Forming like a Mimetic Polyalloy Terminator – Interview with PitStone
PitStone is nearing the 10th anniversary of its formation. Typically, we’re talking about a band with a rocky start. The group decided to tear open the garage doors in 2011 and let the world, or at least the Hungarian audience, know what their brand of ‘Ripped-Ass Rock and Roll’ is all about. The 5-piece is back now in high gear to deliver some new tunes. Ripping strings and banging drums, they blast through the airwaves with a revamped image and renewed enthusiasm. And nothing will stop them.
This year’s the 10th anniversary of the band. What does this mean to you?
Peti: For one, my face has a lot more wrinkles and my razor’s worn out that much faster. 🙂 Jokes aside, we’ve been through ten years of making music and I loved every bit of it. During PitStone’s activity so far it was a hobby, a chance to party, an almost-dissolution, but at last our perseverance came through.
Lőrinc: I think we needed to grow up a bit mentally for us to say that PitStone has truly become a band, and not just a bunch of guys who like it when the music’s loud.
Where did you start out from and what were your plans 10 years ago? How were the first few years like?
Gyuri: We come from Csepel, literally speaking. That’s where we first rented a practice room after playing together at a high school party. We thought we’d give it a try. We began with playing cover songs but soon we were adding our own songs into the repertoire. I was the first to sing but my voice needed lots of work to be really good, and you know, good vocals are really important for this type of music. That’s when I got to know Csilla, so it quickly became obvious that she should become our vocalist. I’d been playing guitar ever since high school, so I gladly switched to this position.
Lőrinc: Originally it all started out with us learning a few tunes for the graduation ceremony of our friend Vivien (Vivien Tiszai, ex-drummer of Ozona Mama – ed.) and then getting drunk. When that was over we thought it was pretty cool and we didn’t want to stop right there, so we started a band. Our plans, of course, were those of every 18-year-old: Wembley, 70 thousand people.
Peti: Plans in the first years? Nope, we didn’t have those. We just played, drank, had a blast, and then we did a few gigs too, without much of a concept. We believed the dumb movies where you just have to act cool playing music and then the manager in disguise pops up and makes us big names… In due time we woke up to face reality, and from then on we started to take this business seriously.
What were the hardest and easiest parts, if you think back?
Peti: The hardest was when the band almost broke up at the end of 2010. Since we were amateur musicians, member changes were constant and that really took a toll on the band. The result was that only 3 of us remained by the end of 2010. We lost our faith despite music being our prime source of escape. As a last resort I thought of asking one of the former vocalists and guitarists about re-joining. They were Csilla and Gyuri. Gyuri is actually my younger brother, whom I love just like my two other brothers. They said they’d give it a shot, under certain conditions. Well, these conditions were more like goals and because of this we began to assemble the style of PitStone more consciously. I think the results speak for themselves: in the 6 years preceding that renewal we only had 6 or 7 gigs, but since then we had like 40-50. Not to mention that we managed to make our first record engineered all by ourselves.
Lőrinc: The reduction of overheads. I’m just joking. I think that the biggest obstacles are always the ones that we set for ourselves. The hardest moments where those when we had to conquer ourselves. When we could only deal with problems by generating more problems, but we had to stick it out. When we told each other to go to hell… But now we’re fully formed again like the mimetic polyalloy terminator and nothing will stop us anymore.
What does playing music mean to you?
Lőrinc: I think it’s different for everyone. For me, personally, it’s the ability that even a good for nothing like myself can show what R’n’R is about. Our ‘ripped-ass rock n’ roll’ is so strange for this squeaky clean, shiny, made-up world, that’s why we have to label it as such. In the ’80s when it was totally normal that Slash picked at spam stuck between his teeth with his armpit hair it wouldn’t have been a big deal. So essentially it’s not about being smelly or anything, it’s just that perfect looks are everything these days and there’s no feeling to it. And that’s not right. Maybe that’s why they don’t write songs like Dream On anymore.
Peti: Speaking for myself, this style of music that we do is like one of our essential body parts or vital organs. If it wasn’t there for me, I’d be crippled emotionally.
What are some of the band you look up to and draw inspiration from?
Gyuri: Guns N’ Roses and Aerosmith were our stepping stones but some AC/DC and LedZep found their way into the mix too. These days we try to be a bit more adventurous since everyone in the band has their own musical preferences. We strive to find that unique PitStone sound by combining the common points of these different musical worlds, without having to imitate anybody.
What exactly is ‘Ripped-Ass rock & roll’ which was also the title of your album (‘Szakadtseggű rock ’n’ roll’)?
Misi: It means that it’s honest energetic rock music based on classic rock foundations, so it’s both melodic and hard. The name refers to the feeling when you get into an old pair of ripped jeans and you you just want to have a good time without any constraints.
You took part in some talent shows and competitions. How did they work out for you? Did they have any effect on the popularity or general life of the band?
Peti: I, for one, really like these opportunities because they give an accurate picture of where we are, since playing music (just like other areas) is quite a complex art. It’s not enough to play good songs and write good songs, you also have to be able to sell yourself. As for where we are now on this journey? Well, even if it’s not a 100% accurate, we can generally tell ‘how much we’re worth’ based on these competitions. We didn’t participate in a lot though. From what I can remember there was the Emergenza series, Rockmaraton Yuk Sátor and X-Factor. In each round of Emergenza we could play at better and better venues (of course it also helped that we didn’t lose any of these rounds). The last stop was Club 202 (which will always be Wigwam for me) which meant the finals. From hundreds of candidates we managed to get that far, and we got 7th place. I’m really proud of that.
We were the daily winners at Rockmaraton in 2013 which means we could perform on the Main Stage of PécsMa this year. It was an unbelievable experience and to top it off, we had a great time partying with the members of Arch Enemy who were the main attraction that day.
On X-Factor we performed in front of the judges, which is a pretty big deal. Csilla made it to the top 60. We’re talking about thousands or maybe tens of thousands of participants here.
Are you planning on participating in more of these events?
Misi: We might give it a shot if it’s a serious competition for bands.
Gyuri: Yes but there’s a need for a new concept here. The audience is open to the classic rock sound but to become more radio friendly, it’s necessary to mix some pop elements into our style too. That’s why we’re planning to incorporate a bit more pop into our tunes in the future.
What else can we expect from the band? New record, new image, new gigs? I can tell that you seem really serious about your future and that you will give your all. Can we say it’s a bit of a midlife crisis?
Peti: Just like you said! A new record, new imagery and even better gigs. These are the steps we must take.
Misi: I wouldn’t call it a midlife crisis at all. We’d just like to go forward and we’ll use everything we’ve got, hoping that the audience will dig it too.
Csilla: I must say, there’s a bit of midlife crisis in there, for me at least. I sure want to do it and I hope that we’ll go through changes in the next few years that will make even more people get to know us.
Gyuri: We’d like to have a well-organized and worked-out appearance to suggest that we’re not a hobby garage band anymore. In terms of music, we’re thinking of releasing an EP with 3 or 4 tracks that have a style similar to the first album but structured and put together a bit differently.
All in all, we’re going to give it all we’ve got, it doesn’t matter if we become successful or not, the music will remain. I mean you can even play gigs when you’re 80 years old, just maybe not that many. I won’t put my guitar down, that’s for sure. It’ll be by my side till the end of my life.
Where can we catch you guys next? Are you preparing anything special for the gig?
Peti: We’ll play at Rocktogon on November 22, as the guests of the wonderful Reckless Roses. We’ll debut a new song of our own and a new cover song too, but let that one be a secret for now. Anyway, we urge you all to come since there’ll be two killer bands playing who are Guns fanatics. While we represent the style, it’s Reckless Roses who really deliver that whole ‘Welcome to the Jungle’ vibe. You’re guaranteed to have a blast!