Feb. 20, 2013 - Issue #905: DOA No more - Trading in punk for politics
"What goes better with good energy than drinking beer and pretty ladies?" laughs Alterra drummer Keith Tib.
Adrenaline-pumping energy, party-rocking good vibes and of course, an appreciation for the ladies are pivotal themes of the local rock group's debut EP, aptly titled Amateur Night.
"It's clearly about strippers," notes guitarist/vocalist Steve Lemay. "That's the theme of a lot of the songs we have—sleaze rock ... that's what I was raised on. I listened to Mötley Crue and Guns N' Roses growing up, and we all like going to the strippers and drinking beer, so it works out."
The unapologetic, unabashed approach to music, designed to get the blood pumping and the party shaking, doesn't mean Alterra can't get serious at times, but even these tracks manage to strike a balance and not get too heavy. Lemay says the key is telling stories—and each song has one—but keeping it general and simple enough for fans to relate to in their own way. Lemay adds even though the band is just finally releasing its debut EP, a full-length album may not be far behind.
The fun-loving sensibility portrayed in Alterra's music stems to its interactions as group. Things are kept light-hearted and have evolved into a collaborative effort from the early days, when Lemay was the lead songwriter and struggling to keep a solid lineup together.
"I always thought that once I found the right lineup, it would be something important," he notes. "I had a lack of talent, lack of commitment from people, people just not showing up, and then we finally got the right group of guys and I still feel that way. We don't argue, we just gel really well together and we're on the same musical page, too."
Tib has been the newest addition to the group, stepping out of his death metal background for straight-up rock. The transition has been a learning curve in his approach to drumming, had to be pared down from the limbs-flying, high-octane speed he was used to. However, he notes the band has been supportive in the process, made simpler by the fact that Tib was already very familiar with the guys already in the group.
"Rock music, it's really about the energy, the groove. It's not about having the fastest hands and the fastest feet and doing all the polyrhythmic technical stuff you do in death metal," explains Tib, noting he'd often get compared to Animal from The Muppets for his tendencies behind the kit. Now, instead of being honed-in solely on maintaining a blistering pace, he can interact with the crowd and help drive the party.
"When I say party, it's not like I get drunk when I play. It's more crowd interaction ... it's about making it a more personal experience now with the crowd."
Sat, Feb 23 (8 pm)
With One Day Late, Rend, Transista
Pawn Shop, $10
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