New York City rockers Semi Precious Weapons aren’t so much a band, but more like a movement. Vogue (yea, that Vogue) once called them “unashamedly crass and deliciously animated” and before she took the world by Kermit-covered storm, Lady Gaga opened for them.
They are dirty, sexy, and can rock you from your head to your toe. They are Glam Rock personified, and they know it too.
Weapons isn’t just a band that is all raw talent (which they have in spades); they have a musical knowledge that most garage bands would kill for. The band met while attending the Berklee School of Music where front man Justin Tranter got a degree in songwriting and drummer Dan Crean has one in classical composition. Fellow Berklee graduates Bassist Cole Whittle and guitarist Stevy Pyne round out this musically endowed group.
You can’t mention Semi Precious Weapons without going into detail about their charismatic front man and lead singer Justin Tranter. The man who yelled “we are Semi Precious Weapons from New York Mother-Fucking City, and we hope you ALL GET LAID!” at a recent show (that quote is now in bold at the top of the bands website), danced with supermodel Kate Moss at another show, and who started making and selling jewelry at gigs to help make ends meet and now has his on jewelry line, Fetty, that is sold at Barneys in New York. Add those traits to his rock solid musicianship and with Weapons steady rise and there is little doubt Tranter will go down as one of the greatest front men in rock history.
Semi Precious Weapons has released two albums We Love You in 2008 and this past June they released You Love You. Both albums have spectacular dance tracks along with emotional filled ballads like You Love’s “Rock and Roll Never looked so Beautiful.” You Love You’s finest single is the bands self titled “Semi Precious Weapons” that with one of the greatest opening lines ever: “I can’t pay my rent, but I’m fucking gorgeous” that comes over a rocking guitar riff and a hard hitting drum beat. Tranter’s soaring vocals and the other members extreme talent are present on every track and every track sexy, fun, and begs a repeat listen.
Semi Precious Weapons are currently opening for Lady Gaga on her The Monster Ball Tour paying back the favor from her early days. You Love You was released by Interscope Records and is available on iTunes.
Eat Sleep Breathe Music had the chance to sit down with the band and find out what its like being on a major label, how touring with Lady Gaga on the Monster Ball has been, and what their plans are for the rest of the summer.
ESBM: Has anything changed with being on a major label?
SPW: Being on a major has actually given us a lot more artistic freedom. Ron Fair is our A&R man and he really believes in the filthy raw, but intelligent essence of this band. And having amazing people actually helping spread the SPW word, is magical.
ESBM: You guys have some great lyrics. What is your writing process? Is it a collaborative effort or does one person come up with the music and another with the lyrics?
SPW: Justin writes all the lyrics, and the music is a collaborative effort between all 4 of us. The four of us just get in a room, and wait till a lyric or riff or beat sparks a whole fucking song.
ESBM: You’re known for having some exciting live shows. What have been your favorite places to play? What is the craziest thing that has happened at a show?
SPW: Well in the last year we have played an insane range of shows, from small dirty bars in texas to stadiums in Japan. They are all amazing for different reasons. The craziest thing may be when we were playing a show in NYC and this beautiful girl and guy started having sex in the front row.
ESBM: You guys have been opening for Lady Gaga on her Monster Ball Tour. What is that experience like? How does the crowd react to your performance?
SPW: It’s the best experience we could EVER ask for. Playing arena’s warming up a crowd for one of our best friends. Magic. About 75% of the audience LOVES us, and the rest hate us. Which we love, rock N’ roll should make you love or hate.
ESBM: You had a few club dates you played, are you planning on touring more in support of the upcoming album release?
SPW: We are touring with GaGa for a very long time. But whenever we have a little time off of the Monster Ball, we play club shows. Rock N’ Roll takes hard fucking work and a good slow build. And playing shows is our favorite thing in the world.
ESBM: Justin, you have a jewelry line, Fetty which helped cover the cost to make your record. Do you think you want to extend it to other accessories and clothing lines (in addition to the shoe collection for DKNY)?
SPW: I may lend my tastes to some clothing companies soon, but Fetty will only ever produce jewelry. I don’t want to just start throwing the Fetty name on crap just because I can.
ESBM: I love the video blogs you have been doing while you have been on tour. Do you think you guys would ever want to have a reality show?
SPW: We have actually thought about that. But it would need to be a lot more than a reality show. It would need to be something really creative, like Clockwork Orange meets The Monkeys.
ESBM: I saw Justin for a split second on The New York Housewives at the Perez Hilton party and last year at the Conde Nast Traveler Hot List Party. Are you big on the socialite scene?
SPW: I like places that have free champagne.
ESBM: What are you plans for the rest of the summer?
SPW: To work our asses off on the Monster Ball and bring rock N’ roll back to the mainstream.