Fortune Sports Bar are dead and gone, that distinction rests squarely with Joe's Bar & Grill in the International District.

In fairness, Joe's, which sits across from the ID's bus and rail (both preferred means of transport for actual hobos) tunnel entrance, has taken some steps in the past couple of years to make itself more attractive to non-hobos. There are a few digital television sets, tuned to sports. There's also an awning with its name on it, which includes the respectable sounding "bar & grill." If a Foreman counts, then, by George, they've got a grill.

Hobosexual drummer Jeff Silva—who co-owns Havana, a bar on Capitol Hill, and the Flying Apron, a bakery in Fremont—is seated at a table near Joe's door, alongside singer/guitarist Ben Harwood and manager Amelia Gyde. He's just spilled a beer all over Gyde's camera case, which he says is a sign he shouldn't be drinking. Gyde fetches him another beer anyway.

Outside, a hobo picks up a bike and catches Silva's eye. The hobo asks Silva if the bike is his. He says no. The hobo then rides off into the night.

"We're at home here," says Harwood. "It's got a Blue Moon kind of ambience, but brighter."

Silva grew up in Boston, while Harwood grew up in Auburn, where, he says, "there was one kind of music: metal—extreme metal. If you played anything else, you'd get your ass kicked or your equipment pissed on after the show." (Silva and Harwood both live in West Seattle nowadays.) While not exactly metal, it's safe to say that the muscular music Hobosexual plays would keep them well clear of the fists and golden showers of SoCo lore.

You'd think in a bar so heavily populated with hobos, Harwood and Silva would be like a pair of female cops in an LPGA locker room. Yet Harwood insists the moniker is "more lifestyle than sexual."

"When I named it that, I just thought it was funny," he explains. "I couldn't stop laughing for a week."

mseely@seattleweekly.com

 
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