Interview w/ Goddamn Glenn of Parlour Bells
Proudly presenting to you today an interview w/ Goddamn Glenn, frontman for the Boston based outfit Parlour Bells! These guys were featured on the site a couple of times previously, after I saw them play at the We Want The Airwaves post-premiere party at Johnny D's last year. What I enjoyed most about them was their stage presence and the way they captured their mid 80's influences attached with a more modern twist that makes their sound jump off the page. Recently, I conducted a brief chat with Glenn as we talked about how the group got started, plus their current musical happenings and what can we expect from them in the not too distant future. Here is the transcript from our chat:
Give us your name and role in Parlour Bells?
I am Goddamn Glenn, singer and principal songwriter for Parlour Bells.
Take us behind the formation of Parlour Bells and how you met all the members?
Nate Leavitt, a veteran of the Boston music scene, has actually been my songwriting partner since we were 14 years old. We went different ways for a while, but we always liked writing together. It was really just a matter of timing that we would set out to do something important together again. Songs were written over many years, then we committed to some shows and a band name. People seemed to like what we were doing, so we had no choice but to hire Brendan Boogie to play bass. (Haha). But I knew the songs we were writing needed an unstoppable live act to deliver them, and that act is now comprised of Nate and I, and Magen Tracy, Brendan Boogie and Paul Myers.
What is the best way to describe Parlour Bells to those who've never heard of you?
I don't think describing us really does justice to what happens in a room when you see us. In a live setting, I'm sure it renders in a number of different ways. It can be really exciting. Prepare not to be bored, that's for sure. We're all pretty passionate people, so it's kind of sexy. But if none of that makes sense, just say it's a little David Bowie, a little glam, a little Jane's Addiction. Fuck, I really don't know the best way to answer this.
What artists have helped cultivate your on stage image and how does it influence your sound?
I can safely say that Parlour Bells unites a broad range of musical interests. If you see any of us play a solo set, you'll see we all gravitate toward different styles. But together, we are rock and roll. Nate and I share a love for both 80s metal and 90s heroes like Jane's Addiction and Smashing Pumpkins. But we've absorbed so much over the years. Sonically speaking, however, those bands are where we cut our teeth I guess. But that's just Nate and I, and certainly doesn't cover it. Everyone brings a host of influences and muses, which we seem to lock into one room and compel to make music.
What are your thoughts on the Boston music scene today and where do you see it moving forward?
Boston is a wonderful City for music. Anyone who says otherwise just has a bad attitude and has rubbed people the wrong way. We have some really passionate writers and DJs in this town. It could definitely be improved by more venues opening up, or existing ones offering to host live music. There's definitely a deficit of places for bands to be seen and heard. Union Square lost a few venues and needs repair, but seems to be on the rebound. Not sure anything needs to change per se, only that the performers and club owners and staff always strike up that fairness and respect for one and other that results in a positive show. There's plenty of douchebags on both sides of that coin, and no one's got time for that.
Take us behind the recording process of "Celebrities on Ice" and the differences between this and your prior material?
With regard to the recording process, it's not terribly different. I will say that Paul, who has been drumming for us for a few years following the release of Thank God for the Night, has brought a steadiness to the songs I never really felt before. He's very classic rock. He's awesome. And he's no drama, and that's reflected in his chill personality and in his performance style. Don't get me wrong. He rocks the fuck out, but he's also very consistent. I rely on that as a frontman. Nate has also really evolved as a producer. He's really getting into the art of it all and I love what he's doing for us, and frankly for all the acts he's been producing.
What are some of your favorite tracks that you've recorded that are most representative of the band?
You Don't Wear That Dress, The Dress Wears You. Pet Names. I'd Like to Think. Celebrities On Ice.
In your spare time, what can we find you doing for fun and leisure that aren't music related?
For me it would be sleeping, having a nice cocktail or eating my girlfriend's amazing cooking. That's about all the leisure I take in. I have a lot of other creative projects going on, outside of music. Including my plan to run for Mayor of Medford in 2016. I don't really vacation or rest well. I hate the beach.
Where can people find everything related to the band online?
Lastly, where do you see this band progressing into the future?
Well, considering that our new material is about the future, let's just focus on what's immediate. We plan to release a video in 2015, and close out the year with what I expect to be Parlour Bells' first full length. And if we can afford it, we'll make some vinyl. Back to the future baby.
Thanks once again to Goddamn Glenn for being so gracious in taking some time out to do this interview! I know we'll be hearing great things from them in the not too distant future, so next time they play a show in the Boston area please make it your mission to check them out, you won't be disappointed. Find out more info about Parlour Bells at the aforementioned links above.