Love and a .38

Love and a .38
Interview by Victoria Joyce
Sunset Strip Music Fest 2012

Three-year veterans of the Sunset Strip Music Festival Love and a .38 took our questions for the second year in a row. They have a new guy on guitar Domo Domaracki joining Ryan Hudson on lead vocals, Justin Emord on bass and Danny Excess is still the drummer.

SugarBuzzMagazine: First things first. Love and a 38 has a new baby!! (By the way – great choice!) Tell us about the process of replacing a band member.

Ryan: Usually it’s awful. Just stressful and time consuming and frustrating. There is always a little panic involved because you can’t help but wonder if the band is ending. HOWEVER… this time it was really easy. I’ve known Domo for years and have always wanted to play with him. It was a no brainer for me… just had to convince him to join our band of misfits.

Danny: Replacing anyone is always scary. You never know how the process is going to workout, or how long it’s going to take to find the ‘right’ person. There are a lot of session guys out there who look at their roll as someone who shows up and plays. With this band, it is extremely important that all band members take ownership in the band. We wanted someone who LOVES to play, LOVES to tour, and treats this as a job, but a job that they love to do, all the while being a part member of a family. Domo was the undisputed choice and we are happy that he was and is the perfect fit. This is THE lineup for us.

Justin: Most importantly, the replacement has to be hungry and want it, be a real asset and addition to the band on top of being easy to get along with and be talented.

Domo: Thank you:)…Gentlemen?

SugarBuzzMagazine: We won’t ask if the SSMF 2012 was overwhelming. It was. Period. 69 Bands on 7 stages – me, personally, in 12 hours saw 15 bands and missed 57. As festival veterans was it easier to perform? Enjoy?

Danny: SSMF was definitely overwhelming, but in a good way. Before a festival, there is a huge ‘to do’ list that you have to check off in the weeks and months prior, all the while trying to get all of the normal work done as well. Being an independent band, this creates a LOT of work for us. By the time the actual event comes around, it’s almost a relief.

Everything that you did prior is done. We worked very hard on promoting this festival and are very happy with how everything turned out. It was amazing to be part of such a stacked lineup at The Roxy Theatre, which is our favorite venue on earth. The Roxy crew really helped us tremendously (as they always do), so it was nice to feel at home at such a hectic and crazy festival.

It was also our first show with Domo on guitar, and we did a lot of preparation getting the set together. I’m very happy with the work that he did, he did a great job.

Justin: We went into the Street fest this year with a lot more press than we had gotten last year, as well as a prime time slot at the Roxy so there were a lot more nerves before we played, but also a lot of excitement. In some aspects, it gets easier, but at the same time it’s still really intense to prepare and give it your all.

Ryan: The performing is always the easy part. Its always the week leading up to the show that gets a little out of control. Between all the press events, galleries, and kickoff parties… Its a long week. I’d like to say that I’ve figured out how to pace myself… But my liver would call me a liar.

Domo: I think it helps to know the routine of the rules and the layout of the event. That way you can find shade or a building to hide out in from the summer sun. You need to save that energy so you don’t pass out on stage later haha.

SugarBuzzMagazine: What did you think of this year’s line up of artists? The diversity of style? Demographics of age/gender/ethnicity? (We counted a lot of lady/girl/women who performed.)

Danny: They definitely won diversity points on this one. Steve Aoki, Marilyn Manson, Das Racist, Bad Religion on the same bill? Thats awesome! It’s cool seeing a unique mix of people on the Sunset Strip at the same time. You don’t get to see that very often.

Justin: I thought it was great, there was something there for everyone. The best part of having such a diverse lineup is that while you’re waiting to see an artist perform, you may catch someone else that you may not have exactly made an effort to see otherwise and enjoy what you see and look them up after the festival.

Ryan: I thought the lineup was incredible. It was diverse enough to bring lots of different people together…. But not so diverse that anything seemed out of place. Everybody seemed to blend together pretty well.

Domo: I thought it was a pretty solid line up over all. It really had a bit of everything this year.

SugarBuzzMagazine: Did you think something was missing?

Danny: Yes, I specifically requested an Emperor Tamarind monkey to be back stage hanging out before we played. It was not there.

Justin: Not enough cowbell. Really though, the lineup was incredibly strong and diverse throughout all the stages this year. I feel like it was the best out of the four years SSMF has happened.

Ryan: A 20 foot tall bronze statue of myself. Maybe next year…

Domo: Yes, more shade haha. It was soooo hot.

SugarbuzzMagazine: Did you stay till the end?

Danny: Mentally, no. Physically, yes. It was an awesome, long day.

Justin: I did, Marilyn Manson sounded great, I loved when the Doors joined him on stage. We also ended up dealing with the police at the end of the night in true rock n roll fashion. Good times had by all!

Ryan: Absolutely! Not often do you get the chance to see all that awesome music in one place. Though after 10ish I have trouble remembering exactly what happened… For some reason.

Domo: Sure did. Manson was definitely worth staying for, especially having the Doors up there with him.

SugarBuzzMagazine: We discussed this last time, about Rock in the bright sunshine at big festivals – SSMF is not entirely unique with it’s combo of outside and inside (similar to SXSW) – Did you consider yourselves fortunate to play in an air-conditioned club and not out in the blistering 90 degree heat?

Danny: I was told that it was around 100 degrees on the drum riser under the lights during our set, and I didn’t bring a fan. I move around a lot when I play, so combine that heat with pretty much doing aerobics for 40 minutes. It was pretty brutal, but worth it.

Justin: The air conditioning definitely felt nice but rain or shine, night or day, we will put on the best show we can because that’s what our fans deserve.

Ryan: 90 degrees is a pretty conservative estimate. It was still probably 85 in the Roxy while we were playing. But regardless of temperature I am ALWAYS fortunate to be playing the Roxy. One of the best venues on the planet.

Domo: It’s nice for sure but having the pleasure of playing the larger east or west stage would have been really cool.

SugarBuzzMagazine: This year you played the Roxy (last year the Key Club) – Compare & contrast.

Danny: The Roxy is our home. The Roxy staff treats us like family. All the clubs are good, but The Roxy is on another level in every way. The Key Club was great last year, but this year was something extraordinary. The lineup at The Roxy that day was insane, best lineup on the entire festival by far.

Justin: The Key Club was fun last year, but the Roxy is our home base so we enjoy playing there more than pretty much any venue so the familiarity of performing there again got us amped to put on the best show we could. We’re also a lot tighter as a band than we were a year ago at SSMF so that aided in us putting on a better show this time around.

Ryan: Key Club = Awesome. Roxy = Super incredible magically awesomely amazing. That’s the scientific term, anyway.

Domo: LOL! I was in the audience for that one last year. Good show though.

SugarBuzzMagazine: Is it still special to play on the Sunset Strip?

Danny: Of course! Tons of great history, tons of great stories from just about every building on the Sunset Strip. Its something that kids from out of town dream of doing, I know I did before I moved to Los Angeles.

Justin: I think so, it’s very rare to see 3 blocks of a street with as much history and legend that the Sunset Strip has. Knowing the past it has beginning with the doors has always made me want to see a true scene come back there again.

Ryan: Living here, its easy to take it for granted sometimes. But SSMF does a great job of reminding us just how lucky we are to have this in our back yard. How many people’s “local bar” Has this kind of history?

Domo: I think so. Its my home and its where I’m social and and that to me is still very exciting.

SugarBuzzMagazine: Who would you like to see honored/headline the next SSMF?

Danny: I think it would be great to see Green Day, they played on the strip a lot, they are huge, and they aren’t a d bag rock band. Other bands that would be cool would be KISS, Metallica, Van Halen, etc.

As far as other acts go, I think it would be great to see artists like AFI, Deadmau5, Rancid, Flogging Molly, Kaskade, Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros, etc. They are all artists that could do this festival, and this would be a great eclectic lineup of all artists who had a lot of help from Los Angeles. Muse would be cool as well.

Justin: Led Zep or Van Halen would be awesome, though many bands have had their beginnings on the Strip that would be just as worthy of being honored. >>

Ryan: Oh man, that’s a loaded question. So I’m gonna go way out on a limb and say Spinal Tap. Boom.

Domo: Jane’s Addiction would be awesome!!!

SugarbuzzMagazine: Where have you travelled in the past year? Most significant thing learned outside of LA?

Danny: I went to NY on my own for CMJ. With the band, all over the Southwest and Midwest. And we are planning on a LOT of touring for the next year. We have learned to make sure you have a spare tire, don’t eat food thats been in the tour van for over a week, bring plenty of duct tape, and that its really cool to meet people in other cities.

Justin: We’ve gone all the way up the West Coast to Seattle and out to Texas. Most significant thing learned is never sleep with a promoter’s daughter…. or wife. >>

Ryan: We did SXSW in Texas this year, then we did a west coast tour up to Seattle and back. I’d have to say the MOST important thing I learned was that while a hangover is temporary… The pictures taken the night before will live on forever. So keep your pants on.

Domo : Wow, I just now realized I haven’t been anywhere in the last year. I need to change that.

SugarBuzzMagazine: How was the launch of the custom bass guitar at the NAMM show? Is partnering with music manufacturers a big plus? Any strings artistically speaking?

Justin: It’s awesome, the fans have been very receptive to my new signature bass and I’ve enjoyed sharing pictures of it with them throughout the build so I couldn’t be happier. I am also sponsored by Ashdown Amps who sponsors the Foo Fighters, Paul McCartney and the late John Entwistle so to be on an artist roster like that definitely helps give you a reputation and industry connections you wouldn’t get otherwise as well as free promotion for your band/upcoming events you may have going on.

Domo: It can help, music gear is so expensive. Having sponsors can help keep you out there.

SugarBuzzMagazine: Any big plans coming up?

Danny: The Love and a .38 ‘Single A Month Club’ is in full effect. One new song single, every month for a year. The next one will be month 3. Its a unique idea that is very hard to pull off. None of these songs are pre-recorded.

We literally write, record, and release the song in a month. The time of the album is over. In this day and age, everything is about speed. We live in a society where everything is instant and the attention span is low. We feel like this is a good way to keep the interest up and progress as a band.

Justin: New music, new tours, new misadventures…

Ryan: We plan on releasing a single a month for 12 months. We are currently on month 3. We’re writing and recording them as we go… So we’re gonna be able to take our fans along with us as we grow and change as artists, as well as people for the next year. We’re pretty excited about it. Never really heard of a band doing something quite like this. Maybe it will catch on.

SugarBuzzMagazine: Do you love LA?

Danny: I do. I also love San Francisco and New York. LA is definitely unique, rich in music history, and I have met some great people here.

Ryan: Love the food and the year round short shorts weather, hate the smog and the rich people.

Domo: Its home, of course I do. Although the traffic breaks my quite a bit.

Thanks a zillion million billion for your time on this. We seriously love you guys.