OtherIamA Airport ramp agent, I load and unload all your luggage onto/off the airplane. I also clean them! AMA!
Apr 6th 2018 by Henbo_Longshaft • 34 Questions • 361 Points
Hello! My name is Brandon Hardesty and I'm the singer/songwriter of Maryland based ska/punk/reggae band Bumpin Uglies. We've been touring the United States since 2008 working on building up a fan base one fan at a time. We've done and seen a lot of crazy stuff over the last ten years and I would love to talk with you about it. We're currently on the road somewhere between Houston and Louisville so I'm gonna try to respond to questions as quickly as possible. AMA!
edit gonna be passing around my laptop to the other boys in the band, so if you have any questions for the band or crew ask away!
edit 2 sorry, got wrapped up in the show yesteday. gonna go back through and answer everyone elses questions now.
How are dogs/cats usually treated? I know the stuff in the news is the exception, but I am sure I am not alone in worrying my pet would get tossed about
If elected, what will be your first priority for legislation?
Brandon - Who was/is your inspiration for your music? I hear a lot of SKA/Punk influence in your earlier material and was wondering what bands/groups you would attribute that too?
Can’t speak for other places, but here we take the best care of them we can. We get them off of the ramp ASAP as it’s super loud and probably very scary for them. At least here at we are very cautious of where we put the dogs in terms of the bins as to avoid “pulling a United”.
Ah, yes! Was waiting for this question. Our team has been working and have decided to put bi-partisan bills that we KNOW can be done immediately at the top of our list rather than things that we know can be done after some organizing and coalition building work.
My first priority, and I hope District 55 will hold me accountable to this, will always be our working class families. Whenever the opportunity presents itself for me to pass, vote or fund legislation and policies that will directly benefit our families I will do that above any other priority.
Three specific pieces of bi-partisan legislation:
The introduction of an amendment that guarantees the survival of the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) for a minimum of 20 years with a requirement of it being assessed for extension every 5 years. Alabama currently provides ZERO state-funding for children's healthcare. All of our funding comes from the federal government. That's just not good enough. The health and lives of our children should not be up to who is in the White House.
Introduce home rule. Municipalities in Alabama are required to go to the State Capitol for approval on local-level bills, amendments and funding. The Birmingham City Council, for example, voted to increase minimum wage from the federal minimum $7.25 to $10.10/hr but was stopped by the Alabama House Legislator which retroactively banned local governments from setting minimum wage.
Creation of a state lottery to help fund public schools/expand pre-k, the CHIP program, and pre-trial diversion programs aimed at ending the school-to-prison pipeline.
- Campaign finance reform. Alabama has one of the most corrupt political systems in the country. I would work to make us the national model for governing without corporate or special interest dollars.
- Creation of a state minimum wage that adjusts with income.
- Ending of "special school districts" that leave poor and marginalized students out to dry.
i'm gonna answer this, but its gonna require a lot of writing so i'm gonna come back to it later!
Aren’t the straps basically just to keep the lid shut in case the zipper blows out?
When it comes to funding education, would you be in support of equalizing funding across school systems or targeting underfunded schools and increasing funding for them specifically?
What a really, really fantastic question.
I'm going to be honest with you - I don't think either of those options are enough to fix the issues with education in Alabama.
Birmingham City Schools receives just as much funding (when you look at spending per student) as the schools in the suburbs, but the dollar doesn't go nearly as far when the only meal some of our students get are when they are at school, it doesn't go nearly as far when students are having to work 30-40 hour a week jobs after school to help pay the rent, it doesn't go nearly as far when the young man or woman can't study at night because they're too busy being worried about the gunshots outside their house, and it definitely doesn't go as far when teachers are having to spend 60% of instruction time addressing behavioral problems rather than focused on helping students reach their learning goals.
If we want to be honest about fixing education, we have to be honest about addressing poverty. We cannot have an equitable education system until all parents and families have the same economic opportunities outside the classroom as we expect students to have educational opportunities inside the classroom.
So how do we fix this without just throwing more money at the problem?
- Create a state minimum wage that adjusts annually with cost of living.
- Guarantee that anyone who works 35 hours a week (even if it's 18 hours a week at one job and 17 hours at another) will have health insurance.
- Implement a state fund (Alabama is one of 3 states that does not have this) for public transportation to make access to high quality, good paying jobs in our city and state not so dependent on whether or not you have a car.
- Decriminalizing marijuana and retro-actively clear the records for anyone previously charged with minor possession offenses.
ALL of those things and so much ore are required to truly fix our education system and create an environment where parents have the financial resources to support their students in the classroom.
We shouldn't make the classroom any "easier" by lowering standards but we should make it easier for our parents to be engaged in the classroom by reforming what's happening outside of it to empower them to be available inside of it.
To answer your question specifically:
I think we need to raise the standards and make it much more difficult for cities trying to create their own "special districts" that essentially cut out black, poor and marginalized students and remove tax revenue from poor and working class families.
A county school recently tried to separate from the county system and create their own "city" school system but the DOJ came down and denied their request (even though our state and county said yes) because they would have disenfranchised black families and it was quite simply, racist. It was a school that was 60% black and the new district would have made it less than 10% black. All tax revenue in the new school district would have gone to the new "upper class" school which means the taxes (sales and real estate) would be taken from the old school and placed with the new one. The fact that this would have come into fruition without the DOJ stepping in is ABSOLUTELY disgusting.
we definitely all have different ones. i'll ask.
brandon - slightly stoopid
tj - iggy pop
chad - papadosi
wolfie - the slackers / miley cyrus
carl - goldfinger
justin - the dude from youtube who turns every song into allstar
Thank you for your answer. I did wonder--especially about wrapping over the handles and now I know thanks to you.
A good, complex answer. Thank you.
Glad I could help! Thanks for asking!
man its hard to pinpoint, but one time we played a festival next to a corn field and somehow or another wolfie ended up with an ear of corn. he proceded to play a gnarly slapbass solo using the ear of corn and the crowd lost their shit. it was incredible
What's the strangest piece of luggage you've ever handled?
Have you reached out to Rep Grace Meng's ASPIRE PAC or other Asian American candidate organizations?
i was also a ramp attendant and my worst was multiple garbagr bags of hands and feet going to a local university. In fucken garbages bags... i could tell what bags contains what limbs, they should have used bins. i also handled the stanley cup and an olympic gold medal ( i got to hold it, the athlete let me hold it)
Are you for or against my second amendment rights?
Where is your favorite place to perform and why (or why not) is it The Saint in Asbury Park?
I don’t really have any other questions but wanted to say thank you, your music has gotten me through some hard times.
Stanley cup / gold metal, cool. Bag of hands? not so much.
I am a firm believer in our constitution and the rights it grants to us.
I believe that the current conversation of "all or nothing" when it comes to addressing gun violence are misguided and a false dichotomy.
I support bi-partisan solutions to address gun violence.
91% of Americans agree on UBCs 84% on requiring Mental Health Checks 72% on raising the age to buy to 21 69% on more SROs in schools 60% on bannjnf assault weapons.
I wholly support the second amendment but also support these bi-partisan solutions to address gun violence in our country. I do not believe that defending the second amendment necessarily means that we don't have serious conversations about evolvinf it to fit our current need.
Since we are on the topic of gun violence, I don't believe there is one simple solution to fix all the problems we have with gun deaths in America. Gun violence in our Union is multilayered and complex and I think our solutions need to reflect that. What happened in Parkland is much different than what happened to Trayvon Martin and that is much different than what's happening in West Birmingham.
listen to talk radio and stare at our phones
if a suitcase has a fragile sticker on it, are they actually treated more carefully? a lot of my fragile stuff has broken before despite me telling the check in people that there's fragile stuff in there and also having a sticker on there, so now i just carry it with me hand luggage :(
"Assault weapons" are not a thing. That's a dangerous thing to push. Lost my vote.
If you support only banning something like an AR with a bump stock, then that's fien with me. Bump stocks are already incredibly dangerous to hold and it is a loophole on full auto weapons.
With rising popularity, is it hard to fight off the massive amounts of pussy being thrown in your direction? Especially with a band name like Bumpin Uglies - I mean you guys fuck amirite?
Wouldn't want to join r/knightsofpineapple, tis' a silly place.
I am in full support of strict enforcement of IDEA and ADA rules and regulations. This is what equal opportunity is all about.
I think the main challenge that we face in regards to being IDEA and ADA compliant is funding.
Major sections of IDEA and ADA, while important, are unfunded mandates.
You're expecting teachers, administrators and school communities with already tight budgets to do more (we should always be pushing and challenging our education system to be and do better) but not give them the funds, staffing or facilities they need to meet those goals appropriately?
And THEN you're going to give them a bad score on a state-wide "school report card" that impacts how much funding they get in the future, which then results in the loss of further teachers and resources... which then makes it even harder for them to meet those standards next year? How does that make sense?
Alabama has got to stop waiting for the federal government to bail us out and take ownership over the problems that we have.
The Democrats in Congress have tried for a long time to fully fund IDEA but we can't wait for the federal government to save us anymore. It's time for us to take ownership over the problems we have and work on no-nonsense, bi-partisan solutions that will help our working and middle class families.
An easy solution would be to create a state lottery that will help fund IDEA and ADA compliance for our public schools as well as our post-secondary education institutions.
3 of us are married or in serious relationships so TJ is the unquestioned president of slam town. It’s right next to Space Mountain, if you’re curious.
Who's more stoked about the album, the band, or Uglies Nation?
Personally, I prefer hard shell. Why do you prefer soft?
i think Uglies Nation, the hype has been real!
As someone who gate-checks their bags almost every flight, how much (if any) does this piss off agents?
Hey Brandon, big fan and fellow song writer here. I'm just curious about your writing process. I know you out a lot of thought in your song writing and it shows.
What I'm wondering is if you sit down and force yourself to write or do you wait for it organically? Do you start with a catchy concept or hook first?
If it’s a normal bag it’s not too bad and really doesn’t require too much extra effort. The exception is if it’s like a super heavy or awkwardly shaped bags like wheel chairs or strollers that we then have to carry down a narrow flight of stairs.
the ideas have to happen organically. you can't force a hook. once i have a good hook i can usually sit down and make myself write something. the best songs are the ones that just pour out of me though
Very cool! God, it must be so nerve-wracking doing maintenance on an airplane. Talk about a high-pressure job.
Do you like what you do? Would you recommend it as a career choice? How did you qualify and/or train for that position?
What’s up Brandon, fellow musician here. I’ve always been curious as to what your writing process is for songs? Do the lyrics come first or the music?
It’s a very interesting job, however on a busy day it can be hell. It’s a good job for college students (80% of my coworkers) but not something I’d want as a career. There just isn’t much more to achieve other than ramp supervisor. I worked on the private side of the airport (private jets, famous people, etc) before, so that was kinda my “qualifications”. However, many of my co-workers had no experience with airlines what-so-ever.
it varies from song to song. my phone is filled with lyrics in the 'notes' section and riff ideas in the 'voice memos' section. eventually they meld together to form a song
Flying from LAX to PDX a couple years ago I had an iPod stolen from my checked baggage and replaced with cucumber eye-pads. I’m sure someone thought it was hilarious.
But, my question is: at what point in my bags journey did this likely happen?
Have the police ever stopped a show?
Most likely when it was being loaded onto the carts. If someone is bored they might have popped it open and stolen it. People can be shitty, I'm sorry! We aren't all bad!
every house party, ever
How do you decide which luggage to handle with Care and which one to toss like trash?
Hey Brandon! Big fan from the ATL :) will you guys be coming to Georgia any time soon?
Honestly the best answer would be gunny’s quote from FMJ: “YOU ARE ALL EQUALLY WORTHLESS!” We make sure not to handle bags too rough as to break them, but bags really do take a beating. Fragile labeled bags will be treated better obviously, but still not too good. If we are in a rush we will generally throw bags pretty hard. We will throw bags hard that don’t slide well I.e. duffle bags and other cloth bags. Best word of advice for getting your bag handled better: Use a hard shelled, four wheel roller bag. Those are the easiest to throw, stack, and slide, and are consistently treated better, but not always.
we'll be in ATL this summer!
scattered, smothered, and peppered
Brandon! Did you catch the rick and morty episode that was streaming on the Adult Swim website yesterday?
haha the other guys did. i saw about 30 seconds and decided i'd had enough
Not a song writer, but a writer writer. Do you ever get nervous about sharing such personal stuff, and if so how do you over come it? Also you guys rock please come to Minnesota more! Also if you go on reddit a lot, r/vandwellers is right for you! Would love to see the kind of set up you have!
i dont really get nervous anymore unless i'm putting someone elses business out there. i'm an open book, but i'd had to fuck up a relationship with a friend because i wrote about something that they don't want being out there
Any advice on how to be a ska band in 2018? Asking for a friend who is not me and definitely does not play in a ska band in 2018.
try to make it work with as few members as possible. you gotta tour to get noticed, and the more mouths you have to feed on tour the harder its gonna be. we have horns all over our studio shit but we cant afford to tour with them so we don't. it's all about minimalism
How hygienic are you living in a van? How often do you shower?
so living in a van is kind of a metaphore. we're on tour about 6 months of the year and we spend most of that time driving so it feels like we're living in the van at times. we crash at friends houses most of the times and we get hotels when we can't find somewhere to stay for free. try to shower daily.
I'm a little late to this as I live in Guam now, but I saw you at Vinoy Park, St. Pete, Florida last year (?) Or the year before that at Reggae Rise Up.
The set changed my life and been a fan ever since we made eye contact and took a shot, yours was a flask, mine was a sunscreen bottle.
Anyways, did y'all enjoy your time at the festival and would you go back? ...or were you too drunk to remember most of it, like me!
Cheers from Guam!
Also everyone loves you out here if you ever wanted a vacation/overseas show
oh HELL YES, that was a great festival! florida is a hot bed for our scene and RRU does a great job with their production. would love to do that festival again in 2019!
would love to make it to guam one day too! fingers crossed....