‘Romance and Rebellion’ – David LaViola Interviewed By MITM (Quintin Goynes)

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Here Are David’s Answers:

1. When and why did you start playing?  

My first instrument was the drums.  My parents bought me a kit for my 17th birthday.  I instantly fell deeply in love with it.  I used to spend 6 to 8 hours a day playing drums after school.  I suppose playing music was an escape from the domestic upset that was happening around me.  I had a natural talent for it so I chose to make it a career path.  

 

2. Which instruments do you play?

I play Drums, Piano, Guitar, and Sing extremely proficiently.

 

3. What was the first tune(s) you learned?

IDK…I can’t recall specifically which song it was…maybe “Last night by The Strokes…or maybe a green day song.  Either way it was super simple.

 

4. Is your family musical? // 5. Describe your family member’s musical interests and abilities.

Yes, My father played guitar when he was younger, but stopped playing in his mid twenties.

 

5. Which famous musicians do you admire? Why?

At the beginning of my songwriting career I had an incredibly profound respect for Sir Paul McCartney.  I think it was for a number of reasons.  One, he wasn’t the outspoken leader of the Beatles, yet he had as much talent and commanded as much respect as John.  He was also a bit of a romantic (something which I consider myself to be)…he showed me that you don’t have to act like a pig headed asshole to be a rock star.

 

6. Which famous musicians have you learned from?

There are so many musicians I’ve taken cues from.  I learned how to be sweet from Paul McCartney.  I learned how to be cool from Julian Casablancas of the Strokes.  I learned the power of reality in lyrics from Bob Dylan.    I learned how I fit into pop music from Bruno Mars and Katy Perry.  I learned the power of sexuality from Elvis.

7. Who was your first teacher? Other teachers?

Over the course of my many years studying music I’ve had more teachers than I can count. Here are a list of the teachers that were most influential to me:

  • Fred Klatz, who I studied drums with for 5 years both privately and at the drummers collective.
  • Jermaine Paul, who I studied singing with for two years…who also later went on to win season 2 of the voice.  
  • Kristen Ruiz, who is a vocal instructor at NYU who I studied with for a year.  Those are the big ones for me.

8. Describe your first instrument. Other instruments.

My first instrument was a pearl export series drum kit that my parents purchased from a fellow student who I went to school with.  It has a silver speckled finished…and I put glow-in-the-dark stars on the outer bass drum head cause I thought it was cool.  After a while I started to hate the finish so, my band mate and I removed the vinyl shell casings, sanded and refinished the kit to have a more natural and vintage look.  That was my first drum kit.  My first guitar was a sea foam green Epiphone Wildcat which I purchased with money I was given upon my high school graduation.  A guitar I later gifted to a dear friend.

 

9. What are your fondest musical memories? In your house? In your neighborhood or town?

Hmmmm.  I think my fondest musical memories are constantly happening.  Once I think I’ve felt everything I can feel when it comes to my musical journey, something new comes along to top it.  Just the other day we played a show at the whisky a go go and from the moment we started playing until the moment we stopped the entire crowd was singing the words to every song.  I was pretty fond of that.  Or my first real musical memory of when I was 17 and I was playing a drum riff out of a music book and when I finally figured it out and could play it I looked down and my hands were covered in blisters…I was filled with a sense of personal achievement.

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David LaViola – photo by Mario Masitti

10. Were you influenced by old records & tapes? Which ones?

I am an old soul by nature so, yeah I love old tapes and records.  I own close to 500 vinyl records myself.  Ray Charles – Crying time.  Any Beatles record.  Etta James – At last.  Sam Cooke – Portrait of a genius.  

11. Who are your favorite musicians? Groups? CD’s?

Favorite artists include but are not limited to:

  • The Beatles
  • The Rolling Stones
  • Etta James
  • Ray Charles
  • Bruno Mars
  • Katy Perry
  • The Strokes
  • Little Richard
  • Sam Cooke
  • Ray Charles
  • Dion
  • T Rex
  • Anything Motown

 

12. Have you been in competitions? Fleadh’s? Any prizes?

Yeah, I’ve always been in battle of the bands.  I’ve won quite a few.  It’s whatever.  Music isn’t nor should it be about being better than someone else.  It’s about expression.  At least to me it is.

 

13. Do you perform in public? Describe those occasions? Concerts, radio, TV?

I perform around 6 times a month with Romance & Rebellion, and also sometimes at open mics to test new material as well.  It’s less nerve racking when I have the guys with me.  There’s more to focus on so people don’t notice if I fuck up.  All together though…I don’t really get nervous a lot.  I just feel super fucking cool.

14. Do you play for dances? Step-dancers? Describe the differences.

N/A

15. How do you handle mistakes during a performance?

Generally speaking I don’t have time to dwell on mistakes after making them.  I do my best to bounce back.  I try to rehearse as much as possible so that I don’t actually make them.

 

16.  Do you get nervous before a performance or a competition?

It depends on the type of gig and how many people there are in the audience, but generally no

17. What advice would you give to beginners who are nervous?

The more you perform, the less nervous you will be.  Do it as much as you can so that you become comfortable on stage faster.  Practicing will ensure that when you get on stage your playing will be as good as it can be considering the mental stress of being nervous.

 

18. Do you attend sessions? What makes a good session?

What kind of session?  Recording session?  I’m constantly recording new music or collaborating.  I’ve been in and out of studios since I was a teenager.  Jam sessions?  No, jam sessions are dumb.  If you want to fuck around and waste time don’t invite me.

 

19. How often and for how long do you practice?

I rehearse twice a week with the band.  I am constantly re adjusting and rehearsing things that need practicing.  I’m a working in progress.

20. What do you practice – exercises, new tunes, hard tunes, etc.?

I practice basic music fundamentals on the regs…I also practice the songs in our set quite frequently

21. Do you teach music?

I have taught music in the past.  I’m not a fan.