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INTERVIEWS THE ATTRACTION|
STEP RIGHT UP!
LANCE ROMANCE OF THE ATTRACTION
TALKS TO ROCKWIRED
ABOUT THEIR DEBUT CD "STEP RIGHT UP"
A LUST FOR LIFE
AND NEVER GIVING UP
INTERVIEWED BY BRIAN LUSH
The So Cal music scene is known for its punchiness and big lively sound. With that, THE ATTRACTION shouldn't stand out at all, but they do.
First, there is the music which shifts from four to the floor rock n roll to brit-pop, to a ska sound in a moments notice and LANCE ROMANCE'S alarm-like staccato delivery. Sure these are elements that will remimd a listener of an early NO DOUBT or SUBLIME, but what does separate THE ATTRACTION from the rest of average SO CAL music fare is it's lyrical sophistication. Their debut CD STEP RIGHT UP! (Distributed by ROUND HOUSE RECORDS) asks the listener to do just that; to step right up and be a part of something that lead singer LANCE ROMANCE refers to as being "...magical". There is plenty of magic here on these 12 tracks. These guys know how to tell a story, and it ain't always pretty. The opening track JOHNNY is the harrowing tale os a teenaged misfit going off to war only to return to society as even more of misfit. STILL BREATHING tells of a near death experience suffered by the bands lead singer and CHRISTMAS SONG is one of the most hauntingly beautiful songs on the subject of Christmas.
Secondly, THE ATTRACTION have developed a reputation as one of the most dynamic live acts on the scene. "In our live sets, what we wanted to create was something different." says LANCE ROMANCE "You see bands nowadays and the shows are a bunch of kids banging it out with no real entertainment value. The music is good but we wanted to get back to putting on a show." And put on a show they do. The response to this band has been so alarmingly enthusiastic, that they have just been awarded the awards for "Best Punk Band" by bothe The Orange County Music Awards(OCMA) and the Southern California Music Awards (SCMA). They were also the finalists in the categories for "Best Live Act" (OCMA) and "Best Out of Area Band" by the Inland Empire Music Awards (IEMA). LANCE maintains that this is the "...tip of the iceberg..." for THE ATTRACTION. We can only agree.
ROCKWIRED spoke with LANCE ROMANCE over the phone on a Sunday morning following a show in Las Vegas. Here is how it went.
How did things begin for THE ATTRACTION? What brought you guys together?
It was one of those things where I had stumbled with relationships and I had put off music for a while. Then I came back and said "I'm gonna do everything that's good for me!" So, I came back to music 'cause it made me happy. I started looking for people and ended up meeting BEAVER our bass player and took off from there and
put ads out and started finding people. We were fortunate enough to have come up with the right guys at the right time. Everyone clicked and things came together in the first year. I put together a business plan for the band and we started doing cover music so there would be no attitudes or egos and we could go into the bars and get paid. All the money we made as a cover band went into a bank account that would go towards recording gear. We figured that at the end of the year we should have a pretty good idea of how to play well on stage and do what we like to do. We also figured that we'd start writing original stuff from there.
And how long has the band been together now?
Three years in September.
Is the CD STEP RIGHT UP everything that you guys hoped it would be?
It is. That song YOU LAUGH was literally something that we wrote on the fly. We recorded everything at my house in Huntington Beach. We bought the recording equipment and learned how to use it as we were writing. What we wanted was raw. None of us ended up doing more than four takes on any one thing. Most of the vocals were done in two. It was a pretty quick process of recording.
Sounds pretty homespun. The opening track JOHNNY is a powerful little track. You wanna talk about it?
Absolutely. My mom had a friend that she, as a child, grew up with who eventually disappeared and she never knew where he went. There was no good bye or anything. As it turns out, at age 15 he took off. He just wanted to get away. He had a hard life at home and his mother approved of him going into the military, to Vietnam. The Military told him to "write the number 18 on a piece of paper put it in your shoe and put your shoe back on
and raise you right hand" then they said "Are you over 18?" and there he was literally over 18 and he said "...yes".
They swore him in that way. Pretty tragic story! He was fifteen years old in Vietnam, killing an trying to survive.
He came back home after three tours. After seeing all of buddies killed and blown up he could never come back to the real world. After struggling with drugs and alcohol and being in and out of jail he decided to take his own life. It was by air embolization. He injected his veins with air.
It's a tragic song. It stood out for me because the song itself is really energetic and to have that counteract with whats going on witht song lyrically A lot of your songs are like that.
Its a song that can be told in many different ways. We don't want to be a somber band or a downer band at all
but there are messages and appreciations that we have and we'd like to share them but not bring the world down. So, we like to keep the music up and going
It's really hearfelt. Especially in an area where the SoCal music scene seems to be personified by whiny "Mommy and Daddy" lyrics. You guys don't seem to do that.
Not at all. Lyrically the way I've grown up and lived my life is to experience and explore every option. I try to live life to the fullest and my way of learning is by experiencing. I've done lots of that! Generally, I like to talk about it and write about it
Sounds like THE ATTRACTION is pretty much a democracy. Explain the creative process to me, if it is explainable.
This band is pretty magical! We click on all four corners. Its more that just a band-- it's a bond. We lean on each other. If there are down times each one of us will just pick each other up and go. The writing comes out the same way. Somebody starts messing with something and it just happens. It clicks together. Some of the songs were written in 15 minutes. Sometimes, someone has a slight idea comes in and starts on something and someone will go "What if we try this...What if we try that?" We definitely work as a democracy. If three of us say "Yeah" to an idea and the one person gets overthrown, is overthrown and it's understood. Basically it's leave your ego at the door and work.
Amongst you band mates, who do you feel each of them brings to THE ATTRACTION
I think that each of them brings character. MASTER JOHN comes from more of classic rock background
and gives us a spin on our music. If we had a guitarist that came from that same music that we all came from I think we'd sounds like all of the other bands out there. BEAVER and I are kind of into the Brit-pop thing. I just think that everyone has their own character
As an individual, what drew you to music?
Music has always been a passion for me. It's in my blood but it's not in my family anywhere. It was something that I could always turn to and focus on I could play the guitar and escape and write some songs. I appreciated having that outlet when often times kids turn to drugs. It was important to have around.
Describe the response to your live sets.
In our live sets, what we wanted to create was something different. You see bands nowadays and the shows are a bunch of kids banging it out with no real entertainment value. The music is good but we wanted to get back to putting on a show. I enjoy things like theater and CIRQUE DE SOLEIL and I wanted to get a mix of both and bring back the entertainment value. It's kind of like the tip of the iceberg for us now. If we had the money or the time to do what we like to do things would be a whole lot different but we're on our way. As far as the reaction to it,
people love it! They say that the energy is insane. The more people we get in front of, the faster we grow
and that is something thats happening super rapidly for us
It looks that way. bear in mind of only seen still photos of your performances but they look theatrical and exciting.
It's high energy! Its passion poured onto a stage and ignited.
Any plans for a video?
we have one that we've put together independently.
Thats the only way to do it. It's the only way to make money.
To lean on someone like the industry and have them pay for everything only for them to take it back even if you're filling stadiums, isn't something we're interested in. We try to keep everything in-house and we've got a distribution deal with ROUND HOUSE RECORDS.
THE ATTRACTION is a band based in Orange County. How difficult is to get practice time in Orange County when it's known for it's oppressive sound ordinance.
We've become friends with all of the neighbors.
What do you want someone to walkway with after hearing your music?
An appreciation for life. Thats something that we want. In my opinion, the road can get pretty tough but you take it in stride and you move on. Lots of things happen to lots of people. One of the things that I had to conquer was this whole heart failure condition. The song STILL BREATHING is about that. I lost my sister due to a heart condition. She died on Thanksgiving three years ago and my heart ended up failing a few weeks later prior to Christmas. It waspretty tragic but you move on. Unfortunately it cost her her life to have them find out that mine was on its way down. I was passing out alot around that time. I went her funeral and her husband said that she was passing out and I was like "I'm doing the same thing now!" I went to the doctor and I died on the test table
and they brought me back after three and a half minutes.
Yeah thank God for her for saving me. Unfortunately it did cost her her life.What I'd like to see people get out of the music is to never give up and to do things your way. Things are never that bad for you to take your own life. We'd like positive energy to come out of us.