Scarlet Grey (Indie/Pop/Rock)

Written by Jonny Havoc

Scarlet Grey
Posted Mar 16, 2007.

Epic interview with Ben!

Ben (lead vox/guitar)
Danny (lead guitar/vox)
Pete (Bass/vox)
Ricker (drums/vox)

What is your website?

What is your MySpace?

What is your PureVolume? Purevolume is dead bros!!!

What genre is your music? Haha THE DREADED QUESTION!!! Umm.. i dunno... we're like... Rock/Dance/Powerpop/Punk/Metal haha... Can we say good? Is that a genre?

Who got you interested in playing this kind of music?
The Beatles, Green Day, My Dad.

What is music to you? I'm trying to figure out how to answer this without sound like a schmuck... But honestly, music is love. And it's just funny that something that is such a natural, beautiful thing is insulated by like the worst industry ever. But singing and playing makes it worth it. Am i schmuck? or did i do alright?

How did you come up with your band name?
Scarlet Grey is the title of a children's book that i wrote a few years ago, and i'd still like to publish. Basically, without giving too much away, she (SG is a she) is like a bloody mary type figure that kids call upon for protection. So in that spirit we thought, in the same way she protects her children we could protect our audience if that make any sense <3

What other bands have you been in, why did they end or how are they going?
I've been in A LOT of bands haha... ummm... in 7th grade i was in a band called "Noise For No Reason." (NFNR if you were hip)... Then i was in a punk ska band called "The Optics." I used to play in my Dad's band sometimes called "Midlife Crisis." And then my other major band was like this weird funk, reggae, pop band lol. It was pretty sweet actually. We got signed to dreamworks and did some shows with Alien Ant Farm back in the day. i then left because, i wasn't really into it anymore and i wanted to go to college. The band had a horrible name btw. "Jancy Groove." Go check out the myspace! I'm sure you'll get a kick out of it :)

Did you have any previous band names? (with same band members)
hahaha indeed we did! For a longggg time we were called "The Manatee Band." Wonder why we changed it, huh?

What are some of your shows comming up? Well we just started work on our first full length so we've been pretty busy... But we're doing your show in Fullerton, we're doing the Knitting Factory on April 1st and then we're doing a show in San Diego with our friends in 18 Visions on April 19th.

What venue would you like to play the most that you haven't played at?
The Phoenix in Petaluma. Historic.

What venue has been the best to play at?
In L.A. it's the troubadour. For sure. Best sound, best dudes, best vibe.

What city or area has been the best place to play?
Ummm... Berkeley, Flagstaff, Los Gatos, Anaheim, Vegas...

What city or area has been the worst place to play? Los Angeles. It's the worst.

When, Where and How was your first show if you can remember?
As The Manatee Band our first show was in 2003 at The Roxy. It was epic. We all totally beefed it, but it was fun. But as this line up... Our first show was The El Rey Theatre in like 2005. It was ridiculous amounts of fun. We knew we had the right kids in the band.

How have you seen yourselves get better since then? It's pretty obvious. We used to suck. Now we don't. haha.. But for any band it takes a while to find yourself, both with music and performance.

Where was your best show?
Ummm... I don't know what my favorite show was. Maybe when we opened for Jordan Knight from New Kids on The Block, just because i've never experienced anything so surreal. That guy was such a d-bag. I remember the first time i ever got on stage was lip synching to his song "step by step" at my friends birthday party when i was like 7. And then like 15 years later we played with him and he was such a bad dude. Funniest night of my life.

What makes a show the best? People being into it. I know it's such a boring, obvious answer, but seriously. The reason we don't like to play L.A. is because everybody is too cool to get into it and it's a drag. Anytime we step outside, the shows go off. Totally the kids having a good time makes the show.

Who do you one day want to play a show with or open for that you havent allready?
Green Day. That would be so fulfilling. Just because I remember making that my goal when i was 12 and i bought dookie, my first cd. All i wanted to do is play with them. I don't know if that makes me sound cool or not, but that would make the 12 year old Benjamin Grey way happy :)

Why do you play music? Because i want to make people feel the way my favorite artists make me feel. It's important to me.

What makes you strive to be heard?
The belief that our music has the power to shake things up. My friend Curtis from Facion Nacionale talks all the time about how music used to make you want to dance, and fall in love and change the world and he's right! we want people to feel that again and we believe it's possible!
So shake you grins Big Smile!!

What inspires most of your lyrics? Chicks. Totally kidding. Umm... it;s hard to say. They're all very personal. The titles always come first, because i'm a firm believer in the message through the concept. But it's case specific you know?... some songs are about what's happening in my life or our lives or what has happened or what will happen, what we're afraid of, who's hurt me, who i've hurt, who i'm going to hurt etc. I don't like to give too much away, but I will say though that the lyrics are very important to Scarlet Grey. I think about every single word.

What you are saying thru your music?
This is seriously and question i'm not allowed to answer. haha. I really believe in keeping that a secret, because it's up to the listener. I mean if i explained exactly what the song meant, it cheapens the whole experience. It's like 'why have the song?' The song is the explanation, you know? If someone listens to it and feels something particular to them, that's what's important. Music should have some mystery.

How many people in the band right now are the original band members? (explain new members) Just me and danny. We started the band in our apartment.

When was your band formed?
2003 Manatee Band began. Scarlet Grey started when we released "Forgot Me Was Me."

For what reasons was your band formed? We just wanted to rock. Seriously we wanted to just cut loose. I didn't think it was going to be my life.

Where do you wish for your band to be in 5 years?
I'm hoping for world domination in 3.

What do you think its going to take to get there? I think the album we're doing right now is something special. When we work on it, it just feels like something big. I don't want to be one of those guys who hypes stuff up too much, but i'm really feeling it and after it's done we're going to tour forever. And my brain can't process more than that for now.

What is the best thing about being your band?
I get to make the music i love with the best dudes on the planet. Bottom line.

Do you have any advice to starting bands? I do. A lot of advice. Don't pay to play. Avoid L.A. Pick your band mates carefully and be open about everything. You guys need to all like each other and trust each other if it's going to work. Don't use fog machines, it's bad for your voice. Don't drink cold water on stage, it constricts your voice... What else... umm... Avoid L.A. hahaha. Seriously.

What is the best thing about music?
The fun.

What is the worst thing about music? The business.

What do you want to see happen thru music in the future?
Less auto tune, less coat tail riders, less wireless guitars, more honesty, nicer people and the rebirth of the album. I just wish people stopped buying singles and went out to buy albums again. That's the best. I guess that means bands need to start writing them again too, huh?

What are you doing to progress those ideas? writing a real album. and being honest in what we do. I promise we'll never do anything we don't believe in. SCOUT'S HONOR!!!

What other instruments can (each person) play (other than the ones they currently play in the band)?
Everybody can kinda play everything... I can play guitar, bass, drums, a little piano, mandolin and a bunch of percussion stuff like marimbas and timbales... Rick can play some guitar and the Beverly Hills Cop theme on piano. Pete plays guitar and piano and Danny can do basically everything known to man.

What religion are you? I'm agnostic. I'm not very militant about my beliefs but i'm just not a religious guy. I can't speak for everybody else in the band, but it hardly ever comes up.

Does your religion effect your music?
Not really.

Any funny or interesting stories? They never ever stop. You should probably make that it's own interview. Seriously. Hahaha.

What do you think about UFOs?
Danny would probably be better suited for this question. I wanna see one... That's pretty much where i stand. Maybe i dont want to see one. hmm.. i dont know. Now i'm scared. I kinda wanna see a ghost more.

What do you guys do for work right now, other than playing music?
Rick and Danny are graphic designers. Pete works at a school for Autism. And right now i'm not doing anything, because i'm living off the money i made writing and performing vocal hooks for a bunch of universal's rap artists. So dont freak out if you hear me on power 106.

Does being involved in playing music make you miss out on anything?
Not really, no.

What advantage do you have above other people because you play music?
I have better stories than anybody else. And we haven't even really hit it yet!

What were some of your favorite bands growing up?
Green Day. Less Than Jake. AFI. NOFX. The Hippos. I was a punk kid with a severe fetish for ska. And of course The Beatles. Always The Beatles.

What would you say to a kid who has no faith in himself?
It happens to everybody. I used to be a wreck. You gotta find something to believe in. It sounds way after school special but seriously. Being a kid is brutal. Call me up <3

Have you lost any fans for doing something drastic? (like moving to a bigger label, changing your sound, ect)
Umm... well we did undergo a drastic sound change after we released our ep. so that was weird. but everything's cool now. we just want to release our record so people can finally own some SG for real haha.

Every bands music changes over the years, but do you like playing and the style of the old stuff? We RARELY play the old stuff... it just has a lot more throat and i don't know... it takes a seriously special occasion to get one out of us... but maybe you'll get lucky ;)

Anything you would like to say to your fans reading this interview?
Hi. How are you?

How was your last tour? Rad.

How does it feel to tour with the band members? Rad. We're best friends, so it's totaly normal... We're just.. you know... dirtier.

What do you guys do on the road to keep busy?
Try to seduce Pete.

Do you have any advice to bands about to go on their first tour? Ummm... Make safe choices. lol.

Do you ever get/find groupies? I'm a serial monogamist brother.

What's your latest cd?
We're doing it right now. It'll blow your mind.

Do you have a title yet? * Dont have one yet <3

Where can we get it? I'll let you know.

Any advice for anyone thinking about making a CD? I'll let you know.

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