Michael Hilliard & the Working Class
Behind the Music
In the spring of 2019, Jersey City-based singer/songwriter/guitarist Michael Hilliard was gettin’ the itch. He had a passel of song demos – meaty, melodic rock tunes with heartfelt lyrics and a dusting of jazz on top – that he was confident the area club crowds would enjoy. But just sitting on a stool by himself held no appeal for Hilliard – he needed a BAND, dammit.
So, like hundreds of neighborhood musicians before and since, Hilliard put up a “musicians wanted” post on Craig’s List. And in Bayonne, one town over from Jersey City, bassist Robert Payes – himself itching to play out again after far too many years – shot Hilliard a response. After some back-and-forth correspondence, Hilliard shared his demos with Payes to learn, and set up an audition.
By the time the two rendezvoused in a local rehearsal studio, there was now a third person: Staten Island-based drummer Louis Iacobelli, who was already splitting his time between FIVE other bands! But the trio – now operating as “Michael Hilliard and the Working Class” – clicked almost immediately, both as musicians and buds, equally at home pounding out Hilliard’s songs in downtown Jersey City’s clubs, or just chilling at the bar, sucking down cold ones and scoping out the competition.
On February 1, 2020, the Hilliard/Payes/Iacobelli edition of the Working Class played what would turn out to be their final performance together. Earlier that day, news of the untimely passing of Gang of Four guitarist/leader Andy Gill had already put a cloud over the proceedings – but before long, the growing menace of the COVID-19 pandemic shut EVERYTHING down.
As spring 2020 turned to summer, then fall, Hilliard launched the next phase of the Working Class’ career: he liquidated a sizable savings account and hired producer John Agnello (Sonic Youth, Dinosaur Jr.) to record enough of his music to release a full CD. Unfortunately, by that time Iacobelli had to bow out for personal reasons, but new drummer Pete Dentico stepped up to the plate and filled the empty spot without (you’ll pardon the pun) “missing the beat.”
Sound good? We thought so...
until we found out that Pete had abruptly lit out for the West Coast.
...It is now 2022. We are - some higher power, we beseech - exiting the Plague. The drum stool is now occupied by Corey Jenkins, an old friend of Michael's from Rockland County.
The questions: What's still open? What's everyone feel like doing? Does anyone still WANT to hear (and see!) live music?
We'd like to think so. In April 2022, we'll be debuting the music video for "Pour Me a Drink," shot on location in Hoboken, NJ's Finnigan's Pub by Courtney Collins (Non-Linear Knitting). From there, the plans remain the same: Rehearse. Write more songs. Play more live gigs. Lather/rinse/repeat.
Because THAT's what the Working Class do.
©2021 by Michael Hilliard & the Working Class.