Article written for Flyer News, published May 27, 2017.
Smash hit songs tend to have the same formulas: a catchy chorus, overly vague lyrics and a big name in the industry featured on the song. The formula PETE RG uses is a little different.
“The way I work, I’m a little more ‘boutiquey’ sort of speak,” said Pete RG, vocalist and guitarist of PETE RG. “I’m not going to be making or writing songs that you’re going to find along the lines of Katy Perry or these big smash pop songs, that’s just not my thing.”
His “thing” is creating music that has more of a meaning. His lyrics and intricate guitar rhythms give his songs an opportunity to touch listeners’ souls on a deeper level.
Pete is an indie rock singer-songwriter and producer from Los Angeles, California. From 1998 to 2007, Pete was the lead singer and songwriter for the indie pop band Last December. Moving on from his previous project, Pete began his solo musical career with PETE RG in 2013. Pete and his band, made up of Brina Kabler (keyboards and vocals), Adam Kury (bass), Dave Krusen (drums) and Kevin Haaland (lead guitar), are prepping for their U.S. headlining tour beginning June 11.
Growing up, music surrounded Pete. Pete’s parents were both musicians; his father, an immigrant from Greece, helped ignite Pete’s love and admiration for Grecian music. To this day, Pete acknowledges his Greek heritage as one of his musical influences.
“I remember reading shortly before the financial crisis that hit Greece in 2008 that prior to that, Greece was the second or third biggest consumer per capita of music in the world,” Pete said. “(Music) is just like blood to them, it’s like circulation of blood, it’s just what they are. Everyone can sing, everyone can dance, so it definitely permeated my life too.”
PETE RG’s sound is often compared to other artists such as Bruce Springsteen and U2, but Pete describes his sound as a form of personal expression through modern day story telling and rhythmic guitar patterns. His album “TENDER SOULS” dropped in Sept. of last year and is an open book into a deeper side of Pete’s life experiences. The album comprised of songs represents Pete in his rawest, most authentic state.
“For me, it’s a means of expression of things that I’m feeling and the way I’m just living my life at the time when the songs are written and recorded…it’s sincere,” Pete said. “What I say in my lyrics and the way I phrase it melodically, it’s coming from me. I could not stand in front of people and not be believing in what I’m saying.”
“TENDER SOULS” gives a classic rock vibe to listeners with influences of heavy instrumentals and meaningful lyrics. PETE RG tells a story through each of his songs that is personally stamped, but Pete’s presence on the song is subtle enough to be relatable to the listener’s own life. Themes that echo through the album give an inside look into Pete’s emotions and thoughts from his every day existence, including being a part of a big Greek family and connecting to his inner political junkie side. One of the most personal themes showcased on the album is his blossoming relationship with his fiance and band member, Kabler.
Pete and Kabler are not only partners in life, but they both worked extensively on the creation of “TENDER SOULS”. Kabler is an engineer for the band who also lends her talents on keyboards and vocals for the album. Pete loves how they spend every single day together touring cities and making music, but with every relationship comes challenges. The musical duo sometimes experiences creative challenges when it comes to the direction they want to run with a song, but other than that minor musical speed bump, their relationship is as strong as ever.
“We really love each other to death, and nothing means more to me than her,” Pete said. “Just to share these things together is like ‘wow, we’re really fortunate.”
There’s a different dynamic when it comes to playing an album live, and Pete is excited for it. PETE RG and his band have been preparing to take their project on the road through their upcoming U.S. headlining tour. Although fairly new to touring as PETE RG, Pete and his band are eager to come together and put themselves out there so people can experience something new.
“Everyone has a different take on playing live and a different take about what they get personally (from it),” Pete said. “For us, since we started playing live pretty much exactly two years ago with this project, the first stage has really been about getting our name out there and also becoming a band… we’ve really been allowed to push ourselves in that because we feel so good together.”
Listeners can expect to see a lively future from PETE RG through future tours and musical releases. Pete is working on a new album set to be released in early 2018. He remains loyal to albums as an art form because it’s a great way to truly get to know an artist.
“I still believe in albums…you can really get into an artists (that way),” Pete said. “It’s not just a hit song about the more subtle things or the more obscure things that can really hit people, but it can hit certain niches of people much more deeply than just a song here or there.”