Eight (and a half) Questions with ANTHONY PIAZZA from Sister Ex
1 TNF TV: If Sister Ex were to be transported to another time in history, what year would that be and why?
A.P.: The 60’s would be fun. Everything was so fresh and new. The musical rules weren’t quite etched in stone yet. 1967 was the banner year and Sister Ex would have been a spaced out psychedelic group I imagine.
2 TNF TV: Is S.E. a collaborative democracy from a musical perspective?
A.P.: I would say so. Certainly when it comes to song arrangements, everyone works out their own parts. We may have conversations about how to improve the piece as a whole, but there is no musical dictator. Everyone comes from such a different musical background that it creates a unique chemistry.
3 TNF TV: How is lyrical content and theme(s) arrived at for S.E. songs?
A.P.: Our singer, Claudia Neuman writes most of our songs. Most of them reflect things that are going on in her life at the moment, or people that she knows, some of whom have since passed away. The lyrics to my songs just seem to pop into my head while I’m coming up with the music. Looking at our songbook as a whole, there seems to be overarching themes of death, religion, and addiction. How cheerful!
4 TNF TV: Who were/are your guitar heroes?
A.P.: I’ve always been attracted to the anti-heroes, those who really stuck out and had an abrasive quality. I remember early on liking Neil Young’s dissonant, seasick-sounding electric guitar. Keith Levine from PiL and the late Andy Gill from Gang of Four are two of my favorites along with Daniel Ash, Steve Jones and Cheetah Chrome.
5 TNF TV: What is the first lesson to be learned about being in a rock band?
A.P.: Check your ego at the door. Get over yourself, it’s not about you, it’s about the music and the band. Show up on time, be supportive and help promote the band. If you can’t be a team player, move on and do your own project.
6 TNF TV: What inspires you to keep creating and keep writing?
A.P.: I think at a certain point the creative process is just a part of what and who you are. Writing becomes like breathing. I am constantly coming up with ideas, not that I act on most of them. Before I played music, I was always drawing, painting and writing stories, so I guess I was born with that creative bug.
7 TNF TV: Have you ever tried playing right handed?
A.P.: For about two minutes. It just never felt right, I naturally wanted to flip the guitar around. I know some left handed people that are fine playing right-handed. Just never worked for me. I did start off with the strings flipped, I still play bass that way. It’s upside down and backwards.
8 TNF TV: Any memorable gigs that you can recall with any band you’ve ever been in?
A.P.: One band I was in did a show with Gene Loves Jezebel. It sold out so they added a second show that evening. Jay and Michael Aston and the rest of the band were great guys; we got along famously and partied hard. By the time the second show happened, both bands were completely trashed! Another band I had played Capital Pride Day at Freedom Plaza, and there were probably more than 50,000 people in attendance. I remember splitting a six-pack of beer with a drag queen backstage before I went onstage. We were both terrified! For the past 2 years Sister Ex has hosted The David Bowie Valentine's Day shows which were nothing short of magical, amazing performances from the bands and a house full of love! We hope to expand the format next year to include more artists.
8.5 TNF TV: Please share any thoughts or opinions about digital vs. analog and the onset of streaming platforms….
A.P.: Digital recording is certainly more convenient, especially if you are doing electronic music. There are so many cool sounding analog DAW plugins out there that there is not a big difference. That said, if you have a band with a live drummer and can afford to record in a studio with a 2” 24 or 16-track tape machine, go for it! We did that a while back and were amazed at the drum sound. Even transferred to digital, no plugins were required for that punchy sound. As far as streaming platforms go, all I can say is, “Where’s my money?”