Put your money on the ‘Dark Horse’

By |2017-10-31T06:29:22-04:00October 31st, 2017|Uncategorized|

Out indie folk-rocker Eric Himan may not be able to tell you where he lives, but his latest record is likely to put him on the map – one city at a time.
“You caught me at a great time because I am homeless,” he said via cell phone on his way to play a college in Rochester, New York. “Well, not homeless, I have a car. Very Jewel-like.”
Himan, 25, and his manager Cassandra Buncie – who doubles as his best friend – are in the process of moving from Florida to Pittsburgh to set up shop for Thumbcrown Records, Himan’s independent label. Actually, Buncie is moving. Himan is on the road in a Dodge Caravan to support his new CD “Dark Horse,” which comes out March 22.
“For these next two weeks,” he said, “the road is my home.”
Ticking off the CDs he had on the road with him, Himan listed Hole’s “Live Through This,” Natalie Merchant’s “Tiger Lily,” “The Beekeeper” by Tori Amos and Ani Difranco’s latest, “Knuckle Down.”
Himan, whose guitar playing style is often compared to Difranco, said his experience as a music listener makes him very conscious of how people hear his own music. As a result, he’s not afraid of criticism. “You want people to like it and if people don’t like it at least they can tell you why. That’s what art is – it’s putting it out there and getting a reaction,” he said. “Otherwise I’d be playing these songs in my room and that would be pretty much the end of it.”
This isn’t Himan’s first time in the Detroit metro area. He was in town last year supporting his last CD “All For Show,” and he played at Motor City Pride in 2003. “I love Detroit. I actually have a lot of listeners there,” he said.
Readers might also recognize him from the March 2005 issue of Out magazine – where he posed sans pants, Tom “Risky Business” Cruise-style. The idea, he said, came from his photographer, John Arsenault. Most photographers, Himan said, ask him to take off his shirt to show off his tattoos, so John suggested he take off his pants instead. He did it, but not without reservation. “I didn’t want it to look trashy,” Himan said. “I’m a very private person about my body and when it comes to being sexualized. I don’t want people to buy my music because they think they’re going to sleep with me. But that was such a part of my past, to be very closed, that it was a little liberating.”
And attention grabbing. “I get a lot of emails from it, I’ll say that,” he laughed. “I get a lot of people commenting on my legs. But as a personal thing for me [it] was really fun. It was really cool to be able to step outside of myself.”
It’s inside where his music lies. “My music is very self-based in my experiences and hopefully somebody can relate to me,” he said. This, he said, is why it’s important to be out as a gay artist.
“I felt like the only one for so long. I grew up on military bases,” he said. “I lived in places where … being gay or just being who I was just didn’t seem to be around at all.”
Music made him feel less alone. “The only reason I started writing music was because the songs weren’t written for me,” he said. “Because that void was there I filled it.”
Being in the closet as an artist was never an option for Himan. “I knew when I started doing it that I was going to put everything out there. I didn’t want to be somebody who hid,” he said.
However, he didn’t want the fact that he was gay to eclipse all else. “I want that to be out there, because I do want that to be an identifying thing,” he said, “[but] instead of being a gay singer songwriter or an out singer songwriter, I’m a singer songwriter who’s gay.”
On Wednesday, March 23, Himan will bring his brand of folksy, bluesy, indie rock to Borders in Birmingham. People who come to check out the show “can expect a show that is a lot of energy and a lot of storytelling,” he said.
Unlike the guitar-centered show he brought to Michigan last year, this time around he’ll be playing both guitar and piano as he showcases songs from “Dark Horse.”
Himan put a lot of money into this new album. “With this one, I wanted it to be a CD that you sit down with, not just one where people say, ‘You have to see him live,'” he said. “And it was worth every dime.”
And for Himan, every dime counts. His music is a full time career, not just a hobby. “This is my career. I want it to last. You grow up and you realize that you’ve got to keep investing,” he said. “You never stop investing in yourself.”

About the Author:

D'Anne Witkowski is a writer living in Michigan with her wife and son. She has been writing about LGBTQ+ politics for nearly two decades. Follow her on Twitter @MamaDWitkowski.