Heart of Steel: Interviews

Interview With Dragpipe
Interview by Keith

Combining the elements of Bad Brains and Janes Addiction, Dragpipe are preparing themselves for the long uphill battle of the music industry. Fresh off the release of their debut album via Interscope Records, the band has been gaining some momentum through their live shows. The band, Jai Diablo, vocals, Richie “Slick” Garcia, guitar, Gino “Sleeves” Depinto, guitar, Monte, guitar, Jeno, bass, and Pete Barrera on drums, developed a solid local following in New York through their energetic shows. Music For The Last Day of Your Life, produced by Dave Sardy (Slayer, Marilyn Manson, Helmet, Barkmarket), is full of blistering tracks ready for radio. I recently had the opportunity to speak with Jeno who gave some insight into the band.

How did the band start?

Myself, Slick & Sleevs were jamming together for a few months; Sleevs had just come back from L.A. to help start this band. Monte & Pete were actually playing in a local band just prior to us forming. John had played with Slick & Sleevs in a few prior projects. We were all friends so we thought why not add a 3rd guitar? We were able to bring in Pete as well and soon after we met Jai Diablo through a mutual friend, from there it’s history.



How is the NJ rock scene?

The NJ rock scene unfortunately is not that good. It seems to thrive on cover bands so it's a lot harder for original bands to get decent gigs. Most clubs opt for the big draw cover bands.



How did you land at Interscope?

We had been playing the city as much as possible. We built a nice following and were starting to draw very well. Our friend was Radio Raheem who did the buzz on KROCK. He was able to arrange a live showcase for Interscope. The label loved it, we loved them and that was it.



How would you describe your music?

We call it gasoline rock. It's very intense with lots of energy. The album title also reflects its intense nature



What would you say, separates yourself from the other bands out there right now?

We feel our music is for the most part a lot more original that what is out there today. We also feel our live show definitely separates us, we're a live band.



Why the 3 guitar attack? How does this develop the band's sound?

The great thing about 3 guitars is that we can reproduce what we did on the record live. It also allows us musically to really get into the layering of different sounds. We have lots of options that other bands don't.



What are the tour plans? Do you find it harder for newer bands to tour these days?

Now that the holidays are over we're hoping to get on supporting one of the bigger national acts. Maybe someone who did well at Ozzfest and now are looking to tour by themselves.



Do you think there's room at radio for your genre of music at radio? It seems to be getting harder for bands to get any play at radio.

I think it's a lot harder for a band like us because we sound a lot different than most bands getting play right now. Radio is for sure very competitive but there's always room for something fresh.



What happened with Jai at the Interscope conference room? Did he piss anyone off?

I can't comment about that.



What can fans expect from a live Dragpipe show?

They can expect balls to the wall intensity. We exude as much energy at a live show as any band. We are a LIVE Band. We give each performance 100% and I guess if you saw the shape of us after a live show you would understand.



Do you feel being at a major label is both good and bad...it's good to have a major label backing you but it seems, especially majors, have this 'one shot and that's it' mentality as to where they're not interested in developing new bands. Do you agree?

I think we have been blessed with a label that is willing to develop an artist. Interscope has been wonderful, they really understand the idea of "artist development". At the same time I agree a lot of labels do have the "one shot and that's it" mentality but lucky for us were not with one of those labels.



What lies ahead for Dragpipe?

We are definitely a band that likes to work hard so hopefully we'll get on the road for a good long while so as many people as possible can see what we feel is one of the best live shows there are.