Bobby Calabrese Returns

Following our first interview back in 2013, Bobby Calabrese and I went for one more round following the recent Calabrese show at Café Nine in New Haven, Connecticut. I sat down with him to talk about topics such as his time in high school, touring on the East Coast, the upcoming UK dates, his favorite food, the new album, record stores and more.

Alex Obert: What are your initial thoughts on the show tonight?

Bobby Calabrese: The show tonight was pretty good. First time out here in New Haven, Connecticut. We didn’t know what to expect. We knew that the snow would deter a lot of people, but it was cool that a lot of hardcore fans came out. I feel like we always play the other cities surrounding this state and I guess I feel so many people drive up to it. But not really, the people here are so stoked to see us. We finally came to their hometown. It was pretty cool, man. I love knowing that there’s people out in the audience that can sing the lyrics if I forget ’em. Then I can bring them up on stage. (laughs)

Alex Obert: When you hit that first riff, which songs do you feel that the fans get most excited for at shows?

Bobby Calabrese: I think probably the earlier stuff, off of 13 Halloweens and definitely Traveling Vampire Show. The latter is one of our bigger albums that got a lot of fans going. Night In The Lonesome October, Saturday Night Of The Living Dead, Ghostwolves, anything that starts out with a kickass riff to it.

Alex Obert: Having grown up on the West Coast, what do you take out of touring on the East Coast?

Bobby Calabrese: East Coast is cool, man. I love the East Coast. I love Boston and New York, all the big cities out here. I think there’s a lot of cool, fun people out here that have a great time. I would love to live out here if I was some rich millionaire that lived in a New York penthouse. (laughs) It’d be awesome! Or some Boston penthouse. But unfortunately I am not. And the weather is unfortunately outrageously extreme compared to Phoenix, Arizona. But I guess you make do. If I could, I’d love to live out here. I feel like we’re definitely a Southwest kind of band. We’re very West Coast oriented, but I love it when we play out here on the East Coast with all the people showing up. It’s very cool.

Alex Obert: So once this part of the tour is over, you guys are off to the UK. Have you been there before?

Bobby Calabrese: Actually we have not.

Alex Obert: How do you secure that?

Bobby Calabrese: I have no idea. (laughs) I’m pretty much the guitarist, I just show up and play. (laughs) With the new album, it gave us a bunch of new opportunities to play outside of the US. So we finally made it out to the UK. It’s going to be pretty cool cause we’ve never been out there and I think a bunch of fans are super excited, super stoked. I think a bunch of shows are sold out.

Alex Obert: Do you notice a lot of fans from the UK on Calabrese’s social media?

Bobby Calabrese: Absolutely! It’s cool, man.

Alex Obert: And they have a rich music history.

Bobby Calabrese: Fucking Beatles came from there. Pretty good!

Alex Obert: What’s the next location on the wish list for Calabrese?

Bobby Calabrese: Japan! I would like to go back to Germany and Italy, we did that one time. The food is fucking phenomenal. I love Italian food, it’s great! They treat us like kings out there. It would be cool to go back to Italy for the food and the beer. And the fun that we would have in Japan, holy crap!

Alex Obert: When the three of you came up together, how long was it between the three of you to learn instruments? Did you all just pick it up at the same time?

Bobby Calabrese: Jimmy is a couple of years older than me and Dave, he was always doing stuff and playing in bands. He showed me the ropes and how to be in a band. I was like, “Dude, this is fucking cool! I wanna be in a band!” So I started my own band, all these lame-o bands that meant nothing. It sucked after a while. Me and Jim had the same interests so we just said, “Fuck it, man. Let’s make our own band.” So we did that. And I think Dave was fourteen or fifteen years old at the time. I owned a drum kit at the time because I didn’t actually know what I want to do. Even though I bought a drum kit, it was hard and I kind of sucked. I bought a guitar and it was kind of hard. Bought a bass and it was kind of hard. I finally ended up on guitar because it’s kickass! We had all the instruments in stock, so I just got Dave to learn how to play drums.

Alex Obert: While in high school, what was it like getting into music like Misfits and Elvis, as opposed what was on modern rock radio at the time?

Bobby Calabrese: Everyone’s wearing Ramones shirts and Misfits shirts now. Even though I’m only thirty years old, nobody really liked that kind of shit at my high school. And I was trying to dress like I’m a member of the Ramones. All these guys were making fun of me because my pants were too tight and I’m wearing Converse sneakers. I showed Dave the ways of how to dress and we were just made fun of all the time. And it was only twelve to fifteen years ago. It’s nuts because now you can see all that stuff at the Hot Topic, they’ve got the Misfits logo and Dead Kennedys stuff. It didn’t make sense in Arizona, but I used wear a leather jacket in the summer. Everyone used to make fun of me for that. I was trying to be cool. But nowadays if you wear a leather jacket in high school, you don’t look like that big of a dork.

Alex Obert: And how about chasing girls in high school?

Bobby Calabrese: (laughs) I was pretty much a lone wolf then.

Alex Obert: Back then and present day, which record stores have you visited that you loved?

Bobby Calabrese: There’s one called Zia Record Exchange in Arizona. There’s a place called Stinkweeds. You just go there and cruise around. It’s weird because I think they’re trying to eliminate CDs nowadays, but the records are pretty cool, man. But they’re trying to eliminate all that shit. It’ll all be digital and cyber shit.

Alex Obert: While touring, what’s your favorite place to eat at on the road?

Bobby Calabrese: I like to check out the local cuisine of different states. We ate chili dogs in Rhode Island last night. But definitely whatever’s local.

Alex Obert: What’s the specialty in Arizona?

Bobby Calabrese: Obviously Mexican food. There’s a place called Filibertos, it’s a chain of Mexican food. It’s absolutely disgusting, but it tastes fucking phenomenal when you’re absolutely hammered. (laughs) But besides that, it’s disgusting. No offense, Filibertos!

Alex Obert: So I understand you are fascinated by the occult.

Bobby Calabrese: I like it, it’s cool. All those metal bands, it seemed so cool because of them. But that’s about it, it’s a cool thing to think about. I don’t go crazy over it.

Alex Obert: And how about the new Calabrese logo? Plus there’s a new sound on Lust for Sacrilege. What led to all that? Is this the next step for Calabrese?

Bobby Calabrese: Yeah, I think we’re moving on and growing up a little bit, just a little heavier. Gonna have a little more oomph, I guess. We did the rock n’ roll thing, we did the punk rock thing, but I don’t want to say this is heavy metal though. I guess I’d compare it to Type O Negative, we’ve loved them ever since we fuckin’ started as a band. I like them because they always had punk songs and all these metal songs and those huge, heavy fuckin’ riffs. I guess that’s what we wanna do. We did the punk thing on our last couple records. Everyone always asks how we wrote this or that and I don’t know, it just is what it is. We had no intention writing the way we did and it came out heavier. It’s cool because I guess we do wanna get heavier.

Alex Obert: Are the audio clips from films before tracks done?

Bobby Calabrese: Yeah. We did it for a bunch of albums, but we’re running out of them.

Alex Obert: How did you get approval to use those clips on the album?

Bobby Calabrese: We just saw them on public domain. (laughs)

Alex Obert: So you guys just look through and decide what sounds cool?

Bobby Calabrese: Yeah. And we watch a bunch of B-Movies and if we hear something, we look it up. Fuckin’ internet, man. It’s a great thing. You can look up anything. You can find out if it’s public domain, you can do whatever you want.

Alex Obert: What are some of your favorites?

Bobby Calabrese: Traveling Vampire Show had some great ones!

Alex Obert: I also heard you’re big into Steel Panther as of late. How did you discover them?

Bobby Calabrese: Through Jim. We partied out to them. Those guys are funny as fuck, man. (laughs) I’ve never seen ’em, but I’ve heard that their live shows are pretty intense. A lot of boobies showing. (laughs) That’s fuckin’ nuts!

Alex Obert: Have there been boobies at a Calabrese show?

Bobby Calabrese: Couple times. Way back in the day. Not so much now. But it was cool, man.

Alex Obert: What do you feel is important about fan interaction after shows?

Bobby Calabrese: It’s great, man. I love it. Who’s coming to the shows? The fans. I feel bad because sometimes the shows are shitty and the sound is all shitty, but they are there for us. We like talking to the fans. We’re so sick of each other that we’ve gotta talk to other people! It’s great to see other people.

Alex Obert: Before we wrap up, what are Calabrese’s plans for 2015 after this part of the tour?

Bobby Calabrese: Hopefully a couple more music videos. Music videos rule the world, even though MTV sucks dick nowadays. (laughs) Hopefully new tours. We can tour in the summer when it’s not so fucking cold. Opening for more bands would be great too. Like Black Sabbath!

Alex Obert: In closing, what is the biggest life lesson that you have learned from being a member of Calabrese?

Davey Calabrese provided the following great quote: One great rock n’ roll show could change the world.

Alex Obert: I’d love to thank you so much free time.

Bobby Calabrese: Thanks man!

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