My Journey to ‘Whatever We Want, Whenever We Want’ by: Pete RG
Critically-acclaimed Indie Rocker Pete RG is known for bringing fans on a musical voyage that traverses genres, styles and influences to create a sound that is uniquely his own. Since serving as the lead singer and principal songwriter of the band Last December, he has now embarked on a solo mission.
With the impending release of Whatever We Want, Whenever We Want, this modern-day troubadour has taken his music from coast to coast, and this week will be overseas in the U.K., on his much-anticipated fall tour.
His band features original Pearl Jam drummer and Hall of Fame inductee Dave Krusen, bassist Adam Kury (currently in Candlebox and formerly in Last December), lead guitarist Kevin Haaland (Skillet) and keyboardist and esteemed engineer, Brina Kabler.
The 16-date tour kicked off September 4th in San Francisco and has been a three month-run which included a show with ’90s platinum-selling rock band Candlebox for their 25th Anniversary Tour and will conclude with special appearances by singer/songwriter Dave Giles in London this week.
Here, Pete RG takes us inside his personal and artistic journey.
How did you arrive at the idea of this solo record? What does the music represent?
In the past, I’d work on the songs and refine them before getting the band together to record. As the band and the music evolved, it felt natural to build the songs up with the guys from the start. There’s a great chemistry between us all, both personally and musically, and I wanted to bring that into our sound. We worked out the songs together, took them on the road, then recorded them at our studio. Playing the songs live before recording was key. Especially, getting to have audience feedback and getting to really dig into the music. Getting in front of an audience forces you to really focus on the song and the performance, especially with new songs.
When you perform in front of a crowd of people, you’ve got to grab and hold them. With tried and true songs, you know you will. With new songs, you don’t. You’re vulnerable. There’s no telling what the audience’s response will be even with a bunch of preparation and rehearsing. You might think a song’s great. But, they’ve got to feel it. If they don’t, the applause will be polite when you want it to be passionate. So, at some point, you’ve got to take a leap of faith and put your ass on the line. It’s an exhilarating feeling that forces you to focus on the intent of your work much more than you’re capable of doing when writing or rehearsing. If you pull it off- if the crowd loves the song- you’re on your way. You’ve made things much easier for yourself and better for the song when you take it into the recording studio. Bottom line, it ups your game, big time.
What topics and emotions are you tapping into with this collection of songs?
I’m tapping into that sense of “wtf is going on” that most of us are feeling everyday with regards to the shocking times we’re experiencing. There’s a lot of screaming and shouting going on. But, very little listening. Lots of finger pointing. But, very few reasonable solutions. Lots of name calling. But, very little kindness. Because of relatively recent technological gains, we’ve moved closer to a world in which we can have whatever we want, whenever we want. And what do we do as we arrive at that point? We start breaking things. Seems a little oblivious and entitled, to me. But, we’re on that path and I don’t see us deviating from it.
What is different about this experience for you as an artist?
Digging into the songs with the band from the beginning has made the song writing process a lot more fun. The weight of having to “do it all” has been lifted from my shoulders quite a bit. That’s both liberating and inspiring. Plus, it’s brought us closer as a band. Our collective confidence has grown as has our faith in each other. We’ve emerged stronger as a team.
What do you feel “Watching The River Go By” represents in terms of introducing everyone to this new record?
It shows our evolvement toward an edgier and somewhat darker sound. It also reflects a band growing together and more comfortable with each other. There’s more space in the song without singing. More time for both the audience and us as performers to pause and reflect. It’s urgent without being too aggressive. Also, this song, as well as the others on the album, is very suited to the stage. There’s a theater to it. A journey. It’s not meant to be instantly digestible. But, its many turns reveal new little gems with each listen. That keeps you listening and exploring.
What does this new chapter mean to you?
It’s been an amazing journey with the band and this project, so far. We’ve put a lot of heart and energy into our work. So, it’s incredibly rewarding to see the band and the music evolving as they are. I would dare to say, we’re moving forward with a youthful spirit guided by the wisdom of our experience. It’s a very creative momentum; one that we’re all exited about. We’re diving into it musically without any restrictions or boundaries.
~ Pete RG