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INTERVIEWS THE FEISTY PIRANHAS|
NOT YOUR FATHER'S PUNK BANDThe role of the parent in rock n roll is ussually that of a manager with an eye on the money or the pushy stage mom whose got to have her little angel up front. It's not often that the parent is behind the drumkit of his sons punk band but that is where PETER LUST JR. has found himself in recent years and he likes it. "There was this energy in the music that we were making." says LUST of the initial jam sessions between father and son that had evolved into what would be known as THE FEISTY PIRANHAS. "When he (son, PETER ALEX LUST III) was fourteen he wrote the songs for SHOCKED (the bands first album) and at sixteen we released it.We started recording THE END in September of 2006 and was completed in May of 2007. So theres a little bit of the bands history there for you."
PETER LUST JR. OF THE FEISTY PIRANHAS
TALKS TO ROCKWIRED
ABOUT THEIR NEW CD 'THE END'
AND BEING A PROFESSIONAL
INTERVIEWED BY BRIAN LUSH
THE FEISTY PIRANHAS have released their sophomore CD, THE END to enthusiastic press and industry recognition (Namely the two honors for BEST PUNK BAND and BEST INDEPENDENT CD from the SOUTHBAY MUSIC AWARDS as well as a shot at 11 potential GRAMMY nominations if the preliminary voting goes well.) Their sound is dark, moody, SoCal punk/pop with unexpected flourishes ( a clarinet player named JENS SCHNABEL and guitar virtuosity by front man PETER LUST III). The band is a family affair. While they are not exactly THE PARTRIDGE FAMILY, the patriarch in the band stresses the virtues of education over rock n roll's decadences."Music can be a lot of fun but in todays environment, you can't be like AEROSMITH or the ROLLING STONES. The environment where those bands started from doesn't exist anymore. Your brain has to work in different avenues." says LUST. "You have to be a professional."
ROCKWIRED spoke with PETER LUST JR. over the phone. Here is how it went.
In what ways is THE END different from SHOCKED?
SHOCKED was our first album and it was written when my son (PETER ALEX LUST III) was fourteen years old and it was released when he was around fourteen or fifteen. SHOCKED was pretty much a collection of his initial writings of music so with that being said, I would have to say that THE END is a much more mature record. Don't get me wrong. SHOCKED was good. It was entered into the GRAMMYS for over two years in 3 different categories. One of them was BEST NEW ARTIST. When we decided to do THE END, we thought that we would spruce things up a little bit by making a piece of artwork go along with every song. On SHOCKED, the songs were written and our art person who is also in the band (JENS SCHNABEL) designed the artwork. With THE END, JENS made an oil painting for every single song and has created an extensive visual art package to go with the music. I would say that those two things are the real fundamental differences. We've also made improvements to our recording equipment and made changes to the interfaces to the digital equipment from the analog environment to help enhance the sound quality. For THE END, the sound is a step above SHOCKED.
I got an e-mail from DOUG (the bands publicist) about this CD being up for some 11 GRAMMY nominations.
12 actually. It's also up for a BEST ART DESIGN nomination which is selected by committee only. Being considered for this many nominations is kind of a humbling thing. I had an insider tell me that the only artists to be entered into the GRAMMYS with this many potential nominations were two artists; SANTANA back in 2000 and MICHAEL JACKSON in 1984, and both of those artists walked away with eight awards respectively.
Your band THE FEISTY PIRANHAS is an interesting mix of people. For starters, there are not that many father and son partnerships in rock music.
That's correct. There are families in music where the parents are the managers. It's not common for a parent to actually be in the band. I've been a musician for 35 years as a drummer. I've been playing drums for a lot of different bands and then I slowed down by the time I got married. When my son PETER came along he was born with a 95% hearing deficit in one ear and only 25% hearing in the other. That was a difficult thing for us to go through but you know what? At the age of 2, he picked up the guitar and started playing music and I was like "this kid is musically talented!" By the time he was 6 or 7 he was writing music. I have a filing cabinet with a file that is four inches thick with songs. The two of us decided to jam out together in the garage and we did this everyday for several years. When he was 12 we decided to do our first demo and we continued playing music and we started getting relatively tight. There was this energy in the music that we were making. When he was fourteen he wrote the songs for SHOCKED and at sixteen we released it. After SHOCKED, we decided to play some live shows. Last year we toured and footage of that tour is available in the DVD that comes with THE END. We started recording THE END in September of 2006 and was completed in May of 2007. So theres a little bit of the bands history there for you.
JENS is a very interesting component in this band. He plays the clarinet.
He's a clarinet player from Germany and has lived in Los Angeles since the mid-nineties and he is a very close friend. When he heard the music from SHOCKED, he added clarinet and we thought that it sounded interesting so we decided to integrate his sound into the band. JENS brings tremendous talent to the table. Each piece of artwork from THE END is an actual oil painting from JENS. He painted the vision of the album. The artwork and the lyrics, I feel, speak to a lot of whats on the minds of a lot of young people today. It's really enjoyable to have someone like JENS in the band. He's got his own website JENSSCHNABEL.COM. The music industry today is not exactly musician friendly. You've got to bring something more than music to the table. You have to bring a package, something you can see, touch, smell, hear and look at, and I think we do that with this band.
You can do things like that when you're independent. None of this would be happening if you were tied to a label.
Correct! Record labels years ago laughed at us. The whole music industry ignored us. That was what pushed us into a corner to create our own record label.
You balance this work with THE FEISTY PIRANHAS with a career as a spacecraft consultant.
It's a valuable lesson that I have for every young person . Every kid that works in my band has to be either going to school, have gone to school, or has to have an education and a profession on their mind in order to sustain a life, a family, a mortage or what have you. It's not possible for one to say, 'I'm 18 and I'm gonna be a rock star!' They'll be gobbled up by all of the sharks that are out there. You have to be a professional. My son PETER wants to be a lawyer and he sees the issues with the music industry everyday. He goes to college full time and he's also with the band full time. He's learning to stand on two legs. For his whole life, he'll do music but at the same time, he's going to be a professional, and have a family and do all of the things that he wants to do in life, successfully.
This is inspiring! So much of rock n roll isn't about thinking ahead.
It's not. I have this close friend of mine who is a drummer. He's about my age. He's played in front of 20,000 people stadiums with a lot of top-end artists and he has nothing now. He's a great drummer and a wonderful person but he doesn't have anything. Music can be a lot of fun but in todays environment, you can't be like AEROSMITH or the ROLLING STONES. The environment where those bands started from doesn't exist anymore. Your brain has to work in different avenues. Any other questions?
The name. How did you guys settle on the name?
The name of the band? We were thining about names to call the band and as we were driving down the street my son said 'FEISTY PIRANHAS'. I thought that it had a nice ring to it. So we went with it and got it trademarked.
You've talked about the artwork for THE END. Are there any tracks from it that stand out for you in particular?
The song 24 is a great track. We'll be performing that at the SOUTHBAY MUSIC AWARDS. BLIND is a lot of fun to play. NEVERMORE is great and NUMB is really one of my favorites.
What are the challenges of doing this whole thing by yourselves?
The primary challenge is not to get hung up on something that you think is great as a musician. You need other ears and other eyes.
What do you want someone to come away with after hearing this album?
I want them to come away thinking that the music was really good and that they liked it and that they foundit enjoyable and easy on the ears yet exciting. I want them to walk away think 'I wanna see thses guys live!' I'd like them to be drawn to the visual aspect as wells as the aspect of it.