(Rules of The Gauntlet: The artist (Like in this case Brooklyn based Classic Style Rocker STEVEN J VERTUN) is sent a butt ton of questions ranging from standard to stupid from which they must choose at least 12 to answer and return them to us with a minimum of tear stains.)
Tell me why your music rules. Or why it sucks.
It rules because it always comes from my personal experiences and it is all quite raw in content. The songs however are crafted in such a way that the listener can find themselves and their experiences in the mix without being encumbered by mine. Additionally, there is always a wide landscape of offerings from ballads to Alternative to straight up aggressive rockers.
I try to live with this basic self agreement: Just because I wrote it doesn’t mean it doesn’t suck. For my just released cd (Ghost, Shadow and Sun….
https://www.stevenjvertun.com/store/….shameless plugs don’t suck!), I had written this song called “In a little while”… too poppy, too sugary, too goofy and those were its finer points. I like a minimum of ten songs in a collection. This was number 10. So, I re-wrote it… 6 times. 6. Six. By the time I got to the end of that re-write, it was unrecognizable to the original. Thing is… It. Still. Sucked. I could probably have written 60% of a NEW CD in the same time I spent on a foundationally sucky song. I know many of you just had a “note to self” moment. You are welcome.
Which Muppet would you marry, which one would you wanna knife fight in a swamp, and which one should be our global emperor? Why?
I would marry all of the females. I have always aspired to have a harem. But if limited to one, Miss Piggy. Just in case my day job ever took a hit and food became scarce… I tend to be very practical.
I don’t want to knife fight, it takes time away from my music. But again, if I have to choose, it would be with Jim Henson. If I need to get anything settled, I like to start at the top, skip the middle man. I tend to be very practical.
None of them should be global emperor. I should be global emperor. Why? Because I am very practical.
Tell me about your new album. The writing, vibe, production/producers, etc.
Many years ago I lost my son, Alexander. He was 4 ½ years old. It was as indescribable time as you can imagine it would be. He was a wonderful, kind little human being on every imaginable level and I loved him more than I could ever fathom to articulate. Ghost, Shadow and Sun as an entire body of work has been the result of a more reflective view, years later. The songs were inspired and written covering an array of my deep personal experiences and my attempt to place these songs in the context of our collective human experience so that the listener can relate the songs to their own journey and walk along this earth. Directly after the CD was mastered, It came upon me to create a video from the song “Ghost”, reflections about coming out of the other side of grief and loss. A message piece about the healing powers of time, distance and hope. I was fortunate enough to find and engage the incomparable Director Matt Zane ( [email protected]). Excellence on every artistic, professional and personal level. He was able to bring my vision to film reality. If you are considering a video, this is your guy. As far as audio production, it is a team of two; me and my great friend Jerry Alston. He’s a great engineer, smart production instincts and has been consistently dialing down the suck button for me for 20+ years.
One more point…. The CD is not a depressing collection of songs as the aforementioned subject matter might suggest. It is about challenge, transition and personal evolution.
What are you working on right now?
Last time I looked it was writing this sentence…
Besides the complexities of releasing a new CD and video, we’ve been remastering a previous cd “Waterline” for release in a few months and I am crafting a new collection of songs for release hopefully January 2018. Also preparing to do another video within the next 60 days. Other than that, not much….
Also want to mention that I have this incredible publicist, Tom George, whom along with his awesome wife Tracy are managing my launch and go forward… hard working, committed, supportive, always responsive and cost effective . If you are in need of a team, and you are serious about your work, this is a very smart choice! Contact : http://highroadpublicity.com/
Why do you make your style of music? Why not polka? or Japanese symphonic folk metal? or..?
It’s a DNA kind of thing. Experiences matched up with all of the musical influences that find their way into my wide open filter, combined with the mood of the moment go through the internal grist mill and that is what you get.
Show us your best interpretive dance about your favorite TV show.
I am still in practice mode and not ready to film it. I can tell you that I have a saber in one hand, I am swinging a mace with the other, I am wearing the skins of a silver and black wolf and I am balancing a cup of grog on my head. I am moving in very scary ways and baring my teeth.
Which voice in your head is the craziest?
The one that is talking. They are all crazy.
Top 2 stupidest things you’ve ever done.
The first would be if I ever revealed the stupidest thing I have ever done on a public site.
The second would be if I ever published the second stupidest thing I have ever done on a public site because it is just as bad as the one not listed above
What’s the history of your band as told by your favorite fictional character?
Here he is to save the daaaaayyyyyyyy!
How often do you work on your music?
Seems like always. When I am not actually sitting with instrument in hand, I am thinking about it. Kind of like an old shirt that is just so comfortable I never seem to take it off.
What is your philosophy? Motto?
Life is an adventure and it should be treated as such.
What is an extravaganza? And why is having an extra “vaganza” so special?
Because a simple Vangaza just is sooo…. mundane. I mean, why even bother if you can’t find some extra for it?
Do you have names for your instruments? If so what are they?
Monique (One of my acoustics) when she is playing well. “Stupid B” when she is not.
What exactly is “Going apeshit?”
Promise me that you’ll take care of something, do not honor your word and I’ll provide you a first-hand demonstration
What’s the stupidest thing you have ever heard someone say?
My ex-business partner used to say: When have you ever seen me change my mind once I make a decision? Hence the EX designation.
Who are your influences?
I have been fortunate to have several people who have come into my radar that have changed the course of my life on a number of critical occasions. The important ones weren’t famous, they were just important, vital and a blessing.
Have you named your bodily parts and what are they?
I like to consolidate things whenever possible.
Peace or freedom? (You can’t have both.)Why?
Freedom. With freedom I can always create my own peace.
How long could you live without money?
I don’t know and I never want to find out.
What legendary musicians would you like to play badminton with?
What can I say, I like to win…
Do you have any projects about to launch? What’s the scoop on that?
My first solo outing, Ghost, Shadow and Sun releasing Feb. 3rd !!! Go buy it! Available on iTunes and all major internet music sites: Steven J Vertun
Also, Watch the Video for the song “Ghost” at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OWE3MElJf3Y Additionally, 30% of all proceeds are going to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and Wounded Warriors Project. The Balance of the profits will fund other projects to increase donations to them. Great deal! When was the last time you got to buy great music and benefit worthy causes at the same time? WIN-WIN incarnate.
What was the last song you listened to before this interview?
Radio by Steven J Vertun off of his newly released CD Ghost, Shadow and Sun. You should go buy his CD on iTunes or any other major internet music site because HE ROCKS BIG TIME! :Steven J Vertun
What’s the most embarrassing band you listen to?
I like the monkeys and Tom Jones (shhhhhhhhhh…..please don’t tell anyone!)
Any tours planned?
Yes, going to the Guggenheim in September
Why should people experience your music?
Because it is real, it is raw and it is true. The listener can easily relate their own experiences to what are, essentially my own, but delivered in a way that doesn’t encumber with my specifics. They are interesting in construction and heard differently with each listen.
If you were facing unbeatable and fatal odds what song would you want to check out to? Why?
Jungleland by Bruce Springsteen. Fits my story and my edge. Either that or “lullaby for a frenetic world”, composed by Max Schecter. Longest ever recorded song….looking to extend my odds by as long as possible…
Describe your face.
Two eyes, nose, a mouth…C’mon guys….something challenging…Sheesh! (did I get it right??)
Stella or Guinness? Why?
Guinness: Dark, Creamy, Delicious. Also, Arthur Guinness produced 21 children. It must have had something to do with the beer…
What musicians should quit forever and never be seen or heard from again?
I will respectfully decline to answer as those same musicians might choose to mention me in the future either because they saw that I mentioned them or Karma naturally occurs
What would you like to say to your fans?
It is my greatest desire that my music moves you in some way. If it does, then my work has been accomplished. And…. I thank you for taking the time to listen if you do.
Where do your song names come from?
Usually from the chorus for easy remembrance. Led Zep…love them but their songs were frequently named from something obscure and I just don’t have the memory to remember them. Cataloguing by chorus hook is a kind thing to do for your audience I think.
There’s a good chance you will look back and be embarrassed by your current hairstyle. Discuss.
The main reason why I try to avoid my high school yearbook….
If you could accomplish one thing in a music career what would it be? When you achieve that will you quit?
Respect of my work. I will never quit. Cradle to Grave.
Top five favorite albums?
Pink Floyd – Animals
Rush – Roll the Bones
Springsteen – Born to Run
Howie Day – Australia
Stevie Ray Vaughn – Texas Flood
Would you accept 1 million dollars now to give up any and all music forever? If not what is your price?
20 million used to buy all of the Kleenex I would need
What master musicians would you like to study with?
David Gilmour: Guitar
Alan Parsons: Production/Mixing
What are your thoughts on the music in general?
It has become increasingly harder to find bands that have staying power. The industry has become a mecca of one hit wonders or one album hit wonders. The record companies are investing in sure things that they package up and shove down the throats of the populace. That is a sad state of affairs. Lots of great stuff out there, but not the longevity of bands of the past.
What really pisses you off?
Lying, insincerity, lack of loyalty, pettiness. And when I pour myself a bowl of dry granola only to find out that there is no milk in the house…
Who the fuck do you think you are?
I am the center of the universe. I mean, really if I am not, then who should be the center of my universe? No matter where I stand (or lie down) that is the exact center of everything else around me. I have no choice but to be…. THE CENTER OF THE UNIVERSE.
If you could ask yourself one question what would it be?
Who the fuck do you think you are? (Because I already know the correct answer to that one)
Are you artsy or are you fartsy? Explain.
Depends on what I had for dinner… Usually and preferably, Artsy.
What is the loneliest letter?
Z….Nobody to the Right of him. And he is always last and infrequently called upon.
Without looking which presidents are on which bills?
Washington on the single
Jefferson on the 10
Harriet to soon be on the 20
Franklin on the hundred but not a president
Lincoln on the 50
Hamilton on the 5
(I f’kng hate pop quizzes!)
Falstaff or Prince Hal?
I don’t know whom they are…..I guess I need to get out more often…
Worst thing ever eaten?
I love my mother dearly, but her meatloaf was like eating hockey pucks…only worse.
What do you geek out to besides your music? Please geek out on your geekiness.
Outside of music I am pretty athletically inclined so there’s not much geekiness in that.
What are some of the unwritten rules of tours?
Never fall asleep without locking your door.
Avoid beans for dinner
Have a backup amp
Don’t be an AH
How many unarmed but very angry 4 year olds would it take to kick your ass?
1: Just try keeping up with one for two straight hours.
If you had a time machine what would you do with it?
I would go back to the beginning
What are your detailed thoughts on yodeling?
I played the accordion for five years starting at five years old. Don’t get me started on yodeling
If you won a chance to kiss Miley Cyrus or Justin Bieber how would you escape to the space station?
Any way I could
Wheelie or endo?
Name two people cooler than Evel Kneivel. Why?
Thomas Edison: He brought us light, at will
Les Paul: He invented the electric guitar
The list could be endless!
Thank you very much for participating in Groovey.TV’s The Gauntlet! We look forward to your answers! Cheers!
NO NO NO! Thank you GrooveyTV for the opportunity to engage! You guys ROCK BIG TIME!!!
Connect with Steven J. Vertun: