Permanent Ability are a 5 time, first round ballot ,Grammy Nominated alt-rock band who, through years of hard work and commitment, have managed to harness a sound that’s truly unique and enticing! We were lucky enough to have an interview with the three time Emmy Award Winner, frontman and founder of the band; Brian Lanese. Here he gives us an insight into; how the band started, their upcoming album as well as what’s to come!
Starting off with a little history about the band. When and how did the band form? And how did the name Permanent Ability come about? Is there a story there?
I founded the band back in 2006 and I felt I had some great material and decided to move out to Los Angeles. I pretty much built it from the ground up with the help scouring Craig’s List. I had this philosophy; We are all conceived with a god given gift, in my case being able to create art and music, which is permanently rooted in me for life. Even if I wanted to get rid of that talent, its an ability that will always be mine, and its up to me to decide whether to use it, abuse it, or let it go to idle. So based on that philosophy, I thought Permanent Ability was suitable for my band name, and the creative abundance given to us as individuals. When we unit as one unit, has proven that we are using such gifts to inspire hearts and minds and using them as our canvas.
I probably should get this question out of the way earlier on; a band that’s had 5 first round ballot Grammy Nominations and a singer who’s a ‘Three Time Emmy Award Winner’? That’s pretty crazy. Can you briefly talk us through this?
Sure. I have a BFA from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY in Graphic Design and Animation so that’s also another hat I get to wear which is cool cause I take pride in getting to brand the band in the different artistic styles I appreciate…and it saves a ton of money too. I am a ‘less is more’ designer, especially this time around for Love You to Death. I am branding using the beautiful simplicity of the juxtaposition style. Plus, this gets me away from the music and lets me be creative in another way which is just as fulfilling.
What else would be a strange or interesting fact that not many people know about the band, or would be surprised to find out?
Back in 2000, I found out the famous American writer Mark Twain is a relative of mine. What’s funny is…around this time I started seriously devaluing in being a lyricist / musician. Til this day, I’ve never read any of his literate unfortunately…I need to get on that! I would also LOVE to make a record at the Mark Twain house in Hartford, CT. I think that would be so inspirational and quite humbling.
Who would you say your main influences are? Who would you compare yourselves to?
We’ve always been compared to the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Incubus. Those two bands have casted a long shadows and its nice to be in that category. I want to note that Permanent Ability does have its own fresh funk-rock sound that delivers on originality as well.
Is there one song in particular, by any existing band or artist, that as a band you wish you’d written and why?
I wish I wrote Stair Way to Heaven by Led Zeppelin. No explanation needed.
You guys have an album due out later this year titled ‘Love You to Death’. Have all the tracks for the album been recorded? Any idea of an actual release date/month?
Correct. The majority of the tracks are complete and we are still writing a few. It’s a process. I ran into some lyrical writers block so that set me back a bit as well. What is most important for me this time around is that I wanted this record to have a less-is-more approach. I felt with our previous record ‘Bring It On!’ a lot of the music was way too busy, as if we were playing live. I felt it had a dated drum sound, and there were tons of mistakes for the amount of money I paid for it. This time around, I have more control and get to explore the concept of having each musician play what is right for each song. When I write the songs, I know the musicians well enough, and write the parts with them in mind, and also am aware of how we can pull it off live. Although the bass and drums on my records are always cut together live to keep that feel just a bit. This record, I feel, will be my greatest one to date. My new slow song ‘Only Rain’ ventures out into using different layers, including pianos and violins. I also wrote a song called Punch A Bitch… Despite its title; it’s about an argument I got into with Chelsea Handler at a grocery store in Los Angeles. She put me on blast on her show too, so this is my creative rebuttal. It’s tastefully done, too, and I’m proud of the outcome. Some interesting facts regarding the recording of Love You To Death: We were able to use tier vintage equipment on this record. I had access to a 1964 Gretsch drum kit owned by Chad Smith of the Red Hot Chili Peppers. The kick drum alone is 28 inches… and it sounds massive! Taylor Hawkins of the Foo Fighters also lent my drum tech 4-5 different snares for us to try, too. The bass is done by my good friend Mario Pagliarulo, who is the bassist for Serj Tankian’s band The F.C.C., and is featured as well on the record.
If you could choose any bands to go on tour with, i.e. a dream line up/dream team; who would they be and why? Hands down it would be the Red Hot Chili Peppers, with John Frusciante in the line-up preferably. The reason is for the amount of exposure and for how similar our music and shows can be.
I’ve heard some pretty horrific stories from bands about their first live shows, what was your first ever-live show like?
I’d give it a solid B. The songs we played were great songs and well put together, but with every young band that was as green as we were back then to the scene, watching old footage makes me cringe cause we were prolly a bit premature to think we were ready to play out. We weren’t as tight as we should have been and I like to be polished when performing live. But it all comes with experience…Just gotta enjoy the ride.
Any funny band/live show stories you wouldn’t mind sharing?
One show, in particular, that still stands out is when I dressed up in a giant inflatable penis costume and performed! That was one of the funniest shows ever. Who does that?!? I mean if that don’t get you respect, what will??? The best part about it was it was when I moved it would flail around all floppy and shit…I couldn’t stop laughing at times while performing and sexually harassing my band mates during instrumental parts of the songs, and when I saw the DVD of it afterwards…It was pretty classic! Memorable for sure too!
Is there anything that inspires you when you are writing the music and lyrics to your songs?
I can’t say one thing in particular inspires me. There really is no formula to my creative motor. When it does strike it’s like lightening in a bottle however, and it’s those moments that you need to pounce on and capture the beauty of what needs to be released.
Finally. What do you hope to have achieved in 10, maybe 15 years?
In 10 to 15 years, I hope to have achieved success from all the years of hard work; still in sunny California making and producing records for Permanent Ability as well as up and coming young bands. If any band is looking for quality sounding music and a producer feel free to contact me.
Make sure to check out the band on their:
Official Website: http://www.permanentability.com/