Celebrating its 10th anniversary, the OC Music Awards kicked off on January 4th with seven weeks of free showcases at different venues across the county. 35 local artists will compete for the titles of Best Live Band or Best Live Acoustic and a performance slot at the 2011 OC Music Awards, March 5 at the Grove of Anaheim. And, the voting is open now!
Costa Mesa quintet, [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Pistolero[/lastfm], is the kind of old-school, amp-exploding metal band that if turned up to maximum volume can make eardrums quiver and metal babes shiver with electrostatic joy. Like a lightning bolt straight to the veins, Pistolero creates harsh, hedonistic panty-droppers, pummeling the senses with aggressive punk metal machismo.
All that’s missing from this heavy metal equation is a flock of feather-haired groupies and midnight debauchery. Not[pullquote quote="I get really excited when I invite girls that I work with or just people that I know to a show that I know don't listen to metal and they'll even make a point to let me know, 'You know, I don't usually listen to this kind of music but you guys are awesome.'"] surprisingly, lead singer Donnie Deschenes said that Pistolero draws an intensely female crowd, although they also attract a large group of music lovers that enjoy how Pistolero takes them out of their comfort zone. Deschenes explained:
“It’s kind of weird because the normal people that go to shows or are into music in Orange County at all don’t necessarily listen to metal. A lot of them are into the more folksy, soft-spoken stuff. I get really excited when I invite girls that I work with or just people that I know to a show that I know don’t listen to metal and they’ll make a point to let me know, ‘You know, I don’t usually listen to this kind of music but you guys are awesome.’”
Comprised of Donnie Deschenes (Vocals), Jeremy Munoz (Guitar), Thom Cooper (Drums), Parker Macy (Guitar), and Brandon Lovelady (Bass), Pistolero evolved slowly into a “metal” band, although Munoz and Deschenes have always been hard rocking dudes.
“It was kind of an evolution. When we first started off it was me and the lead guitarist Jeremy. We were really into the [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Stooges[/lastfm]. Not metal at all. Just into hard rock and some punk. Just over the years we just kind of evolved, got heavier and heavier.”
“Now we’re playing metal. Which is kind of cool because we have that background in rock to where we’re not just a generic metal band playing completely contemporary metal like [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Lamb of God[/lastfm] or any of those other throaty, screaming bands.”
Those hard rocking roots definitely show through the electric crunch of metal instrumentation. Pistolero may not be a direct homage to some of the original power metal bands, yet posses the same adept musical qualities–they don’t just make noise. Similar sonic influences include the nihilistic, high-velocity guitar chords of [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Slayer[/lastfm], the gritty lyrical slam of [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Alice Cooper[/lastfm], and the alternative punk-metal of [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Turbonegro[/lastfm].
[pullquote quote="Both me and Jeremy, we like to party pretty hard. We're pretty aggressive guys. So it's just kind of in our nature to play it heavier, play it louder. Just go over the top with a lot of things."]
Deschenes said they went from just listening to playing hard music because it fit their personalities better as they musically transformed.
“Both me and Jeremy, we like to party pretty hard. We’re pretty aggressive guys. So it’s just kind of in our nature to play it heavier, play it louder. Just go over the top with a lot of things.”
“Me and him are best friends so growing up together we’d always get stoked on new bands. When Turbonegro came out or the Sword, just anything that was actually getting mainstream attention that was cool, we gravitated towards…Mostly it just came naturally, there’s other things that fueled that.”
One thing that does not fuel what Deschenes calls the “high energy” and “rad” shows is alcohol. Deschenes no longer drinks, but that just allows him to “party harder” on stage and freestyle in the studio:
“It’s made it better. It’s been more focused and I don’t mess up anymore. I don’t embarrass my bandmates at all, which happened in the past every once in a while. Part of it the audience would be stoked on, me being crazy…But after the show, getting back into the rehearsal room with my bandmates, for them it’s completely counterproductive.”
“We’ll go into the studio and pretty much whatever comes to me. I freestyle it in the studio. It’s pretty much whatever comes out. It’s like a dance. When you’re making up the words, because you make them flow and it’s natural. That’s kind of why I like to freestyle because you don’t have to force it. Because otherwise you end of reconstructing things, making things fit.”
One way Deschenes feels like Pistolero doesn’t fit is in the Orange County music scene as a metal band.
“I feel like we’re just a bad fit for Orange County to begin with so I’m glad we’re getting some notoriety anyway…There’s a huge music scene, a lot of the bands are really good and most of them never make it out of here. There are a lot of bands that never get heard that are amazing.”
Pistolero-”Sleep When You’re Dead”
The 2011 Showcase Series runs every Tuesday night, January 4 -February 15 with stops at:
Five Showcase Series finalists in each live category will then move on to the Showcase Series Finals.
2011 Best Live Band winner will receive a performance slot on the four Southern Califonia Vans Warped Tour stops!
Night Five of the OC Music Awards Showcase Series features nominees for Best Live Band on Tuesday, February 1st at the Tiki Bar.
READ MORE INTERVIEWS ON KROQ.COM FROM SHOWCASE NIGHT 5 BANDS:
Friday, January 21st-She Screams Remedy
Saturday, January 22nd-Seedless
Sunday, January 23rd-Railroad to Alaska
Monday, January 24th- Pistolero
Tuesday, January 25th-Entice
You have the power to send one Showcase artist to the Best Live Acoustic Finals and Best Live Band Finals.
Cast your vote and enter to win a massive prize pack from the OC Music Awards partners (To be Announced). Voting will begin on December 27 and will be open through the last Showcase on February 15. The votes will be tallied and the band with highest score will automatically move on to their Series Finals! Click here to vote
LEARN MORE AT: OCMUSICAWARDS.COM