Welcome to another week of the Local Lowdown. This one is kind of fun because when the band talks about their first show, I was actually AT their first show. Matter of fact the band I played with at the time played at their first show. So I found myself reading some of the answers thinking back to see if I could remember those moments they mention. I actually even had these fine folks open up the show at my Ballapalooza fundraiser in February. Introductions are always in order, the Lefty Loosies are Celeste Plitz on vocals, guitar and violin. Gabriel Celaya can be found playing guitar on most occasions but occasionally you will see him play bass. Warren Steckel plays bass primarily but also will pick up the guitar or the guitarlele. Ryan McCallister plays drums but was not available for the blog interview.
How did you come together as a band?
CP: Gabe and I decided to start a band together and for a while it was just the tow of us. We worked together so that’s how we met. After a couple of months Ryan started working there. Warren was not with the band yet be he noticed Ryan was left-handed and asked if he played any instruments and Ryan was like “yeah, I play drums”. Gabe and I were looking for drums and bass so Warren hooked us up with Ryan and we finally convinced Warren to join us as our bassist. The rest is history!
GC: I worked with people always saying “we should start a band” (Celeste being one of them). I finally got tired of hearing it and just wanted to do it so we teamed up and 6 months later we had a band.
Each of you give me up to 3 influences on your instrument or voice and a short why if you would like to add to it.
WS: Krist Novoselic of Nirvana and Mike Mills of R.E.M.
GC: Kim Thayil of Soundgarden because he has a middle eastern style to playing western rock. He has a unique range of aggression, beauty, and seduction to his style. Jerry Cantrell of Alice in Chains because he can get wailing and screaming and also slow and heavy. He’s like a dangerous beast that can still sound groovy. Lastly, Liam Howlett of The Prodigy. Most people only know him as their DJ/Keyboardist but he is actually a classically trained multi-instrumentalist who makes most of his own loops and hooks from scratch by playing various instruments. He actually inspired me to become a musician with his havy and hard hitting beats along with psychotic electronic loops. They were almost intoxicating!
CP: It’s tough for me because I have never thought about influences, I’ve just played, sang, or written music based on however I was feeling at the moment. I listen to a lot of music and right now I would have to say my biggest influence is Matt Beringer of The National. I admire his lyric writing abilities. I’ve also been told my voice sounds like Natalie Merchant or Debbie Harry..depending on who you talk to but that is not on purpose either.
Now tell me something about the band that no one know, at least until now.
CP: We all worked at the same foundry, although two of the band no longer work there. Also, we are all left handed except for Warren but I consider him an honorary lefty.
Share with me your most embarrassing moment either for the band or you personally.
GC: Back in college I performed with a DJ on an outdoor stage and I forgot to keep my guitar in the shade after tuning it. It sat in the sun for a half hour, and I couldn’t tune it much on stage because of the Floyd Rose locking system I had on it. I was completely out of tune and using the whammy made it worse by snapping a string and immediately sending everything more out of whack. By the time I wised up I grabbed a slide and just started winging it. but it was too late. Half the people, including friends left and the set was practically over.
WS: Gabe’s story is better and I’m just a newbie. But I did forget a bassline for about 10 seconds at our first show!
CP: My most embarrassing moment was at our first show. I basically bragged that our song “Stupid Cockroaches are Stupid” was the best song about cockroaches anyone had ever heard. I meant it in a joking way but I think I just looked like an ass. Oops. (Ed. Note: I was at that show, and at least as of right now…best song about cockroaches I’ve heard)
Lets pretend each of you never met, who would you start a band with? You can choose ANY musician
CP: Another tough question, I can’t imagine playing with anyone but my guys. But If I had to choose I would say Jason Catlin. He is local and plays in the band Amp Age. He is an incredible musician and we work together. Also I would give anything to play with Andrew Bird. He is pretty much my musical hero. I got to meet him at MIM Fest and I’m pretty sure I giggled embarrassingly.
GC: Probably anyone from Muse
WS: No disrespect, but my joining a band wouldn’t have happened any other way that it did with these guys.
Always a tough one, but each of you tell me your favorite song of all time.
WS: Imagine by John Lennon GC: I can’t really say I have a favorite but Enjoy The Silence by Depeche Mode sticks out right now. CP: Right now, Exile Vilify by The National, but I also love In My Life by The Beatles.
Now which song do you wish you had written?
CP: Appian Way Movement Four from the Pines of Rome by Respigi. One of the most thrilling pieces of music ever written. GC: Happy Birthday! I’d be making bank on the royalties! WS: So. Central Rain by R.E.M.
How about your favorite song by a LOCAL band?
WS: “Ultima Vez” by Snow Songs GC: I really don’t know any well enough to remember the names of the songs, but I keep listening! I’m always looking for good new local bands to hear. CP: “Always Be” by Jimmy Eat World (they count right?) Close second is “I Married A Republican” by The Haymarket Squares, that song is hilarious.
More local questions now, favorite place to play in town and why?
CP: Last Exit Live, they were great to work with and gave us a shot when we were booking our first show. I’d love to play there again. GC: It’s a tie between Last Exit Live because you can record your show, and Pho Cao because we could hear ourselves really well. WS: So far, Last Exit Live because we got a great recording of our set, that is a cool option they offer.
Do you consider yourself a better Live band, or a better recorded band?
WS: We haven’t recorded yet, so by default..Live GC: We’ve just started recording and we try to emulate our live sound, so I will say Live as well. CP: As the guys have said, we are still just working on getting stuff recorded so I’d say Live right now. We are still new to this band thing!
Name 3 local bands our readers need to see or hear
CP: The Pubes, OMG are they fun live! The Haymarket Squares are tight, probably the hardest working band in Phoenix right now. Sergio Mendoza Y La Orkestra, incredible live show..sooo good
GC: Combust, Sunday at Noon, The Lefty Loosies of course, plus a fourth, Painted Bones.
WS: The Sink or Swim, Bloody Rogue Bastards, and Amp Age
Try and give me one word to describe the local music scene.
WS: Eclectic CP: Supportive!
If you could change anything about the local scene, what would it be?
GC: Eliminate all cover bands, that would be a great start. Another would be a more centralized area of bars and venues like in Austin or Tucson believe it or not.
WS: The heat, I honestly think it affects turnout and maybe even performances.
CP: Just getting more people out to see shows. It’s tough out there, especially trying to get people to come to weekday shows. We’re old and have to get up early!
Now is your chance to shamelessly promote. What is coming up for you, list everything you want.
CP: We will be playing Rogue Bar (sans Gabe) on July 21st to support the Local Music Co-Op. We hope to see you all there, we are also going to start recording our EP soon at our drummers house so that is exciting and we are looking forward to it. We will pretty much be on hiatus for a couple of months while Gabe is out of state, but you should start seeing the full band again in September!
Final Thoughts, anything goes here
GC: Thanks for giving us the opportunity to do the interview and we hope everyone can make it out on July 21st or a future show to see the Lefty Loosies. CP: I’m just thankful for music, life would be so empty without it. Thanks for interviewing us!
See you all next week. Here is where you can find The Lefty Loosies!