Take a listen to The Dives debut EP Everybody’s Talkin’ and you’ll understand the buzz that’s chased the new four piece rock band out of New York. Contagious riffs and frizzy hooks that are glossed with speaker-shaking production and zippy live performances, the boys have done as well for themselves as the past year together has allowed them to.
It’s worth pointing out, though merely trivial, that the band is fronted by one Evan Stanley, Kiss legend Paul Stanley’s son, but in no way suggests that they aren’t isn’t intent on paving their own path and style of rock ‘n’ roll. Having supported Kiss’ European tour early this year, and racking up headline bookings of their own, the band found time off to speak with us and talk all things tour and tunes.
What was the moment that made you want to be a musician?
Evan: Well, growing up watching my dad play certainly helped, but the definitive moment came when I was ten or eleven when my friend Justin played Smells Like Teen Spirit on his new acoustic guitar. The fact that he could play a song we both knew blew me away. There was something about it that really resonated. After that it wasn’t that I wanted to play, it was that I had to.
Sergio: I saw Jesus Christ Superstar at the Chicago Theatre when I was in grade school and everything about it blew my mind. The orchestra and performers were phenomenal and I knew I wanted to do music and entertainment from then on. It was either become a musician or join the military. Either choice really puts a parent’s mind at ease.
Mike: I saw A Hard Day’s Night and Help! as a young kid and was immediately stunned by how cool it was to be in a band.
Jimmy: I really can’t recall a moment where it clicked that I wanted to be a musician, but I have plenty where I thought “there is nothing else I can ever do BUT music”.
Who were/are your musical heroes?
Evan: There are so many, but at the top of the list are Paul McCartney, Graham Nash, Jimmy Page, Tom Petty, Freddie King, and Pete Townshend.
Sergio: John Paul Jones, Paul McCartney, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Peter Gabriel, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.
Mike: The Beatles, Paul Simon, Eric Clapton, Carole King, The Beach Boys
Jimmy: Tom Petty, John Mayer, Steve Jordan, Ringo Starr, Don Henley
What do you never leave home without when you’re on tour?
Evan: Deodorant. A little man musk gets the girls running, a lot of man musk gets the girls running away.
Sergio: My Nunchucks and a Laser Disc copy of The Money Pit.
Mike: My entire wardrobe.
Jimmy: I always take Emergen-C and Alka Seltzer with me. I always seem to get sick before tour or while we are on the road and the combination of the two always gets me through gigs without fail.
What’s your pre-gig ritual?
Evan: I don’t really have a set ritual. I just like to take a couple minutes alone to clear my head and then go out and do what I love.
Sergio: I’ll stand in sort of a sun-god robe on a pyramid with a thousand naked women screaming while they throw little pickles at me.
Mike: The complete opposite of what Sergio does.
Jimmy: I pace a lot. I usually think of our previous gigs and all the moments I thought I could have done something to make things better, or things that were great and I want to do again. I guess you could say just getting into the moment and focusing on making that particular performance the best it can be.
What accessory can’t you function without when playing live?
Evan: A case of water. It’s hot up there, especially when you’re singing, playing, and jumping around, so you sweat a lot. I’ve learned that to play well and feel good while doing it, I’ve got to drink a lot of water.
Sergio: Typically a bandana in my back pocket. I tend to get hot and sweaty up there. Oo La La.
Mike: At least one guitar stand. I always have to switch guitars several times during the set, so without a stand I have nowhere to put my guitars.
Jimmy: Sticks. I am a huge fan of gadgets and gizmos, and have my fair share, but none have come out yet that have allowed me to leave my sticks at home.
What MONO gear do you use at home, in the studio or on tour?
Evan: I use the Vertigo and M80 series single cases and an M80 Dual. That double case is my go to for gigs. It makes life so much easier when traveling, plus I get a workout in lugging that thing around with two Les Pauls in it.
Sergio: My Vertigo Electric Bass Case.
Mike: The MONO Dual Guitar gig bag is one of the best purchases I ever made, and I take it everywhere.
Jimmy: My M80 Cymbal Case has been a life-saver. It’s so well designed and I swear it makes my cymbals lighter. It must be magic.
What’s your proudest achievement?
Evan: I’d have to think about that, but playing the sold out O2 in was pretty insane. There really aren’t words to describe that experience. There’s a very physical feeling you get from being the focus of 22,000 stranger’s focus and it’s a high like no other.
Sergio: So far, playing The O2 in London in front of 22,000 strangers.
Mike: Performing for 22,000 people at the O2 Arena in London. We’ll be back.
Jimmy: I think I’d have to say not giving up. In this industry I believe persistence is what makes or breaks careers, as well as the ability to adapt. Granted, you have to put the time in and practice, but there are many moments in my short career I can look back on where I could have easily said “enough is enough”. I’m proud that I didn’t.
What would be your fantasy band line-up? (choose any musicians from any genre to play together)?
Evan: I don’t think any lineup I could think up would beat Led Zeppelin or The Beatles.
Sergio: John Paul Jones, Manu Katche, Chris Cornell, Brian May, Booker T. Jones.
Mike: Brian Wilson on piano, Paul McCartney on bass, Peter Frampton on guitar, Stevie Wonder on keys/harmonica, and Karen Carpenter on drums. Imagine those harmonies!
Jimmy: Stan Lynch, Ron Blair, Benmont Tench, Mike Campbell, and Tom Petty. Can’t get much better than that.
What’s your favourite album of all time?
Evan: It’s impossible to say definitively, but Rubber Soul, Bookends, and Damn the Torpedoes are all very important to me.
Sergio: So hard to choose, but perhaps Peter Gabriel’s “So”.
Mike: Nearly impossible question to answer, but I’d say Rubber Soul made the biggest impression on me as a kid when I was first learning to be a musician.
Jimmy: This is by far my least favorite question to be asked because it changes on a daily basis, but the last record I probably listened to all the way through was Damn The Torpedoes. If I wasn’t already a Petty nut, his passing had me all sorts of emotional and we had a few long drives. Not a bad song in the bunch.
Who was the last band you saw live?
Evan: I’ve seen a bunch of friends’ bands since, but the last big one was Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers at Forrest Hills Stadium. It was one of the greatest shows I’ve ever seen. To say the band was phenomenal is an understatement and Petty was just unstoppable. Then a couple weeks later he was gone. So sad.
Sergio: Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. R.I.P 🙁
Mike: Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers. One of the best concerts I’ve ever seen and I’m so glad I got to see him once. A true legend… may he rest in peace.
Jimmy: Unlike the rest of my band, I did not get to see Tom Petty before he passed away, and that will forever be something I regret. I think the last band I saw live was Wyland, a friend’s band from New Jersey that is really great.