Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Interview: Gypsy Pistoleros

The Gypsy Pistoleros would be pigeonholed into a genre that I usually dismiss, but that would be a mistake in this case. Sure, there were some great glam bands, but most of those still hanging around are just old men who can't admit their day has passed or young bands that want to recapture glam at its commercial peak (which happens to be its creative slump, surprise, surprise). The Pistoleros are another story. Not only do they add a Latin flair to their music, but they also play it with an intensity and a hunger that is too often absent not only from their genre, but from rock n roll in general. I had an opportunity to get a little bit of insight into what makes the Pistoleros tick from frontman Lee Pistolero.

RnRnMN: You guys successfully marry glam with Latin music. How did you come by that idea?

Lee: I was living in Zaragoza (Spain) in 1992 after running away from London (Lords of the New Church, Kill City Dragons years) & then L.A.! I started a band there, discovered flamenco & rumba pop (Spanish late 70's/early 80's gypsy pop). Loved it!! Everyone said it was sacrilege & that you couldn't play it in a rock n roll band! I've always hated someone telling me i can't!!! So we played a couple of flamenco/rumba tracks when we supported The Ramones in 1993 Spain & it worked!! It rocks up really well!

RnRnMN: Do you worry that you'll be viewed as a novelty rather than a serious band because of the glam/Latin angle?

Lee: Were the Gypsie Kings a novelty? Los Lobos?? We do what we do!! I think that original, unique is fukkin amazing in this World of the norm, safe!! Glam was fun! Music should be fun, escapism!! We are what we are!

RnRnMN: You seem to be pretty close to the fans. I see you posting on forums and having a lot of direct contact with people. How do you think that personal contact effects your music? Do you think you'll be able to maintain that level of contact as the band gets bigger?

Lee: Yes!! We'll break our bollocks to!! Personal contact means everything. They are great critics. They want you to succeed & they tell you the truth (from the heart). No greater critics or advisors. It's getting harder as the volume increases, but when you have more time for the bullshit people than the REAL people, you're lost anyway!

RnRnMN: How would you define success as a rock n roll band?

Lee: 2009, we headline Rocklahoma! A new band being supported by the old legends! Someone turns round & says "You know Hanoi Rocks, Motley Crüe, Gypsy Kings, they sound a bit like GYPSY PISTOLEROS!"

RnRnMN: What's the story with re-issuing the album? Why change the title for a remaster with two extra songs?

Lee: BAD REPUTATION are a very happening label! Evil Boy Records couldn't cope with the demand, so (we) licensed it to a real record label! We recorded two new tracks & remastered the old album! It was recorded & mixed, mastered in 14 days, eveything (Joe Gibb is a genius a we owe him!) We couldn't afford the orchestra for 'Moonchild!' The next album will be on a different level! That said, I love this ugly baby!!

RnRnMN: The original release sold well without major distribution. How is Para Siempre doing with a push from Bad Reputation?

Lee: No idea, the pressings were ready 24th January! I bloody hope it sells!!

RnRnMN: You have quite a few fans in the US. When will the album be available over here?

Lee: On import you can get it from Bad Reputation. We are in discussion with major U.K & U.S management & U.S Record Companies!! Hence us pulling out of our U.K & Euro Tour to demo the next album, etc!! Its killing us, but this deal is massive!!

RnRnMN: What's the scoop with Eric Stacy? Did you ever work with him or did the whole thing fall through before you got together?

Lee: Love Eric. We thought it could work but all he was interested in was $$$. Never even asked about the music?? We recorded the two new tracks as a four piece & it sounded great! So we didn't need him. (He didn't take it too well!)

RnRnMN: You're one of the few bands in the glam genre that is actually pushing the boundaries rather than living in the past. Is it frustrating having to open for bands that aren't doing much more than reliving past glory like at Rocklahoma?

Lee: I used to love L.A Guns, Pussycat, Bang Tango, etc. & still do! They just aren't as hungry as us neverhavebeens! We lived & died on those Euro dates onstage! Scenario- we sing in half Spanish/English, no one had heard of us in Austria, Budapest, Italy, Germany but we went for it (for the throat, like every gig was our first & last). Not a poster in Vienna, but an encore after they had to switch the disco off after the crowd went mad. Those are the nights that make you realize why you sleep in vans, don't eat, fuck up everyone you leave behind! When Chad Stewart comes out to the merch stand & announces "this is Chad Stewart from L.A Guns, (silence, then) over here with the GYPSY PISTOLEROS", then mania. In a City that had never even heard of your band 3 hours ago but now loves you. We returned to London with L.A. Guns after 2 Months on the road & were met by loads of people in Pistoleros t-shirts in the crowd (God, we loved them for that).

RnRnMN: I heard there would be a full US tour this year. Is that true? Will you be headlining or opening for a bigger act?

Lee: No idea bro! The politics & major interest means that it is out of our hands! We love the U.S. & have had a real backlash in the U.K. over it, but we will be back soon. Hopefully before ROK 08!

RnRnMN: Who do you think are the top acts in the glam scene today?

Lee: God, i thought long & hard! I used to love Hanoi Rocks, but our album just blows their new one away!! Crystal Pistol, Crash Diet, Crazy Lixx, I love the Scandinavian bands, plus our good U.S. bro's Dirty Penny (who are like brothers)!! No one really comes close to us at this moment. The next album is way better too! Sorry if i sound like a conceited twat, but i have supported the greats (in my eyes) U2 the early years, The Lords Of The New Church, The Ramones, Motorhead, UFO, DIO, SABBATH, etc. I wouldn't have bothered if this band was ordinary!

RnRnMN: If the Gypsy Pistoleros have a message for the world, what would it be?

Lee: Fuck, life is short! Laugh, smile. Fuckin' live! Always chase your dreams & never, ever say "If only!!!"

RnRnMN: Pick your favorite from each pair:

Beatles versus Rolling Stones - Can't, yin/yang
Hanoi Rocks versus Motley Crüe - Can't
Ramones versus New York Dolls - Can't
Hank Williams versus Johnny Cash - The man in black
Slade versus T Rex - Slade

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Blogger Metal Mark said...

These guys deserve to get noticed because they really are that good. It's just a hard market at times for a different sound. Some labels and management would rather push a copy band like Airbourne than take a risk with someone who has a different take on their music.

10:25 AM  

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