Can you please introduce yourself and your role in Gene Dante and The Future Starlets?
My name is Gene Dante. I’m the primary songwriter and lead singer of The Future Starlets.
How did the band come together?
I had a batch of songs I wanted to record and play out with a full band. I wanted to work with people I admired and respected. Tamora Gooding (ex-All the Queen’s Men) had played with me before. She suggested I reach out to Jim Collins (ex-The Buckners). Over cocktails one night, a friend (the great Ad Frank) suggested I try to lure Scott Patalano (ex-Mistle Thrush) out of retirement. As luck would have it, they were available and each liked the solo demos I’d recorded. Since the recording of the album, we’ve added Erik Andersen — taking over for me on rhythm guitar and keyboards.
Tell me a little about your record The Romantic Lead.
Envision me doing my best theatre critic voice…
Thematically, ‘The Romantic Lead’ is an incomplete dysfunctional love story in which the protagonists battle to harmonize their insecurity, vanity, and humanity. Sonicly, I wanted an album that sounded like no other band out there today, both abrasive and sweet, and can hold its own.
How would you describe the type of music from Gene Dante?
I believe Michael Epstein from The Motion Sick described the band as “the bridge between Morrissey and The New York Dolls.” If I’m mistakenly attributing this quote to Michael, I apologize. I’ve also heard we’re a “truck stop Roxy Music” — part glitter, part gutter. Generally, I strive for strong melodies and left-of-center lyrics wrapped in hard guitars.
Lyrically, your music seems to be pretty open and honest. What type of events/experiences inspire these lyrics?
That is very kind. Thank you. I’ve always believed “write what you know” is invaluable advice to any writer. However, this is the deal: my lyrics (or ANYONE’s lyrics) are only as “real” as the listener will allow them to be. Some are based on my life, some are based on things I’ve observed or overheard, some are heightened or streamlined, some are crude or factual. I’ll never tell for sure. Metaphor and Simplicity are my wingmen. I try to be witty and semi-unconventional. I’ll let listeners decide if I succeed.
For listeners new to Gene Dante, what song would you recommend they listen to and why?
This is the SOPHIE’S CHOICE question. How do you pick a favorite child? “A Madness to His Method” is probably a great introduction. It’s slowly becoming a positive anthem of sorts for outsiders and the marginalized. “Photosynthetic” is a personal favorite. “Brian, My Darling” is an interesting listen and I’m very happy with the album version. I think people should hear “To a God Unknown” just to hear Scott’s guitar solo. Listen to “C Star” if you need a smile put on your face — I didn’t intend for it to do anything more.
What are your touring plans for the rest of the year?
We’re gonna go where we’re asked and when it’s right. In the meantime, I keep writing. The album JUST hit the college & specialty radio stations. Feedback from that and the videos (for “A Madness to His Method” and “C Star” — currently on MTV’s LOGO Network and YouTube) will determine where & when shows are booked.
What are some of your major musical influences?
I think David Bowie (1971-1980) is a given (C’mon for real: who HASN’T he influenced?). Also, Roxy Music, Brian Eno, Placebo, Gene Loves Jezebel, Echo and The Bunnymen, Frankie Valli, and Neil Diamond.
How did you get started playing music?
I wanted to do something creative and always liked to sing as a child. However, from puberty til about 18 I really couldn’t at all, so I got a guitar and took lessons. I needed some vehicle for music, and to a 14 year old boy guitars are way cooler than pianos. I liked to write as well, but lacked both the attention span necessary for a novelist, and the pretensiousness necessary for a poet. Pop songs seemed the logical choice. I figured I could make a decent rhythm guitarist and songwriter, maybe sing some back-up. But as I developed into more of a songwriter than a musician, my voice came to me.
What are some of your goals for Gene Dante and The Future Starlets?
We want nothing less than worldwide domination. Isn’t that everyone’s goal? Seriously, I get too much nebulous advice telling me to “elevate” my performance and “take it to the next level”…blah blah blah. Frankly, buzzwords and catch phrases are said simply to keep corporate dopes fooled into thinking you know something. I will keep rocking and writing until I feel I’ve nothing left to say, then simply disappear.
Any last words for our readers?
I thank anyone for taking the time to read this all the way through. Anybody can wax intellectual about their “craft.” However, if you’re at all interested give a listen to the music (for free on our MySpace page and www.genedante.com). Draw your own conclusions and decide for yourself.