Six months ago, Russ Ariel, Jonathan Cannamore and Lisa Cannamore decided to form a hard-hitting punk-rock outfit called The House Opinion. Although the band is still in its fledgling state, plans for the band had been in the works for years.
“So we've kind of had a long history,” explained The House Opinion frontman, Russ Ariel. “I originally met [drummer] Jonathan Cannamore at open mic nights around Anchorage when I was playing in an two-piece folk-rock band. He kind of kept showing up and 'fanboyed' over the band.”
“Whoa! Easy there, bud,” interjected Cannamore with a laugh.
All heckling aside, Cannamore eventually turned Ariel's band into a short lived three-piece outfit called Fellow Creatures. When the band parted ways in 2014, Cannamore and Ariel knew they wanted to do another project together but it would take years for their musical timelines to cross again.
“Honestly, I had to put stop playing music for a few years. I was just in a nasty headspace after going through a divorce and dealing with my mom's passing,” recalled Ariel who ultimately decided to pick up music again after some gentle prodding from Cannamore in the summer of 2017 at Cannamore's wedding to bassist Lisa Cannamore.
After the newlywed Cannamores returned from an epic honeymoon spent backpacking across Europe, they decided to go all-in on forming a band. The only problem was, they didn't know who was going to play what instrument. Jonathan Cannamore was already playing guitar for another local band and Lisa Cannamore was classically trained on guitar, but that position was already occupied by Ariel.
“We knew we wanted to play together but since we already had a guitarist, the guys asked me to try drums. I could not play the drums! So they told me to play bass instead,” chuckled Lisa Cannamore. “Of course Jonathan [Cannamore] can play pretty much anything so we moved him to drums.”
The band's fluid and relaxed approach to music is also the reason for their namesake.
“Our story really ties into our name in that we don't really care too much about the house opinion – or what the crowd thinks of us. We just want to make catchy, punky tunes and go from there. And what better way to say we don't really care than a bunch of novices playing instruments that they have no reason to be playing? We're excited and passionate about making the journey of learning these instruments and seeing our music really progress over the coming months and years,” said Jonathan Cannamore.
While Jonathan Cannamore asserts that The House Opinion is comprised of musical novices, their musical resumes prove otherwise. Ariel has been in a number of Anchorage bands including the Brothers Bones. Jonathan Cannamore is a graduate of the UAA Music Department and sports a musical repertoire that includes playing proficiency in everything from piano to french horn and guitar to drums. Lisa Cannamore is also no stranger to music performance and has a long history of playing guitar.
In terms of musical influences, The House Opinion cites Florida punk-rockers Against Me! as the sound that unites the band. The influence is clearly evidenced in The House Opinion's theme song “Lagavulin Neat” which partners punky guitar riffs with an Alaska Native twist.
“I am a member of the Raven/Frog Clan in the Tsimshian Tribe and 'Lagavulin Neat' definitely pulls from the tradition of Raven,” said Ariel. “With that said, I don't know how much of my culture I bring into my music but I do always try to bring in the spirit of my mom because she was always my biggest fan and supporter.”
To listen to the O'Hara Shipe's full interview with The House Opinion, be sure to check out the Anchorage Press SoundCloud.