BRYAN FONTEZ (LAST BULLET) INTERVIEW:
April 28, 2013
“Seven ripping tracks of dirty, heavy, high-energy, badass Rock N’ Roll” — that is the way Toronto based Last Bullet describe their latest CD ‘Love.Lust.Illusion.’ on their website. Some of the same attributes could be used to describe the band’s lead singer Bryan Fontez, but that would be doing injustice to the man given that he is also bright, articulate, loves to laugh, enjoys life to the fullest and certainly has a lot to say! Sleaze Roxx met up with Bryan Fontez to chat about everything relating to Last Bullet, from their KISS-like start to their plans to take it to the next level.
Sleaze Roxx: First of all, perhaps you can let the readers know how the band got started. I know you had a sort of KISS-like start to the band.
Bryan Fontez: The band started in about 2009. There was a bassist, two guitarists, and a drummer, and a few of them were friends in high school and they started playing in the band. Sorry, actually, they didn’t have the bassist at first. They decided to write a few songs, really liked what they were coming up with and they basically put an ad on Craigslist looking for a bassist. They found one bassist (Will Shannon) — it was the first answer that they got and they took him in and it’s been the same guy the entire time. They only got one response, it was Will and it worked out ironically enough. And then afterwards, they started practicing and started doing a lot of covers together. They wrote a few more songs together and they really felt like they had something special so they put an ad out for a singer and they looked for about nine months. They auditioned about 10 to 12 people and a lot of them were hilarious. A lot of them were nightmare stories but some really funny stuff — we’ve mentioned the story in a few interviews.
Long story short, I was playing — I’ve been playing the drums for over 12 years and I used to teach drum lessons and stuff — in a Black Sabbath tribute band at the time (laughs) for three or four years and then I decided I wanted to do something different. I wanted to do something original and write my own music and be part of a band that writes its own music and I also wanted to be at the front of the band because I had a lot of energy. I didn’t want to be behind a drum kit, I wanted to be at the forefront and I had a lot of singing experience. I trained in vocals in opera, in jazz, a lot of stuff like that before rock. So, I ended up going for an audition and it was a really good match. They all happened to be the same age, we happened to like the same music, and then I just had to start tailoring my voice for that kind of sound and that kind of band. It’s like figuring out how to sing rock properly and then we took it from there. Every year, we’ve raised the bar every single time (laughs) and that’s how the band started.
Sleaze Roxx: Can you describe Last Bullet’s sound?
Bryan Fontez: Sure. It’s easy for a lot of bands to say that they sound specifically like one band, but if there’s one thing that you’ll notice if you listen to an entire one of our EPs or albums you’ll probably be able to list over 20 or 30 bands that you hear within our music. So, we really really have our own sound going — it’s bluesy, it’s dirty, it’s hard, heavy and it’s very classic rock influenced but with our own personality put on it and trying to keep it a little bit modern.
Sleaze Roxx: You just mentioned 20 or 30 bands (laughs) for the influences. Which would be the major musical influences for the band?
Bryan Fontez: There are a lot of them so I have to list them off because we all have our own but there are a lot of them that we share. Some of the ones that we share are bands like AC/DC, Motley Crue, Deep Purple, Aerosmith, Led Zeppelin, Guns N’ Roses — a lot of those bands. And then we also like a lot of bands like Rage Against The Machine and Soundgarden, and we all like Nirvana and all that kind of stuff. We grew up with that stuff because that was our era, that’s the age that we are, we grew up in the ’90s so we were grunge kids but we just happened to listen to a lot of classic rock too. A lot of those bands, like one of my favorites Queens Of The Stone Age, have a really cool, sexy blues, dirty kind of vibe going on and I like that. We all bring our influences together and it gives our music a lot of dynamics. It kind of goes up, it goes down — it’s got stops, it has fast parts, slow parts, screaming, no screaming — it’s kind of all over the place and that’s how I like my rock and roll, energetic.
Sleaze Roxx: What about the name Last Bullet? Did the band already have that name at the time you joined, and if not how did it get created?
Bryan Fontez: They did, the name was there before I joined and hilariously enough I actually didn’t like the name at the beginning (laughs). At the very beginning, I’m like “Last Bullet sounds like sort of cheesy metal band”. I didn’t like the name but they told me the meaning and the meaning became its own thing in my own mind. And then I started to love the name and now I really like it because I see other band names and I think about how much worse it could be. But I also think it is a good name now. The meaning of the name Last Bullet is basically just a metaphor for the term carpe diem — it’s basically seize the day, if you have one bullet left make it count and use it wisely because you only get one shot and that’s your last chance. So basically it’s a metaphor for how we want to perform every time we go out on stage, we want to perform as if we only have one shot left in the chamber and that’s basically the meaning of the name.
Sleaze Roxx: I noticed that even though Last Bullet hasn’t been around that long, you have been savvy marketers in terms of getting your band known. At least in Toronto, I noticed that Last Bullet was handing out free CDs at one point after some shows, and as well, you have delivered tickets in Mike’s mobile — tell us about that.
Bryan Fontez: There are way too many good bands out there, Toronto probably has 10,000 bands. And then you have a small percentage of them that have really, really good songs that can go somewhere. Then you have another small percentage that actually work hard to get the music out there and do something. We all know some of the best musicians we’ve ever heard in our lives and nobody knows who they are. That’s because they’ve sat on their talent and they think that it’s enough and it’s not enough. I would have to say we realize that and we’re no strangers to shameless self promotion so we know that we have to go out there and put the music in your hands. I mean, at the same time, we try to make the business profitable. We try not to give away CDs when we’re at a show especially if they enjoyed the music. Most people want to respect a band by paying for their music but when we’re going to be in your face and we’re promoting, we would never expect anyone to pay. Even though, ironically enough, a lot of people do give us money when we’re promoting — I’ve had a few people we’ve given CDs to say, “oh, here, just have $5.00, I don’t want this for free”. We try to say “no” but sometimes they force it on us. At the end of the day, the promotion is just working really, really hard to get our music in people’s hands because we are confident. We know it’s good and we know that if you remotely enjoy rock music there’s no way that you can’t identify with something in one of our songs in some way or another. So, yeah, that’s why we like to promote.
Sleaze Roxx: You’ve played all over the place in Toronto. What would be your favorite place to play so far?
Bryan Fontez: That’s a good question. There are a lot of really good venues and a lot of them, for different reasons, I like. Obviously places like the El Mocambo and the Horseshoe Tavern are very legendary just because of the people who have played there before. When you play stages like that and you realize who’s been on that stage, if feels pretty cool. But in terms of the actual set up, the stage size, acoustics and crowd size, hands down, my favorite venue in Toronto that we’ve played so far would be the Opera House. It’s huge, so automatically I like when there’s enough space to have 800 people in front of the stage. The stage is quite a bit elevated, which I like, and it gives you a cooler visual experience. It’s like a Wonderland to me because we’re very energetic and I’m a very energetic front man so I like moving around. So, when we play places like Cherry Cola’s, where the stage is like 6′ x 6′, I feel claustrophobic and very constrained so the Opera House is probably my favorite. They even have a cool backroom downstairs and stuff like that behind the stage. We’re actually playing there our next show in Toronto on June 15th — we’re headlining a big show called the Jump Off Part 3, which is an annual event that happens every year since 2010. It’s a cool mix of a lot bands and artists all over Toronto mixed with hip-hop and rock. But yeah, we happen to be headlining this year and we’re really excited because, like I said, it’s one of our favorite venues.
Sleaze Roxx: You have a new album out called ‘Love.Lust.Illusion.’, tell us about it.
Bryan Fontez: We recorded ‘Love.Lust.Illusion.’ last summer with a good friend of ours, producer Chris Snow, at Vespa Music Studios. Vespa Music Studios is located in North York, just north of Toronto, and it is a very renowned, legendary studio. A lot of really good artists have recorded albums there. Monster Truck’s last two albums were recorded there, Big Wreck’s newest album was recorded there, Billy Talent has done some recording there, Sarah MacLachlan, I think Our Lady Peace, and a whole bunch of them — lots of really good people, really good artists and talented people have worked there. The owner of Vespa Music Studios, ironically enough, if you know hair metal, is a Canadian artist named Harry Hess and he’s the lead singer of Harem Scarem from back in the day, which is really funny. So he took our producer Chris Snow under his wing, kind of, and taught him a few things. Chris has been working there for the past couple of years and he’s been doing a great job. He’s also been mentored by Eric Ratz, who is the same producer who Billy Talent had for their album, and Big Wreck — he did all of those albums I just mentioned. We recorded it there and it took us about two to three weeks to do. There’s seven tracks on it but there’s only really six songs, one of them is just kind of an intro track. We always like to put some sort of slow balladry song on there so there’s a song called “Love Song To Rock” at the end of it. Then there’s lots of really cool riffs — it’s very bluesy, very fun and energetic — there’s a little bit of everything on it for any type of rock fan. As far as the name ‘Love.Lust.Illusion.’, it was a lyric taken from the first song on the album “State Of Confusion”. We just thought it was a really cool mysterious album title that would catch people’s attention and we liked it so we went with that.
Sleaze Roxx: Is there a story behind the cover?
Bryan Fontez: There’s no story behind the cover, we just knew that we wanted something gritty and dark — something kind of abstract if you will. We were incorporating good-looking women, because I don’t think anybody has any protest against that. So, we were thinking about having a girl on the front or something like that. There were a lot of things that were on our mind at the time but we ended up doing a photo shoot and we did a lot of different ideas, but the one that ended up looking the coolest was the simplest one where we just took a marker and wrote the name of the album on a friend of ours — her name is Jade Osman. She did the photo shoot for us and she modeled for us. We just wrote the title of the album on her fingers and really made it gritty and dirtied it up — put some dirt on her hands and stuff and just took a shot of it and blacked out the background and had her have a cigarette near her face, like she’s thinking as she’s listening to the album or like she’s got problems. We just wanted it to be mysterious and gritty and I think our music is like that. We just wanted something on the album that reflected our music, but in an image.
Sleaze Roxx: There’s a big difference between your two EPs. ‘Love.Lust.Illusion.’ has a much harder sound, was that intentional?
Bryan Fontez: Nothing was really intentional in terms of changing our sound. Our intention is always to write the music that we want to write that comes out of us naturally. We want to stay within a certain realm — we don’t want to leak out too far into one specific area. We want to just maintain a sound that is representative of all five people in the band. With that said, the first album wasn’t necessarily a true representation of what Last Bullet and all five of their members sound like because a few of the songs were written before I or bassist Will had joined the band. We just kind of adapted ourselves to those songs and took them in and made them our own. So, I would say that ‘Love.Lust.Illusion.’ is the first album that’s a true representation of exactly who we are and what we sound like — all five of us from scratch — creatively. I guess that means we’re a little bit heavier than what the first album was and I guess that means you can also expect more of that in the future. We just keep writing and the new songs we’re writing now are heavy as well. Some of them are heavier and some of them are bluesier — we basically keep going in every direction a little bit farther so the music keeps becoming more and more dynamic to the point where the highs are higher, the lows are lower, the fasts are faster, the slows are slower, the heavy is heavier and the light is lighter. I think that makes music more interesting.
Sleaze Roxx: Which songs were not written with you or Will on the ‘Last Bullet’ EP?
Bryan Fontez: I believe “Can’t Move On”, “Carefree” — most of them actually were written before Will or I were in the band. The only song that I wrote for the ‘Last Bullet’ EP, and I only wrote the words, lyrics and melody, was “Can’t Move On” because that was actually the song I auditioned with. They had that song on their MySpace and they said feel free to write your own lyrics or you can come in and we can teach you ours. I thought it would be weird to come in and learn someone else’s lyrics so I wanted to start from scratch and I wrote my own lyrics and they really liked them so we kept those ones. The chorus was written by Mike, our rhythm guitarist. Any lyrics I don’t write he usually writes, but the chorus was written by him so I kept his chorus. But I kept all my verses and basically we fused them together — so “Can’t Move On” is the only song that we all kind of worked on together. Aside from that, all the rest of them were written before I joined the band. But, yeah, the newest album is written by all of us, me and Mike both take turns writing lyrics and not because we want to say “now it’s your turn”, but just because Mike might hear something and feel really inspired on one song and he might be really passionate about it and I’ll tell him, “go right ahead and see what you can come up with” and I do the same.
“State Of Confusion” was written by Mike, in terms of lyrics and melody, and then “Jet” was written by me. I actually wrote that when I was in an airport (laughs). I was in Portugal on vacation waiting for a flight and then I realized that I wanted us to have something that was really catchy and danceable so I started off with just a beat in my head that was very upbeat and I started thinking about it as I was waiting for this plane at the airport on a beautiful day. What it would be like to have your own private jet and not have any worries — not worry about money or being able to do whatever the hell you want. And I just wrote a song that was kind of humorous innuendo to the kinds of things that rock stardom is about and what it stands for. So, yeah, and then a few of the other songs are a mix of both of us and we all — we basically take turns writing lyrics and writing the music together.
Sleaze Roxx: What have been your favorite bands to open for to date?
Bryan Fontez: Well, we love Diemonds. We love their shtick — we love their music and they dress well, they sound good, they got a really cool stage show and we like them a lot. We also opened for a band called Bleeker Ridge, a Canadian band, and they’re really good. They’re really young — I think they just released their new album or the first single called the ‘Last Cigarette’ or something like that. But they’re really good, really young kids and when I say young, they’re in their early 20s whereas we’re more in our later 20s, but they have a great sound and really rock and roll. We opened for Die Mannequin as well, a really popular Canadian kind of grunge rock band from Toronto who’ve been played on The Edge a million times. They have two or three singles and they’ve toured all over the place. We opened for them in Hamilton as well and that was really cool.
We also opened for Uli John Roth of the Scorpions and that was cool too, but those are the biggest ones. We have yet to open for a big band that we are really huge fans of. We’re all fans of Monster Truck from Toronto, we really like their sound — they have a really cool southern rock Deep Purple kind of heavy sound so we’ve been trying to open for them. My favorite band right now by far is Rival Sons from California and they have played here a few times and we’ve tried to open for them. We almost got on to one of the shows with no luck, but they’re one of my favorite bands — super talented as hell, so I’d love to open for them too. But yeah, aside from that we’d love to open for any bands that are doing better than we are (laughs) and just get to know them and see what they’re like and learn from them. Anytime I play with a band that has done or accomplished more than I have I always take the time out to watch them and see what they’re doing. I watch every single detail of their stage show, how they talk to people, what they do when they go back to the merch booth, and how they conduct themselves — all that kind of stuff because you have to learn from somebody.
Sleaze Roxx: So what’s the funniest or weirdest thing that Last Bullet has encountered?
Bryan Fontez: The funniest things wouldn’t be safe for this interview (laughs). I don’t know, there’s funny crap happening all the time. See, I hate those questions because they’re good questions but they’re so hard to answer. What are the funniest things? One thing that I found funny — because I look back on it now and I find it funny but at the time I was pissed was one of our earlier shows. It was one of the first ever shows we played at a small venue called The Central and this venue is literally like a hallway in a hotel, it’s that small. It’s maybe 100 feet long but just a skinny hallway. We didn’t all fit on the stage so I had to stand on the floor in front of everybody and they were elevated a foot above me, behind me. Long story short, we were told we were given 40 minutes for our set, and then he told us at about 25 minutes that we had one song left. We were really confused because we told everybody who came that we were playing for 40 minutes and we didn’t want to disappoint them since we had to sell tickets. So, we didn’t listen and he eventually cut off the power to my microphone — most people would just stop but we didn’t, we kept playing (laughs). I just threw the microphone to the ground and started yelling all the lyrics at the crowd and got them to sing with me because most of them knew the lyrics. So we just kept going and that lasted about one or two more songs until he cut off all the power to the band. So, yeah, let’s just say that he might have been missing a few items that night (laughs).
Sleaze Roxx: Is it fair to say you haven’t played there again (laughs)?
Bryan Fontez: Never — we have definitely not played there again! I’m not saying that we wouldn’t if there was an opportunity (laughs) but it’s not the venue. It’s the one thing we’ve realized is there are a lot of douche bags in this industry and there are a lot of really nice people. Soundmen tend to be prone to being difficult to work with but we’ve met a few that are really exceptional people like Jake at the Rockpile — he’s a great guy if you ever get a chance to meet him — and a few other people, the Hard Rock and the Rivoli. A lot of them are difficult to work with and I think that night, what made it difficult was just the soundman in particular.
Sleaze Roxx: I noticed recently that you had a little bit of an ordeal in that you were opening for the BulletBoys but they ended up being stranded at the border. How did that work out?
Bryan Fontez: That happened twice! Not with us twice, but one of the times we were on the show. But that happened twice because afterwards they were unable to get here again as well. It sounded like it was some sort of paperwork issue at the border from what we heard. I wish we could have opened for them because they’re a pretty cool band. We were actually on a compilation album with them — there’s a radio station in L.A. called Radio Screamer and they made a compilation album and they put not one, but two of our songs on there. They put “Girls Gone Wild” and I think “Rock ‘Til We Die”. They put a track by the BulletBoys on it as well so there was that little link. And that happened before they were supposed to come so we were excited to say “hey, we’re on the compilation album together, it’s nice to finally meet you and open for you guys”. They never made it and they were thinking about cancelling the show but we convinced the promoter not to cancel and said “you know what, to hell with it, we’re going to play a crazy show and whoever shows up there, we’re going to tell them we’re not the BulletBoys, we’re the Last Bullet Boys and we’re still going to rip your face off with rock and roll.” So, that’s what ended up happening and it was a good show, a good turnout, and a lot of the people who came for the BulletBoys were disappointed at first but ended up having a good time.
Sleaze Roxx: What’s been the reaction to ‘Love.Lust.Illusion.’ to date?
Bryan Fontez: It’s been really good — I haven’t heard a single negative thing about it yet, which is good. I’ve heard the odd negative criticism about the first album, some people saying it’s a little too hair metal or stuff like that. People obviously have their own opinion because anything that has to do with being creative and has to do with art is always going to be subjective. There’s no right or wrong. The people who I respect their opinion the most, because it’s coming from the same standpoint as me, are musicians and producers and they’ve had nothing but good things to say. And it’s funny, I actually prefer criticism because when somebody compliments something, as awesome as that is and as much as I appreciate it, it doesn’t teach me anything. It just tells me that I’m on the right path and I’m doing the right thing but if I get a little bit of criticism I can at least figure out a way to improve what I’m doing to make it even better. Yeah, the response has been really good.
We released our first single “Jet” to radio and we released it the first week of January on an electronic distribution system called DMDS, which is what the majority of artists in Canada and the U.S. use to distribute their single to radio. It distributes it everywhere and any radio station can download your track if they find it interesting and we were actually the number one downloaded track the first week of January for the song “Jet”. We were ahead of Serena Ryder with a song “Stompa” and we were ahead of the band Fun who had a song called “Carry On”. We were also ahead of Taylor Swift with her new song — I was like, “what the hell, how the hell are we ahead of all these people?” I felt like it was going to snowball but I guess it kind of fizzled out so that’s something that we’re still learning — we’re still learning the pluses and how to maintain the momentum. Maybe we didn’t track it properly — we definitely don’t have any professionals managing us or tracking our single properly so maybe that’s something that we have to look into in the future. We are still very much in the learning process of things like that so that’s something that we’re going to be doing when we release our second single off of this album within the next two months. We’re getting into position to do everything properly because we don’t want to waste time, money or effort any longer. It’s all a learning experience.
Sleaze Roxx: The band, from what I understand, self financed most of their first two CDs. Is that a trend that you’re going to be continuing or are you looking for different opportunities?
Bryan Fontez: I’m looking for any opportunities (laughs) that doesn’t involve us spending money, so you can bet your ass that we’re going to be looking for other opportunities (laughs). We’re always looking for opportunities, if somebody wants to give us money to help us fund something — we’re all struggling, we’re trying our best. We all have day jobs and we do the best that we can. We’re putting everything that we have into it. Some of us have plans Bs and some of us don’t, I’m one of them who doesn’t, it’s music or bust for me. I mean, I’m in sales, I can always fall back on sales and sell anything, but ideally it’s not what I want to do for the rest of my life.
Long story short, we did apply for grants for the second album but we didn’t get approved for whatever reason — maybe again. It’s a learning process and maybe we just didn’t have the right information on the application or what not. But we are getting better at figuring out exactly what they’re looking for. We are shooting a music video at the end of this month and we’re in the process of filling out an application and applying for a grant for the music video from Factor. Hopefully that goes through so we won’t have to shell out any money for the music video which will give us more money to spend on releasing the single and touring later on this year. Because touring is going to be a heavy expense and we’re talking probably another $2,000 to $5,000. We’ve put our own money into everything — we self financed everything — we don’t have anybody’s help really. The only way that we get help from people is we try to throw big shows where we get as many people as possible there and try to make as much money as possible from their support. We’re very smart about it. We really see it as a business. We try to be as financially intelligent about it as possible so we do things like have a band fund that all five of us pitch into every month. We each pitch in $50 and just that alone makes a difference because that’s $250 to spend on something every month, whether it be a new order of CDs, t-shirts, accessories or whatever it may be, or just bank it for the next album, tour or whatever. So, yes, we need money (laughs) and we want money. If we don’t have it, we will spend our own money so that is your answer.
Sleaze Roxx: Tell us about the new video coming out.
Bryan Fontez: We’re really excited about it. I don’t know if I want to announce what song we’re going to be releasing yet for our single of it — whether it’s going to make a huge difference if I tell you or not. We’re doing a cool video — it’s a pretty cool concept. We had a lot of other wacky and really interesting ideas drawn out, more complicated story lines and concepts, but we realized that they were really expensive and it goes back to the money thing. We don’t have it so we wanted to capture our energy and our personality and that alone I think is entertaining on a video. So as long as it’s edited, cut well and the setting is interesting, then I don’t think you need to do anything over the top in terms of story line. I don’t think you need to have a boy/girl story line, love story or any sort of story. You can expect an awesome gritty, in your face, dirty, rock and roll, energized music video from Last Bullet. And it’s going to be a lot of fun. It’s going to be a lot of visuals, lots of really cool editing — really cool shots — shots going up, going down, going straight, in your face, close, far, out of focus like lens flares, solar flares, whatever you want to call all that stuff. Just cool stuff so it’s gonna be interesting. We’re excited for it and we’re probably going to premier it sometime in June. Keep a lookout for it because we’re definitely going to be releasing teasers for it and more than likely behind the scenes videos of it leading up to its release. Those will probably be in May sometime because the video will be done filming in April. It needs to be edited and then we’ll probably start releasing some teasers and trailers and stuff leading into June.
Sleaze Roxx: What about touring plans? You guys have toured quite a bit in the greater Toronto area but you haven’t really branched out yet from that area.
Bryan Fontez: We’ve never really played outside of the general GTA area. The farthest I think we’ve ever played was Windsor or Barrie and it’s not very far.
Sleaze Roxx: Windsor is not in the greater Toronto area (laughs)!
Bryan Fontez: Windsor is quite far. You’re right, so aside from that it’s mostly Toronto area places — you know, Mississauga, Brampton, all that kind of stuff. But yeah, Barrie and Windsor are the farthest we’ve ever gone out, we definitely realize that we have to tour and we can’t wait. We’re dying of thirst to go tour and we really want to. We realize it’s the next thing on our list so we have plans to tour very soon, more than likely sometime in July and sometime in the summer. More than likely the west end Canada, maybe to Vancouver and back — a two week trip and see what we can accomplish doing that. Touring is number one after releasing this new single and the video to support it. Touring is literally the number one priority on our list, and not just touring once but heavy, heavy touring. We want to do this tour and then we want to follow it up with more tours like the month after and the month after that and the month after that and just to do as much as possible. But, we’re not playing in Toronto until June 15th at the Opera House. We made that decision ourselves because we want to create a buzz in Toronto. We’ve been playing way too much, so right now we’re willing to play anywhere outside of Toronto. We’re taking as many shows as we can outside of Toronto. I think so far we’ve gotten shows in Peterborough, Oshawa, Cambridge and we’re hoping to cop a few more shows maybe in Montreal, Ottawa and a few other places within Ontario or Quebec.
Sleaze Roxx: Are there any plans for new music? I know you just released ‘Love.Lust.Illusion.’ but I’m sure you’re constantly writing.
Bryan Fontez: Yeah, we released ‘Love.Lust.Illusion.’ on August 11th at the Horseshoe so it’s been a while — it’s coming up to a year now. That seems to be the cycle for our recordings. I personally wouldn’t want to go much longer than a year in between short EPs. Hell, if it were up to me, and I had the money for it and we weren’t too busy and we had the time to be creative, I literally would want to come out with a full album every year. I miss the days when bands were coming out with two full albums a year — double albums, you know what I mean? I just love that — if you have lightning in a bottle and you have good music and you have good creativity happening, why would you stop it? Why would you know, say “oh, let’s spread this out”, you know what I mean? No, put everything you have into it and just let it go, let it happen, release all the music that you can and just keep recording. It’s coming up to a year. I think the plan is to release the new single, release the video, tour pretty extensively, as much as possible, and then in the hibernation of the winter, or when we get back from these tours, start really focusing on solidifying all the little ideas we’ve been coming up with when we have free time and start writing a little bit more and getting more creative and then probably record in early 2014. Next year I would say.
This is very vague but you could probably expect a new album well before summer of next year. I know that sounds like a long time for a lot of people but it might even come sooner, who knows? Maybe we’ll record this in November and December and have it out really early next year like January, February or March. But I can tell you that I’m always writing songs. I work at a job where I’m not that busy some of the time so I have a lot of time to write music or just write down or record on my phone things that I hear in my head. No word of a lie, we have like 14 or 15 really good song ideas already that have a lot of potential and sometimes they’ll end up being ideas that we fuse together into one or they branch off and become their own thing. I can already tell you some of the ideas are very dynamic — some of them are really heavy, heavier than we’ve ever been, and some of them are more bluesy — bluesier than they’ve ever been. I’m talking like Jimi Hendrix’s “Red House” kind of blues and some of them are more like stadium sing along rock like AC/DC and Airbourne kind of stuff. So, a lot of really interesting stuff that’s coming and I think it’s only getting better. I think the riffs are getting heavier and they’re getting catchier and I’m really excited for the next stuff that we write. Ironically enough, I keep thinking to myself we just wrote all these great songs, I don’t know if we’re even going to be able to do this again but then it just keeps coming out of you and I’m just like, “what the hell am I thinking?” With these songs that I’m coming up with now, I like them even better. I think there’s always pressure to sort of top what you did last. But luckily, we’re not with a record label or anything so we don’t have a lot of pressure — it’s just the personal pressure that we put on ourselves. But yeah, you can expect a new album I would say early next year.
Sleaze Roxx: What are your favorite Last Bullet tracks, and why?
Bryan Fontez: There are certain songs that I like the recorded versions of and there are certain songs that I like performing live. My favorite Last Bullet song to play live, for whatever reason, is “Forget The Rest”. I just really like the chorus — I think it’s really catchy and like the riff and the simplicity of the song. It’s very AC/DC and it’s very simplistic, not too complicated and I really dig that tune — it’s very straightforward. Ironically enough, that’s the fastest song we’ve ever written — I mean fastest we’ve ever put a song together. Brenden, our lead guitarist, had that riff for ages and he would play it at our rehearsals just for fun. The beginning riff, it was very simple and very easy, sounds like it could go to anything and then one day we were just hanging out at his place and I just wrote lyrics for an entire song in 30 seconds — literally just banged out whatever came to my head.
Sometimes I write lyrics and they don’t make any sense, I just write them to fill in gaps to give myself the idea of what it’s going to sound like or what I want it to sound like rhythmically through the vocals and the melody. I was convinced — I was like “oh yeah, these lyrics aren’t the ones that are gonna stay. I’m gonna just fill the lyrics so that we get the idea” and I established the melody so we could hear what the song was going to sound like. But we ended up keeping the lyrics because we went back and listened to them and they’re kind of mysterious, they kind of are open to interpretation and actually make sense in their own way. Everybody said what they thought the lyrics meant and it was really cool because everybody had a different story for what they mean to them. But I know that they mean to me. That’s my favorite song — it’s my favorite song to play live and it’s my favorite song to listen to of ours if I ever do listen to a song.
Aside from that, I like the first album but I really like the songs on the second album in a different way just because they’re more representative of us. “State Of Confusion” is a very Led Zeppelin kind of riff and I really like the energy on it and the stops — stuff like that really catches people’s attention. “Jet” is just a really really fun song. Overall, I like “Love Song To Rock” as well — it’s just the balladness of it and it’s the story that it’s trying to tell. It’s kind of deceiving, at the beginning you think you’re talking about a girl but you end up explaining to people that you’re talking about music, instruments and rock. So I find it interesting. Overall, the band’s favorite song to play live I’d have to say is “Runnin’ Out Of Time”. It’s got a lot of energy — it’s just all over the place and it’s a lot of fun. It gets people really pumped up. Yeah, that’s my very long-winded answer!
Sleaze Roxx: Last question — what are your favorite three albums of all time?
Bryan Fontez: Oh man! Holy crap! Wow! Wow! Oh man, that is so frigging hard! Guns N’ Roses’ first album is one of the best first albums ever made in history, and albums ever in general. But is it my favorite? I have my own personal bands that are not so classic that I just really really love — I love Queens Of The Stone Age and I would say their album ‘Songs For The Deaf’ is one of my favorite albums of all time. It’s the one that Dave Grohl played on the drums. He’s my favorite drummer and a huge inspiration to me — not just as a musician. I like to think that I play very much like him and I like his style. But that whole album is just awesome from front to back. So, ‘Songs For The Deaf’ from Queens Of The Stone Age, ‘Appetite For Destruction’ from Guns N’ Roses and then if I had to name a third album, you know, I have a weird side to me — I like really spacey weird stuff too — people love Pink Floyd and stuff like that and I really love Radiohead. That’s a band that a lot of ’80s metal fans probably would never have on their list but I’m all over the place and Radiohead is just so frigging out there. The kind of music they write is literally — if you put headphones in your ears so you can’t hear anything else but their music and you lie down in your bed before you go to sleep, you will travel to another planet. You will! It’s insane, I feel like I’ve transcended space and time listening to their music — it’s just so eerie and creative and not normal. Thom Yorke, the lead singer of Radiohead, is really talented so I take a lot of cues from Pink Floyd and a lot of other bands like Depeche Mode and stuff. But I would say ‘Kid A’ from Radiohead would be in my top three albums.