'Shooting From The Very Hip'
Pistolita began as an idea for an aggressive piano-driven band after songwriter Conor Meads (piano/vocals) quit his job writing TV and radio jingles in San Diego. Bored with playing guitar, he started writing songs and founded the band with childhood friend Cory Stier (drums) during the winter of ’04.
Justin Shannon (guitar/vocals) and Alex Kushe (bass) came from existing friendships with Cory and Conor and the band started playing shows immediately. The band demoed songs and built a local following over the next few months anxiously waiting to graduate and tour. Once the band was out of high school, Pistolita began booking their own tours up the west coast, traveling in Cory’s truck and finding couches and floors to sleep on.
Saving enough money from the tours to record an EP, the band went to Los Angeles to record “gliss note” with Alex Newport. The EP and their ever-growing fanbase gained Pistolita label interest and an offer to play at the Bamboozle festival in New Jersey. Penniless, still in a truck and down to their last CDs, they left for their first national tour to play the festival.
The persistence paid off and Pisolita ended the tour signed as the first artist on Montalban Hotel Records. Immediately following the tour, they went into the studio to record their debut album, Oliver Under The Moon.
Pistolita’s debut CD Oliver Under The Moon is out now on Montalban Hotel records.
Chatting recently with Cory, and noting that the band only really came together when everybody had left high school, I first wondered if any of them had considered jumping the educational ship to get a taste of life on the road sooner?! "Nah. Alex, Justin and I (Cory) made sure to graduate on time. Our parents would have been pretty upset if you didn't at least graduate high school. The summer after we graduated, we started touring pretty instantly all across the west coast with a couple EP's that we had at the time. Conor had been out of high school for a couple years before we got out. He was just waiting."
With your debut album being 'Oliver Under The Moon,' I'm wondering if this interestingly named CD is perhaps more personally-entitled for you yourselves? "This would be a good question for Conor, since he named the album. 'Oliver Under The Moon' was part of a concept Conor had in the beginnings of writing the album that never quite worked out."
If there was one track on this new album that truly encapsulated Pistolita at their musical and lyrical finest, which one would it be? "'Panic,' the last song on the record. It's one of our older songs, but it's all of our favorite."
And whilst we're revealing things, just where did that band name originate ... and what else could you so easily have been called? "Frank Black has something to do with it ... that was really the only name we came up for. It instantly stuck."
As you seem to tour an awful lot thru the year, what's the ups and downs of doing such a thing ... and are the groupies as 'willing' as legend has them to be?! "Up's of tour ... hanging out with your friends, meeting new band and people, seeing the country, playing new venues, going to just about every kind of gas station in the country, pranks. Downs of tour ... not seeing your girlfriend/friends/family back home, really really long drives, living out of a bag for a little too long."
"You should ask Justin that last question ... I don't have any stories," he laughs.
Do you have a funny, possibly embarrassingly story you can tell us that may have happened to you on this road to stardom?! "Stardom?," he laughs again. "I wouldn't go that far. Embarrasing things happen pretty much any night we drink. Some people don't know how to behave themselves."
What '80s (and possibly cheesy!) rock song would you love to cover today if asked ... and why?! "Eddie Money's 'Two Tickets To Paradise,' because his songs get chicks!"
Lastly, I like Penguins ... do you?! "They are cute."
Interviewed by Russell A. Trunk
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