Hardly the Hero – Indie Band Feature

Hardly the Hero

Hardly the Hero
Bethlehem, PA

Hardly the Hero is a rock band from Bethlehem, PA. They’re a bunch of down-to-earth, easy-going guys, who make music that has a lot of potential, and who I look forward to watching grow in the Lehigh Valley music scene. Hardly the Hero was started in 2003, and is the collaborative work of Joel Hnatow on bass and guitar, Brax Bowen on guitar, Dave Bernini with lead vocals, keys, and guitar, and Chris Pandolfo on drums.

Each member of the band has been involved with music since childhood. According to Dave, “[they] are drawn to the awesome freedom that comes with being able to write music, find people you really jive with who can add [to] and enhance your own songwriting, and convey the message that music contains to an audience. … If even a single person relates to the musical or lyrical message we put out there, then any effort the band puts forth is worth it.”

The guys are just starting to come into their own, and are focusing their efforts around the Lehigh Valley. They’re taking the steps to make their music their careers, even if they’re still early in that pursuit. They copyright their songs to protect themselves, and they recently changed their name to Hardly the Hero, from Halcyon Calm, because “[they] think it fits [them] better and is more accessible to listeners.” Yet, despite their efforts to grow professionally, they’re still able to keep their focus in the right place. As Dave put it, “ To be completely honest, I think we all would be more than happy just to maintain the tight friendship we have, and the ability to write and play together in any capacity. What that leads to, only time will tell.”

When asked how the band would classify their music, Dave said, “ We hate to classify it as one type or another. It’s probably fair to say that our sound holds true to the essentials of alternative rock and classic rock, with a subtle pop presence. We are always trying to incorporate new styles though, just to keep things fresh – different patterns of percussion, unusual guitar rhythms – anything that lets us explore new areas. The most recent songs we’ve written (none of which have been recorded yet) break new ground for us as a band. For the first time, we are concentrating more on adding layers, and really coordinating each person’s playing. We are really anxious to get the songs down and explore them even more during the recording process.”

The Lehigh Valley has the best independent music scene in this area. So, I wanted to know what sets Hardly the Hero apart from the vast number of talented artists I come across from their area. Dave’s answer was slightly surprising, but makes an enormous amount of sense. “I don’t think it’s fair to say we are set apart from other area artists. I know that there are tons of great, talented solo artists and bands in the area. I think it’s honest to say that if you took all of the artists in the area, and made a group of those who don’t take themselves too seriously, are good friends as well as bandmates, and are more concerned with the music than the image – we’d be in that group. We’re proud of that.”

You can download some of Hardly the Hero’s songs at

Jenn Mattern is a professional writer and PR consultant, formerly specializing in music PR for indie artists. She owns 3 Beat Media, the parent company of AudioXposure. While AudioXposure is retired, you can still find Jenn at her other web properties including All Freelance Writing, Freelance Writing Pros, and NakedPR.

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