How excited are you to be on tour again?
How excited am I, are you looking for a scale of 1-10? On a scale of 1-10 I am definitely a 9.7 excited. That tiny little .3 % is harnessing, I have not gotten there yet. I will be a full 10 by monday. I'm Joking! I’m really excited this is the first time I have introduced a new project. This is kind of a big deal for me. Um I worked really hard on the album and I hope people like it. And I think the live show is gonna be kick ass too! That is kind of the reason why I put the album out in the first place because I wanted to play more shows, be on stage, go on tours. Hopefully this tour is gonna be kick ass.
When was the last time you guys were on tour?
We don’t really do a huge tour, we just book these sporadic shows that are most part summertime festivals. I just missed doing tours and smaller tours and smaller stages and playing clubs and playing theatres. It was more for me getting some balance to the big festival thing. Kind of like an actor doing some blockbuster movie but then doing some more of like an independent film or something. Just looking for the kind of balance.
What is so inviting about touring, what is your favorite part?
The show, hands down. The wins by a landslide. I like playing, I like being on stage and performing for crowds who want to see me play. Thats kind of one of my favorite things about being a musician. There are other aspects of touring that I have to do that are a bit of a grind. Like waking up at 7 in the morning to get in a van and drive 8 hours to another city, is kind of difficult! It is fun like the first two days of it, but the third day is like “Wow we are doing this again and will be doing it for the next two months”. So yeah there are things difficult to it like any job, but the payoff is getting to perform.
So you are performing with The Gloomies and The Streets of Laredo, How are those guys and how did you get in touch with them?
The Gloomies are buddies with Richie, the keyboard player of the band. They opened for us for a couple of shows. One in NY and one in LA already. Great band. Streets of Laredo is another awesome band who just put out an album. We have the same manager so that is kind of how that worked out.
What is it like working with Josh Homme your producer?
It was very cool working with him, it is always cool to be working in a professional way with someone you have been friends with for a long time and you see them in a different light. When we were in the studio, there were things that he did that were kinda directed his attention that were surprising to me that I wouldn’t have paid that close attention to, little details that were pretty important. It’s just interesting to see they way different people work. Working with him was pretty cool, I have been a fan of his since way early on before Queen of the Stone Age. I am just a big fan of his work, getting him on band as our producer was actually a really big deal for me.
I have been listening to your new album “New Skin” and I just think it is so cool that you sing now, How is that going?
It is going good, I am having fun with it. It wasn’t something I was keen with throwing myself into doing at first but I kind of forced myself out of my comfort zone as a guitar player cuz I really wanted to get this project on tour. And to do as many shows as possible and I figured if I could just be the singer on it, there would be fewer obstacles in the way of doing that. The thought of trying to find this singer,to sing these songs I wrote, that just seemed like a daunting endeavor. I just kind of manned up and did it! It took a little while to figure out how I wanted my voice to sound and what I wanted to say, It was really about a year of just experimenting and trying different stuff out. Now that the record is done, I feel really good, my voice sounds a lot stronger than I thought it would be and as a performing and on stage I am having more fun than I thought I would. So all in all this a successful experiment.
Yeah you know, you sound great! I love your voice it’s definitely different from Casablanca. You have your own sound.
Yeah but the last thing I wanted to do is sound like Casablanca. He has such a strong voice, I mean honestly this may sound weird because he’s in my band, but he is one of my favorite singers out there today. He is just really really good at it. So yeah like the last thing I wanted to do when writing this record is compare myself to that.
What kind of stuff inspired you for your songs?
The thing that inspired me to write all this music is just missing being on stage. The was the main inspiration. As for music inspiration, I never sit down to write a song and think “Oh I want to write a song that sounds like Elvis Castello” It is just not what is going on in my thought process when I am being creative. In fact when I am writing a song I am trying to turn off the point in my brain that is critiquing, editing. I am really trying to be more free and just see what comes out and what turns me on. So in terms of the musical influence, it is the kind of thing I don’t really know the influence by until after the song is written and recorded and I listen and look back at it and think “Oh yeah this kind of sounds like The Cars, all of those years of listening to The Cars must have seeped in somehow”
Do you have a favorite song on your album that turned out really well that you like a lot?
I like all of them, I am really bad at picking favorites. Right now the one that I am into is called On Edge. I like it because it is short. It is less than 2 minutes. I feel like I said everything that I wanted to say and it clocked in at like a minute 50 and I like that. I like the moments where you are fulfilled creatively but the time is still short. I don’t like wasting people’s. I have a short attention span and I do not like songs that drive on for like 5 minutes. It has to be like a Bohemian Rapsody that has a lot of changes. Because if it is like the same verse and chorus and it is like 6 minutes, I get so bored.
So I’m guessing you get bored by American Pie.
Yeah, hell yeah.
That song just drags on!
That song is like 9 minutes long and has the same chords over and over again. And look I know the lyrics have some fascinating story that is worth a deeper look but the music is just so boring to me that I never could listen to it.
So you live in LA right?
Yeah I have been living in LA for a few years now. But I am New Yorker at heart. I still have a little cold patch that will always be a New Yorker. But I have been in LA long enough that I feel like i’m 100% Los Angeles exterior.
So you have Kids?
I sure do I have two, I love them a lot. I love being a dad, I love taking care of them.
Being on tour away from them must be hard.
Damn straight it’s hard. That is the hardest thing about being on tour. When you are away for more than a couple of weeks you start to feel this loss of connection with your family. It is the hardest thing about being a musician.
What kind of music do your kids listen to? Do they like the strokes?
They do like the strokes. Actually my kids are very cool, they have a cool taste in music. My daughter asked me for the coolest present for her birthday. She told me she wanted a record player and she wants me to start off her vinyl collection with David Bowie, the beatles, prince records. She has very good taste music. My son likes more of aggressive music. He likes a lot of 90’s hip hop like Wu tang. Lots of rap, and ACDC. They are ten year old twins.
Well they sound like cool kids, and you are cool too thank you for talking me. I am coming to your show on Monday.