JBM checking in with his latest column on all things punk, “I Don’t Wanna Grow Up.”
I DON’T WANNA GROW UP / JOHN B. MOORE
By John B. Moore
The Pale Angels is clearly not the first band to start off working Nirvana covers. Though, they are likely the first international group who got their start playing nothing but Nirvana covers on stage at punk rock utopia (aka The Fest, held in Gainesville, Florida every fall).
The impromptu band – comprised of Mike Santostefano (formerly of Static Radio NJ) on vocals and guitar and Jaime Morrison (formerly with the Noisettes) on bass and vocals – saw their initial conception at Fest 10 in 2011 when the duo, likely drunk, took the stage in full Cobain/Novoselic mode. They needed their Grohl though and finally found him months later in the form of Mikey Erg (formerly of The Ergs).
The duo now a trio christened themselves Pal e Angels and went to work penning their nine-song debut, Primal Play.
Santostefano was cool enough to trade some e-mails back and forth recently to answer some questions. Half of the answers are complete bullshit by the way, but still pretty damn funny.
How did you guys first connect with Jamie Morrison?
I first met Jamie when my old band Static Radio went on tour with his band The Arteries for the first time in the U.K. back in the spring of ’09. We hung out, drank, and just kinda hit it off right away. We both loved Fugazi.
Did the sound for this band come out of the Nirvana covers you guys played in Florida?
I guess you can say the idea of the band definitely started out of the Nirvana gigs. Me and Jamie just figured we both love and see a lot of the same things about music. We both loved playing those songs and wanted to get something going shortly after that first cover show. We both came to the conclusion that this band had to be very different from our previous bands.
Is this a one off project or are you guys a full-fledged band now?
Yeah we’re not fucking around; this is our main gig for sure. We have a lot of plans coming up that include touring the album this fall, winter and spring.
Are any of you guys in other groups right now?
Yeah we are all in bands and groups besides Pale Angels. Jamie does SSSSnakes and the Arteries (editor’s note: true) and is also in MAG – a Mopery Anonymous Group – which helps people who indecently expose themselves to blind people (editor’s note: that would be awesome). I have two other bands called Crimes and D’arcy (editor’s note: yup) and also am working on a boy band circus-themed group called Brawns and Beards where we just basically sing Slayer songs A cappella naked on unicycles (editor’s note: Wish this one were true. Kickstarter could make this one happen). If you’re not familiar with Mikey, he’s in about 73 bands right now which of course include his own solo work , Pity Party (editor’s note: also true) and recently joined Sugar Ray’s Mark McGrath’s new punk band called Ain’t Nobody Getting’ Shitted on (editor’s note: want this one to happen even more than Brawns and Beards).
Is Jamie living in the U.S. now?
No, he still lives in Wales and I try to get over there as much as I can. I miss him a lot and think about him to the point of obsession.
What was the recording process like for this record?
Recording Primal Play was cool. We only had enough money to afford two days at Vacation Island so we recorded everything live with very little over dubs and most of the songs were one or two takes. We really couldn’t mess around with tracking cause we basically had to use the second day to mix the whole album, so it was stressful setting up and getting everything ready but once we laid down “Mama” after a try or two we all felt more at ease for sure. Ben (Greenberg, of Brooklyn band The Men) was great to work with. He totally understood what we wanted and even surprised us with cool shit he threw on some of the mixes. I remember him saying as far as “the producer” roll goes “it’s my job to press record and get outta the way, you guys know what band you wanna be.” He had a very cool “if the performance felt cool and you guys dug the feel” go with that kind of attitude on recording that I think the three of us really loved about him.
So you do plan to tour around this album?
Yes, this October/late November we are playing this years “The Fest” in Gainesville, FL and “Pre-Fest” in Ybor City, in Tampa, which is going to be our first shows. Then we are doing a U.K. tour in December, a U.S. tour in January, and then a full European tour in March. Somewhere in between all that were gonna write more songs for a 7” or maybe another full length we’ll see.
Those are all the questions I have. Anything else you want to cover?
Come to a show, check out our album and watch Roseanne. http://paleangelsband.bandcamp.com/album/primal-play
Thanks for taking the time to answer these questions.