LINK | Posted by Chris on Thursday, November 01, 2012
We've featured The Venetia Fair as our Song Of The Day a week ago and on Monday, featured an exclusive download a few of the guys recorded with The Wicked. Today, we're spending Seven Questions In Heaven with singer Benny Santoro as he fills us in on their kickass Kickstarter, Mr. Chark's hair collection, and "Rock Lobster."
Describe your music for our readers who may not be familiar with you.
We are very loud and Mike uses distortion on his guitar so we are a rock band. But we try to play around with a lot of different styles because rock music can be very boring sometimes and we would rather be dead than boring. It's got a fairly theatrical vibe to it and we use a lot of piano, but we're not pussies so it's also very loud (as I've said).
Who are your musical influences and idols?
We all listen to a lot of different things and we always make fun of each other for what we like. The thing that they make fun of me for is that I only like The Blood Brothers and The Beatles and that I only listen to talk radio in my car. We all like "Rock Lobster" by The B-52s though.
What was the first album, cassette, or CD you bought with your own money?
The first cassette that I bought, and I couldn't make this up if I tried, was an MC Hammer single of "Addams Groove." I bought it from a local video rental store from which I would later buy Star Wars action figures and Pokemon cards. A short time after that, I bought my first CD: Green Day's Dookie.
Let's talk about your Kickstarter project, which is one of the more fan-friendly Kickstarters we've seen. For only $35, you give will give your fans a signed poster, a t-shirt, his/her name in the liner notes, a guitar pick necklace, a bracelet, stickers, an autographed CD, and a digital copy of the CD. How are you able to give them so much? Were you surprised that it only took a few days to reach your $8,000 goal?
We weren't interested in simply asking for donations; we wanted to see if there was enough of an interest in what we were making that we could afford to make it. The thing that I had always liked about Kickstarter was the idea that you could sell things to people before spending the money it takes to produce it. The trade-off, of course, is those people have to have faith that what you're making is going to be worth it plus they have to wait to receive it. So we tried to price things out less than or equal to what it would cost to purchase it when it was done; as a reward to the people predicting the future right now who know we're going to do a good job. If people want to donate, they can always pledge more and select a lower-tier reward as many have done.
As far as reaching the goal, I was terrified going in that nobody would pledge anything. Even though we had set up a pretty rewarding project, I was convinced nobody would care. That's just kind of how I am, I guess. The rest of the guys were more confident. I drove them crazy redoing the video over and over, trying to figure out ways to offer more for less, etc. They were like, "Dude, don't worry. There are some people out there that like our band and will want to help." I guess they were right since we hit our goal in four days, but I was convinced we were gonna be all alone in this. In fact, the day we hit the goal, I posted an update that said, "If we reach the goal by next week, we'll release a demo of a new song." Six hours later we were funded.
You also have some rather unique items on your Kickstarter. For $100, people can design a meal for Mr. Chark. For $150, people can receive free admission for life to all of your shows. For $225, you get Mr. Chark's hair collection. For $2,000, you get a treasure map that leads to an actual treasure. And then there's the $10,000 pinkies you are giving away from certain band members. Aren't you afraid of someone ponying up the dough and wanting a pinky finger? Or worse yet, wanting to design a meal for Mr. Chark using pinkies?
Mr. Chark would never be afraid of anything. But really, who would want one of his pinkies...? I only know a very little bit about where it's been and I want nothing to do with it. The hair collection, on the other hand, is a great reward. He's literally been working on it for years. Every time somebody was getting their hair cut or shaving a substantial amount of hair off their body, he was right there with the Ziploc. It's a very impressive collection.
The album you're using the Kickstarter funds to create will be called Every Sick Disgusting Thought We've Got In Our Brain. What can people expect, both thematically and musically?
Musically, it'll continue the progression that The Pits began since some of these songs were written around the same time. It's got a little more blues to it in some spots and also has some of the fastest songs we've ever written, but the choruses are bigger than ever and I think you'll be able to hear the individual members of the band progressing at their instrument as well.
Thematically, it focuses less on being an angry, wronged, young man and more on being a scared, anxious, sad, not-so-young man. The aggression is more inwardly focused. Like I'm the piece of shit, not everyone else. It also has two three-song stories on it. Little mini-concept pieces about a scientist and a painter.
Finally, you're the opening act of a music festival. You can get any five artists, living or dead, to perform on the bill with you. Which five do you choose and what song do you all perform as the final jam?
The B-52s, Queen, Stevie Wonder, Elton John, At The Drive In (before Mars Volta was a thing). We would all play "Rock Lobster" since The B-52s would be headlining.
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