I spoke with rocker Pete DeLorenzo of Gringo Star at Aurora Coffeehouse in L5P of The ATL before they embarked upon a recent European Tour. Back home after, they played the Masquerade in Atlanta on Friday night September 10th, with The Toadies, before hitting the road again. You can view their music videos at youtube and listen to them at: www.gringostar.net
WHAT BROUGHT YOU TO MUSIC?
I always loved radio a lot. I was a senior in high school thinking about what to do with my life. I’m not religious as far as organized religion but spirituality is important to me. I went to church and was not really listening to the sermon, I was just kinda…I had this image come to my mind. I was playing to thousands of people. I maybe didn’t even have a guitar at the time. I went home and freaked out. Was that a genuine experience or was it something I took the wrong way? I don’t know. I went to college and halfway through I started playing guitar more. I had a young man’s revelation that I’d rather was dishes and play. Music was the only thing that was pure to me.
NOW YOU’RE JADED?
Well my band had music in a Tommy Hilfiger ad…You need money. In the ’90s we wanted to be so anti-commercial.
WAS THAT A RESPONSE TO THE ’80s, ANTI-’80s?
I wouldn’t say anti-’80s, it was artists wanting to be artists. A lot musicians saw the commerciality – fascinated but repulsed by it.
WHICH BRINGS ME TO, WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR INFLUENCES?
I’m 9 years older than the rest of the guys in the band. Replacements, Minutemen, Husker Du. The rest of the band is into Buddy Holly. When I heard the Replacements all my conditioning was disintegrated. That discontent in the music, I really related to. Their music wasn’t tailor-made.
YOU’VE TOURED IN THIS BAND SINCE 2004?
BEEN TO EUROPE BEFORE?
Couple of times. I’m still working at Eat’s when I’m in town, but we are starting to sustain ourselves. Sometimes we want to take a break, but we are not to that point where we can do a record, tour, then take a break. We are still introducing ourselves.
I HEARD YOU JUST PLAYED ORLANDO, WHERE I ONCE LIVED. WAS THAT DOWNTOWN?
We played a downtown music fest and a really fun house party that night.
HOW DID YOU GET YOUR NAME?
We had a different name and changed it. A friend of ours came up with it and we laughed. People have a love-hate relationship with that name.
DO YOU REST AT ALL WHEN YOU TOUR?
We generally play everyday.
WHAT DO YOU LIKE ABOUT ATLANTA?
It’s like a small town in a big city. The people I know are really good people. I always think about wanting to leave, but people are friendly here. It’s a really good place to hone in on your craft.
ATLANTA IS WHERE YOU LIVE TO BECOME WHAT YOU ARE?
True. And it’s still wide open.