Death To Pedro
From Death To Pedro's MySpace Page:
"Hello we are Death To Pedro. We are a collection of artists from the scattered whereabouts of Detroit City. We got Bryan "Wolf" Caputo banging on the bass, Dave "Pedro" Mclean funkin it up on lead guitar, Nik "DaDanko" Drankoski rolling on drums, and pulling it together we got Andy "Anton" Johnson" lead vocals/lyricist."
"The object of this Blog is to give some insight into the minds of the members of Death To Pedro. Where we came from, who we are, and what our plans are for the future will be some of the things we will be bringing to light in the near future. Please stay tuned for more tales of Death to Pedro."
Exclusive Magazine took some time out recently to find out more about the band. Chatting one-on-one with lead singer Andrew Johnson, I first wondered why he'd introduced himself on the phone as 'Anton Jones'?! "It goes along with the band and everyone needs a stage name. Sounds a lot better than Andy Johnson. Plus my dad is kind of famous with the name Johnson so I wanted to switch it up a little bit."
Who is your dad? "Jim Johnson. He's worked Detroit Radio for about the past 30 years for WRIF, WILZ, and WCSX."
Well, this interview isn’t about your dad, it’s about you. So let's start with the basics. How long have you guys been together? "About 6 months. I had been playing music with my buddy Bryan Caputo who is the bass player in the band for a couple years before he went up to school. I always used to say he was going to be my bass player because he is phenomenal. He just goes along with my music."
"When I moved in with my buddy that owned a studio in his basement, trying to do some solo acoustic stuff I got introduced to his drummer buddy Nik Drankoski who is the drummer for Death to Pedro now.
When we met up it was originally a different bassist. I was coming in to write some different songs and write lyrics basically to be the front man. I brought my music to the table and just gave it to the band. That bass player ended up having to move because of a job offer to Arizona."
"At that time my buddy Bryan Caputo was getting home from college so I swooped him in and Death to Pedro began. We put in our first gig at TNT’s 2 with a band call Retro Burns which was about 3 months ago.
We’re pretty new but we have all been playing music for years. I come from a musical background with my father. Bryan’s father is in a really popular band. The name of the band escapes me now. His name is Dean Caputo and he’s been playing in the Detroit area for so many years. He taught Bryan how to jam a little bit."
Where did you get the name Death to Pedro? "That was my lead guitarist whom I was also introduced to when I met Nik Drankoski, Dave McLean. His childhood nickname has always been Pedro. He’s a really good guitarist by the way. We were just joking around one night trying to think of a band name. We went over what the different characteristics of the band were and that whole spiel. So I was getting jealous how Pedro gets to go to his whole 9-5 job as a chemical engineer type guy for Guardian Glass. He gets to fly to Germany to free and I was getting really jealous one night and I was like, “Death to Pedro!” Then we were all like that should be the band name!"
So what do you guys do on the side? Do you have full time jobs? Is this something you like to do for fun or are you looking to make this a career? "Well we are going to have to support ourselves being in this economy. I would love to sit there and play music all day and everyday because this is my life man. I plan on playing music until the day I die. I don’t understand how anyone could give up this gift. You know the ability to structure music and create something beautiful. It’s just my passion. I know a lot of the other guys feel exactly the same way."
"Bryan, he feels the same way. He’s in it to win it. This is “For Life” deal. We all have our ventures beyond the band with dreams and hopes. Music is definitely in there. If we had to, we would all quit our jobs in an instant."
If the man showed up with a contract you’d be ready to go, right? "Absolutely. I would drop it on a dime. We’re all ready to go for sure."
If the Average Joe was to get ahold of your CD, what kind of music should they expect? "Tell them to expect some funky sh*t man. Pardon my French but expect something new that sounded like something you heard before. Comparative to the Red Hot Chili Peppers to 311. Somewhere in that genre."
Are there any bands that influence your music? "Bob Marley, “The Great” Jim Morrison. My lyrics come a lot from the same area Jim Morrison was going with The Doors. There are all kinds of things that also combine since we sing all kinds of stuff. Right now it’s a little more on the darker side. We are trying to bring it up for our next album getting the new jams ready."
"But right now we’re trying to finish up the first one so we have been recording and rerecording trying to fiddle with it. We all got jobs so we’re not trying to be in any rush. We want to make it good. We should have that full CD (11-track) soon to go along with our 5-track demo. Hopefully by the end of next month (May)."
If you were asked to record an '80s song for charity which one would it be? "We'd mess around with a lot of songs. We were messing around with the 'Mission Impossible' theme song for a second which was tight. That’s a tough question. I would probably have to pick something funky that’s for sure."
What other bands do you play with? Are there a regular group of guys you play with? "We’ve played with Cody Stage Fright, National Ghost, The Orange Marsupials, Retro Burns. A few other bands we’ve been talking to like Box Maui. Maybe play with them up at Cadieux Cafe. We have been talking about getting some shows up in there over the summer. Also trying to get hooked up with Dally in the Alley. We haven’t had a lot of time to network with a lot of bands yet but were working on it for sure."
How did you guys break into the scene after only playing together for a few months? "Nik the drummer is also an audio engineer and has his own studio in his basement along with my old roommate Erin Eisenberg. They run a little studio together out of their basement. It’s a pretty nice set up. You’ve heard the quality from the CD it’s not bad at all. They run a tight ship. We’ve done recordings with Cody Stage Fright and Retro Burns have been good friends with Nik Drankoski for a while who we played our first show with. We played with a few other bands at TNT’s 2."
"To be honest we might not play there anymore. We don’t want to get stuck in a certain them. Give a chance to expand more to take the bigger crowds. We will still play the small bars for sure like a gig near Cadillac Square at the Greenwich Pub."
What’s the biggest surprise entering the industry? Has there been anything that has caught you guys off guard? "My lead guitarist has been in several other bands and I’ve been playing for a little bit. When I first got on stage it was in high school where I played the talent show. I’ve never really had a problem in front of a crowd. I really like talking with people and being the center of attention so never really a problem. I can’t speak for everyone else. The biggest shock has been the people loving it so far. We put up the myspace site up and after 3 weeks we had over 2,000 hits."
What would you tell someone new that’s trying to get in the industry? "Practice, practice, practice. You really have to focus when you do practice too. Someone has to take charge and to look into the business side of things as well to cover all ends. A lot of bands don’t cover all their bases ending up floating around for a bit, then just giving up because they get stuck in a loop. Learn how to shake it up. Practice for sure."
When you come up with your music do you think more about it for yourselves, like this is a good sound? Or do you think more about the crowd? "I go for the sound. In our first album coming up a lot of the songs I brought to the table but the ones that we created as a band we went for the sound. What sounds good, what could be a section, a breakdown, thinking about the theory of it all laying down the structure."
"Like how a band would talk. We’re not talking physics of music. We put together what sounds good like little riffs that we know and combining all that sounds good to us. We’re not shooting for a specific genre. Keep is light with a little darker here and there bit. Good hearted music."
Any big plans for the summer? Any timetable on when the CD is coming out? "Recording on the weekends while trying to play some gigs. Hopefully have it ready in a month or two. Maybe by the beginning of June."
Interviewed by: Ken Tebo
Death To Pedro on MySpace
Death to Pedro @ the Hayloft Liquerstand (5/1/09) - Video Clip