Julz-A brings his funky accordion to Huntington

By @ 11/09/12 in Press

The Herald-Dispatch, EDGE:

Julz-A brings his funky accordion to Huntington

By Dave Lavender

February 25, 2007

When Julian Hintz was 16, the San Diego, Calif., teen put his classical-music-trained hands on an accordion and he did what felt good — squeeze the box and finger-hustle-up a little Jimi Hendrix’ “Purple Haze.”

“It probably sounded a little klunky but it rocked and all my friends at the party loved it,” Hintz said. “That kept me going.”

And it still does.

Hintz, a New York City resident for the past six years, has continued that wide open accordion experimentation, adding electronic elements, hip hop and a whole lot of rock in a sizzling style that could be described as They-Might-Be-Giants-meets-Beck-at-a-polka-juiced street party…

“It is an experimental scene so you can sort of do anything anywhere,” Hintz said by phone. “I definitely stand alone though. There other squeeze rockers, and there’s been just rock accordion there for a time and they’re all doing something different but I think I am the only one rapping.”

Hintz, who is classically trained as a percussionist and a pianist, said he started experimenting with a lot of things after moving to NYC after graduating from CalArts.

“I started with Japanese punk players and they taught me the art of showmanship,” Hintz said. “Then I got into the free jazz scene and the improv stuff and eventually, I’ve always been into spoken word, and I had always did a Public Enemy cover, so I got together with another MC and a DJ and started doing stuff together.”

When that band broke up, Hintz found himself working alone, but not for long.

Hintz was chilling before a gig as a featured performer from the underground Anti-Folk scene of New York City’s famed Sidewalk CafĂ© when he sat down beside Scandal, who attended Cal Arts while Hintz was there, although the two had never met.

The rest is Scandal and Squeeze Rock history.

Scandal, who had opened for such acts as Tenacious D and Jason Mraz, hooked up with the rapping accordion player with the punk rock attitude and hit the road last fall playing a week of shows in Austin that culminated in a Halloween performance opening for Grammy nominated Eliza Gilkyson.

They are stoked to be headed back toward Austin especially since they are gigging in the “Live Music Capital of the World,” on March 13 during the infamous South by Southwest Music Festival that takes over Austin with every flavor of indie music under the sun.

Armed with his usual bag of wrenches, screwdrivers and prayers that the reeds all stay waxed in, Julz-A is ready to bring the accordion’s hidden flavor and to rock America’s pre-conceived notions of the accordion one coffeehouse, club, cabaret, cathedral and country saloon at a time.

“When people find out I play the accordion I automatically get pigeonholed into polka or Zydeco or something that is the serene side and I can make melodies and make a tune pretty,” Hintz said. “I am happy to do that for people but my goal is to bring it out as a lead instrument that people can take serious and that can rock out. I like to stick in some power chords and make the thing rock.”



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