Music will always find it’s way to us, with or without business, politics, religion or any other bullshit attached. Music survives everything, and like God, it is always present. It needs no help and suffers no hindrance. (Eric Clapton)
METAL: So let’s get things started with the name. Who came up with the name and
what’s behind it?
BLACK HEART GOSPEL: The name, yeah that was me (Pete). We've all dealt with and
probably will continue to deal with not so great people. Road ragers, bullies,
liars whoever. Basically, it's F U and I'm sticking to it. You know, when someone
says take something as gospel. So it's not referencing that style of music or
METAL: Nice man, I get it. One of the cooler name developments.
METAL: Where is
the band from?
BLACK HEART GOSPEL: We're all from
NJ. Mark, Stan and myself are all from the Central Jersey area and Todd is North
BOOTLEG METAL: Is this the original line up and
how did you guys find yourselves in the same band ?
BLACK HEART GOSPEL: Yeah it's
kinda like an original line up. I just left a band and was writing a new song
on my own when I thought "What if I can grab some great players from
different past bands and put together my own type or mini supergroup?" (if
that's still a term). lol. So my first call was to Stan. We got together and laid
down the foundation that would become our Wasteland America EP. When we were
ready I reached out to Mark and Todd to do what they do best and luckily
everyone went for the idea.
BOOTLEG METAL: How long has The Black Heart Gospel been
around and how long after your first rehearsal was it before the first show?
BLACK HEART GOSPEL: Although the
EP was written, recorded and produced in about 6 months, TBHG name has now been
around going on 2 years now. Unfortunately the first show never happened or
will. Schedules are tough so we decided
to leave it as a one time recording project. However, I am working with two
other bands right now. The cover band has a name but the original project likes
Gospel so whether or not we use The Black Heart Gospel as the name is up in the
air at this point. BOOTLEG METAL: Wow, record speed on the EP but unlucky on
the playing out. This is the second band I interviewed that couldn't find their
way to a stage. Unfortunate on both.
BOOTLEG METAL: Does everyone contribute to the writing
process or does someone generally write the lyrics and/or music?
BLACK HEART GOSPEL: Stan wrote the
music as well as recording, mixing and mastering the EP. The lyrics were mine
but I'll tell you what, coming out of Todd's mouth they sound a hell of a lot
better (laughs). There was a song of Todd's we never had a chance to hit. Ironically
the song was titled Dead and Gone. Great lyric sheet on that one.
BOOTLEG METAL: What are your songs about?
BLACK HEART GOSPEL: I gotta pick
BOOTLEG METAL: What genre do you feel the band fits in the best and what influenced your writing to get you there?
BLACK HEART GOSPEL: I'd like to
think we find a home somewhere in the Hard Rock genre. We were all kinda 80's
people musically. So that influence will always be there. Today you have bands
like Shinedown, Papa Roach and Buckcherry. So you take those musical influences
and mash 'em with some good times or bad times in life and viola. You have a
BOOTLEG METAL: What was your latest gig?
BLACK HEART GOSPEL: See question four. lol
BOOTLEG METAL: Where have you played live this
BLACK HEART GOSPEL: I did do a
show with the cover band in Monroe, NJ last month. It was a nice time. Packed
house and got to hang with some old friends I haven't seen in years. The
original band is looking to gig mid summer.
BOOTLEG METAL: Is there a favorite cover that
always finds its way on your set list and is there a story behind it?
BLACK HEART GOSPEL: Nah, no staple
cover for me.
BOOTLEG METAL: Is there a past show that stands
out from the rest?
BLACK HEART GOSPEL: Man, stand out
show..... No, not really. Anytime a bunch of people will come out and give us
an hour of their time is pretty great. BOOTLEG METAL: Alright, nice.
BOOTLEG METAL: What are your thoughts on your
local music scene?
Outside of seeing some national acts I really
haven't been all that involved in the local scene these past couple years. The
cover band packed the place so I'd like to think it's coming back. Past
experience I've played to 8 people at a bar to about 2000 in a club so it was
kinda hit or miss.
BOOTLEG METAL: Is there a recent album/EP release
you’d like to tell us about and where can we get it?
BLACK HEART GOSPEL: Nothing
recent. There is our Wasteland America EP out there which we're all still proud
of. Anyone can get it here. iTunes.
Our last recording was a song called Motley Crue T-shirt. That song was never
mixed or mastered so it will never fine it's way to an online retailer. We do
have it up on our site.
BOOTLEG METAL: Do you have merchandise for sale?
BLACK HEART GOSPEL: Not at this
point. We ran a small amount of shirts
that sold out but no plans and printing any more at this time. But, you never
know. We'll see where things sit by the summer. Check back here: http://theblackheartgospel.blogspot.com/p/merch.html
BOOTLEG METAL: As far as videos, sites, merch,
ect. Are you guys more of a DIY band or do you hire out?
BLACK HEART GOSPEL: Yeah man,
definitely DIY all the way. Handling everything ourselves really puts our stamp
on things, ya know... Plus it's cheaper. (laughs)
BOOTLEG METAL: Do you have or are you looking for
BLACK HEART GOSPEL: We were looking
early on. We had a few promising bites. We also had a lot of those "We'll
let you know either way" and then you never hear back type things. Todd
had actually been signed prior to us getting together. So from his experiences
NJ to CA, a label's no guarantee anyway. Occasionally I'll send out an EPK but no
BOOTLEG METAL: One question I like to ask. What
song (if any) by another artist do you wish you wrote?
BLACK HEART GOSPEL: 4 words: Sweet
Child O' Mine. Well 3 if O' doesn't count as a word. I mean really, I could
think of a lot but that would be my number one.
BOOTLEG METAL: Is there another artist or band
that is totally not your genre that you listen to?
BLACK HEART GOSPEL: Early Pink.
That chick just rocks.
BOOTLEG METAL: If you could pick, past or
present, would there be a dream collaborator (artist/producer) you would like
to work with?
BLACK HEART GOSPEL: Dream producer
would be Desmond Child all the way. That guy was unstoppable in the 80's.
Artist would be DIO, no doubt. Best metal singer ever. Hanging with Alice
Cooper would be pretty awesome as well.
BOOTLEG METAL: How do you think downloading music
whether legal or illegal affected the music community?
BLACK HEART GOSPEL: I think it had
a large effect on it. It's all stuff today's bands will never know. In the past
it was hitting the music stores. Hanging out there meeting cool people, other
bands. Seeing that new release of your favorite band just sitting there waiting
to be bought. Checking out the flyers on the walls whether it's drummer needed
or where the other local bands were playing. It was just that, a community. Now
it's kinda watered down. That being said, it's an awesome way for bands to get their
music in the hands of more fans and it is easy than going to an actual sore.
METAL: Ok, So Wasteland America. Love the song. Dig the lyric video. I see it's
a political type message. I actually had the opportunity to listen to your full
EP which really kicked ass. Any story behind the song or why you picked it as
opposed to another song.
BLACK HEART GOSPEL: Well, I wrote the song, at least in my opinion, in such a
way that it really doesn't have a political tie. It's coming
from the point of view regardless of who's in power that there is always a hand
reaching out for the dollar in your pocket. We "the people" struggle
but don't worry the rich will be taken care of.
As far as picking a song, we went between that and Scary which also has
some personal experience behind it. It's our bully awareness song. I went with
WA first because we were actually all set up with our local high school and an independent
film company out of Canada which gave us some of their footage to do a full video
for Scary but scheduling issues and different priorities put a quick end to
METAL: Man, no luck in The Black Heart Gospel camp. Shame, I would have loved
to see it.
BOOTLEG METAL: Thanks for taking the time to talk
with us and answering the questions. Is there anything you’d like to add?
BLACK HEART GOSPEL: First off.
Thanks to you PJ. I really appreciate the opportunity. I haven't heard from
Mark, Stan or Todd in a while so if this should make it's way across their
screen I'd like to say thanks to those guys as well. And to Dominick Gagliano at Amedia Cymbals and CJ Cappella at Cappella Sticks, thanks for believing. Truly the best at what they do.