Archive for the ‘Lovers & Kings’ Category

This past Spring 2015 I met Steven Juliano on The Punishment Tour. I had been a hired gun for a Brooklyn based band that needed a guitarist and backing vocalist, so…thusly, our adventure began. He was in a band called Requiem that I knew nothing about. Before departing I looked into them through various social networks, etc. I then realized that I was actually familiar with Steve, having been previously the frontman of I Am Ghost who had a fairly successful run during their time. Myself, Steve and our consecutive projects proceeded to spend 6 plus pretty close weeks with each other as we ran all over America opening for William Control. Requiem was a great band with even better attitudes which I appreciated greatly. What I got from Steve was that he was experienced and knew what he wanted. Even better yet, he knew what to expect, and that only comes from vast experience, and THAT kind of knowledge cannot be bought or earned any other way. Just last week Steve announced his departure from music in just a few paragraphs from his Facebook page. Fully and completely leaving it behind. I knew right then that I had to conduct some sort of interview with him. And, so I did. What you read below are the candid words of a seemingly liberated man. And, a smart one to boot.

Steven Juliano

Steven Juliano

 

MSG – Hey Steve, thanks for being the first interview of 2016 for M-S-G! For those of us that are not familiar with you. Tell us a bit about yourself.

Steve – I grew up in a bitty beach town near San Francisco, CA called Santa Cruz and at an early age, around eight–I call to mind–I was dabbing pretty seriously in musical theater and art curriculums. I mean, it was pretty significant for a small fry like myself. I wasn’t very sizable. Kind of a half-pint for my age. Adults thought I was more so five or six. But any free time I had I was drawing in my room, reading Tales from the Crypt comic books or the funnies and dreaming of being some big-shot cartoonist. During the last year of high school, I was accepted to a few different internships; one was Industrial Light and Magic (George Lucas’s shin dig) in Nor Cal and the other was Hanna-Barbera in Los Angeles. And I desperately wanted out of this town. Wanted out of the polar reaches of California and get down to Los Angeles, cuz’ I thought that’s where high-muck-a-muck’s go to make it big. Later I learned that’s where they go to die, quite frankly. I worked for Disney for awhile, got a job on the HBO show Tales from The Crypt. I was only 18 at the time, wet around the ears, and thought it was the bees knees. I dabbled in a few bands, the first three going absolutely nowhere. Boy did I learn a lot. Then, one of them kinda “stuck”. I Am Ghost got signed with Epitaph Records and I was now some youngling traveling around the world playing shows for money. Wasn’t a lot of dough, but enough to pay the bills, eat, and buy a pair of nice shoes here and there. It was an amazing six years. Lots and lots of touring; three-hundred days a year of vacationing pretty much.

MSG – Let’s start with that previous band of yours, I AM GHOST. You devoted 6 plus years to said band, and for me, that’s how I came to know about your musical offerings. Care to lend some history on that project?

Steve – It was all a big blur. I mean, you spend years and years playing shows in different bands, doing what needs to get done, and sometimes the cards just aren’t in your favor. I thought my other bands, before I Am Ghost, were pretty darn good. But there was just something about I Am Ghost that struck a nerve with the kids and a plethora of labels. There was a bidding war with like five of the top big-cheese labels and it was all utterly dreamlike at the time. Epitaph was just the most honest group of people I came across. After we signed, we went straight into the studio; recorded Lovers’ Requiem in Virginia for more than a month (our first real album) and BAM, drove straight to Warped Tour and started our epic journey. We had no idea what we were doing. Not a single one. We just played it by ear, pretty much.

MSG – I AM GHOST being signed to iconic punk label Epitaph Records must have been pretty rad. How did that come about?

Steve – We did a lot of promotion before ever playing a show. This was when MySpace was just beginning to catch on and bands were still going to rock shows and handing out flyers and burned CDR’s of their demo. At the time, I was making good money at my job, so I’d spend roughly hundreds of dollars a week buying blank cds and some epic three disk cd burner (which, during 2005 was around $700). The entire band would stay up all night burning hundreds and hundreds of copies, and next day we were at the big punk rock show passing them out to anyone who’d take one. We opened for a band who had a lot of hype with the labels, and we were god damn lucky enough to have someone from Epitaph Records there… by sheer god damn luck. They were checking out someone else completely, but we packed the joint with kids. Soon as we got done playing everyone left. It was a ghost town after. I think that struck a huge nerve with Epitaph. It was like, “Who the fuck is this band?”

MSG – Within this time period you developed a long lasting friendship with Wil Francis AKA “William Control” of the band Aiden and aforementioned namesake. Share some of your favorite moments with him.

Steve – WiL or William; just a very good dude. He doesn’t hold back anything. If he thinks you’re being a punk-ass, he will call you out to your face. And I like that about him. I met him when I Am Ghost was just signed to Epitaph, and Aiden was opening for Death by Stereo in my home town. And I really dug their music video and went to check them out. At the time he was very quiet. Then we met once again months later when we joined Warped Tour. He’d been on it for awhile and kinda showed me around. Told me what to do. What NOT to do. We did another full US tour years later and when you tour that long with anyone, you cannot help but become more so brothers. You see a lot of shit. It’s like “us against the god damn world” mentality. Good shows. Bad shows. Van break downs. Shifty promoters. Snow storms that almost kill everyone to the most beautiful sunrises while driving at five in the morning. Touring is two words: “amazing” and “horrendous” combined into one big snow ball.  You get hit in the cock and balls a million times with it while on the road… and those that can take it keep plugging away.

MSG – After I.A.G. dissolved Requiem For The Dead (later shortened to Requiem) would become your next musical endeavor. Was it tough starting over again after “GHOST”, what at that time compelled you to move on?

Steve – No. It wasn’t tough per say. I just needed a god damn break. It was simple as that. After 6 years of never being home, missing friends weddings, funerals, or for me, I was engaged to get married. And the relationship was pretty much on its last leg. I thought by quitting it would help things but at the time made it worse. I took off a year or two from shows. Just went back to work and got ‘normal’ again. It was good for me. I saw old friends I hadn’t seen in years. Woke up in my own bed every morning. Had a hot shower to go to. It’s the little things, really. I didn’t miss touring whatsoever. What I did miss was playing shows, which is a huge difference. I started REQUIEM FOR THE DEAD just for shits and giggles and at the time, had no intention other than doing demos and maybe a show here and there. But again, the “buzz” caught on. And I was back where I just left.

MSG – Just this past week you announced to the world via the social media outlet Facebook that you were leaving music. Bold and shocking. It’s seems you have left many with a lot of questions. We would love to hear some more words about this straight from you, right here.

Steve – One day I just woke up and had not a single interest in writing lyrics, recording or touring. I was always very excited to go to practices or sit up late at night writing lyrics for some new song we were working on. But it was starting to feel like a huge, ugly chore. And I was way more thrilled to work on my novel than anything else. Or more excited to meet up with friends and grab some dinner, go see a film, walk on the beach. I think for me, my love of music was still there, but the energy that goes into being in a band with four other dudes was just finally snuffed out. Nothing against them. But I feel everyone has a limit. When you’re really young, the fire is huge. Almost uncontainable. And the more I toured around the world; I started to check stuff off my bucket list. Been there, done that, type shit. And last week, I kinda just had nothing more to prove to myself. Or anyone else. I set off on a dream when I was eighteen and the journey finally ended.  It will happen to everyone in music. Some choose to keep on trucking, but I have insane high standards with my bands. It’s either go big or go home. I just went home.

MSG – Now, from what I know Requiem just released a new single. Will there be a posthumous record from that band? Are those guys to continue?

Steve – We released the single and were in the middle of writing an album when I decided to call it a day. There won’t be any new music from me. But I am sure the other gents will keep producing music. They are all very talented musicians. And young. There are still years and years of music coming from them all.

MSG – Although Music was an outlet for you, Steven Juliano certainly is no one trick pony. You are also a graphic artist and an Author with a lot on the horizon. You’ve done lots of art for other bands. Let’s get into that first.

Steve – I have always fancied myself as a writer. The fact of the matter, I never had any time to sit down and finish anything I had stuck in my head. Lovers & Kings, my first real novel, has been floating around my noggin for over ten years. It’s almost impossible to sit down on a lap top and write on tour. For me, I need complete silence. I need not to worry about load in times, or when to get ready to perform or how long the next drive will be. I left music because I feel very strongly about this book. It’s like, I gotta finish it. It’s been eating away my insides. Like it’s almost begging me to complete it.

MSG – And now, that seems to be the path you are truly following, one as a writer, with your first book in a series called, Lovers & Kings. This I’m really excited about, also being a musician/writer. What’s the scoop on that?

Steve – I’ve tried to be as hush-hush on it as much as possible, but it’s an epic horror/fantasy tale taking place during the First World War; a journey that spans seventy years. It’s going to be a series of books, and the way it’s going, I can easily see seven or eight novels. Maybe more. The first book, Lovers & Kings: The Killing Jar will be out this year.

Lovers & Kings

Lovers & Kings

MSG – What are some of your favorites bands and books?

Steve – Music has changed for me. I tend to listen to less and less music that sounded like I Am Ghost; you know, that punk/metal Warped Tour style vibe. I play Frank Sinatra, Dion and the Bellmonts, oldies kinda stuff. Or movie soundtracks when I’m drawing. The ‘rawr rawr chug chug’ music just doesn’t interest me anymore. I wish it did. I put it on sometimes, but minutes later , change it up. I just think it’s called growing up and your pallet mutates. Not saying I absolutely hate it. It brings back huge memories. But I am not gonna lie. I like what I like.

MSG – Cool, cool…as we reach the end here I want to say thanks for being an obvious inspiration to a bunch of people which I’m quiet sure will continue, just in other ways. Leave us with some insight…

Steve – Thanks to everyone who followed my bands, to the small shows where no one was there, to the epic thousand seaters.  I couldn’t have done it without you…

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