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A Dirty Dozen with LUKE KEATING of BLACKLIST REGULARS – June 2019

| 12 June 2019 | Reply

 

According to a recent press release: “Blacklist Regulars are an in-your-face rock band with an international twist. The lack of music opportunities and corrupt political climates led the members of Blacklist Regulars to leave their respective countries and come together in Chicago, IL. The search for like-minded musicians paired Ireland native Luke Keating–and his Alice in Chains inspired vocals–with the screaming guitars and tight rhythms of Venezuelan band members Arturo Banus, Tomas Zabala, and Alejandro Zabala.” We get vocalist Luke to discuss new music, influences, and much more…

1. Tell us a little about your latest release. What might a fan or listener not grab the first or second time they listen through? Are there any hidden nuggets the band put in the material or that only diehard fans might find?

We are very excited for the release of our debut record, Through The Blast, which comes out on Pavement Entertainment on June 14th. Releasing a record and touring in the U.S. has been the focal point for me over the past three years since the band was formed. As a group, we have had to overcome many obstacles—creatively, financially and personally—to reach this stage and to be given this opportunity. Lyrically, I wanted to write an authentic record that reflects our story and issues that are close to me and all of us. Personally, I have dealt with addiction and depression issues during the course of my life and thankfully have come out on the other side of that. Being Irish, I find it hard to open up, but I wanted to be honest about my life and experience and thought it could resonate with a lot of people. I think there are a lot of things that people struggle with on a daily basis, environments that are toxic, relationships that drain us and that can erode the very fabric of our spirit. The flip side to all of this is hope, discovery, trust and resilience and I think this record reflects that in every sense of the word. To borrow some wise words from Tom Petty, we’re “running down a dream” and we hope to cultivate a sense of attachment through our music, story, and culture.

2. What got you into music, and can you tell us about the moment you realized you wanted to be a musician?

Ever since I can remember I was drawn to music. My house was full of vinyl records and the radio was always on. I really was drawn to the magic of records. I would spend hours listening to everything my parents owned from Bob Dylan, Led Zeppelin, The Doors, David Bowie, Fleetwood Mac, among others. They had quite a wide range of diverse music and I learned to appreciate that, as I now have a pretty diverse taste in music. I remember being brought to live music, blues and jazz sessions on Sundays and just being mesmerized by it all. I think I knew then that this is what I wanted to do with my life.

3. Building on that, is there a specific song, album, performer, or live show that guided your musical taste?

The first time I saw Guns N’ Roses Live at the Ritz—that changed everything for me. I got a copy from my older cousin who was into bands like Megadeath, Metallica and Anthrax. That was my first introduction into that world and from there I’ve never looked back.

4. Who would be your main five musical influences?

For me it’s Guns N’ Roses, Alice in Chains, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Pearl Jam and Stone Temple Pilots.

5. If you could call in any one collaborator to do a song with, who would it be, and why?

I would have said Scott Weiland or Chris Cornell but, sadly, both are no longer with us. I’m very impressed by singer Connor Mason from Nothing But Thieves and I think that would be a great experience for me, personally.

6. How would you describe your music to someone who’d never listened to you before? What is the one comparison a reviewer or fan has made that made you cringe or you disagreed with?

I would say that it’s a modern twist on the hard rock genre with some old school rock influences. I hear Rob Thomas A LOT but I never get offended when I’m compared to a successful artist!

7. What’s the best thing about being a musician?

Creating a song and watching how people react to it. When that energy comes back our way there’s a connection made that’s hard to put into words. It can take on new meanings and interpretations which is really down to the listener. Provoking an emotional response is always the goal for me and I think music has an incredible ability to do that for people.

8. When the band are all hanging out together, who cooks; who gets the drinks in; and who is first to crack out the acoustic guitars for a singalong?

All the guys enjoy a drink or two. I like to cook and so does Arturo, so usually it will be me or him unless we’re out to eat.

9. When was the last time you were star struck and who was it?

I had the pleasure of meeting Van Morrison one time before he performed at The Helix venue in Dublin a while back. I grew up listening to his records and he couldn’t have been nicer. We spoke briefly about music and he offered some encouragement to me to keep going. I guess you could say that left a lasting impression on me. Growing up in Ireland it’s not that uncommon to see Bono walking up Grafton Street mid-week so Irish people tend to have a different attitude towards stars.

10. If you weren’t a musician, what would be your dream job?

I love to play poker and it gives me a lot of enjoyment whenever I do get the chance to play. If I could do that it wouldn’t be half bad!

11. Looking back over your career, is there a single moment or situation you feel was a misstep or you would like to have a “do over”, even if it didn’t change your current situation?

I think that there have been lots of missteps for me personally over the course of my musical pursuits. The hardest thing for me was understanding how the puzzle fits together—the artistic side and the business side—and really how important that actually is to know. Although, perhaps if I knew how it all worked before I started, I might not have ever gotten started! I honestly believe all of it is a learning curve preparing us for bigger things in the end. Each time I learn a little bit more about how I could have done some things differently if I could do it over—but hindsight is  always 20/20! I’ve had just as many things that went right as a result of doing it “wrong.” Nothing will ever line up perfectly, at least that’s been my experience. I think we can only do what feels like the right thing to do at the time. I believe you have to be willing to be a bad artist before you can be a good one and I think that anybody that does anything creatively and wants to pursue it as a career inevitably has to risk being seen. With that comes judgement and often criticism, but also connection and encouragement and support. It really has been quite the journey and I’m just excited to see where it takes us.

12. If you could magically go back in time and be a part of the recording sessions for any one record in history, which would you choose – and what does that record mean to you?

For me it would be Guns N’ Roses Appetite for Destruction because that started my musical pursuits. I listened to that record every day for YEARS. It made me want to write songs and learn and express myself through music. That album really just connected with me. I know the guys would say Alice in Chains, Jar of Flies.

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Todd ‘ToddStar’ Jolicoeur

Category: Interviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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