In an Instagram video, Heart Attack Man vocalist-guitarist Eric Egan swings the band’s tour van into the Rocky River post office. Paying homage to his preteen days as a fan club member, Egan drops a batch of handwritten letters and vibrant prize ribbons into the mail slot, addressed to members of the band’s hilariously named fan group: the Baby Carrot Gang.
It seems simple, but Egan’s just exposed a new generation to the wonders of an honest-to-god physical mailing list, straight from the hands of their favorite band. In a musical era of short attention spans, overpopulated playlists and unreliable paychecks, it’s an uncertain time to be a band on the rise. But these West Side emo-punks delight in a hands-on approach, connecting with their fans, and the world, with a novel, absurdity-soaked style.
Take the orange beanie incident. This Feburary, Egan posted a now-infamous orange beanie on eBay. For laughs, he and some friends bid on the unassuming cap, Egan’s signature on-stage look. But then the general internet population piled on. The hat amassed bids nearing $100,000, at which point Egan announced he’d changed his mind because of its pricelessness.
“Our music is pretty upbeat, melodic and catchy-sounding, but a lot of the lyrics are dark,” he says. “There’s a dynamic of happy-sounding songs with lyrics that don’t match. The [online] delivery of it is an extension of that.”
The joke received major music press coverage, putting the band’s jokester persona and music into the focus of a broader audience.
They deserve it. With fuzzy guitars and pop hooks, the act stands alongside the strong melodic likes of Saves The Day and Weezer.
Thanks to drummer Adam Paduch’s love of metal, Heart Attack Man’s lyrics have a dark core, going deeper than your surface-level breakup woes. With the recent addition of Ty Sickels on guitar, the April-released second LP Fake Blood goes downright scorched-earth.
Where sadness and confusion rule 2017’s The Manson Family, self-defense and anger take an axe to ennui on Fake Blood. “We appeal to pop sensibilities, but there’s something else where it’s a little more aggressive” says Egan. “We’re an in-between band, which I like.”
He’s not the only one. Since its founding in 2013, Heart Attack Man has scored more than 45,000 monthly listeners on Spotify, been covered by national pubs and signed to New York’s Triple Crown Records, while executing a prolific international touring schedule that’s included gigs with emo legends The Early November and The Movielife.
This year, the band landed two sold-out shows with Taking Back Sunday. They hit Cleveland Dec. 18, playing with Boston Manor at the Grog Shop.
When Egan joined one of his first bands, Exseteras, as a 13 year old, he handled business on Myspace, often booking gigs at the now-closed Tower 2012. Heart Attack Man may be playing bigger venues, but social media now plays an even more vital role in spreading the word. At press time, Egan’s pretending on Twitter to be the new singer of Heart Attack Man’s emo-hardcore forefathers Senses Fail. That band is playing along.
“Music is where I can be serious and honest with myself and my emotions,” says Egan. “But if I had to be super serious all the time, I would lose my mind.”