With The Grain: A chat with Lara Hope of Tiger Piss

tiger with glassThis month I grab the tiger by the tail and rock the stripes off.

The head is pure white, the beer itself is bright, clear gold; it’s a little darker than the straw yellow typical of beer’s like this.
The smell is a little husky, there’s a sticky, fruity aroma of apple juice with light grains against a little husk and dry bread with a hint of corn . Carbonation is pretty high, and crisp. Very refreshing, a good beer to drink at a tropical beach or with spicy food. Tiger Beer brewed by: Asia Pacific Breweries Ltd.

tiger piss band

Most people are busy working a few jobs in the current economic climate. This is especially true for recently graduated college students. For one SUNY New Paltz alumni, busyness is an afterthought. Lara Hope is more concerned with entertaining, while also helping people along the way.
Twenty-something Lara Hope,  a 2006 SUNY New Paltz graduate with a Bachelors in communications and media, now a Rosendale resident, is constantly on the move. Of all the things she does, perhaps it is her day job that is the least interesting. By day, Lara Hope is an entertainer at the Rocking Horse Ranch in New Paltz where she is known as Lara Hope-A-Long. But by night she is the front woman for four bands, the host of several different open-mic nights in the area, a children’s guitar instructor, the organizer of the Zombie festival in Rosendale, the music-booking agent for Cab’s in New Paltz, and can even be found on the pages of Ulster magazine. It’s a long list of responsibilities, but as Hope puts it, “I don’t like to be bored.”
One other thing that she does is probably the most important, and meaningful. A few years ago, after starring in the SUNY New Paltz production of The Vagina Monologues, Hope decided that she wanted to direct the play herself. It wasn’t long before the bar formerly known as The Basement in Kingston allowed her to stage her play in 2010. Two years later, in February, Hope was at it again, and this time it was for a another cause. In two consecutive weekends, Hope and her crew raised $5,700 for the Family of Woodstock Domestic Violence Services and Vagina Day.

Because of Hope’s great aversion to boredom, her other endeavors are equally as consuming. Her four bands, Tiger Piss, The Gold Hope Duo, Lara Hope & The Ark-Tones and Lara Hope and the Champtones are beginning to receive a lot of attention. Tiger Piss, is her rock band that was started in New Paltz five years ago and has done 10 national tours. They have released three albums, which consist of two EP’s and one full-length record. The band members went into “hiding” for a few months, but are now gearing up for a tour with the Coney Island Rock ‘n Roll Show, which isn’t a band really, but as Lara put’s it, “they’re more of a troupe.”

Lara Hope and the Champtones are her pride and joy. Although the rockabilly band has only been in existence for half of the life of Tigriss, she refers to her experience with the Champtones as “the best thing I’ve ever done in my life.” She blames the sentiment on how well they have been received. Dressing up, making money and music videos help, too, but who can tell what is next for her? After being asked if she was only in two bands she responded, “maybe three or four in the next few minutes. I’m kind of serious about that.”

The Gold Hope Duo  Foot Percussion! Kazoos! Banjo! Guitar! Upright Bass! Fun! They bring you their unique brand of stripped down upbeat Rhythm & Blues, Country, Folk, Rockabilly, and a pinch of humor. In a joint effort between front-persons Lara Hope and Matt “The Knife” Goldpaugh, Lara strums the guitar while Matt slaps the Upright Bass or picks the 5 String Banjo. They share percussion duties with their fast feet and live by the motto “If you can’t do it, kazoo it!” Their powerful voices intertwine, harmonize and amaze.

Lara Hope & The Ark-Tones are The Hudson Valley’s premier Rockabilly/Rhythm N Blues/Rock N Roll outfit, an all-star cocktail of musical talent, driven by Lara Hope’s powerful and sultry vocals, Matt “The Knife” Goldpaugh (of the Arkhams)’s relentless upright bass slapping, Dave Tetreault’s undefeated drum stylings, the guitar heroics of Chris Heitzman, and co-starring the cheery attitudes of all of the above members. This fun-loving bunch packs the dance floor with reworkings of rockabilly and rhythm and blues classics and standards as well as their own original musical offerings, sure to please listeners of all ages and walks of life.

Tiger Piss since forming in 2007, Kingston, NY’s they have become an exemplary band to hold up for those seeking fun sing-a-long rock n’ roll that still matters. Bourne from from a true DIY asthetic, Tiger Piss has self promoted their way into many hearts over the course of ten national tours

Theater isn’t out of the picture just yet, either. In a few weeks Hope is bringing The Vagina Monologues to Oneonta for some more fundraising and entertainment. She also plans on putting on a production of Cry-Baby the musical in the next nine months to a year.
Whether she is singing on stage to fill the silence of an empty bar on open-mic night, or singing in front of a crowd of hundreds – Lara Hope is a performer at heart. It’s great to know that her passion can also provide thousands of dollars to community organizations that need it.

I recently had the opportunity to chat with founder and whirlwind Lara Hope about stuff and such.

Popa: Your bio reads like something most people would take a life time to accomplish, have you ever been able to be contained or were you born running?
Lara: To be honest, I feel like I was a bit of a slacker until about 4 years ago. Sure, I had a band since college, but it took a while for me to start to take the whole thing more seriously. “The whole thing” meaning my music, myself, my life….but never take anything TOO seriously!
Popa: Of your four bands naughty humor and fun plays some part in each, though Tiger Piss seems to take it up another notch do Danny Mark Asis and Rev. Kev egg you on to let loose? What is the process for the songs coming together on the new EP?
Lara: When Tiger Piss started it was almost 7 years ago. We had our first show booked before we even had a song written. It was for a cancer benefit and we only need to do a short set. My drummer Rev Kev came into our first practice and said we call ourselves “Tiger Piss”. The name stuck! It was Danny who suggested our first song be about his love of Pancakes, which turned into a song about eating pancakes to cure a hangover, and next came The Porn Store (both songs from our first EP “Ear To The Wall” from 2007). But really, we always just had a lot of fun together and the naughty humor just came naturally.
Popa: What’s the story on the name change from Tiger Piss to Tigeriss and recently back to Tiger Piss?
Lara: The easiest answer I usually give people is “we were a bunch of sellouts!”. A few years back we wanted to try to hit the radio market harder and we thought having “Piss” in our name would make it more difficult to get air play. If we knew two years ago when we know now, we probably never would’ve changed it. We didn’t want to stray too far from the original name so that people who have followed us over the years could still make the connection, but time and time again we were told to change it back to the Piss…and so we did.
Popa: The new EP Alcoholiday screams ‘turn me up to 11’ and your vocals are so powerful when you rock and roll, as of yet is only available at live shows, when can we expect it to hit the earholes of the world? When will you be on the road promoting it?
Lara: The only reason that’s it’s not available digitally yet is because I haven’t had the time to do it!! I’m on the road now with my other band The Gold hope Duo on an 8 week national tour, which pretty took up all of my time booking for the past few months! As soon as I get a little downtime, I plan to get it up on CD Baby, Amazon, ITunes, MOG, etc…hopefully by the end of the month!
Popa: So far the only genre I haven’t heard you tackle is soul, is there some Motown sounds in the future?
Lara: Wait until The new Lara Hope & The Ark-Tones record “Luck Maker” comes out in June…I think there’s some soul in there!
Popa: Ok now for the mandatory with the grain questions, you’re relaxing what’s your beverage of chose? Its last call what do you order?
Lara: It’s usually a whiskey on the rocks (Irish Whiskey or Bourbon) and whatever beer is dark and made locally!

Tracklist: ALCOHOLIDAY
Download Alcoholiday
Better Off Than Yesterday
El Bordello De Europa
My Friends Are STILL Better Than Yours
Wash It Away

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