On Friday, I sat down with Eric Owen, the drummer for Black Pistol Fire, an intense rock duo headlining the show tonight at Emo’s. Tonight the band is celebrating the release of their new album, Deadbeat Graffiti. With a sound inspired by Led Zeppelin, Chuck Berry, Nirvana, Buddy Holly, Muddy Waters, and Fleetwood Mac, Kevin and Eric are riding high on the release of their new album and already recording for their next project. Most importantly, their performance is raising money for Rebuild Texas Fund dedicated to Hurricane Harvey relief efforts. First, I will go into my Q&A with Eric Owen and then I will talk about experiencing their live performance.
Chatting in the green room
Q: What is Black Pistol Fire all about?
A: We are all about music making people feel something. Sometimes you want to rock your face off, mosh around, stage dive and other times you want to vibe to a groove. Then there are times where music makes me want to dance, and other times when you can appreciate hauntingly beautiful songs.
For me personally at my happiest times I like to listen to sad depressing British music like the Smiths. I love the Wu-Tang Clan but I can’t listen to it any time of day. However, I can listen to 60s bands like the Beatles in any mood anytime of the day. We are all making music for how we feel at the time, and capturing many different feelings.
Q: I know you guys have been doing the festival rounds, what is that like?
The cool things about smaller venues is that they are packed and full of fans there to specifically see you. However, the cool thing about a festival is that there is so many more people that you can turn on to your music and the energy is crazy. On stage, the feeling is unfathomable, the sets are usually 40 minutes and bands get very little time to sound check so we rush through our set and pretty much black out on stage.
Our most memorable festival experience was in Montego Bay, Mexico. But we have also had the government of the Czech Republic pay for us to tour out there and it’s fun to be able to go around the world. The internet makes it easy to get fans anywhere and it’s usually so random its mind blowing.
Q: How did you think of the name Black Pistol Fire?
A: We were watching a documentary about forest fires and learned that a black fire is a forest fire that you have to just let burn out because no amount of water could extinguish it. So first we named the band black fire pistol, before switching it around to Black Pistol Fire. We liked that it was color a weapon and an element. The whole Power of three thing.
Q: How did you two meet and decide to dedicate your life to this?
A: We have been friends since we were 5 years old in Toronto. To have your oldest friend be your best friend and business partner is an incredible rarity. We met in kindergarten and have been friends since. I played in a Nirvana cover band in elementary school, and in high school we played in a band doing covers of Weezer, Beatles to start out.
There was a couple okay songs but looking back our music was dreadful and awful but eventually we continued to improve and by our first album Black Pistol Fire we started to gain momentum on building our fan base. Spotify discover weekly playlist helped us jump up on peoples radars because if someone listens to Wolfmother for instance, Spotify will recommend our music to them. We still are not super popular though.
Q: Do you aspire to become more popular
A: It’s amazing to headline Emo’s but we definitely want to get bigger and get more popular.
Q: Who inspires you to make the best music possible?
A: When I think about Kurt Cobain, Alice Mosshart from The Kills, Kendrick Lamar, Cage the Elephant, and others I get inspired because not only are they entertainers but they cherish elevating the artistry of sound and live performance to next level. I am inspired by them giving performances 100% every time.
Q: How was the energy recording this new album?
A: The feeling at a live show is obviously wilder than the studio sessions where we record for the album. We have had a very anxious year and we were eager to release the album once it was finished. However, the business stuff postponed the release so we are happy to be riding the high of this release now.
Q: Are you recording songs for a follow up project while riding on the high of this release?
A: Yes we have already recorded a handful of songs for our next project and our management are trying to get Nas and Damian Marley on a song. It’s all in the works now so we will see.
When Black Pistol Fire walked on stage, they seemed to pull the dispersed crowd back toward the stage magnetically. Kevin McKeown started off the set by wailing on the guitar and hyping the crowd up immediately with their high octane rock sound. His voice projected across Emo’s with the same bluesy pain of Led Zepplin. Three long-haired fans in front of me rocked out to the band, throwing their heads in circles wildly until their energy spread throughout the crowd contagiously. A few moments later, it seemed like the entire crowd was head banging and jumping around to the set. One particularly interesting way, Black Pistol Fire’s Kevin used his voice was when intense layers of the rock songs would peel off until all that is left is Eric’s drum rhythms. Kevin would sing softer, slurred, and quietly as the crowd clapped along to the rhythm before finally the energy peaked into a crescendo of rock chords of screams. Kevin was an absolute maniac on stage, slamming on his guitar, spinning, and dancing all over the stage like Mick Jagger and falling to his knees for guitar solos. The sounds of the new album performed on stage tonight include influences of indie rock, punk, surf, and hard rock. The high octane vocals on stage definitely reflected a band happy to be headlining Emo’s, hungry to grow even more popular, and most definitely striving to produce hauntingly beautiful songs.
Photo Credit https://blackpistolfire.com/