Were the songs all new or were there some that you had been sitting on for a while? Two of the songs were written by our bass player, Rade Pejic and I’m assuming are current. Of my five songs, all were newer, with the exception of ‘Set Your City Free’ which was written awhile ago. The line “were gonna march into your town. Knock all your statues down” was about the invasion of Iraq but in New Orleans, everyone thinks it’s about the removal of Confederate monuments.
Guns N’ Roses. I was in grade school, and had a passing interest in music – just whatever my folks listened to or what was on the radio. Then my dad bought Use Your Illusion I (either trying to find “Knockn’ on Heaven’s Door”, or “November Rain”) and hated the rest of it. So I got a hold of it, and that was the beginning of the end. They swore!
Who were your heroes growing up?
Musically, it’s run the gamut over the years, from GnR (see above), to Bowie, Ginger Wildheart, Johnny Thunders, Stiv Bators, Keith Richards & the Micks (Jagger and Taylor)… Michael Jackson and the Beach Boys when I was younger… I don’t know that they really count as heroes, but I sure as hell looked up to them (and still do).
Otherwise… Fuck, I don’t know. I was honestly a pretty apathetic kid for the most part. I don’t remember caring about or being inspired by anyone enough that I would call them a hero. I mean, soldiers and firefighters and whatnot fit the bill, but I can’t honestly say that I cared while I was growing up.
What was your first instrument?
The first instrument I learned to play was the piano (not counting kazoos or whatever), but I was just borrowing my folks’. The first instrument that was MINE, was a trumpet. Which was great, because when I got hassled by some older kids after band practice one sunny afternoon, I was able to smash them in the face with it and run off. Don’t know what happened to it… Might’ve been a rental actually? Next was a horrible blue (with black stripes?) Jackson guitar… sounded and played like crap, but man did I have fun with it. It got lost when my folks moved while I was in college, which I’m still pissed about.
What was your first rock concert and what was its impact on you?
Technically the Beach Boys when I was like 5, but I was just along for the ride with my folks. My first show with friends… Probably either Pantera, Alanis Morissette (I know), or Smashing Pumpkins/Garbage? I’m honestly not sure. And probably the biggest impact on me was Pumpkins/Garbage – because Garbage opened and put on a killer show, and the Pumpkins went on and were lifeless and boring, even though I liked them more. That firmly cemented the importance of “the show” rather than just playing.
Elementary/middle school… I think my first song was a catchy track titled “Field Trip to Hell.” It came naturally, but that doesn’t mean I was any good at it. I definitely have to work harder at it these days (for the most part – sometimes I get in the groove and it just spills out, which is really the best feeling this side of sex but I still don’t know if I’m any good at it.
How did you guys choose the songs for the debut EP?
‘Cause they kick ass. Why else? Honestly, while PLS was becoming 3 Parts Dead, there was a lot of bullshit going on for JC and myself (the PLS remnants). Once we started playing with Fitz and Ramon, we were all just having so much fun, and these songs sort of happened, and we were just so stoked on them that we put them out right away. I mean, we had been playing together for maybe 2 months when we went into the studio.
Any plans to release a full-length follow-up?
Definitely. We’ve been writing since we put out the EP, and are looking forward to showing everyone what we’ve been working on. We’ll get into the studio soon, but we’ve been keeping busy playing out around the country in the meantime. Fingers crossed for late spring/early summer.
Would you consider recording one cover to bring more attention to the band like VH did and, if so, what might be strong candidates for you guys to do?
I’d love to, but that’s definitely a secondary priority to writing our own tracks. We do some live covers, both obscure tracks and more popular ones. I guess if we were gonna do a cover for attention we’d have to pick some top 40 track that we all abhor. But I’d rather do something by the Wildhearts, or the Stones, or the Distillers, or… You know, something else that really speaks to me as a fan and we can just have fun playing. But that kinda defeats the “pop appeal” aspect of it. Maybe doing “Do You Love Me” (a la the Heartbreakers cover) would be a good middle ground.
As 3PD you’ve already shared the stage with a number of luminaries as a solid opener, what’s the secret?
We never thought we were a “local band”, and we never acted like one, and so those opportunities have always just kind of fallen into our laps. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that we work our asses off to pursue them, write (we think) catchy tunes, and have managed to get a ton of support from some really amazing friends and fans that have helped push us to that next level.
If you could go out on tour with any band this year who would it be and why?
Haha, why, do you know someone looking for an opener? Seriously though, that’s a tough question to answer. As a fan, I’d love to hit the road with the Wildhearts, or the Supersuckers, or any of those bands that never seems to leave my cd player. As a professional musician, I’d probably want to hit the road with someone like Nickelback, or Hinder, that’s packing shows, to get in front of some new faces that would dig what we do but might not hear us otherwise.
I hear Motley Crue is doing a “farewell” tour, so maybe that’s the sweet spot in the middle… Nikki Sixx, if you’re reading this – give me a call if you need an opener!
Well, my sister left some vinyl around when she went to college. Abbey Road, The Kinks’ live album, Billy Joel’s debut, and Springsteen’s The Wild, The Innocent, and the E Street Shuffle. So it starts in that pile, and probably with “She Came in Through The Bathroom Window” specifically. That vocal made the hairs stick up on my neck…after hearing lots and lots of classical music from mom and dad. The classical had an impact too.
2.0 – What was the first album you ever purchased?
REO Speedwagon’s High Infidelity. There’s no lying when answering this question, no matter the quality of the album in question. “Keep On Lovin’ You” had owned me on the radio, enough to make me ride my bike to the mall.
3.0 – What music is in your car right now?
It’s whatever’s on my phone, or maybe an Android tablet I use too. I don’t keep a ton on either of them. Whatever Tributosaurus is working on (Pink Floyd, Tom Petty) , plus: Funkadelic (America Eats It’s Young), Fleet Foxes, Wilco (Yankee Hotel Foxtrot Engineer Demos), Spoon (Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga), Grant Green (Sunday Morning). There’s a little more…I swap it out often. Also, Sound Opinions podcasts rotate.
3.0 – How did the Tributosaurus concept come about?
My brother Jon throws a big birthday party concert every year, and one year (when he was in the pit band for Blue Man Group), some NYC Blue Man extended family was there. They told me about something in New York called Loser’s Lounge. Every few months they got a wide array of NYC musicians together to do the music of, say, Burt Bacharach, and they’d all cover a tune or two doing their own spin. Brilliant. So I thought of doing that in Chicago, but clarifying it to be iconic rock and roll artists, and to do it as close to note for note as possible. The idea was to treat the rock canon with the same reverence and respect with which orchestras treat Brahms or Shostakovich.
4.0 – It must be fun to argue about which tunes to do by a given artists, is there a formula for Tributosaurus set lists?
Yes..there are five core members, and we each get 3 or 4 picks, depending on the set length we’re going for. Every once in a while we might say “well, this and that HAS to be in,” but for the most part the list ends up being a product of our individual tastes coming together. No veto is allowed either, so if I, or anyone, picks an absolute dog, you suffer through it. Of course, tunes you thought you hated always end up being appreciated. That’s one of the real joys of the thing.
5.0 – What five homage’s are you most proud of?
The first time we did Steely Dan, we surprised even ourselves. It kind of made us realize that absolutely anything was suddenly possible. Marvin Gaye gave me the best appreciation for the deconstruction/reconstruction nature of the project, because it took 15 or 16 people to re-create the deceptively simple Motown sound. Stevie Wonder with a huge band was a joy and an absolute party. The Replacements holds a place in my heart, because we were properly gritty, sloppy, and a little drunk, but nailed the stuff we had to nail in that great music. Queen last month at The Vic, with 1100 people singing along to “Bohemian Rhapsody”, is a beautiful memory right now. Those are the first 5 that popped into my head…there are many others.
6.0 – Did your confidence in your voice as a singer lead to your career in radio in any way?
Interesting. No..they’ve always been concurrent careers, one sometimes jumping ahead of the other. My dad was a sports guy, mom a music teacher and opera singer. My brother 10 years older is a musician; my brother 9 years older was a baseball player and sports fan. I’ve always been consumed by both, and done both. College was full of both. They inform each other far more than you might expect. Team and locker room concepts inform band situations. Musical narrative/lyrical concepts show up in game theories and radio production. There’s probably a book in there.
7.0 – As the resident rocker at The Score you have contributed many musical spoofs & bits, any personal favorites?
‘The 12 days of Bearsmas’ was a lucky and fun concept. We tried it last year too, and may this year, but it’s better when the Bears are terrible. 7 false starts, 6 prime time losses, 5 Cutler picks, etc. ‘The Hossa’ song to the Kink’s “Lola” became a Blackhawks favorite, sometimes played on the ice for their afternoon skate, and put on jukeboxes at sports bars in town. That’s pretty cool. Truly, I’m proud of the music you hear on our show in production, and as bumpers coming out of opens and back from commercials. The producers have good, varied tastes, in addition to stuff that Mac and I like. I have no doubt that you hear the most interesting, eclectic mix of music on our show that big city talk radio has ever seen.
8.0 – Musically speaking, where does the road part for you and Danny Mac?
Um, in about 1986 I think. The man loves his 70’s, and a touch of his skinny tie 80’s period. So I kind of have anything after that covered. In the vintages we do share, I go into soul and funk more than him. I like punk and new wave more than him. But I dig much of his taste, even if it’s a bit narrow. He loves the Stones, ACDC, Zeppelin, Alice Cooper. And he seriously LOVES it. You have to respect when someone is as passionate about it as he is. Plus, like so much with him, he’ll surprise you when you least expect it, and quote a lyric from Pete Townsend’s Empty Glass or XTC’s Black Sea. He turned me on to Todd Rundgren. As long as he doesn’t veer into UFO and Nazareth too much, we’re cool.
10.0 – What’s the best concert you’ve ever seen?
Wow. Peter Gabriel’s “Up” tour at the United Center, in the round was pretty great. Saw the So tour in 1986 I think as well…he’s wonderful live. The Pavement reunion last summer at Pitchfork was a wonderful night personally, with my buddy who shared the history with me, and my wife to be who was discovering them. But I’ll cheat and say Lollapalooza 1994. I had the full combo platter: moshing for the Beastie Boys on the lawn, up front dancing for George Clinton & the P-Funk All Stars, I sat completely in love with Kim Deal & The Breeders. Even though I left during the unnecessarily loud Smashing Pumpkins, that day ruled. I heard enough from “Siamese Dream” to cap the show perfectly.
2.0 Does playing guitar also make one a better drummer? Yes and vice-versa , anything with harmonic/melodic qualities will help a drummer think more musically, and playing drums can certainly help inform other instrumentalists about feel and good time.
3.0 Do you have a favorite stage kit? I like to change it from band to band , tour to tour. My old standby is any good ol’ 4 piece a la Charlie Watts , but sometimes I take it to extremes…last Morrissey tour was a Gretsch USA Custom 6-piece kit, but with and orchestral Bass Drum and a massive 8-ft Paiste Gong as well…oh yeah and about 10 cymbals, all Zildjian.
4.0 Is it okay to be nervous before a show? Definitely, nerves can help step your game up, but to be fair they can also stiffen up a performance. It goes both ways. I don’t really meditate but before a show – I try to find a minute or two to close my eyes and focus my energy…really visualize how I want to play. It really works.
5.0 When you write a song, where does it start for you…. as a riff, a beat, a melody, a lyric? Anywhere and everywhere. I get more song ideas when I am out walking or riding my bike than anywhere…which usually results in me racing home to record it before I forget it. I write more on piano than any other instrument, but when I have the time my favorite writing technique is to spend a few hours going back and forth on the instruments. I might have an idea on guitar, but before I finish writing it I’ll go over to the drums and play with the song in my head, because I’m more comfortable on drums than the other instruments I’ll come up with dynamics and arrangement ideas that I wouldn’t have otherwise. Then it’s always back to the piano to really figure out harmonically what is happening with the song.
6.0 What’s up with MDR? TheMDR is still happening, but a couple of the members have left town so we are focusing more on finishing recording/mixing our last EP. I have been working on a kind of solo project called of1000faces. Its based on my writing but the idea is to record and perform in a variety of contexts with different musicians from all genres. We just played our first show in Chicago a couple of months ago and will be playing again Nov12 at The Bottom Lounge.
7.0 How did the Morrissey gig come about? A few of his band members live in L.A. and are friends with my brother Solomon and ex-Cupcakes band mate Greg Suran. When Morrissey found himself in need of a drummer to tour for “Ringleader of the Tormentors”, my old Chicago pals put my name in for the job which got me an audition….ironically, a year after I became his drummer, the original bass player quit and my brother joined Morrissey’s band as well.
8.0 Any tunes in his repertoire that were more difficult to learn than you may have expected? Some of The Smiths songs are a challenge. Not from a technical stand point, but trying to capture their essence which is largely dependent on the style of drummer Mike Joyce, and the way the drums and bass interacted. Additionally, there was a certain sound they had that lent itself to Morrissey’s vocals – In a live situation, with a catalog as expansive as Morrissey’s, it’s challenging to go from one era to the next in a single set, it’s almost like time travel.
9.0 Who was your favorite 80’s act? Again, how do i pick one?!! Adam Ant, Gary Numan, Icicle Works. Talk Talk, Split Endz, Tears for Fears….its a long list.
10.0 If you could be anybody else in history who would it be? I see this question in some magazine….what is it…GQ? Cosmopolitan? I would be David Bowie because no one can touch him.