I’m going to say three words to you and I want you to remember them. PISTOL SHOT GYPSY. PSG are a straight-up, no bullshit rock ‘n’ roll band and if they don’t ‘make it’ soon then there’s something very wrong with the music industry at the moment. After reviewing their album, “Smokin’ Drinkin’ Fightin’”, it seemed only right that I should throw some questions at the band’s guitarist Ian Haggerty…
Lou: Hi, thanks for taking the time to answer my questions! Before we get started, how are you?
Ian: Lou how’s it going?! I’m doing fantastic, thanks for having me here today. BTW I think the name of your site is pretty unique, love it!
Lou: Where does the name Pistol Shot Gypsy come from?
Ian: That seems to be the million dollar question these days. Considering that we’re all a bunch of cavemen I wish we had a little more intelligent answer but it goes like this. Knowing full well we like to imbibe in adult beverages from time to time a friend of ours sent us a link to The Drunktionary which I believe can be found right here on the internet. Doing some research we found the term “Pistol Shot” which means to be sloshed. We said “THAT’S IT!” Of course about 3 days later we quickly discovered that calling ourselves just Pistol Shot was sorta lame so being a bunch of road dogs ourselves we liken ourselves to Gypsy’s. I heard Cinderella’s “Gypsy Road” and it just hit me. So I brought the term Gypsy to the table and suggested we do the Stone Temple Pilots thing so that we could use the acronym PSG as another marketing ploy. I’m happy to say that it’s worked like a charm so far!
Lou: When I was listening to the album I got the impression that you all really know what you’re doing! How long has the band been together?
Ian: It took us quite a while something like 5 years before we secured the line-up we originally were aiming for. Right now Ron, Stevie, Jeff, James and myself have been together for about 2 years.
Lou: Have you been plagued with any line-up issues during that time?
Ian: Putting a band together is a very tedious process sometimes. James and myself are the only founding members. We went thru a couple singers over a few years until we finally were able to snag Ron. After that we went on an East Coast tour only to find out that our drummer and guitarist weren’t really fit for the road. We replaced them with Jeff first and then about a month or so later Stevie became available and being James childhood friend and one of PSG’s best friends he was in period. What was nice about pulling Stevie in was that we were able to jam out immediately. I think our first show together was about 2 weeks after our first jam session opening for a band called Diecast. Long story short, I met Stevie the night I met James. As I was saying they are childhood friends, and he quickly became a HUGE PSG fan. Being so close to the band all the time Stevie quickly learned all the beats and even filled in on gigs a couple times when our old drummer was out of town.
Lou: Who is in the band?
Ian: Ron Travis – Lead Vocals
Jeff Instasi – Guitar & Backing Vocals
James Thompson – Bass
Stevie “Boom Bots” Raposa – Drums, Percussion, Chimes & a god dam barrel of laughs
And I’m Ian Haggerty and I play Guitar. Some what…..
Lou: Which bands have influenced you?
Ian: I like Rock N’ Roll and when I was in 5th grade my friend gave me a tape called Appetite For Destruction which I inserted into a device called a Walkman. For the kids out there, I grew up in a time without cell phones and compact discs so we had to work with what we had. Anyway I listened to about the first 15 seconds of Welcome To The Jungle and I was hooked. I then saw them on MTV Headbangers Ball a couple weeks later, the one where they destroyed the place and was like this is the coolest band ever! The moment I realized I wanted to play guitar though was when I saw GNR with Metallica and Faith No More back in 92′. I walked outta a tunnel to get closer to the stage and when I emerged Slash was jamming the intro Sweet Child O’ Mine like 20′ from me. It was then I realized I was going to play guitar.
Lou: I’d describe your album, “Smokin’ Drinkin’ Fightin’”, as a real feel good rock ‘n’ roll record. What sort of feedback have you received about it so far?
Ian: We really haven’t had too many complaints as of right now and people have really seemed to latch onto this album. I think people like the fact that it’s honest. There’s nothing fake about PSG or our music. We don’t come out onto the stage with all these props or a huge light show. We show up to a gig in our jeans and t-shirts, plug into our amps, and let it roll. We carried that mentality onto the album and I think it gave the music on Smokin’ Drinkin’ Fightin’ some integrity people can connect with.
Lou: Which song (or songs!) is your personal favourite from the album and why?
Ian: For me that would be Trainwreck. It was the first song I ever had lyrics pop into my head for. I actually co-wrote it with Ron and we sat up at the rehearsal space for a few hours organizing that nite. It’s basically a song about being in a band and how what tears other bands apart brings us closer together because we have such a dam good time. Trainwreck’s also turned out to be a favorite of many of our fans and there’s nothing like opening a set with it as it always sets the pace for the live show.
Lou: What subjects have been covered in the album’s lyrics?
Ian: Aside from Trainwreck the album attacks a few different issues. Basically it’s a Sex, Drugs and Rock N’ Roll album in the key of PISTOL SHOT GYPSY! 2 songs that I’ll bring up though would be “Sands Of Time” and “Troy City Blues”. Troy City Blues is about the city Ron grew up in and that I live in, Fall River Massachusetts in the USA. Every last word in that song is the honest to god truth. It’s a city full of addicts and scumbags and there REALLY IS only 2 major streets that run parallel thru it where everyone goes to score their smack. As for Sands Of Time we decided to write a tune about Jesus Christ cuz I mean shit, there’s enough tunes about the devil and those are easy to write! So instead of actually coming out and saying “Hey this tune’s about Jesus Christ” Ron wrote the lyrics and posed the question at the end “Who do you think I am?” I thought that was a fitting ending to the song and laughed my balls off when it charted on a religious station on Sirius Radio. I appreciate ANY exposure we get but I always get a chuckle outta this since we’re FAR from a Christian rock band and the song comes from an album entitled “Smokin’ Drinkin’ Fightin’!
Lou: I love your cover of “Midnight Rider” (Allman Brothers). What made you want to cover that song on the album?
Ian: We actually all play in the Worlds Greatest Cover band on the side called The Dirty Dickbags. Basically we show up and have different people who jump onstage to jam different tunes. It’s sorta in the same vein of Camp Freddy in L.A. but I can guarantee you that we thought of the idea first as we’re 3 hours ahead of them. However if Billy Morrison reads this, we wouldn’t be opposed to combining both bands one day and making the ultimate band of assholes playing covers ever. Midnight Rider has always just been a good drinking song and we let it loose one night during the recording and just pressed play. BTW our friend Jonny P. from the band White does the guest vocals on that track. Oh Yeah Rock N’ Roll Party!!!
Lou: Do you have any plans to record any other cover versions in the future?
Ian: We’re always throwing covers into our live set as they are fun to play and it’s something someone who may not be totally into what we’re presenting that night can connect with and open up a little to the original tunes. There’s been a couple ideas being kicked around to lay down on tape in the future though.
Lou: Where can we buy the album from?
Ian: Right here – http://www.pistolshotgypsy.com/discography.cfm – ALL proceeds will go to getting us to your town where we will then drink all your beer, party all night, and fall down possibly not in that order either.
Lou: Are you touring at the moment? Where can we catch you?
Ian: We are not on the road at the moment. We’ve been doing a few local one off shows though. Just did one with Taproot in Providence, RI and we have one coming up in March with Joey Belladonna of Anthrax. I’ve known Joey for a few years now and I’m looking forward to hooking back up with him as he’s a really nice guy and it’s always great to catch up with what’s going on in his world.
Lou: Do you have any plans to play in Europe? (and, more specifically, the UK!)
Ian: There are some things that are in the works now directly aimed to send us to Europe and I’m sure they’ll be more than a few stops in the U.K. As a matter of fact I just got the word from our management to make sure my passport is up to date. I have family in London myself. My mother moved out to London in the mid Sixties and met my father there. They used to hang at The Marquee Club when it was a bar upstairs and then the club (which only held a couple hundred I believe) was downstairs. My mother was a huge Beatles fan and my father was big into The Stones so there’s a lot of Rock N’ Roll heritage in my family. I guess that was the round about way of telling you that I ABSOLUTELY plan on bringing PSG to the U.K. and kickin total ass there in the process. Then we can all hit a pub together!
Lou: I mentioned in my review of your album that it would be great if you could tour with Trucker Diablo at some point (and I believe you’re already aware of this band) – Do you think that this is something that could happen at some point in the future?
Ian: I was turned onto Trucker Diablo thru my friend Darren AKA Seatzie at Rock Radio NI in Ireland. He checked out PSG, started spinning us and told me to check out Trucker Diablo as he thought we’d fit great on a bill together. I listened thru their tunes and they are right there in the grand scheme of Rock N’ Roll. I’d love to meet the guys and set up some shows with them in the future so hopefully the powers to be can make that happen. I’d like to also thank Darren for all the help he’s given me and actually Darren’s how I found you Lou! If you’re fans would like to check out his station here’s the link – rockradioni.co.uk. Tell them Ian from PSG sent ya and support these guys cuz they’re all about supporting bands.
Lou: What is a Pistol Shot Gypsy show like?
Ian: A PSG show is very energetic. Onstage it’s a little like a full contact sport. We generally come off stage with scrapes, cuts, & bruises. However, I’ve noticed the larger the crowd the more insane they tend to get. We shoot a ton of energy off stage each night and people really get into it. Live shows are what we’re in this for so you can bet you’re always gonna get 110% from PISTOL SHOT GYPSY onstage when you come out to one of our shows.
Lou: Do you have any other material available?
Ian: I’m glad you asked me this question because I’m on a mission to spread the word of our new single Luv Junky right now. This song is available to anyone who signs up on our E-mail list at pistolshotgypsy.com. Sign up and get the song, it’s that simple. Do it right after you read the remainder of this interview as a matter of fact. Thanks!
Lou: What’s on the horizon for PSG?
Ian: A new album which we are in the process of recording at the time of this interview. It’s about 1/2 way done and will be key to furthering PSG. I’m very excited about all this as I believe it really shows the progress of our band. Many of the new songs (Including Luv Junky) are already in our setlist and people are really digging them which puts a big smile on my face!
Lou: Do you have any messages for the readers of Loucifer Speaks?
Ian: There’s three things I’d like to have your readers do.
1. Sign up to Lou’s RSS feed here at Loucifer Speaks so you can stay caught up with all the metal/rock news as it happens.
2. Go to PSG’s website at pistolshotgypsy.com, sign up to our E-list and get your MP3 of Luv Junky
3. Hit up and “Like” PSG’s official Facebook site at facebook.com/pistolshotgypsy
And for the Bonus assignment (especially if PSG’s getting your goat) hit up our YouTube Channel youtube.com/pistolshotgypsy and check out the mayhem!
Lou, thanks once again for having me and keep up the great work here at Loucifer Speaks!