House of Freaks was a two-man band formed in Richmond, Virginia in the mid 1980s. Bryan Harvey played guitar and sang, and Johnny Hott played percussion. The band managed to achieve a remarkably full sound, mostly because of Hott's inventive drumming and Harvey's confident vocals and knack of playing bass lines on his guitar (cribbed from his many years as a bass player) while simultaneously playing a melody.
The Freaks' sound was a combination of folk and rock, and drew heavily from the blues and primitive Americana music. Their lyrics focused on race, religion, and life in the South, although Harvey was also adept at writing about more personal topics (the lack of success of independent bands, his sex life and meeting the woman who would become his wife on "I Got Happy") using rich metaphors from these former topics, so that many of their songs could be interpreted in two entirely different ways. Bryan's obsession with southern Gothic issues influenced his song writing. These sentiments can be heard in such songs as "White Folk's Blood", "Family Tree" and "Big Houses" from the album Tantilla, and he cribbed the title of "A Good Man" from "Cakewalk" from Flannery O'Connor.