If New York city is the melting pot of the US, bursting at the seams with wide-eyed immigrants seeking the American dream, L.A. is the melting pot for the same wide-eyed musicians looking to fulfill their rock 'n roll destiny. The Pleasure, transplants from Virginia, are no different. Huddled in a de facto commune (3 band members, two wives and one kiddo), the group is creating their own blend of high energy, technical rock and unleashing it on the masses. Catching the power trio in a rare moment of repose, That Just Happened was graciously afforded the pleasure (see what we did there?) of presenting a few questions for consideration. Kyle Abbot (drums and vocals) and brothers, Daniel and Alexander Greene, lead guitarist and rhythm guitarist respectively, provide a window into their world...
Kyle: As a preface, we all answered these questions without seeing what the others said.
I understand you were born and raised in Virginia but have recently moved to Los Angeles. How big of a culture shock was that transition?
Kyle: Not much of one for me, to be honest. I’d been to Los Angeles before and have spent a fair amount of time traveling internationally so moving within the states wasn’t much of an adjustment for me in that aspect.
Alexander: I think the biggest thing for me to get used to is not being able to gauge how long it will take me to get somewhere by the distance. As far as culture goes, LA is fun, and like any city, it shows it’s good and bad sides like selfishness, vanity, love and hate. From the traveling I have done nationally and internationally, I find that all people are the same and ultimately you’re going to get out of an experience what you put into it.
Daniel: Oh my goodness, what a shock for me. To some extent I already knew what I was getting into being as my wife is from Torrance, but having lived on a 57 acre farm for the past 5 years to living in throwing distance of our neighbors took quite the adjustment. I can say I get along a lot better with the culture here than in Virginia, being as most of the people in the town I grew up were conservative southern Baptists. Not I’m not saying anything bad about that, it’s just not my cup of tea. Honestly it took me about 4 months to get into a routine out here in LA, but since then it’s been sunny days and blue skies.
Now a part of the local L.A. music scene, what is the biggest misconception you had about California before the move from Virginia?
K: I thought it would be easier to find kick ass bands!!! I’m finding em but it’s not littered the way I thought it would be. To be fair, there are a lot of really good bands out here, but there have only been a handful I’ve heard that have made me we want to listen repeatedly. (Namely Livingmore and Good Graeff)
A: I honestly thought that the music scene was going to be a lot more family-like around here. You know, where bands create good relationships with each other, and want you to succeed as well as they want themselves to succeed. I think I maybe thought that from being a fan of nineties bands from California and seeing how they all supported each other and their music journey.
D: The ease of playing shows would be my first misconception because there are so many people and businesses one would expect the opportunity rate of playing would be higher. But no way dude, the businesses already know that there are bands out there and they just want somebody in and out who will play and bring them revenue. It’s not even about the talent anymore, it’s about the little pieces of green paper. The next part is finding talented original artists. There are a shit ton of musicians out here, and a hell of a lot of good musicians but just because you can play the guitar or drums like whoever doesn’t mean you can write groovy tunes. I was expecting a bunch of musicians who would be willing to be in a music community, instead I personally found out that everyone is in it for themselves defeating the whole ideology behind the music culture.
Your website mentions everyone living in the same house in LA. I'm assuming that means the two wives (of Daniel and Kyle) and the kid? What is the name of this California commune?
K: Full House. Catch us on Nick at Night every night at 9 PM.
A: HAHA well it’s honestly like a sitcom around this house. You never really know what kind of funny shit is going to happen. I guess you could call us The Pleasureables, but maybe everyone else has something else in mind.
D: Yes, you are correct! Hannah and Rowan, my wife and son, and Ashleigh, Kyle’s wife, all share the same house. I think the most fitting name would be The Pleasure Loft.
Have you been to Venice Beach and seen Harry Perry (rollerblading guitar player in a Sikh turban) yet? It'll be worth your while and maybe even life changing to talk with the Kama Kosmic Krusader.
K: Hahahaha I definitely saw some guy out there rollerblading wearing a crazy get up playing guitar. Man, I love Venice. I grew up playing Tony Hawk Pro Skater 2, so having one of my favorite skate maps 30 minutes from me is awesome.
A: Ha No, I haven’t but it sounds like an experience one should behold at least once before dying.
D: I have been to Venice with Hannah and Rowan but we kinda cruise on the sand and stay away from all the action on The Strand, because it’s too much going on for a family man and my son’s current age.
With tunes like, "Buckle Up", "Becoming", "Judgement" and "Rock Me", where do you draw inspiration for your songs?
K: For me, lyrics are a crazy after-thought. We write all the music and are starting to try and keep melodies in mind as we write, but lyrics kind of just come in as we want them. Daniel came up with the concepts lyrically for Becoming and Judgment, the more serious content wise of songs. Zane is a pilot so that’s where I got the inspiration for Buckle Up. Rock Me and Circus of Sound are just straight up rock songs about rock and women.
A: Daniel and I have been writing music together for a long time. As brothers we grew up extremely close and I feel like a lot of our inspiration for our music just comes from our life experiences and the cluster of music we tend to listen to. I’ve always been into heavier music while Daniel is into more mellow, but technical stuff. Once Kyle became a part of the band and we all started to jam, we quickly found our own sound, that I think is wildly our own with hints of some very polarizing influences.
D: I’m not completely sure I just create music, it comes naturally for me without a thought process. If the band wants to go a different direction in a song, then I will think things out, but other than that the music is just there in my mind somewhere.
What is the creative process from idea to lyrics and music to finished product?
K: Oh shit. I think I sorta answered that last question. Hmm.
Well with ...is all mine. We had written like 10 songs and we recorded them all but after we finished recording them all (twice) we knew we could make the songs better. So we picked our 4 favorites and just really fine tuned them. Then came vocals. Buckle Up and Rock Me had a fair amount of vocals from the other recording sessions, but the other 3 songs were written vocally a couple months before ...is all mine came out.
A: WOW. That is a really hard one to answer. We put so much time into each song. Typically we start when either Daniel or I come to the table with either part or most of a song on guitar. From there we figure it out musically, and all get to have our say in how it is made. We have one rule which sticks: If one person doesn’t like a part, we change it. It’s a rule that is both democratic and tyrannical, because at the end of the song we ALL want to be able to say that we thoroughly enjoy every bit of the song we just wrote, and so far I feel we have accomplished that with our latest EP “...is all mine”. Lyrically and vocally it seems we have a pattern of leaving that work ’til the very end, and while it may seem unusual, it’s something that has worked for us. We essentially create a song, and once it is made we let that song determine how it makes us feel and what kind of melody/lyrics it is calling for. In a way it makes our song writing feel very natural, in that we aren’t trying to force a part to work, we are simply putting pieces of a puzzle together that were meant to be all along.
D: The creative process is pretty involved, I bring the majority of guitar riffs to the table, we establish a structure (oh I must mention that we only move forward with at part if everyone in the band agrees) then start with the melodies and finally lyrics. It’s in team effort all the way through each piece of music and in the end we are all satisfied. Kyle brings the majority of melodies and lyrics to the table and my brother Alex often writes lyrics. It’s not my forte’ but I give it an honest shot, the lyrics and melody process that is.
What other bands/musicians are you currently into?
K: In LA? Livingmore and Good Graeff, as I’d mentioned above. Falling Suns are really cool. Oh! I just heard Dead Daisies on the radio the other day and thought “Finally! A new rock band that I like on the radio” then of course I find out John Corabi is in the band. So maybe new band, but not new guys on the block.
A: Lately I’ve been listening to a lot of local music and unsigned bands, and it’s been really fun finding these musicians who no one has really heard of, but are super talented. For example, there’s this band called Amarionette from Vegas that really kicks ass.
D: I don’t listen to much music, so NPR and the jazz station 88.3 are my current earhole entertainers.
When the National Archives calls for a song to include in their library that is the best representation of The Pleasure, what song of yours will you submit? Why?
K: Hmmm. Buckle Up is a good one. It’s got a lot of things going on in it and I think is some of the best songwriting we’ve ever done as far as blending a bunch of elements together and making it seamless.
A: You know, I honestly don’t think we have written that song yet. Or it’s just too hard to select just one song to represent who we are.
D: The best is yet to come…
You're creating a super group of musicians, past and present, for one epic show at Burning Man.
Who would you choose for the line up?
K: Should I be worried about heat stroke? !f not then Keith Moon on the drums, Eddie Van Halen on guitar, Flea on bass, and perhaps David Lee Roth on vocals. I actually really wanna see this now. Soooo hyper. The stage would be bouncing. Gwen Stefani can sing some too. But 90’s Gwen.
A: Freddie Mercury, because why NOT?!, Carter Beauford from DMB, Victor Wooten, Jimmy Page, and Paul Gilbert. What did I just create?! I’m not entirely sure, but could you imagine THAT line-up??? Haha incredible.
D: John Bonham, Steve Morse, Getty Lee, Rory Gallagher, and Chris Cornell. With this group you have a drummer that can hold a tight groove, a technical guitarist, a technical bassist (who can sing), a rockin’ guitarist (who can sing as well), and a front man who can get any job done.
The scream at the end of "Rock Me" is a little Rob Halford of Judas Priest and a little Sebastian Bach of Skid Row and it's awesome! Where did that primal, ear shattering shriek come from?
K: Thank you! I listen to a lot of Steel Panther. Hahaha
A: I’m gonna take a stab at this and say that it was influenced by Steel Panther.
D: Kyle’s diaphram
Aliens land after hearing one of your songs skipping through interstellar space. They demand you explain your sound. How would you describe it to them?
K: ?!?!?! Aliens land from outer space and their concern is the noises we make?! Do I have to explain to them the concept of music? I don’t have a clue where I’d even start. Hahahaha.
A: A beautiful blend of nostalgic rock and roll, hard rock, blues, metal, and everything between.
D: Progressive Hard Rock with a nostalgic twist.
What’s one piece of advice would you give to your younger self living in Virginia?
K: Invest in bitcoin. Oh and the cubs win the 2016 world series. Bet a shit ton of money on that.
A: Learn to sing now, Damnit.
D: Start playing, networking, and singing earlier in life.
You're a rock n' roll professor giving out a homework assignment to young, aspiring musicians. What 3 albums would you send them home with to study? Why?
K: Rock n roll, ehhh? Well hmm. Something by Zeppelin definitely. Sabbath covers the origins of metal. AC/DC is as rock n roll as it gets too. Okay I got it.
Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap by AC/DC, Black Sabbath by Black Sabbath, Physical Graffiti by Led Zeppelin. Dirty Deeds is just a quintessential solid rock album. It’s got a mix of iconic vocals and guitar with a air tight rhythm section. It also does well in touching some blues and just chilling out. Black Sabbath invents metal in 1969. Physical Graffiti is not necessarily my favorite LZ album by any means, but it does have them really showing off their progressive side which a lot of bands took and ran with. I think you just found my backup job. This sounds awesome.
A: Lynyrd Skynyrd: Pronounced ‘Leh’-’nerd Skin-’nerd’, Pearl Jam: Ten, Audioslave: self titled….but this is just the first assignment, so much, much more would come as the year progressed. I think these three bands all brought something new to the table. You have the southern soul of Skynyrd that isn’t too bluesy. Then the Hendrix inspired playing on Ten, followed by one of the greatest voices in Rock and Roll. Each one of these bands showcased how possible it is to be influenced by musicians of the past and still create something completely original sounding.
D: The Allman Brothers Live at Fillmore, Ozzy Osbourne Diary of a Madman, and The Beatles Abbey Road.
What do you remember about your very first paid gig?
K: It was with my dad’s band Bad Ace when I was like 10! We were outside at a festival and they called me up on the stage to play a song and then I got off and Nana Pat gave me $10 because she was proud of me. :) I was terrified. In 1st grade I played drums in the talent show and I wanted them to close the curtains and let me play behind them. I used to have terrible stage fright. I live on the stage now. Glad I got over that quick!
A: Daniel knows..it was a sweet battle of the bands back in VA at this (now closed) awesome venue called Alley Katz.
D: It was the first show Alex and I played with Unforbidden, a battle of the bands, we won the crowd over and $300!
Your band, The Pleasure, is a UFC fighter. What is your walk out song?
K: Aww UFC doesn’t have the fun costumes like WWE. WWE would be Stayin’ Alive as we walk to the ring in bell bottoms and a flowery button up. UFC? Hmmm… I really don’t have a clue. Battlefield by Blind Guardian maybe? Only because it was in Robot Unicorn Attack Hahahaha
A: Dr. Dre - The Next Episode
D: The Whipping Post
What is the vision for The Pleasure in 3 years?
K: It would be sweet if in three years we’ve done a big summer festival type tour. Ozzfest, Warped Tour, there used to be Mayhem fest. Hmm what are the big summer tours now? We’ll probably be just about to release our second full length at that point. I don’t see us rushing it. We’re perfectionists. Maybe have our first restaurant.
A: To either be signed and touring, or touring on our own accord and working sustainably as professional musicians.
D: The Pleasure will be everywhere!
What's next for The Pleasure?
K: Finish mixing the lead single off our upcoming EP “Strictly Business” probably out this winter or next spring. I think we’re going to release them as we record and mix them individually then put them together into a release. Time will tell with that. Then release the two EPs together remixed with some bonus tracks as our self titled album. We’re getting our feet wet in the local scene and getting more experience playing out first then I think we’re gonna hit the live show aspect reeeaaaally hard come next spring. Oh fuck and we need to shot some music videos some kinda bad.
A: Well we are about to release a new song, so we will keep you updated on that, and shows...plenty of shows are to come!
D: Produce our second E.P. and then our first full length CD.
Where can we go to see more of The Pleasure?
K: @thepleasureva on Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat! I run them all but use Instagram more than any of the others for sure. We try to keep some kick ass content on our Youtube. Slowly building it up. It’s tough doing everything on your own. Writing, recording, mixing, booking, video content, graphic design, website, social media, still make money to pay the bills and give our wives and baby attention. We have a big balancing act on our hands. Hahaha. This is our casting call for a manager. If you’re reading this, help!!!!
A: Follow or like us on Facebook (facebook.com/stricly.business.va), our website ThePleasureVA.com, Youtube (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCwWmW66x_iKHMyZfLanFK1Q), Bandcamp (https://thepleasureva.bandcamp.com/) Spotify, and iTunes. Oh and here’s where I plug our new podcast The Pleasure Presents: Rock N’ Hops, where we bring together local bands and local brews to discus their music and enjoy some locally crafted quality beer.