Alice in Chains, Blue Lines Blog, Book of Life, Chapman, Chicago, David Peterson, Duke Blue Devils, Eddie Vedder, Gabe Peterson, Gandhi, golf, Jesus, Kalispell, Modest Mouse, MT, Pearl Jam, Revel The Masses, UNC Chapel Hill
This week, the Blue Lines Blog interviews currently in Atlanta, writer, singer, and great performer, a friend I made dating back to a tornado hiting my house in 2005 who I reconnected to a year later. David Peterson of Revel The Masses (http://www.myspace.com/revelthemasses). Headlining February 13th in Purgatory at The Masquerade in Atlanta!!!
I: When did you first realize you wanted to be a singer/song writer?
A: When I was around 12 I decided that I wanted to take a lot of my poetry and turn them into songs.
I: How long does it take you to write a song?
A: It differs. Usually if I’m inspired I can write one in as little as 30 minutes. Some have taken years though. If it’s not perfect in my eyes, I’ll walk away and come back later to finish.
I: What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?
A: I try to be with somebody usually. I like to surround myself with critical thinkers and people of a fairly intelligent nature so that I can get good direction.
I: What would you say is your interesting song writing quirk?
A: I try to use words that are dead to most people at times. I also try not to rhyme too much. If the words fit, they just fit.
I: Where do you get your information or ideas for your songs?
A: From personal experiences. I have never wrote a song that I didn’t connect with on a personal level. I believe that music is the key to the soul, and it’s the soul I love the most.
I: When did you write your first song and how old were you?
A: I was 14 when I wrote, “Book of Life”. I wrote it while sitting at my house thinking about how awesome it would be to stand before the Creator and (have) Him call my name.
I: What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
A: I enjoy golfing and spending time with my family. The occasional night on the town isn’t out of the question.
I: What does your family think of your music?
A: I would say that most of them support it. There are a few people in my family that are haters though, we all have those!
I: What was one of the most surprising things you learned in being in a band and writing music?
A: Wow! I have wanted to answer this question for years! The most surprising thing is how people behave like little girls when they don’t get their way. I have been guilty of this myself. Bands change people in ways you could never imagine.
I: How many songs have you written?
A: I have around 70 under my belt.
I: Which is your favorite?
A: “Carry Me Home” This song came to me in a very dark and terrible time in my life and it helped me to cope with the ultimate betrayal.
I: This is actually my favorite too, especially the live performance. Do you care to explain what lead to the song?
A: The ultimate betrayal. When I was 17 I was dating a girl who I thought I was going to marry. She was wonderful and I really believed at the time she was the one.She wasn’t. I lost my virginity to her. After a few months of dating I found out that she was sleeping with someone who was very close to me. As it turned out she just got done having sex with this certain someone and then got me to take her home afterward. Thus the name “Carry Me Home” Listen to the words. It was crazy man. I thought I was going to die I was so heartbroken. The video, which you can find on youtube.com, mimics the situation almost exactly. I harbor no hard feelings for her now. I have forgiven her. It hurt bad though, and a very powerful song came out of it. Whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.
I: What do you think makes a good song?
A: Personal meaning and a hook. That’s all it takes.
I: As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
A: I always wanted to be a minister.
I: Minister? Do you still feel that way, or has life sent you in another direction?
A: I think I would definitely consider it if I was younger, but now that I am older I don’t know how I feel. I love teaching people and have always been a leader. I don’t know if I could do it now though. I have a very severe distaste for mainstream religion. While I believe in God and Jesus Christ, I can’t see extorting money from people in false hopes to save their soul by following my version of the facts or my personal doctrine. I guess I have evolved to a degree. I want people to have a relationship with God without feeling pressured by man’s system.
I: How autobiographical are your songs?
A: Extremely. I am a very self absorbed person. Recently I have been getting out of that habit and trying to write more about others as well. I have come to realize it’s not ALL about me.
I: If so, are you able to share an example with our readers?
A: I went through a stage where I was only writing about myself and the girl who screwed my over. It took me quite a while to break this mold.
I: Describe your workspace.
I: Sounds familiar.
A:Oh yeah. I have so many things going on at once, it’s insane!
I: Favorite artists (especially for their writing).
A: Modest Mouse, Alice in Chains, Pearl Jam, and Tracy Chapman.
I: Favorite quote.
A: “Become the change you wish to see in the world.” – Gandhi
I: Best and worst part of being a in a band.
A: The best part is the immense amount of energy that is created and the high of being on stage with a captive audience. The worst part by far is the scheduling conflicts.
I: Advice for other bands.
A: Practice, practice, practice.
I: Looking back, did you choose to write music and start a band or did it choose you?
A: I believe it chose me.
I: When did you ‘know’ you were a writer?
A: The first time I had somebody tell me they had a song on mine stuck in their head. That was the moment for me.
I: What inspires you?
A: Emotions at all degrees, selfless people, and real life miracles.
I: Every writer has a method to his or her writing. On a typical writing day, how would you spend your time?
A: Relaxing. It’s hard for me to get into the mood unless I’m relaxed and open-minded.
I: How long does it take for you to complete a song you would allow someone to hear?
A: Some right away. Others I’m just not happy with and need to refine. I usually pick somebody I really know is honest to hear it first and then go from there.
I: Do you write right through or do you revise as you go along?
A: I always revise as I go along.
I: When you sit down to write is any thought given to the genre or type of listeners?
A: Not at all.
I: When it comes to planning, do you write freely or plan everything in advance?
A: I just let it go and let it flow. No planning other than the day I’m gonna do it.
I: Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? If yes, what measures do you take to get past it?
A: I have in the past and I usually just let it pass. Once in a while I will listen to other songs and make my own words. That has helped me break the cycle at times.
I: What do you hope listeners gain, feel or experience when they hear one of your songs for the first time?
A: My dream is that they will gain the feeling that they are not alone in the way that they feel. One time after a show a lady came up to me crying, she had really taken “Tidal Wave” to heart. She said that her son had died in a car wreck and he was 21 when it happened. She said the song had given her closure to a degree and that the pain I had expressed during the song was comforting to her. I remember thinking to myself that if I never played again after that night I made my dreams come true. I had touched the human soul and embraced it. This is all I desire of music.
I: When you’re not writing what do you do for fun?
A: All things exciting. I am up for anything that makes others happy and will try anything once.
I: New artists are always trying to glean advice from those with more experience. What suggestions do you have for new artists?
A: Stay true to your dreams and beliefs. This is more important than anything else. Also, don’t become a prick. Just be nice to people and your following will grow. I have met so many people that have taken even the most basic level of success and turned totally prima donna. This makes me sick. Get over yourself. We’re all human.
I: What is your favorite word?
I: Do you plot extensively in advance, or let it unfold organically? Have you ever been so unhappy with a song or a plot thread that you’ve chucked it and started over?
A: I just let it unfold, and yes I have thrown many out with the wash. I am very critical of myself and only want to produce something with substance.
I: If you could have dinner with any five people, dead or alive, who would they be and why?
1. My brother Mike – Because I miss him.
2. Eddie Vedder – So I could tell him I love his music but hate his leftist propaganda at shows.
3. Jesus – Because I want to meet Him.
4. My Grandpa Banks – Because I never got to meet him but hear awesome stories all the time of how cool he was.
5. King Solomon – Because he was the wisest of all people and I could always use more wisdom.
I: What basic philosophy do you try to express in your music?
A: That we are all connected and have the same needs emotionally.
I: What inspired you?
A: My brother Gabe inspired me to begin with and then life in every facet after I was on a roll.
I: Does an artist cultivate writing, or is he divinely gifted?
A: Divinely gifted for sure. I can pick a poser out a hundred miles away.
I: What role does a writer play in the society?
A: The role of a leader and a counselor to the masses.
I: Grew up in?
A: Kalispell, MT then moved to GA when I was 11.
I: Favorite sports team?
A: Duke Blue Devils
I: Yeah, that hat is always with you.
I: Book to take on a deserted island?
A: How to create a woman
I: Favorite city?
A: Chicago so far is my favorite as an adult. I’ve been a lot of places as a kid but not as an adult.
I: You know we both agree on this one.
A: Absolutely. I stayed there a few years ago for a festival and it was off the chain. Something to do at every turn. Nice people too.
I: Favorite State:
A: Montana without a doubt.
A: It’s where I grew up and it’s beautiful there. Good folks is what I remember the most. I have went back to visit since I left, and nothings changed where I grew up. That’s priceless.
I: Favorite CD?
A: Impossible to answer. My mind won’t let me pick just one.
I: Maybe a favorite song?
A: “Nothingman” by: Pearl Jam. Hands down my favorite song ever. In my mind, It describes me in detail.
I: Where do you write?
A: Mostly downstairs at my house.
I: Qualities you most admire?
A: Honesty, Self-sacrifice, self-motivation, and a thirst for knowledge and truth (never stop learning).
I: What do you do to relax?
A: Play x-box 360 and mostly sleep every chance I get.
I: Place where you were/are happiest?
A: With my kids.
I: Most embarrassing moment?
A: My mom catching me masturbating.
I: What are you working on now? What adjectives would you use to describe your latest work?
A: I have embarked on a mission to write expressively from others experiences. So far I have 4 songs that bend towards this goal. My new work is thought provoking, delicate, honest, and devastating all at the same time.
I: Tell us a story about your writing experience.
A: I remember one time when I actually wrote a song in my head at the time something was happening. This is very unusual for me because I almost always write in reminiscent form. As the people were talking I was formulating how the song was unfolding. It was surreal.
I: When will you be performing next?
A: February 13th, 2010 at The Masquerade in Atlanta. We are headlining Purgatory.
Revel The Masses
David Peterson: Lead vocals, rhythm guitar
Gabriel Peterson: Rhythm guitar, back up vocals
Nathan Harper: Lead guitar, back up vocals
Daniel Harper: Percussion, back up vocals
Tim Tanksley: Bass, back up vocals
The manuscript Blue Lines is the fictional coming of age narrative of my protagonist a young California woman “Key” Y. Walker, and her 2 year growing journey through school, love, and life.
A period piece, written by Kenneth Suffern, Jr., taking place at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill between the years of 1997 – 1998. Loosely based on true events, and experiences during that time, told through the eyes and voice of the main female protagonist, a freshman first attending the school.