Posted On 06 Aug 2014
Tag: *NSYNC, AC/DC, Brian Wright, Britney Spears, Christina Aquilera, Classix Rewind, Emerson Hart, Honor By August, INXS, Justin Timberlake, KISS, Laurel Canyon, Led Zeppelin, Living Colour, Marc Anthony, Mickey Mouse Club, Motown, Patreon.com Campaign, Sara Bareilles, Spelling, Steve Bentz, The Broken Bells, The Jamestown Revival, The Voice, The Wild Feathers, Tom Petty, Tony Lucca, Van Halen
While Anthony James “Tony” Lucca may be known for starting his career on the Mickey Mouse Club, his singing/songwriting abilities are now front and center. After the show, Lucca went to LA for a brief career as an actor, then became a full-time musician, releasing over seven studio albums and five EPs.
He is a consistent touring artist and has toured with a multitude of acts, including *NSYNC, Marc Anthony, Sara Bareilles and more.
In my interview with Tony, he discusses life after the Mickey Mouse Club, who inspires him musically and his upcoming tour with Emerson Hart.
Unlike your fellow Mouseketeers, BRITNEY SPEARS, CHRISTINA AGUILERA, and JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE, you have stayed away from Pop and took the acoustic route. Can you explain that choice?
I think a lot of it was just the difference in our ages. After the mouse club and working with Spelling, I kinda felt like maybe I had had a significant enough taste of the mainstream spotlight. By the time I decided to make music full time, I was ready for a more adult approach, something inspired from within. Ultimately, I just wanted to sing the songs that I wrote and in truth, I’ve never considered myself a very good pop writer. Go figure.
What kinds of music did you grow up with?
I was raised on a fine blend of Laurel Canyon folk, Motown and classic rock. Somehow I managed to find Kiss and Zeppelin on my own. From there it was my cousin, Cole Garlak and me comparing notes, showing each other everything from AC/DC to Van Halen, Living Colour to INXS. The 80s really covered a lot of ground.
How was being on The Voice for you? Would you do it again if you could? Did you and Christina Aguilera get to spend any time together and catch up?
The voice was a ton of fun! It certainly had the desired effect in that getting back to work was really exciting, seeing all the new listeners out there, getting reacquainted with fans that had maybe fallen off over the years but were excited to learn that I was still at it. Selling more tickets is selling more tickets. I’m very grateful for what that show has meant to my career. Oddly enough, there was zero hang time with Christina. That’s probably just as well.
How have you grown as a performer and musician in general since you started?
I’ve learned to say more by saying less. The power of brevity, implying things as opposed to over explaining. I’ve learned gratitude in a way that only 20+ years can provide. My job brings me great joy and not everybody can honestly say that. That’s not lost on me.
What music are you listening to now? Any new artists out there that you are loving currently? Anything on the radio that you can’t stop singing?
I am digging The Broken Bells, The Wild Feathers and I am real proud of my friends in The Jamestown Revival. I’ve been listening to as much Tom Petty Radio on Sirius XM Classic Rewind as I can get in. Petty’s the bar for me. always asking myself, “What would Petty say? Tweedy? Ray?” they all tell the truth so well.
Where do you get the inspiration for your music?
Traveling always tends to recharge my batteries. Taking things in as you travel allows you to find common threads in human behavior. Painting a picture of someone smoking outside a diner tells a pretty specific story that a person from anywhere can sort of identify with. By and large, people are pretty consistent. It’s the specifics that make things interesting and making the rounds as frequently as I do, it’s fun taking note of all the specifics.
Tell me about this tour with Emerson Hart. How did that get come about? Do you play together often? Did that instantly feel like a perfect fit for you?
I’ve met Emerson on a few different occasions and he’s always struck me as one of the more genuine dudes out there, especially given the success he’s had. He’s got one of those voices that just makes you stop and pay attention. This will actually be the first time we’ve shared the stage for more than just a jam in Nashville. I’m really looking forward to getting to know him and his songs a bit better.
Why is this lifestyle of traveling/touring and performing one that works for you all now?
After so many years, you just get to a point where you realize there probably isn’t a “plan B”. You start looking for ways to make the road as effective as possible, personally, creatively, financially. It becomes a very real thing after awhile, much more real than the whole “sex, drugs and rock-n-roll” thing. It becomes a career. The proverbial “long haul.” As my friend Brian Wright puts it, “I’m a lifer.” Well put, B Wright. Well put.
Thus far, what’s a favorite memory or something quirky that’s taken place with the band (in-studio, onstage, or elsewhere)?
We kind of realized we were master pranksters last summer while out on tour with our friends Honor By August. It wasn’t long before a good game of tit-for-tat took shape and we basically started going back and forth with the pranks. We kind of realized right away that they were out of their league. Our bass player, Steve Bentz is quite the mastermind re: all things fantastic and silly. I won’t go into details but we got the HBA boys pretty good on more than one occasion.
You seem pretty active on Facebook and support several great causes on there. What are your thoughts on social media today? Do you stay active on Twitter and Instagram too?
I’ve always tried to stay out in front of the social media thing. It became clear pretty quickly that it’s sort of sink or swim. You either find creative ways of staying engaged with your fans or you fall by the wayside. The days of being an indie artist with your head up your ass are over, at least they are for me.
I’ve managed to tap into my fan base in ways I never could have imagined. They are my lifeblood, a tried and tested source of motivation. why would I not make every attempt to interact with them?
I’m not saying take a selfie a day and retweet every last tweet that has something favorable to say about you. You have to find the pace that works for you, more importantly your fans. It’s easy to get burned out on it, for sure but it can also be very rewarding and often instantly gratifying. Things are moving fairly quickly these days, that’s for sure.
When you aren’t performing or writing new material, what do you like to do for fun? How do you wind down?
I enjoy cooking, but mostly breakfast. I’ve been doing quite a bit of video production and editing, small scale, mostly for my Patreon.com Campaign. I basically put together videos about the creative process, songwriting, day-in-the-life kind of stuff. It’s a ton of fun but very time-consuming.
Is there anything in particular that you’d like people to take away from listening to your music?
I’d like people to hear something honest, maybe take a piece of it with them. Whether its being honest about your shortcomings or how a breakup made you feel to how clear a set of circumstances can become through the lens of honesty. These are all things I’ve attempted to tackle in my songs. I’d like to think that’s what folks might get from it.