Tag Archives: U2

You Need to Know About This Band: Sleeperstar

25 Sep

Last night, September 24th, 2010, I had the pleasure of attending the Sleeperstar show at Diesel in the South Side. I also got to sit down with the guys before their concert – at Primanti Brothers, nonetheless – and chat with them over food about the band, their creative process, and their music.

If you don’t know about Sleeperstar, it’s time to get familiar. Hailing from Texas, Sleeperstar is an alternative-rock/pop band comprised of  Chris Pearson (Vocals, Guitar, Piano), Nick Box (Vocals, Lead Guitar, Piano), Jake Lester (Vocals, Piano, Synth, Keyboards), Brandon Rosas on Bass and Shaun Menary on Drums. They’ve played with the likes of Carbon Leaf, Bowling for Soup, Vertical Horizon, Owl City, and even John Mayer, and describe their music as being inspired by U2, Third Eye Blind, Coldplay, and Muse – among others.

These guys are no hacks. All of them have musical background dating back to, well, their childhood days.

Pearson says that both his father and grandpap directed orchestras and choir, and that he grew up, “immersed in music.” At the time, coming from a musical family seemed more of a curse than a blessing, as Chris longed to focus on sports and thought that singing was kind of lame. However, he continued singing in his church choir (his parents told him that “he’d someday thank them”) and, by junior year of high school, became inspired to stick with the music route when he started playing acoustic guitar after hearing a friend perform a Guster tune.

Drummer Shaun Menary also knew from a very young age that he’d be a musician. He has quite literally played drums almost his entire life, and was inspired by his father who also played. He began to really get serious around 8th grade and, according to the rest of the band, is one hell of a drummer. (I can attest to the same, from a fan’s point of view!)

Jake Lester, a whiz on the keyboards, began playing piano at the age of 5, quit, and felt compelled to play again because of his father’s band, “Doctor Doctor” (which, was actually made up of ALL DOCTORS….with a ‘guest lawyer’ now and then!) Musicality was in his genes and that exposure helped him realize that he enjoyed what they did, and that he wanted to someday play in a band. His favorite part? “How people reacted to the music and to what they were doing.” He and Nick Box, lead guitarist of Sleeperstar, grew up together, went to the same church, and later, went on to college together.

Nick, like Jake, began piano lessons at the tender age of 5. He says that he would “walk up to pianos and just begin playing around, trying to pick up melodies.” At age 14, he found his love for the guitar, and joined the church band. In college (with Lester) he began to write songs.

The bass player, Brandon Rosas, was unfortunately stuck in Texas for the Pittsburgh show, as he was in a wedding, so I didn’t get to talk with him. However, the group was able to pull an original member to help fill in for a few shows – and they’re so good, that you really couldn’t have heard the difference.

Additionally, the camaraderie and “vibe” with these guys was awesome. You can tell that they’re at tightknit group, and always looking out for the greater good of the band. Even I, an outsider looking in, could sense a type of brotherhood that, combined with their mega-talent, could potentially catapult them to superstardom, as long as nothing gets in the way  and clouds their judgment.

It doesn’t seem that would be a problem. All of these guys seemed incredibly kind, humble, and down-to-earth, with disarming charm and a great sense of humor. (In this industry, it doesn’t hurt to have the ability to NOT take yourselves TOO seriously! It seems as though these boys have their heads on straight – a rarity in todays’ world.)

When we went to Primanti’s, they all decided to try out the famed sandwiches, Pittsburgh-style, and, complimented Pittsburgh multiple times, calling it a “beautiful” city. They’ve been here before, playing at Club Cafe and FATE Ultralounge, but seemed particularly amped about last night’s show at Diesel….and it’s no wonder: they’ve worked hard to get to where they are.

They all have a pretty equal share in the creative process. Lester describes them as, “lightening rods” – any one of them can be struck, at any time, by an awesome idea. Typically, if one of the guys comes up with an idea for a song, he’ll present it to the others, making each track a collaborative effort. As Chris explained, “Some of us are more inclined to words. Some of us are more inclined to music first. Our brains work in different ways, and we’re all a part of the writing process when it comes to our music.”

This respect for one another and each man’s unique talents is what helps hold them together. When I asked if they ever bickered, or got sick of touring together, the response was, to paraphrase, “not really.” Nick says that when it comes down to it, it’s “kind of like a marriage, we have our ups and downs, and when you’re traveling with people day in and day out, you tend to notice flaws. But, when it all comes down to it, I wouldn’t ever want to be in a group with any other people.” Jake chimed in that, “if we argue, we always know that we WANT to understand one another. We strive to enrich each other and to hold each other up.”

The bond is apparent because, when this group of guys is on stage, they truly come alive.

Their set, which began at 8pm, included original songs from their album, “Just Another Ghost” but also included an AWESOME cover of Jay Z’s “Empire State of Mind (New York)” as well as a mash-ups of their own songs with Vanilla Ice’s “Ice Ice Baby” and B.o.B’s “Airplanes.” Additionally, they covered “Hey Jude” by the Beatles, during which they invited opening act – local band 13AM – to join them on stage.

My favorite song of theirs has to be Texas Rain – but , that being said, their whole album positively rocks. They definitely put me in mind of OneRepublic or Coldpay – two of my absolute favorite bands.

If you missed last night’s show, you missed out (especially because of the part where, halfway through their set, they gave a SHOUT-OUT to Glitzburgh!! w00t!) but – fear not: you can buy their album on iTunes and can also order online at their website: http://www.sleeperstar.com

I predict big things for these great guys.

CHECK ‘EM OUT! … I’m not ‘encouraging’ – I am ‘demanding!’   🙂

@Sleeperstar on Twitter

Click here to find Sleeperstar on Facebook

Visit their MySpace page by clicking here.

I’ll leave you with some photos. Video coming soon!

(Oh, and the fact that there is a Pug on their website makes them EXTRA cool in my book!)

Psssst… here’s a tweet to us, from the band, pre-show: http://twitter.com/Sleeperstar/status/25447411918

“Interview w/ Ashley & her company @Glitzburgh and show tonight at @Dieselpgh!!! We go on at 9pm, gonna be a hot one!!!” ~ @Sleeperstar

Photos:

Me with Sleeperstar

With my Sleeperstar "Just Another Ghost" CD to listen to on the way home!

Yvette and I at the Sleeperstar show (she's who turned me on to this fabtastic band!)

The guys, post-interview, pre-show!

During the show


SLEEPERSTAR

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The “Glitzburgh Hot 100” – A blogger’s top favorite songs!

13 Apr

This is just for fun. A list of some of my favorite songs. You may be surprised by some, and, not so much by others….enjoy!

Disclaimer: These songs are in TOTALLY RANDOM order….FYI!


1. Let It Be – Joe Cocker version

2. Hallelujah – Justin Timberlake / Matt Morris version

3. Lovers Rock – Sade

4. Toxic – Britney Spears

5. Try Sleeping With a Broken Heart – Alicia Keys

6. The Scientist – Coldplay

7. Glycerine – Bush

8. Today – Smashing Pumpkins

9. SexyBack – Justin Timberlake

10. Use Somebody – Kings of Leon

11. Ready for Love – India.Arie

12. The Way You Make Me Feel – Michael Jackson

13. I Love Rock N’ Roll – Joan Jett

14. Breath – Breaking Benjamin

15. Vision of Love – Mariah Carey

16. Sex on Fire – Kings of Leon

17. Sweetest Thing – U2

18. Womanizer – Britney Spears

19. Fighter – Christina Aguilera

20. Cruz – Christina Aguilera

21. Before He Cheats – Carrie Underwood

22. Bullet with Butterfly Wings – Smashing Pumpkins

23. Body – Jay-Z & R. Kelly

24. On To The Next One – Jay-Z

25. Gold Digger – Kanye West

26. Winner – Jamie Foxx w/ Justin Timberlake

27. What Goes Around Comes Around – Justin Timberlake

28. Machinehead – Bush

29. Welcome Home – Coheed and Cambria

30. Seven Days Without You – Avion

31. Paralyzer – Finger 11

32. Comedown – Bush

33. Here Without You – 3 Doors Down

34. You & Me – Lifehouse

35. God Bless the Broken Road – Rascal Flatts

36. Smooth Criminal – Michael Jackson

37. Big Girls Don’t Cry – Fergie

38. Imma Be – Black Eyed Peas

39. Dirrty – Christina Aguilera

40. Strength, Courage & Wisdom – India.Arie

41. Fancy – Reba McEntire

42. Sea Breeze – Tyrone Wells

43. Ain’t No Sunshine (pretty much any version)

44. Black Velvet – Alannah Miles

45. Like a Virgin – Madonna

46. Imagine – John Lennon

47. Respect – Aretha Franklin

48. Bourbons n’ Lacs – Master P – YES THIS IS ON THE LIST lol and I’m serious! Hahaha

49. Smile – Michael Jackson version

50. Taking Chances – Celine Dion

51. Everytime – Britney Spears

52. Beautiful – Christina Aguilera

53. Splash Waterfalls – Ludacris

54. Catch My Disease – Ben Lee

55. California Love – 2Pac

56. Mo’ Money Mo’ Problems – Notorious B.I.G.

57. I’m Yours – Jason Mraz

58. Lucky – Jason Mraz

59. Someone Somewhere – Jason Reeves

60. I’m Just a Girl – No Doubt

61. Straight Up – Paula Abdul

62. Cold Hearted Snake – Paula Abdul

64. Dirty Diana – Michael Jackson

65. Man in the Mirror – Michael Jackson

66. If – Janet Jackson

67. Again – Janet Jackson

68. Fallin’ – Alicia Keys

69. Heartbreaker – Mariah Carey

70. Baby One More Time – Britney Spears

71. Gone – NSync

72. Cry Me a River – Justin Timberlake

73. Dirty Pop – NSync

74. Bad Romance – Lady GaGa

75. Pain – 3 Days Grace

76. Speechless – Lady GaGa

77. My Love – Justin Timberlake

78. Dead & Gone – T.I. w/ Justin Timberlake

79. Glamorous – Fergie

80. Devil Went Down to Georgia – Charlie Daniels Band

81. Love Song – Taylor Swift

82. Today was a Fairy Tale – Taylor Swift

83. Sweet Disposition – The Temper Trap

84. Single Ladies – Beyonce

85. Upgrade U – Beyonce

86. Halo – Beyonce

87. She’s In Love with the Boy – Trisha Yearwood

88. Crazy – Aerosmith

89. Bed of Roses – Bon Jovi

90. Yesterday – the Beatles

91. Paparazzi – Lady GaGa

92. Till I Collapse – Eminem

93. I Gotta Feeling – Billy Currington

94. Umbrella – Rihanna

95. Fields of Gold – Sting

96. Angel of Mine – Monica

97. Nice & Slow – Usher

98. Better Together – Jack Johnson

99. Say – John Mayer

100. She Will Be Loved – Maroon 5

Love it or hate it, that’s my list! And there’s so many more. I listen to so many types of music, hence the variety. I’m sure I’ll get hate comments…..and that’s OK. This was just for fun 🙂

((I probably forgot so many…))

AUTHOR UPDATE:  Just posted an update and already need to edit – I forgot a few ALL TIME favorites! (Told you I would)

So, some additions:

Sweet Dreams – the Eurythmics

STUCK IN A MOMENT – U2

Brown Eyed Girl – Van Morrison

Hemorrhage in my Hands – Fuel

The Beautiful People – Marilyn Manson

Firestarter – Prodigy

Irreplaceable – Beyonce

Because the Night – Patti Smith

Queen of the Night – Whitney Houston

Shadow of the Day – Linkin Park

How to Save a Life – the Fray

You Found Me – the Fray

Chasing Cars – Snow Patrol

In Those Jeans – Ginuwine

Differences – Ginuwine

Not Gon Cry – Mary J. Blige

All Cried Out – Allure

Ok – NOW I’m done…….maybe 😉