I am very excited to bring to you my interview with the guitarist and co-vocalist of Calabrese, and one of my great rock heroes, Bobby Calabrese!
In terms of theatrics, charisma, and stage presence, how do you feel that Calabrese puts on a live show like no other?
Actually, we’ve been playing shows for ten years so whether we know it or not, we’ve at least figured out what works and what doesn’t. I really dig it when everything gets wacky and the audience is having fun with us and it’s just so perfect and natural, but you can never count on that happening. I mean, it DOES, but it’s best to prepare for the worst. Like the loud, drunk guy. Or a sea of dead, confused faces. We really like the classic live show stuff, like Alice Cooper or White Zombie back in the day. Yeah, we can’t have fireworks or giant guillotines to cut off our heads, but we try to bring it down to a smaller level. Like, the punk rock version of those guys. All I know is that we always bring our A-game, and that each show is designed to destroy. I hate it when you go see a band you love and it turns into a Snooze Fest, or they just suck live. We try to avoid that, because if you want the best, you got the best! To be the man you gotta beat the man! WHOOOO!
Which other bands do you feel have excellent stage presence and witty on-stage banter?
Guitar Wolf was cool, but they barely speak English and they’re pretty much just yelling at you from the stage, hahah. I like Queens of the Stone Age for the laid back approach. Rocket From the Crypt usually go into crazy tangents, which is pretty fun. To be honest, I usually like it when the band flies through their set with little to no talking. I sometimes hate when bands tell their life stories on stage, or describe each song to the smallest detail. We just wanna rock, man! All killer and no filler!
What are your passions outside of music?
I really like watching movies, collecting dumb stuff or just hanging around. Everything I do revolves around playing music so it sometimes gets hard to turn that off and switch to something else. I can’t even watch a film without strumming a damn guitar. It’s like I’m always on a mission to write THE PERFECT SONG. The brain won’t allow rest from the quest, ya know? But yeah, I really like movies and VHS and horror junk. I like eating, too, if that counts. Preferrably Mexican food, but anything delicious counts. I like skateboarding. Skateboarding is fun, but there’s always that lingering fear of breaking my hand or some shit. And I’m really obsessed with lucha libre right now, all the toys and art and masks. It’s a triple whammy of fun, if ya ask me.
What’s something that people would be shocked to know about you?
There was a time, very long ago, that I would wear jeans that weren’t black…but blue. I know, I know, I’m sorry! I was a on a real big Ramones kick back then. It’s in the past and it’ll never happen again!
What can you tell me about your latest album, Born With A Scorpion’s Touch?
Comparing it to previous albums? I’d say it’s a mix of Traveling Vampire Show and Dayglo Necros. I could be totally off on that…so check it out for yourself and let us know what you think. But I guess I really wanted it to have a rock and roll vibe, heavy guitars and pounding drums. Something that would just kick your ass. A lot of the lyrics are about the three staples of Bad-Assery, which is motorcycles, death and destruction. This is the perfect background music for bar fights and gang initiations.
What made you want to start a blog? Describe the satisfaction you get out of it.
I wanted to start one because I always thought writing was fun. It’s not always the most easiest to do, or time well spent, but I get a kick out of it. I remember being in a high school and there were a few blogs I used to read, and it was just really fun. I dunno, it seemed like it was during a time the internet really didn’t exist yet (AOL Online, anyone?) so stuff like that kept me busy. Just dumb articles and whatnot. Plus, with any time on my hands, I like to keep pumping the Calabrese power all over the internet, even if it means talking about dust bunnies or weird toys or eating cookies. Yeah, my blog is super fucking random. I’ll throw in some “behind the scenes” kinda stuff, though, for good measure. So it ain’t all ridiculous.
What are some of your favorite music-related movies?
I’m not sure, I kinda hate musicals and all that stuff. It’s super uncomfortable and makes me feel weird. Is that what you mean? I’ve always liked “Suburbia” and “Repo Man.” Those had some great punk rock soundtracks. Have you seen “Class of 1984?” That’s another good one you gotta check out. It seems like an ordinary, everyday film about a group of unruly, shitty highschoolers…then de-evolves into revenge filled madness. Like, just a flick of the switch. It even has Teenage Head in it. It’s pretty great.
What is the most rock n’ roll restaurant that you’ve ever dined at and why?
Is this a trick question? Am I supposed to say the Hard Rock Cafe? Hahah. I don’t think anyone would say the Hard Rock Cafe, though, because the Hard Rock Cafe sucks. If I may use a ROCK AND ROLL analogy, I’d say it’s the restaurant version of what Guns and Roses is now. It’s got an original member…but the original member is bloated and can’t hit high notes anymore. If that makes any sense. Basically, the place is wack. Total bunk. The Bottom Lounge in Chicago is pretty rad, though, it’s a venue and a record store and a bar all in one. They served a mighty fine selection of hamburgers, if I recall.
What is one of your funniest on-stage moments?
One time Davey dropped his sticks or missed a beat or something in Hollywood, which promptly ended the song right then and there. Instead of being the nice, loving brothers we’re portrayed to be, Jimmy and I proceeded to get the audience to chant, “Dave fucked up! Dave fucked up!” It sounds horrendous but it had everyone laughing…so it can’t be THAT bad, right?
-Jimmy and Davey
Versus the world!
-Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure