Freakishly flamboyant, amazingly entertaining, New York City's Semi Precious Weapons have been gigging around their home city for years, within the past year or so they have risen from tiny Lower East Side clubs and onto main stages and into the eyes and ears of new fans around the world. 2009 was a major year and landmark for the band as they headlined celebrity blogger Perez Hilton's Perez Presents tour, opened for Lady Gaga on her Monster Ball World Tour and found time to even record a new record. As the band just gets off the road with Gaga and sets to release their latest You Love You, I had the opportunity to speak with the hilarious, charming and insanely fun front man Justin Tranter. Justin and I discussed what is in store for the band in 2010, the new record, life on the road and of course that rumored collaboration with country bumpkin Kellie Pickler that he confirms and puts to the test. Take a look at my interview with Justin below...
2009 has been a tremendous year for the band, how do you plan to top it in 2010?
JT: 2009 has been gorgeous! 2010 will be even more magical. We plan on doing that by having our major label debut come out, touring the WORLD with GaGa, wearing nothing but the color nude, and being even filthier.
When will the band begin recording the follow up "We Love You?"
JT: We just finished recording our new record "You Love You". We bought ourselves out of our Indie deal, and "We Love You" is going to disappear. Because "You Love You" is a lot more of what we sound like now after 200 more shows and a new guitar player. Jack Joseph Puig produced "You Love You" with us, and we couldn't be prouder of it.
You just did the Perez Hilton Tour this fall, how was that experience? What was it like being on the road with all of those artists?
JT: The Perez tour was fucking fabulous. We went from opener, to support, to co-headliner. It was like a teen movie montage. Ha! Being with LadyHawke for a month was beyond awesome. We miss her very much.
You were also picked to open for Lady Gaga on her much anticipated Monster Ball Tour. Is there any inside secrets you can give us on what to expect from her?
JT: Its been more than I could ever dream of, I mean, 10,000 people at every Canadian show! Playing the Wang Center in Boston, and I use to sing covers at a piano bar right across the street for tips while I was in college. Amazing.
You were voted Village Voice best NYC band in the current readers poll. How much do you appreciate this title from your hometown fans?
JT: We appreciate it VERY much. We love NYC, and most of NYC loves us. I think. Hahaha!
The sound and style of the band is so unique, but also reminiscent to another NYC band, The Scissor Sisters. Are they influences of yours? Would you ever consider working with them?
JT: The Scissors are wonderful, but they make dance pop, and we make rockNroll. But we do all dress well aka like crazy people, so I think that's where the comparison comes from. I'd love to work with them one day.
Recently it has been reported that Justin will work with Kellie Pickler. How did this relationship come about? Will Kellie be dabbling into glam? Will you dabble into country?
JT: I am a HUGE country fan. Kasey Chambers, Lucinda Williams, and Buddy Miller are some of my favorite songwriters of any genre. I met the incredibly sexy Ms Pickler backstage at fashion week, and we became fast friends. After her Madison Square Garden show with Taylor Swift we ended up writing a song in bathroom at 3am sparkling on champagne. Its was stunning.
You have made a big impact across the pond in the UK. How do the UK fans differ from US fans?
JT: We only played a week of shows in the UK, but by the last show it was sold out. We can't wait to get back there in 2010. We have a lot more work to do over there. Well we have a lot more work to do everywhere actually!
From Perez to Kate Moss to The Sounds to Lady Gaga, your celebrity fan base has grown in such big ways. Does it mean alot to you to have celeb fans as opposed to regular fans coming to shows and buying the records and merch? Or is it just two levels of fandom?
JT: Well, anyone loving our music is great. Celebs loving our music helps spread the word through press and is REALLY flattering, but fans and friends loving our music is what means the most.
There is so much attitude in your lyrics, sound and live shows, yet it stems from a fun place. Do you take yourself seriously? Or just having fun living the dream?
JT: We take our music very seriously. We all went to music school, we have all been playing since we were kids, and we always try to learn new shit. But obviously there is humor in my lyrics. And obviously the point of our shows and music is to have fun and get people laid. So I guess you could say we take playing music, having fun, and getting people laid VERY seriously!
Special thanks to Justin, Debbie Pressman and the Girlie PR team for this interview!