Posted On 21 Mar 2017
Born in Los Angeles to Greek immigrants, PETE RG grew up in a musical household. As working musicians, his parents inspired him to learn a variety of instruments and start playing band gigs while in college. Beginning in 1998 and up into 2007, he was the principal songwriter and lead singer with the popular indie band, Last December.
During that time he also laid the foundation for his solo career, with years of live shows that most recently included a 25 show, Spring 2016 U.S. tour with Candlebox. In its review of one club date, PancakesAndWhiskey.com pretty much summarized all that PETE RG offers to his audiences: “high-quality rock wth honest and engaging lyrics, a hammering backbeat plus gorgeous harmonies.”
His rich baritone voice became the center of a sound that has reached fruition on his full-length release, TENDER SOULS, which was released September 23, 2016 on his own 4L Entertainment label. Spacelab.tv spoke for many in confirming that he “doesn’t have to rely on gimmicks to make you feel moved — just good old-fashioned talent and personality.”
“As a songwriter, I’m always trying to express myself as best I can, lyrically and musically,” RG says. “On TENDER SOULS I feel I was able to do that without cutting corners or falling back into ambiguity. It’s a really good picture of where I’m at, with a lot of experience under my belt but also a lot of optimism.”
PETE RG credits Brina Kabler for helping him raise the bar on TENDER SOULS and on the road. “She’s my engineer, co-producer, mixer, keyboardist — and my fiancée,” he notes. “Whether onstage or in sessions, we’ve established a great give-and-take, where we learn from each other. We’re very much on the same level in terms of taste and inspiration. She helps me focus on what I do best. Brina is a huge part of everything I do.”
Other rave reviews of TENDER SOULS include:
“The warmth of a troubadour brought up on the traveling spirit songs of The Boss, and other canonical idols brings about a spark that rests in a kind of a warm subtle glow with a brightness to entrance the glass windows of a lantern.” – ImposeMagazine.com
“His soulful baritone delivers the catchy, pop melody fleshed out with understated, female harmonies. The track is driven by a propulsive, uplifting interplay of drums and guitar, which carries a message of hope.” – ElmoreMagazine.com
“Pete RG delivers energetic, yearning rock based around ringing guitars and shimmering textures.” – AllMusic.com
“Pete RG‘s post-rock sound packs enough power for him to be considered an arena rock contender while still remaining smooth and sophisticated.” – Diffuser.fm
“Speckled with hints of Neil Diamond, Leonard Cohen and Matt Berninger, RG is blessed to have a voice so unique, so enchanting and so captivating. It is that voice and its intrinsic charisma that will carry RG forward in the months and years to come.” – AbsolutePunk.com
More info can be found at www.pete-rg.com, https://www.pete-rg.com/epk/ or www.facebook.com/PeteRGmusic.
Learn more about Pete RG in the following All Access interview:
Thanks for your time! What are some words you would use to describe 2016 for you and your music? What were some of the highlights? What are you most excited about for 2017?
The first word for 2016 would definitely be adventure. After that, I’d add exciting, exhausting, whirlwind, surprising, beer, blueberries and challenging. Highlights would be all of the touring, so many new places as well as friendly and familiar ones. The growth of the band, our musical and friendship camaraderie has been incredibly rewarding. Doughnuts. This has definitely been the year of the doughnut, for me. For 2017, I see us continuing to grow as a band. I’m especially excited about that. I know the rest of the band is, too. It’ll be great to return to some of our key cities after so much growth. I’m also excited for the unforeseen opportunities that will certainly come our way. Life always brings those. That means for some more adventure that I love.
Growing up, did you always want to be a musician? Can you recall your earliest musical memory? Could you see yourself doing anything else today?
You mean, after the typical “I want to be a fireman” phase? No, I wanted to go into politics. In fact, I went to college planning to work in Washington, D.C. in some fashion, but once I started playing in a cover band for some extra cash, I was hooked. Bye bye political aspirations, thankfully. My parents were musicians. They’d been in a band together. My mom was the lead singer and my dad was the bassist and songwriter. I’d been singing and playing various instruments since I was a few years old, but I didn’t consider music as a career until college. Being a musician is a very blue-collar life. The bluest of blue-collar. We’re talking deep navy blue. It’s tough no matter how far up the food chain you are. So, there’ve definitely been moments when I’ve wondered what it would be like to do something else. Moments like when I’m trying to fall asleep in a tour bus bunk the size of a coffin while the bus is flying down some dark highway at 4AM and bouncing like a basketball over potholes, but I’ve yet to find something as adventurous, challenging or fulfilling as making music.
From 1998 to 2007, you were part of the band, Last December. What was it like transitioning to being a solo artist? Do you find that you have a preference now?
It’s not much different. I was the lead singer, principal songwriter and band leader of Last December. Same duties as now. That said, I’ve always been one to get everyone involved on the same page. To me, making music is about sharing. It’s a give and take thing. Collaboration’s probably the most exciting part of making music, for me. I find it a bit disappointing that so many people are now making music alone on a computer in their bedroom without anyone else around to challenge them. The music made in this way is a little one-dimensional and safe. There’s nothing wrong with a little bit of heated exchange of ideas while making music.
At the end of last year, you released your latest album, “Tender Souls.” Can you talk about the inspiration for this collection and what it was like putting it together?
Life is always the inspiration. I’m not good at making things up. I always find inspiration from whomever I’m with and wherever I’m at. The key is to get to the heart of the matter on how I feel about those people and circumstances. I don’t like to quote myself, but for instance, when I sing, “do we solve or savor our sweet pain” in the last verse of the song, “Tender Souls,” I’m referring to my family. There was some battling going on between us that caused me to ask, do we battle because we want to work through issues or because we enjoy battling? We’re all very dramatic Greeks. I often think we create drama in our lives because we get off on being dramatic.
How is “Tender Souls” different or similar to anything else you have released?
It’s a continuation of my journey as a writer and recording artist. There are elements of the songwriting style I’ve developed up to this point as well as elements of trying to go somewhere new. I began writing and performing as a solo artist; my voice and an acoustic guitar. That’s my fundamental. I always default to that. If a song doesn’t hold its own in that form, it’s not for me. That said, I’m always finding new inspiration in the evolving music technologies. They shake up my so call fundamental and I’m especially inspired by my collaborations with others. In fact, regarding this last point, I’ve never been more inspired than I am with Brina and the rest of our band. Never. It’s an endless well I’ll always be drawing from. That’s exciting.
I’ve read that your fiancé, Brina Kabler, is responsible for helping you raise the bar on this record. Can you talk about that and what it’s like having her on the road with you too?
Brina has great style and taste. Plus, she’s a fighter. She’s always pushing to raise the bar in every aspect of our life together. With regards to the music, she’s always introducing me to new ideas as well as new artists and sounds that inspire me as a writer. She’s also always pushing me to write at my best and write with a purpose, with a destination in mind. And even though she doesn’t venture into songwriting on her own, she’s like an river of collaborative ideas. The frosting on the cake is that we get to share the whole process of creating music together: write, record, mix, rehearse and play live. It’s amazing to tour together. We both feel incredibly fortunate to visit so many places and meet so many people who listen to our music. I also think the guys in the band, as well as any of the other bands we’ve toured with, like her better than me. She’s cuter and always a joy to be around.
Do have plans to tour a lot this year in support of “Tender Souls”? Where all will you be going? Any venues you are particularly excited about playing at this tour?
We’ll probably do about 70 dates this year in support of TENDER SOULS. We just returned from a 15 show run in Europe in January. We’re doing 8-10 shows during this Southeast U.S. run and we’ll be in the Northeast U.S. in May for another 8-10 gigs. We’ll take some time off over the summer to finish up a new album and a couple of singles. We plan to test some of those new songs out in the fall with a return trip to Europe and some more U.S. dates.
Can you recall a favorite show of yours in the past? What do you think makes the ultimate perfect show experience for you?
We had some really good shows in Europe in January. London was amazing. Amsterdam, too. Packed venues and enthusiastic audiences, especially enthusiastic for a new band. The best of most recent memory was at the Roseland Theater in Portland in November. It’s a classic of classic venues in one of our favorite cities to play. We were opening for Candlebox. It was packed. People were lined up hours before the show. They couldn’t have been more into it. They were cheering and screaming from the first notes we played through the last. So much genuine energy and excitement. What a feeling. There’s nothing like it.
Have you or are you planning on working with other artists under your label, 4L Entertainment? How running your own label always been something that you have wanted to do?
Yes, we have a few acts we’re checking out. We plan to bring one or two on board early next year. We’re using our band to spearhead the label. Once the spearhead gets a little deeper, we’ll officially take on those other acts. I didn’t plan to run my own label nor is it something I especially want to do. It’s a matter of necessity. I’ve done a lot of work with various record labels and I will continue to do so. I’m good with them. I meet with the ones helping me get my business rolling on a regular basis, but the times are changing and they almost always move too slow for these times. I know where I want to go and how I want to get there. I go crazy every time I have to wait for someone else’s permission to make the moves I know are the right ones. Life is finite, you know.
Who are some of your favorite musicians? What musicians would you love to work with in the future?
Oh, wow, that’s a tough one. Look, I’d love to work with any of the greats: Springsteen, U2, McCartney, the Stones, John Mellencamp, R.E.M. (please reunite with Bill Berry, please). Who wouldn’t? There are many others: Chan Marshall (Cat Power), the Heartless Bastards, First Aid Kit, (saw them at the Troubadour, amazing), Kings Of Leon, Radiohead (duh), The Black Angels, Fleet Foxes, I could go on and on. I also want to do another album with my dad. We recorded an excellent one a few years ago and he’s worked up a bunch of new songs since then. He’s a great songwriter. My biggest musical influence, by far.
At the end of the day, what do you hope is the message of your music? What do you hope people take away from your songs?
I hope the message of hope itself is received. Without hope, we’re finished.
Is there anything else that you would like to share with our readers about yourself or your music?
My cat, Bootie, is about to turn 19 years old. She and I have grown up together. Her birthday is May 1. Please give her a happy birthday wish on that day. She’s one of the sweetest beings I’ve ever known and one of the greatest friends I’ll ever have.