Truly Lover Trio’s explosive second studio album will take you by surprise. If you thought their first release was something different and unique, you’ll agree that this one goes even further.
In a fast paced and aggressive world where bands just pour out of the sky, where quantity rules over quality and noise rules over beauty, it feels very refreshing and relieving to be able to listen to a record like this one.
Pure and from the heart, with catchy and right-to-the-point songs, blending an electric Roy Orbison sound and a fair amount of late 1950s Rock and Roll and modern mainstream feel, the exciting sounds of Truly Lover Trio guarantee to turn you on.
While we all know how easy it is to over-do, these guys from Hollywood, California possess the mysterious ability to make it sound terrific while keeping the true value of artistic simplicity alive.
Truly Lover Trio’s “Dance” proves that good original music is still being made. This album is filled with killer originals, great singing, awesome melodies and fantastic musicianship. So dance on, and enjoy the music.
Play it loud!
Interview with Truly Lover Trio
Were you born in California? And how were your musical beginnings?
No, I was born in Uruguay, South America. My family came originally from Italy from a little mountain town that I had the pleasure to know, where life and values are so much different. My great-grandfather was a fine tailor. I went to school like any other kid, but had an interest in music since I was very little. My parents divorced when I was very little, and they are music fans, so I probably got it from them. My dad plays guitar and he gave me a clue on how to play the basics. Oh man, how my fingers hurt! You know when you first start your fingers hurt really bad, but then that goes away. I didn’t even have real strings when I first started. It was fishing strings. My mom doesn’t play guitar, but she is a great philosophy teacher, now she is really a painter, but she always has Plato and Homer and things like that on her mind. And that robbed off on me, and every time I talk to her I learn something different.
I was also a swimmer, a real one. And I would go to competitions and such, won a couple of medals. But I didn’t like to compete against others. I guess I’m still the same way, so I dropped swimming very early on.
When I discovered Roy Orbison, I really wanted to learn how to play guitar and sing. By the time I was learning how to play, Roy Orbison died, although I didn’t know it, and he was really big again with the Traveling Wilburys and his Mystery Girl LP. So I got really into his music for some mysterious reason, and it became such a big part of my life. And still is today after all these years. And then I heard he was gone and it was such a shock, and that threw me even more into his life and career so I started researching and learning about him. I still think he taught me how to sing by me listening to him. And he made it look so easy. He would barely open his mouth to hit those high notes! An average singing teacher would beat you up you for doing that! That’s why I never went to one. And, I decided that I wanted to form a band, so I did. I was 13 years old.
At about the same time I had written a little suspense thing about a guy named Truly Lover. A strange character what walked at night. But he was riding high, like some kind of Knight or super hero. It was a nice little piece, I wish I could find it. So, all my friends liked it so much they started calling me that and while the band was starting up, you guessed it, it was the Truly Lover Band. What else could it be? Nothing else. I got my first electric guitar, no brand or anything, but it worked. And I played it thru a radio first because I didn’t have an amp either. We were just a bunch of kids, neighborhood friends mainly. The drummer didn’t have a drum set so we had to borrow one each time we wanted to practice. And the bass player didn’t know how to play the bass so I had to teach him. We were two guitars, and I didn’t play the lead until later when I realized I could do it. It was a lot of fun believe it or not! Like an adventure film or something like that. And we got better and better.
So you learned guitar on your own basically? What are your musical influences?
Yes, by listening to records, in fact tapes, because I didn’t have records. They were too expensive! I would listen to a lot of the greats. Besides Roy, then came Elvis, Chuck Berry and Carl Perkins. Lately I started to realize how important Buddy Holly was (and still is) in my formative years. His song structures influenced me a lot, the simplicity was stunning. And simple stuff is not easy stuff. Ritchie Valens. Beatles took a lot from Buddy, and Carl, and Chuck Berry, but they made it their own and created a new sound. I listen to them a lot too. And Dylan, “The Untouchable”, he knows the truth about things. I always go see him when he hits town. Some Country and Western, some old Blues. I like people like Eric Clapton as well. I saw him live back in the 90’s and it was one of the greatest shows I’ve seen. I like Bruce Springsteen and the Stones, Traveling Wilburys, also a British band called Dire Straits. I think it’s a mixture of all that.
And your singing?
Oh, just by doing it. No professional training for that.
So how do you think you have evolved from your first recordings to now? Your writing in particular…
Oh, tremendously! Are you kidding me? I started recording little things at home when I was about 13 years old. And I still have them somewhere. I used to write songs back then even. Nothing like now, but it was the beginning. I still like to record my demos at home, not while I’m writing the song because I like the song to flow naturally and when its done I lay it down. After a while, if it lingers, then I lay it down on tape. Some don’t stay, but some do. I figure that if I remember it, then its something good. The writing developed a lot. See, its like a training process, at first you really don’t know which way to go, and you wish that hopefully one day you will know, and if you work hard on it, it happens. But I don’t think you have to try hard. It’s nothing to do with trying. It comes or it doesn’t. Like a nice gift. For a long time I didn’t want to show my songs to anybody, but then they started to get to a point where I had to. But believe it or not, sometimes I see myself using an old song I’ve written 10 years ago and changing the lyrics. For instance, “Pretending” on this new record is a face lift of an old song of mine I had never used.
There you go, let’s talk about “Dance” now. How did the project come about?
Well, it was time for a record, and we had enough songs. In fact, the record was going to be called “Spring Fever”, but then the song “Dance” came about and it changed the whole idea. The title song “Dance” was the last one to be written. And it was like a magic moment when the song just came to me and it was done in like 10 minutes. It’s a cute little song. Maybe more than that, maybe it will make people happy, or appreciate each other, or maybe fall in love, or think about somebody special to them. And we recorded it very quick, live in the studio together with some of the other songs. It was a very fun session. Some other songs I’ve been singing live for over a year. Like “Find a Fool” for instance.
And you played the harmonica on the song “Dance”?
Yes, I haven’t done that in a long while!
What kind of songs will we find on this record?
It’s a Rock and Roll record with a lot of Pop feel to it. A lot of up-tempo songs, and a couple of ballads too. “Bullet to my Heart” is a killer rocker, which we did in 1 take. “Spring Fever” is a song that I had hidden for a while until I knew we were ready to play it. It came out great and we worked a nice arrangement for it, with the stops in the middle section. I personally I like “Dance” because its such a different song, and the feel of it can touch my heart every time I sing it. It really sounds like me. “Cool Cutie Cute” is different to everything else we have done too. It’s got this dreamy, surreal feel to it, like coming out of a dream. Then there is a Roy Orbison cover, “Twinkle Toes”, you’ll have to hear this one! I’m very happy with the way it turned out. We used a fuzz effect on the guitar that really come across. There is also a couple of old tracks that were lost and I just found them. I thought it was nice to include them here. And a couple of treats at the end. This record is something special. We had a lot of fun making it, we tried a lot of new things and approaches, and we really like the songs. It really portrays the stage we are in right now.
One thing you like about the guys in the band?
Well, I like it because they are themselves and they are great musicians. They don’t try to be anybody they are not or pretend they are cooler than anybody else or better than anybody else. We are all learning from each other. They are not afraid of saying “oh let me try that”. They are not afraid of trying something new or breaking the standard rules of how things should be. And I love that!
What are your plans for the near future?
We have some bookings done for this year and we are planning pretty steadily. Really looking forward to this new record. We’ll be promoting the new record and have plans to tour New York and Texas and Europe in 2007. So, hope to see you all out there!
John Carlucci (John plays electric bass on the record)
Did you grow up in California?
No I grew up in New York City. Queens, home of the Ramones & The New York Mets.
Who were your influences growing up? Musically and non musically.
Musically Speaking. I've always loved 1950's music. I bought every Chuck Berry, Ricky Nelson & Buddy Holly record I could get my hands on, but I also liked 60's bands like Creedence, The Stones, The Beatles, The Troggs and especially Jimi Hendrix. When Punk Rock hit, I was one of the first Ramones fans. I also liked Generation X, The Jam,The Buzzcocks & The Undertones. Non musically speaking, I was born in the late 1950's. As a kid growing up, I recall the styles & the cars of that era and I've always had a fascination for that time period. Now we call it retro. It's odd, I've always embraced technology, but I still really value history. Which is why I don't think there's anything wrong with playing Rockabilly on an electric bass even though some purists would never think of doing that!
Did you ever take bass classes?
No I never took a lesson in my life. I can't read music. I learned by going to see every single band I could, and I stood right in front of the bass player and stared at them. (They probably thought I was psychotic)
So, you learned by playing over records?
Yes. That and jamming with people. I jumped right in and started playing with other musicians in basement jam sessions as soon as I figured out the notes on my bass neck. I used the Mel Bay Bass Book to learn the notes.
Music runs in my family. At least on the Irish side. The Italian side can cook, the Irish side can play. My Irish grandmother could play any instrument you gave her.(And that's no Blarney!) It would take her about 1/2 hour to figure out a scale, and off she would go. She played bagpipes, mandolin, lap harp, banjo, violin, piano, you name it! I'm sure I inherited my musical abilities from her. I have a second cousin on my mother’s side that is a concert pianist. He recently played Carnegie Hall.
Did you play in or with many bands growing up?
Tons. I've been playing since 1972, and I've never not been in a band. It's been one loooong succession of band, after band, after band. In fact at one point, I had 5 bands at once. I'll be playing till I'm 90 & I'll probably die onstage. Hopefully I'll finish the song first, and not leave a half drank beer!
Let’s talk about DANCE and the present time. Which track do you like best?
I love the dynamics of the song, the tricky stops during the solo, and I really like the melody.
What kind of bass did you use on the recordings?
I used a stock 1974 Sunburst Fender Precision Bass strung with Fender Flatwound Strings. It's one of two 70's Precisions I own, I've pretty much retired it from stage use, and I only record with it. I've owned it for 16 years, and I used to use it all the time live when I played with Syl Sylvain From the NY Dolls. My other 70's P bass is a 72 maple body/rosewood neck, and I've owned that one for 27 years and I've played it onstage at least once with every band I've ever been in, since The Speedies.
Do you like listening to your own record at home?
I usually hate listening to my own records, but this band is different. I'm a fan of this band as well as the Bass player! I love the songs, and they really suit my playing style.
What are you listening to now?
The Dodger Game on the internet…..
One thing you like about being in the Truly Lover Trio?
It's got a special vibe. There's magic there. It comes from being friends and having a lot in common.
Anything else you might want to say?
Just that I really enjoy playing this music and for anyone that is a fan of old style Rock N Roll, I hope you will enjoy hearing it & seeing us play live as much as I enjoy making it.
Jeff Gerow (Jeff plays drums on the record)
You moved out to LA not too long ago?
Yes, I moved to LA about 4 years ago. I was born and raised in Bakersfield, CA then went to school and lived in the Bay Area for a while. I moved to LA to be closer to my family in Bakersfield and there was a lot more going on musically in LA.
You learned to play the drums on your own?
Well, sort-of. I've always loved the drums (I got a set that said "Country Western" on it with a picture of a guy who resembled Johnny Cash for Christmas when I was about 6). I somehow convinced my parents to let me join the school band when I was 10 years old. The drum section included three snare drum players, a bass drum player, percussionist and cymbal "crasher". We were all taught to play everything by Mr. Rouser, the bandleader. So, I learned some basic fundamentals and my rudiments. I got a blue sparkle snare drum from my parents, used that with some pan lids as cymbals to complete my drum kit. I never played a full- real drum kit until after I graduated from college and bought a drum set (that my buddy and fellow drummer Vidur hooked me up with). I played around on the kit to records for about a week before another friend (Rockin' Lloyd Tripp) talked me into filling in on drums for Jesse Lee and the Moonshots at Club Deluxe in San Francisco. I think that night was the moment I learned how to play. Lloyd was very instrumental in helping me with my playing- I owe it all to him for taking a chance on me and teaching me while I played with his band.
What are your influences? Do you look up to any drummer in particular?
My biggest influences are J.M. Van Eaton and Earl Palmer. I love everything about J.M.'s playing on all of those Sun recordings. Earl Palmer is another huge influence on me. The stuff Earl did with Eddie Cochran, Little Richard and Larry Williams (just to name a few) is incredible. I listen to their drumming and try to use what I hear them doing. I was very fortunate to meet Earl and hang out with him a few times. He is a legend!
Let’s talk about DANCE. Which track do you like best?
I love all of them. There's such great variety on this CD. At the moment, if I had to choose, I would have to say "Spring Fever". There's such a great, melodic pop sound with that song that just seems to lift you up when you hear it.
You used a vintage kit for the recordings?
Yes, I love vintage drums. To me, the sound of vintage drums are so much warmer than all of the new drum kits. Plus, I think they look a lot better than today's kits. The kit I used for the recordings was a 60's root beer sparkle Gretsch kit. The Gretsch kits have a great huge, loud sound. I found this kit in a music shop in Albany, New York when I was on tour. I used an old Slingerland snare because the matching root beer sparkle Gretsch snare was stolen at a gig in Los Angeles…at a place called the Rumble Bar (if anyone has seen it please!!!! let me know- I miss that drum).
Do you like listening to your own recordings at home?
I like to listen to recordings I play on while we are working on it to see what I can do to change and sound better. Once the recordings are mixed and mastered I like to hear them once, but don't listen to them much after that. I always here things I want to change and wish I had done differently when I listen to them after the CD is out.
What are you listening to now?
At this very moment I'm listening to the Motorbilly radio station on live 365.com. Bop Bobby Sox Bop by Alton Guyon is playing at the moment. I love that stripped down, raw hillbilly sound on the Starday and Sun records. I've been playing Gene Vincent Sang Our
Songs cd and Country Hicks record a lot lately. That's my favorite music. But, I listen to a lot of other stuff too- ranging from '60s country (Buck and Merle) to late 70's British stuff (the Jam, Buzzcocks, Clash) and other rock and roll (X, the Hoodoo Gurus and Pixies). Plus the Bellfuries, original Blasters, Carlos and the Bandidos, Planet Rockers, Nick Willet, Mean Devils... I could go on forever... there's too much great music out there. I like a lot of different stuff.
One thing you like about being in the Truly Lover Trio?
How about two things? Marcel and John. I love playing with these two guys who are extremely talented and a lot of fun playing with. Marcel's song writing is excellent and John's bass playing is incredible. We have a blast on stage. Also, the fact that they like to play gigs/venues that I haven't played before and like to get in front of different crowds. It's great to play for people who may not have been exposed to our music.
Anything else you might want to say?
Pick up the new CD DANCE - it's a great sounding CD with a lot of musical variety that everyone will enjoy. And come see us play - the exciting sounds will turn you on!!!