by Anthony Valdez
A lot has been said about the man behind the rock band The Hash. From pioneering a new music genre called sitar rock that has been turning a lot of heads overseas, teaching over 300,000 people how to play guitar online up to date, and trolling people sarcastically over being called a Guitar God, the man known as Hash is causing quite a ruckus. I really appreciate the sense of humor this front man has brought to the rock music genre. Don’t believe me? Just check out his Guitar God video series on Facebook. From religious fanatics going after him, to bitter sounding musicians who could only wish to have half his talent and fame criticizing his every move, the responses Hash gives them are priceless. Some of my favorites include “keep calm and eat mangoes,” and “thank you for watching my angel. Your God still loves you!! ” followed by emoji’s mocking them. It is obvious that Hash is playing on culture as he responds to such a diverse and volatile audience. More on the volatile bit later.
On a serious note, Hash is a guitar virtuoso in his own right. He can play wicked fast and create some really beautiful melodies on the guitar. Let’s be honest with ourselves. The guy looks great while doing his craft. The song Tierney has become somewhat of a staple amongst guitar enthusiasts that consists of a dark shadowy figure playing guitar in his studio between every guitarists dream. Two Marshall amps with lights barely gazing his skin as he attacks his guitar that opens up into a beautiful song. From what I gathered by reading his posts, Tierney is about a friend who sent him a package the day she died that he received after a few days. Not much is known about this mystery lady but what a crazy story! Package all of this into one guy and you will understand what draws people to his music, and then some are repelled by his sarcasm and cockiness.
I first heard about this musician known as Hash a few years ago when I picked up my rusty guitar to learn one of my favorite metal songs. At the time, there were only a handful of people teaching how to play sad but true by Metallica on Youtube. The most popular instructor named Marty had clocked in hundreds of thousands of views yet he was teaching the song in the wrong tuning and for the most part incorrectly. Once Hash made a lesson on how to play this song, I started following his YouTube channel. I saw his channel and viewers grow immensely in a matter of 3 years. He used to have a Facebook fan page that had a few hundred followers. Today it is at 16,000 followers. Most if not all of his guitar lessons make their way to Ultimate Guitar, Guitar World, and the prized first page of Youtube and Google search results. A privilege a lot of people have to pay for by advertising. Hash releases very few videos compared to other YouTubers, yet he is able to grow his fan base steadily. Any musician will tell you how difficult organic promotion is. For an independent guitarist to do this is impressive. From what I read on his fan page, Hash plays guitar for other artists in Los Angeles where he is based.
So what is this song Conflicted and why is it causing such a stir and why should we care about it?
I could personally take a shot at Hash because I have sent his Facebook fan page and YouTube channel a series of questions on a number of occasions. I always get the same response. “I will get back to you and thanks for watching!!” but he never does. We all know the guy is busy. There are lesson requests all over his fan page and to date I have only seen one get fulfilled. I can’t blame the guy for playing guitar for others to pay the bills. I would do the same, so I’m going to let him pass on this one. He has always been very cordial with me. No hard feelings.
Looking at comments online, people either love or hate this song. It now has a video that goes from black and white to color. Once again, I knew of this song long before it had a video like it does today. One google search for the hash conflicted and you will see people asking who the artist is and what the lyrics are to this song. Commenters mention hearing it on places such as Netflix and TV shows. This is another dream come true for an independent artist who is not even on a record label. How do you go from complete obscurity to big platforms such as Netflix, Spotify, iTunes, Amazon and the likes? Sure you can sign up for a music service that will take your money but what does one do after that? I took my stab at music myself a while back but writing is my calling. Music is too saturated and competitive full of other musicians jumping down each others throats the moment they see some success their competitors are getting. I want nothing of this! One has to have really thick skin to handle all that. I choose to hide behind my digital pen and paper and let guys like Hash fight their battles.
The Volatile Audience
I mentioned earlier that Hash’s audience seems quite volatile. Let me clarify the difference between Hash and The Hash. Apparently, songs and videos released are titled The Hash but the man himself goes by Hash. This does cause some confusion for me as well. I have never seen a guitarist from Los Angeles captivate an overseas audience like Hash (or The Hash) has. A lot of the commenters on social media appear to be from South East Asia. Think India, Pakistan etc… The latter being a more religious society, needless to say, there are some religious fanatics who lurk around the comments sections of Hash’s videos. Some take shots at him for calling himself a “Guitar God” which he mocks himself. Then you will see others come to his rescue and argue that Hash is in his own right a Guitar God and that he is only being sarcastic with his video titles. I have seen people who changed their opinion after being explained by other fans of Hash’s sarcastic personality and change their comments to praises. Although I am not clear on Hash’s ethnic background, it appears as a lot of the audience can relate to him in some way. They see themselves in him and post videos playing his songs on his comment sections. I read one comment from an Indian fan who said thanks to the song Conflicted, this person once again loves hic culture again. The Hash features sitars that are originally from India and some fans such as this one seem to want a more modern and edgier sound that The Hash plays.
One way or the other, in a very non-traditional way this musician is bridging gaps between different Worlds and continents with his music. It just may be that Hash or The Hash may become quite a big figure overseas and then maybe even in the US as Hash’s career progresses.
Author Anthony Valdez