Tuned to Each Other

Photograph by Doug Coombe

Augie Visocchi isn’t very good with names, but when he walked into an 8 a.m. political science class at Michigan State in the early part of the new millennium, he remembered hers. After a random introduction by a mutual friend and a summer of not thinking of each other, he still remembered.

“He sat next to me and said, ‘You’re Korin, right?’ I was all excited that he knew my name,” Korin says, pulling her hands to her mouth re-enacting her excitement.
Now they’re married. And if fate exists, it’s working in Augie and Korin’s favor. Not just for love … but for rock ’n’ roll, as well.

The duo make up one of Detroit’s increasingly successful musical talents — the Hard Lessons. And, in the beginning, it all seemed to fall into place — just like sitting next to your future wife in a morning poli-sci class.

It began when they walked into a guitar shop. “Korin started playing keyboards,” Augie says. “I looked at her and said, ‘You can play?’ I’ve always been in bands; it’s a part of me. And I’ll probably always be in bands. So, it just made sense. I’ve played in bands with friends — why not my girlfriend?”

But it wasn’t until Augie and Korin decided to get on the bill of a battle of the bands that a musical endeavor was formed. “I stayed up all night and wrote three songs for the show,” Augie says. “They were all about hard lessons, learning hard lessons, teaching hard lessons. So we became the Hard Lessons.”

At the same time, an acquaintance asked Augie if he knew someone who wanted to record a few tracks for free as part of a communications class. “Of course we did,” Augie says.

After they recorded, they went to the battle of the bands and won $400.

“Within a few weeks, he had recorded our songs, won a battle of the bands, and had money to press it,” Korin says. “And one of the songs on the recording ended up being the No. 1 song on the Impact [a local college radio station]. Everything just fell into place.”

This month, they’ll play at Michigan’s Rothbury Music Festival. “Probably not going on before Bob Dylan, though,” Augie says, smirking. Additionally, two of their songs — “Wicked Man“ and “Wedding Ring” — were featured on TV’s Friday Night Lights and Grey’s Anatomy, respectively.

They’ve just released a new album, Arms Forest, a title reference to Midtown’s Forest Arms apartments, which suffered a massive fire last summer. “This is a Detroit record, inspired by Detroit,” Korin says, “but with universal themes that everyone can relate to.”

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