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Black Queen Speaks ... with BFMN

  05/01/12 00:31, by , Categories: BFMN Exclusive, Artist Interview, Bands, Review, Carox , Tags: black queen speaks, brett michaels, carox, house of blues, houston, interview, photos
Carox from Houston, TX

Photos and Review by Carox

Carox of BareFoot MusicNews caught up with Black Queen Speaks after their show as support band to Brett Michaels at the House of Blues, Houston.

Black Queen Speaks is a very popular Houston band whose members are: Pez Lopez (Gabriel Lopez III), bass guitar; D2 (Vik Day), guitar; Mike Blas, vocals/lyrics; Josh Skiffington, drums; and Ryan Korn, guitar.

Click through for an interview and Check out the exclusive photoset!

Their set list that night was: Dead Like You, She, Jaguar, Sludge, Bad Habits, Domino. You can check some of these songs out at ReverbNation to understand why I like this band so much. Their immaculate stage appearance, original songs, beautiful lyrics and great musicianship make this band one to keep an eye on.

 

BFMN: How did you meet and what are your backgrounds?

Pez Lopez: I met Mike Blas via a Craigslist ad in May of 2007 and we tried out various guitar players and drummers for about a year. We even thought about doing a drum/bass electronic thing for a while. About a year later I noticed an ad in musician’s section of Craigslist titled “GUITARIST AND DRUMMER LOOKING FOR SINGER AND BASSIST.” I remember sitting back thinking you gotta be shitting me, really? So I called the number and talked to D2 for the very first time. We were finally able to hook up and jam in the latter part of May 2008 and everything just clicked. We did our 1st show six months later and since then we’ve had a keyboardist and now the “youngin” Ryan Korn.

D2: It was just me and Josh at first. I moved down from Austin and he moved in from Anaheim, CA. We met at an audition for another band and decided it would work best if we got our own jam room, which we did. We played together  for some time before we advertised on Craiglist and found our frontman Mike and Pez. When we finally all got together it resulted in a 3-1/2 hour jam over some beers!

Michael Blas: I’m from Bremerton, WA, and moved to Houston in 2006. I moved down for work and have really ended up liking the city. We all met through Craigslist.

Joshua Skiffington: I had just moved to Houston from CA when I met and began playing in a band with D2. That band didn’t work out and we began the search for new musicians to form the new group. It was a couple of months with guys and gals coming and going, before we finally met Pez and Mike through a Craigslist ad. We all knew Ryan from other bands that we had done shows with. One thing led to another and we were able to get him on board.

Ryan Korn: I met the guys in Black Queen Speaks while rehearsing with another band (the Red Line) at Rhythm Room Studios in 2007 when they were first forming. They had the songs Soulseeker (which they still play) and Sexual. I was immediately enchanted by Mike’s voice. They came to see me play a show at The Fitz and I began returning the favor and ended up going to all of their shows. Eventually we began sharing bills in Houston venues. They treated me like a little brother.

 

BFMN: Who else have you played with, and what was your favorite gig and why?

Pez Lopez: Only previous band of note was a late ’90 local Spanish Rock band, Tribu de Ixchel. Favorite show has been the last two House of Blues shows. We really step it up for those shows.

D2: National acts Black Queen Speaks have played with include: Gracious You, American Bangs, Dizzy Reed, Amplified Heat. Local bands we have enjoyed playing with included Hounds of Jezebel, Hate, Red Lion, Dine Alone, Rainchild and Dimitri’s Rail.

Michael Blas: I was in a band called Changes Daily through college and after. My favorite gig? One time we played this place called Gary’s Spot, which was 18 and over, 21+ could drink, there were a lot of interesting people there AND…they had a stripper pole!

Joshua Skiffington: I have played in several bands over the years. My favorite gig so far was when we opened the show for The Gracious Few. Those guys tore the house down!

Ryan Korn: I, like the other guys, have played in a shitload of bands. My own band, The Red Line, was together for about four or five years before we split and I started playing for hire. I have played with Andrew Green and the Dote Band, Deep Ella, 23 Shades, Elephante, and am now happy to be a part of Black Queen Speaks which is my favorite.

 

BFMN: Explain your songwriting process

Pez Lopez: Usually one of the songwriters will bring an idea to the table and we just start hammering it out. Kinda like a blacksmith except we use notes, chords and time signatures. This is only the process for the music; the lyrics are 85% Mike’s domain. We only help him with some timing or phrasing issues.

D2: On the first album, mostly Pez and I wrote the songs. Mike is a prolific lyricist and does all the lyrics on our songs. On the EP, we did things a little differently and went with producer of the Recording Academy.

Mike Blas: We start with a seed of a song…a riff, a line, anything and then we play with it. Every practice is recorded so we take them home and mash ‘em up. I tend to vary up my personal approach to keep the process fresh. I like to make sure that I write so that the music’s enjoyable whether the listener can understand the words or not.

Joshua Skiffington: It’s pretty much an open forum. One guy brings in a riff or a couple riffs together and we all tweek it till it works.

Ryan Korn: I personally start with a chord progression and let it to evolve into a riff or part. I see it as my job to complement the vocals as much as I can. The singer is the songwriter.

 

BFMN: Tell us who your main musical influences are.

Pez Lopez: How about genres because if I listed bands we will be here all day. I like Motown, Classic Rock, Metal, Funk, Grunge, Electronica/industrial

D2: I would say our rock umbrella is much bigger than most bands. We can go all the way to Iggy Pop, ELO, the Cure, the Smiths and then back into jazz, blues and even hip hop for our influences.

Michael Blas:  Tough question. I like a lot of stuff. It was pretty strange and slim through my younger years. 4th grade-ish through 7th New Edition, Harry Belafonte and Old Country songs. Junior High was Steve Miller and The Beastie Boys. High school I jammed every CD you could get in the penny subscription clubs and also Goldfinger, BloodHound Gang and Weezer. In College I “overlistened” to the Beatles and discovered Led Zeppelin. I also loved the Fugees and Lauryn Hill. Now I’m listening to Joni Mitchell, Old Country and Led Zeppelin when I’m cleaning my apartment.

Joshua Skiffington: These have definitely changed over the years. Though there are definitely some staples that are always there. The main two I would say are Tool and Queens of the Stone Age.

Ryan Koran: My influences are Red Hot Chili Peppers, Radiohead, Lanyard Skynyrd, Ben Harper, Beatles, Sam and Dave, Bob Marley and the Wailers, Ian Moore, Jonny Lang, Jeff Buckley, Led Zeppelin, U2, Eagles, Rage and Audioslave.

 

BFMN: Tell us something unique and interesting about each of your band members

Pez Lopez:
Mike once gave up French fries and potato chips for a whole year.
Josh once played in a Spanish Rock band out in Cali and knows how to play a Latin cumbia beat.
D2 used to work in the Texas State Capitol building in the Senate as well as for Rick Perry.
Ryan loves “Mortal Combat” and loves to randomly yell out “Finish Her.”

Michael Blas: D2 says a Hindu prayer before he goes onstage. Josh loves playing frisbee golf. Pez is a great dad. Ryan is going to bring some amazing songs to the Black Queen Speaks song list.

Ryan Korn: D2 is someone I have a ton of respect for. He is a seeker of tone. He also knows what he wants and is a great business man. He is a great driving force in getting some of our biggest shows. Relentless. Fiery. I look up to him a great deal… just not literally. He is also a WORLD CLASS violinist.  Next to Mike, Josh is probably the most easygoing member of the band. I love Josh. He is great to work with and always has insanely good ideas; he never takes anything personal and is truly a team player. Josh has the ability to be SO badass and so cool at the same time that he doesn’t always get the attention he deserves. I have never met a more humble player in my life. As to Pez - NO ONE has feel like Pez. I am sure everyone will say the same thing, he just has “it.” Pez is a very VERY passionate person (Latin Heat) and it translates in his playing. You can hear sex when he plays.  I’ve heard he also is a great classical bass player too.  He is also an amazing graphic designer and artist. Mike is the true definition of a poet. Mike is carpe diem, always level-headed in thinking but still taken by each moment. He is a story teller and has the kind of wisdom I can only dream of one day possessing. He is a great leader and someone I would gladly follow anywhere. He is an artist too, with words and melody. I have learned a lot from him and still am. He is also a GREAT front man. He is someplace else at shows… a different level that I hope to be at some day.

 

BFMN: What music can I buy and where can I buy it?
D2 Our music is available everywhere – iTunes, Amazon, emusic, spotify – but the easiest and cheapest way is for fans to buy our music at our website and download it from there.

 

BFMN: What was it like supporting Bret Michaels and how did you end up doing that?

Pez Lopez: Opening for Bret Michaels was very cool. We love it when we get to open up for guys who have been able to make a career in the music industry.

D2:  We were on the bill with Kings-X at the Warehouse Live, but sadly Jerry Gaskill had a heart attack and that show was postponed. We got a call from Livenation to go on the bill with Bret Michaels. Although our music is not similar, we had a great crowd. Our experience at the House of Blues was great. The sound guys and lighting pros need props. We got to talk to all the roadies for Brett and hear stories about being on tour with Tesla and how life was in the heyday of the 80s. It was a window into a different life.

Joshua Skiffington: It was a great experience. Anytime you get to share the stage with an artist that has that much experience, it’s a great honor.

Ryan Korn: It was badass opening for him; would have liked to have gotten a picture with him, but he was a cool dude and I actually enjoyed seeing him perform.

 

BFMN: Where do you want to go next with Black Queen Speaks?

Pez Lopez: Hopefully India this fall!

D2: Just before our gig with Bret Michaels we had come back from our second mini–Texas tour. We have a lot of exciting plans under wrap.

Michael Blas: As far as it goes…we’re trying to make smart moves while keeping the songwriting fresh and emotive.

Joshua Skiffington: I am really looking forward to getting out on the road and playing for a lot of the fans who have found us via Facebook and the web.

Ryan Korn: I really want to record an album with these guys. I feel like we are on the verge of going “super sayan” so to speak. Things are getting tighter and better every day.


Now CLICK HERE to go to the Exclusive Photoset!

 

This entry was posted by and is filed under BFMN Exclusive, Artist Interview, Bands, Review, Carox. Tags: black queen speaks, brett michaels, carox, house of blues, houston, interview, photos

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