'Dive Bar Hero!'
ERIC BAINES, BEST KNOWN FOR HIS BASS WORK WITH THE “HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL” TOUR AND ITS STARS LUCAS GRABEEL, CORBIN BLEU, AND MANY MORE, RELEASES HIS CD DIVE BAR ROCK STAR!
For singer/songwriter/producer, Eric Baines, a dive bar is a familiar place. Baines began his career in the dive bars of Denver, CO where he grew up playing blues, top 40, jazz, country and whatever else anyone would pay him to play, sometimes scraping by on $25 a night. In the title track of his new CD, Dive Bar Rock Star!, he sings about the good side of his experiences and the feeling you get when the work day is done and you can retreat to a place where nobody can tell you what to say.
Although he started in dive bars, he worked his way up to playing arenas and stadiums as the bass player for the “High School Musical” concert tours which featured Vanessa Hudgens, Ashley Tisdale, Lucas Grabeel and Corbin Bleu. He went on to play in Bleu’s solo band for three tours. He’s also toured with Drew Seeley, Melissa Manchester, Debelah Morgan, and with jazz artists like Keiko Matsui, Lee Ritenour and Gregg Karukas.
Dive Bar Rock Star! was produced by Baines and much of it was recorded in his house in Los Angeles, CA where he now resides. His music has been featured in many TV shows on MTV, VH1, NBC and most recently on an episode of HBO’s “Real Sex”. He was quite proud of that one. He’s also produced songs for Corbin Bleu and Rudy Cardenas from American Idol. Additionally, Baines also jammed with James Brown, Roger Daltry, The Kentucky Head Hunters and Los Lobos.
Exclusive Magazine had the recent pleasure of speaking with Eric Baines about his love for dive bars, his musical influences, and, of course, penguins!
Taking it from the top and what were your musical influences growing up and how many still factor into your music today? "I've always had a thing for British bands and artists. It probably started with the Beatles, which was basically the soundtrack of my childhood and probably the first music I ever heard. But I also listened to others like Duran Duran, Seal, Tears For Fears and The Cure. Currently, I listen to Weezer, The Killers, Green Day, Kings of Leon and John Mayer, who is my biggest influence since the Beatles. I think you can hear these artists in my music more than anything else."
For the Average Joe who may not be familiar previous work and was thinking of buying your upcoming new album ‘Dive Bar Rock Star’, how would you describe your sound? "Weezer meets John Mayer with a shot of Jagermeister. My music is guitar based pop/rock. It's fun and real. I like to have a good time but I also want you to feel something when you listen to my music. I think there's something for everyone on this record."
Which song off this album are you most proud of and how does it feel to be able to share it with the public? "It's always a bit scary when you spend hours and hours of your life dedicating yourself to a project and finally let it go into the world. I'm always fascinated by the fact that different people connect to different songs. I think it's a cool thing because with iTunes now especially, I can make a more diverse album and people can buy whatever songs they want. I try to make music for everybody. I'm really proud of the tunes on this record."
"I tried to be very true to myself this time. My favorites are "Everything." which was a gift for my girlfriend on our one year anniversary, "Dive Bar Rock Star!" because it represents some of the dues I've had to pay to get here, "Easter Rain," which took me a long time to finish and perfect (I re-wrote it and re-wrote it), and "Kiss Me," which is the most rocking song I ever wrote. What's your favorite song?"
This is your second effort as a solo artist previously releasing ‘Reinvention’ back in 2004. Why has it taken so long for a follow up and how did this album come about? "I put out "Reinvention" with every intention of promoting it and touring but I was sidetracked by other opportunities as a bass player, including the "High School Musical" concert tours with the cast of the movie, three tours with Corbin Bleu and travels all over the world with Japanese pianist Keiko Matsui. So life just took me in a new direction but I never stopped writing, and all the while I was putting together a studio."
"I finally got to the point where I felt like it was my time to make my own move. I had a bunch of songs that I like and I just needed a few more to have a whole album. Some of the songs are three years old. I kept the best of what I had written and polished up the production of them. It was nice to take my time with this one and get it right."
So how often are people trying to get you to do a shot of Jagermeister with them since the release of the track “When It’s Over”? "Jagermeister is a key element to this record. Some of this was written and recorded while consuming the tasty beverage. I'm known to drink a few shots during the live show but it's always a good time. I was introduced to Jager when I was in a cover band in Las Vegas called "Clockwork" and it's become a tradition among my friends and fellow band mates. We sell a lot of it whenever we play!"
Indeed, how easy (or hard) is it to create a new, vibrant, wanted-by-the-public sound that both builds on and surpasses the musical wonderment's/accomplishments that preceded it within the industry? "I think there are a lot of elements that go into making pop music, and it's kind of hard to plan on making something that anyone else wants to hear. I think the key is to make something real. You have to have something to say. You shouldn't go into a creative situation thinking about who's going to like this. It starts with a message or an idea. Then write a good song."
"After that, let the song tell you and show you where to go. I also think that with the present state of the music business, artists can make whatever kind of music they want and they have the tools to find their audience through social networking, Internet marketing and YouTube. Reality and sincerity is the key. If you're cutting edge and innovative, then you are; if not, you're not. I think that makes sense?"
Your press release states you were particular proud of being featured on a recent episode of HBO’s “Real Sex”… which song was it and what made it such a proud moment to be featured on that show? "It was actually a song that I wrote ten years ago called "This Ain't Love". I was watching the show with my girlfriend having a great night when it cut to a montage of strippers with an instrumental version of my song playing behind it. It was awesome! I've had a fair number of my songs used for tv shows, but usually it goes by really quickly and I rarely notice it. This was almost the entire song and it was featured on one of my most favorite shows. What a night that was!"
Any plans for a North American dive bar tour? "I'm working on putting together a tour, but it might not be until late Winter or Spring before it happens. I'm doing some dates in Utah later this month and I do a show in L.A. every couple of months. Check in at www.ericbaines.com or MySpace.com/ericbaines or any of the other sites I'm on to see if I'll be in your area. If you would like me and my band to come to your town, please let me know. I'm looking for fans. It would also be helpful if you signed up for my mailing list and street team and you can help me get to you. Most of all it would help if fans go to iTunes or CDBaby.com and buy my record. I'm also going to be posting more live videos on YouTube and possibly starting my own streaming live show. Keep checking in for news."
Speaking of dive bars… where is the best one you’ve been to through your travels and what made it the ultimate dive? "I would like to first say that I used the term 'Dive Bar' in only the most affectionate way. I started playing in clubs in Denver and I used to play twice a week at a little place called Ziggies. We worked for the door, and usually the door guy would steal half of the money, but the people who hung out there were great people. Some of the best musicians in town would come and sit in. Some stages and bars just have an energy about them that you can't deny. This was one of those places. Every night we played it was like an arena show."
If asked to record one for charity, what '80s (and possibly cheesy!) pop/rock song would you love to cover today ... and why?! "I love the '80s!! There are so many songs, but off the top of my head I would say "Change" by John Waite. Great song! Great singer!"
Lastly, and throwing you a journalistic curve ball, Exclusive Magazine love Penguins ... do you?! "I really appreciate a well-dressed bird. I would say yes."
Interview: Ken Tebo
To keep up with Eric Baines, check out his MySpace page once a week!
So, if you would like to win a copy of Eric's new CD, just answer this easy question: Eric's music has been featured in many TV shows on MTV, VH1, NBC and most recently on an HBO episode of ... what?!
Send us your answers and if you're correct you'll be in the running to win one of these wonderful new CDs! Just send us an e:mail here before November 15th with your answer and the subject title CONTEST: ERIC BAINES CDs to: firstname.lastname@example.org
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