My Firsts: Christian Lee Hutson | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Tuesday, February 20th, 2024  

My Firsts: Christian Lee Hutson

The Wolf Demon

May 28, 2020 Photography by Gus Black Web Exclusive
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My Firsts is our email interview series where we ask musicians to tell us about their first life experiences, be it early childhood ones (first word, first concert, etc.) or their first tastes of being a musician (first band, first tour, etc.). For this My Firsts we talk to Christian Lee Hutson.

Santa Monica-native Christian Lee Hutson may be a new name to you, but his work certainly isn’t. After befriending Phoebe Bridgers in 2018, Hutson contributed to two of her projects-the 2018 boygenius EP, which he wrote one song, and Bridgers’ and Conor Oberst’s 2019 collaboration, Better Oblivion Community Center of which he wrote two songs. After touring with Better Oblivion Community Center, Julia Jacklin and Okkervil River, Hutson and Bridgers meddled with his cell-phone recorded demos to record his debut LP, Beginners, at LA’s legendary Sound City Studios. After covering Elliott Smith songs on his 4-track in his bedroom, Hutson’s songwriting has grown to be a force of quiet, nostalgic and maybe even a little bit gloomy melodies. But, it’s unarguably honest.

With features from Bridger’s herself and Nate Walcott of Bright Eyes, Beginners is a sculpture of sonic intimacy. Recently, Hutson released singles “Get the Old Band Back Together,” “Lose This Number,” and “Talk.” Every track is embalmed with a matter-of-fact confession, private joke or construction of an idealized moment. Overall, the album is a bumpy ride through adolescence. Hence the title, Beginners.

“I went with Beginners as the title because that’s where I feel like I am in my life-like I’m still just learning and trying to figure out how to navigate the world,” Hutson stated in a press release.

Read on as Hutson discusses his humble “beginnings.” Yes, pun intended. Some of these may include an accidental drug trip, a hyper-obsession with blink-182, and the betrayal of his first love Juliet. Plus he added his own question and answer at the end.

First album you bought?

It was Enema of the State by blink-182. I was nine years old and it was just after the video for “All the Small Things” was released. They were playing it on TRL every day and I was staying with my granny in Indiana. I made her drive me to the nearest Walmart-which was like 30 minutes away-to get it.

First concert you went to?

My first concert was Alice Cooper and The Misfits at the Greek Theatre the week of Halloween when I was 13. The Misfits lineup was Jerry Only, Dez Cadena, and Marky Ramone. I had just gotten into The Misfits and I didn’t know yet that Danzig had left the band and was really disappointed that Jerry Only was singing and that they didn’t play the song “Halloween.”

First car you owned?

My first car was a 2000 Saturn sedan that belonged to my grandma. It smelled like her the whole time I had it. I toured in it for two years by myself in my early 20s. One time, the motor in the driver’s side window died while the window was down and I had to drive from Austin to Marfa (about 8 hours) in like 100-degree heat.

First book you read outside of one assigned for school?

I think it was Harry Potter. My aunt had a show room in Kansas City and they started carrying all this Harry Potter merch so she sent me the first three books. I read two of them on summer vacation and started the third when I went back to school. I went to a fundamentalist Christian elementary school so they confiscated it because they believed it was satanic. In October, instead of celebrating Halloween, the school had a thing called “Harvest Revival” and they had a big bonfire where they burned my copy of Azkaban along with other kids books that had been banned.

First instrument?

It was a nylon string guitar called a Montana. I think I got it for my 12th birthday. My mom said I had to learn a musical instrument because that’s what she had to do when she was a kid and it would make me a well-rounded student. It kind of backfired because I became so obsessed with playing guitar that I started failing all of my classes and dropped out of school altogether three years later.

First recording device?

My dad gave me a Tascam 4-track cassette recorder. I used it to make these little bootleg albums of new songs I had written. Every few months, I’d record a new one and give it out to kids I went to school with-sometimes with really shitty drawings I made for the cover art.

First time you got drunk?

I was in eighth grade and I had made these friends that were high school kids at a DIY show I went to at a Mexican restaurant. One of them invited me to go with him to a college party. It was at this mansion in Pasadena that had a tennis court where they had all this free booze laid out. I had a Corona, smoked my first cigarette, and what seemed like two minutes later, I had the lid of a trashcan full of “donkey punch” up to my mouth trying to chug it all. The cops showed up and I got so scared that I ran out into the front yard into a rose bush and pissed my pants.

First person you kissed?

Her name was literally Juliet. I actually don’t remember the first time we kissed but I know that it was closed-mouth. It was either in a movie or at her mom’s house, I think. Her mom really liked me and was the first person who ever called me an “artist” even though all I had ever done was learn Elliott Smith, blink-182, and Nirvana songs on guitar.

First time your heart was broken?

I was 12 and Juliet, my first kiss, broke up with me. I went to my best friend John’s house to tell him about it and he said “sorry man…I’m dating Juliet now.” I was so upset I stormed out of John’s house and walked to the Third Street Promenade and back home just crying my stupid little eyes out.

First time you took mushrooms?

I was 14 and I was hanging out at Mary Hotchkiss Park smoking cigarettes with this kid Josh after school. He offered me half of his subway sandwich and I had Cheetos for lunch so I scarfed it down and started to walk home. As soon as I hit the front steps, everything got really wobbly and weird and I had no clue what was happening. I was living in a motel with my dad at the time on the boardwalk in Venice Beach and we had to share a bed, so I spent the whole night writhing in bed next to him convinced that I had died and was a wolf demon. The next day I saw Josh and he asked how my trip was and that’s how I found out there were mushrooms in the sandwich.

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