A while ago, I had a chance to do an interview with upcoming pop rock band, Disco Curtis before they played an acoustic in-store. Members Tanner Howe (TH), A.J. Novak (AN), Garrett Perales (GP) and Brendan Barone (BB) took some time to sit down with me and discuss them, their music and their futures.
I’m here with Disco Curtis at Brio in Polaris. Could you guys tell your names and what you do?
TH – I’m Tanner and I sing and play guitar.
AN – Hi, I’m AJ and I play drums and tambourine.
GP – I’m Garrett and I play guitar.
BB – I’m Brendan and I play bass!
How long have you guys been playing music?
TH – We all have been playing music since we were very young. I started playing guitar when I was about ten but I started out on piano when I was about four years old. Then I met this guy (motions to AJ) and we started jamming together and stuff.
AJ – And I’ve been playing music since I was ten as well. I started off on pots and pans for a year until my parents would buy me a drum set and then I played that. I was also classically trained in percussion and drum line.
GP – I’ve been playing guitar since I was about eleven and then I met these cats in seventh grade.
BB – Uh, I’ve been playing guitar since I was about ten and I switched over to bass when I was about a year and a half ago.
Cool. So what a lot of people have wanted me to ask you guys is how did you get the name Disco Curtis?
TH – Well we got the name Disco Curtis from a guy we knew that was a Disco Master. He was like a disco drummer/dancer/instructor in the 1970’s and we actually met him; he’s a friend of ours now. But we named it in honor of him. He’s an older gentleman.
And how did you guys all come together to form Disco Curtis?
TH – We were in other bands before. Those bands kind of fell apart over time and we wanted to do something new and exciting and different. So I had this vision to do Disco Curtis and then AJ and I started jamming together. Then Garrett came in and then Brendan came in and it all just kind of fell into place. We started recording songs.
I went to go see the OP Presents tour in Columbus. How was that tour experience for only being together a year and playing with Boys Like Girls?
TH – It was really cool! Um, I mean, we’d had opportunities to open for bands like that but not as much in new areas so it was cool to get out of Texas, Oklahoma and branch out and play for new crowds. It was great. It was a great opportunity.
AN – Yeah it was perfect to get to go into these new markets where we’ve never played for any of these kids. At least in the capacity of thousands of people so it’s just like this rush of ‘I’m getting to meet all these new people at once’ and it was incredibly exciting. And now whenever we return to those areas we have great people we’ve met there before that will come out to all of our shows in the future. It was just a very, very good thing for our band and it was just a fun experience.
TH – And we’re thankful. It was just great that they took us out like that.
AN – They were all really really nice too. They were great people and it was great that they let us play with them.
BB – Yeah, it was definitely a fun experience to play with some of our favorite bands and actually get to meet them. Especially since they are all just really real guys. So it was cool.
When did you guys know that you wanted to be in a band for a living?
TH – Well AJ and I had talked about being in a band. We talked about being in a band before we were actually in one. When we were in fourth grade we thought it was so cool; the idea of being in a band.
AN – We would draw pictures everyday of our band, but we never played music.
TH – We drew stick figure pictures of us in front of these huge crowds and you make a bunch of little circles and they are all the heads of the people.
AN – Then all the kids would gather around and be like ‘What is this?’ and we’d say ‘It’s our band,’
TH – Yeah, it’s our band. We would just draw pictures of ourselves playing for people but we never actually played. Then when we started actually playing instruments and did cover songs, wrote some really terrible songs…
AN – It was a lot of Blink 182 and Green Day.
TH – We did a lot of cover songs of Pop Punk stuff and then I guess whenever we were…like we knew we wanted to be in a band but we actually started playing and jamming a lot in kind of like fifth and sixth grade, and we started to really get into it. By freshman year we started to play music that actually sounded like music.
AN – And the thing is, Disco Curtis has really made our dream a reality cause until then we always wanted to be in a band or play in a band but we weren’t really doing things right. Then with Disco Curtis we saw that we could actually do this; people started getting interested and we started learning how to actually be in a band. We learned that is was more than the music side. We learned the business side and promoting. We were like ‘Wow, I actually think this is going to become a reality and a profession,”
TH – And we started Disco Curtis just our senior year.
BB – My junior year.
TH – Yeah! Summer before our senior year we were like ‘Yep, we really want to do this. I don’t want to go to college and we’ve only got one year. Let’s do this!’
AN – Once we all kind of made the decision not to go to college and we somehow managed to get [Brendan] to graduate high school a year early, which was a big adventure as well. Once all of us were out of high school and decided not to go to college it was like ‘This is it; it’s what we’re doing.’
What should your fans expect to see from you guys in the future?
BB – Bigger things.
AN – They should expect to see us! The more that we grow we are not going to change the way that we treat them. One of the biggest elements of our band st the interaction with our fans; we rarely use the word fan, we use the word friend. Because even if that’s corny, we just really strive to achieve a real relationship with all of them so it’s not that base level of a fan. We like to hang out with them. We always hang out with them before and after every show; you’ll never see us leaving a show early. We stay there until the last person is gone. We never want to change that about our band.
TH – We’ll keep putting out music and doing bigger shows, but no matter how big the shows get we’re always going to hang out with people.
BB – I think that’s the coolest part too. As we keep going with this journey called Disco Curtis and we keep getting bigger it will be cool to remember the people that were there from the beginning. If it becomes a fad to like us or something it will be cool to remember the people that have been there since the start. It’s always cool to see those faces and stuff.
TH – I remember being 13 or 14 years old and went to shows, looking up to the bands. I just want to be able to do that same thing for someone else because I remember how big of an impression it made on my life. Like I was talking about meeting Boys Like Girls when I was a young little boy, a young lad. I remember meeting Dashboard Confessional for the first time. I remember that I thought it was so cool that he stayed and talked with everyone, so we want to be like that same thing. Hopefully we have some kind of impact.
Any last words?
TH – Wow, uhm, I just wanted to say thanks to all of those who have supported us. We wouldn’t be where we are today without them.
AN – We love you!
Perfect. Well, thank you guys for joining me!
AN – No, thank you!
Disco Curtis has recently signed to Interscope Records and has been picked to play on the Vans Warped Tour this summer. I would suggest visiting their Myspace to listen to some of their songs and to check out their new music video for the song “Ashley”!