Today’s Feature – August 23-24: Curtis Peoples

August 24, 2008 at 6:38 pm (Today's Feature)

Obviously it takes superhuman ability, patience and persistence to make it in today’s music industry of upstart musical stars, one hit wonders and small shop record labels; all characteristics belonging to San Diego’s Curtis Peoples. He carries an ace up his sleeve however – a few of them. Surrounding himself with some of the best and brightest in the business, Peoples has practically guaranteed success by working with guys like Tyler Hilton, Keaton Simons, Tony Lucca, Todd Carey, Josh Kelley, and Stephen Kellogg & The Sixers, just to name a few. He even caught the attention of Marshall Altman (one of the driving forces behind records from artist such as Matt Nathanson, Kate Voegele and Marc Broussard) to help produce his debut record, the self-titled “Curtis Peoples.”

The collection brings a mix of what Peoples brings to the table, something you’ll appreciate whether you’re a fan of the rock, pop or folk scene. It blends “big choruses and jumping rhythms” in step with Curtis’ self-defined style of “coffee shop arena rock,” infused with a touch of jazz. But even with all of this in mind, Peoples wants fans to expect a rock show when live on stage – a good time in every sense, full of energy and a few drops of sweat. You’ll have a ton of chances to catch him, playing shows with buddies Keaton Simons and Tony Lucca as well as Todd Carey. Be sure to also check him out online showing off his music… and perhaps his athletic abilities in the near future (Peoples wants to break the stereotype that rock stars can’t throw, catch or hit, you see). Learn more about this and so much more in the XXQ’s. XXQs: Curtis Peoples

PensEyeView.com (Richie): Hey Curtis, great to speak with you. So starting off, you grew up on the west coast, right?

Curtis Peoples (CP): Yeah, I grew up in San Diego.

Richie: Growing up in San Diego, what kind of music were you listening to?

CP: Well, it’s funny because growing up, my dad was or is a musician. He was in a band and I listened to a lot of his stuff. I would listen to his music in the car with him. I got into The Beatles on my own. When I really got into playing music, I was listening to Pearl Jam. Grunge was big then, so when I started a band we played a lot of grunge.

Richie: What were the first gigs like back then? What was it like when you first stepped on stage?

CP: Well it’s funny really. Our first gigs were like friends birthday parties, which we thought were such a big deal. Our songs were always kind of funny and we would dress up in funny outfits so we always had a good time but it was a big deal, especially for me. I got the fun out of it but I was definitely a little crazy about it, like making sure everything was perfect. It was always so awesome, even when it was like five of our friends and they were just like swimming the whole time.

Richie: Were you the lead singer and the main force behind it?

CP: I was the force behind it when we started. I really started to like write serious songs and play guitar seriously around 15.

Richie: When you sit down to write music, what kind of atmosphere do you surround yourself in?

CP: That’s tricky, because I’ve written in many places (laughs). I think the main thing is that I have to have the TV off, I put my computer away… I’m very easily distracted. Really I just need a… well, I’ve written a lot on my couch or I go to my friend’s house and write there. Once you’re in it, you’re not worried about the environment as much.

Richie: Was there one point when you said to yourself, ‘Music is going to be my full time job’?

CP: I’ve always wanted to be two things in my life: I wanted to be a professional baseball player and I wanted to be a professional musician. It’s really, really funny because I have like very childhood jobs as things I wanted to do. All I need is astronaut and I’ve completed the trifecta. Realistically, I’ve always wanted to do music but when I was 15, I really new I wanted to. Like you could see like where it really started to kick in, in high school. My grades started to slip a little bit as a result.

Richie: Now you are doing quite well but back then, I’m sure your parents weren’t so thrilled that your grades were slipping.

CP: They were always very supportive. And from the beginning they were like, ‘Curtis is going to do this and if we don’t support him, he’s going to do it anyway.’

Richie: If you can’t beat em’ join em’ kind of thing?

CP: (Laughs) Yeah! I mean, my brother and I are so glad they did that too. I mean, he got great grades, went to college, was in ROTC, never got in trouble. I was like, I really appreciate you doing that (laughs). I mean…

Richie: Well now, how do all your friends and family react?

CP: It’s funny because every time I travel around the country I get to see my family – like aunts and uncles in different cities. It’s one of those things… I mean, I’m on the up and coming now, so it is happening. I mean they always believed in me. My dad said to me, when I went to a junior college and then stopped, he said, ‘As long as you are doing something that’s all the matters. I don’t care, I don’t care… as long as you are doing it. If you are musician and you’re just hanging around, that’s not good. You have to really be doing it. I think that was really good for him to say that.

Richie: What is road life like for you? What are the best and worse parts?

CP: The best part is that, even when it’s just people in a van, it is so free. It’s just so free… you either love it or you don’t. You either like loading all your stuff in a suitcase, and living in hotels, or you don’t. It’s just an amazing feeling to wake up one morning in like, “no where” Oklahoma and go out for the day knowing there is something to do. That’s the best part too, there is always something to do on the road. Even if there is nothing to do, you have to drive somewhere. I like that, I like a lot. And that’s what touring is.

Then again, that’s also the worst part too. There’s no sure thing. You may go to a town somewhere, like on a Monday and you’ll get a smaller crowd than what you’re used to. You have to deal with stuff like that. And just the lack of comfort and being away. But the first time I went on tour, I just knew, I was cool with touring.

Richie: What can fans expect from a live Curtis People’s show?

CP: You know man, I think I’ve really, really gotten it… and my fans get it too. I even came up with a style of music I have: Coffee Shop Arena Rock.

Richie: Yeah, I saw that on your site and thought that was really cool.

CP: Yeah, I told my publicist that and everyone really liked it so we’re going with that. It makes sense. When I went solo from being in a band, I became more of a singer/songwriter but I’m not like a “singer/songwriter” in the normal sense. Our shows are definitely rock shows. I want people to know when they come to my show; they’re going to have fun. That’s all I want.

Richie: Any pre-show rituals or anything?

CP: I don’t know, we kind of just hang out and then go up there (laughs). But we’re starting to warm up more. I warm up my voice, my guitar. I love to make pre-show mixes – like Van Halen, Michael Jackson and some pop song I really like. I listen to that before I go out.

Richie: Is there and up and coming artist right now, you think we should all be looking into right now?

CP: I feel like I am surrounded by all of them. Guys like Keaton Simons (NOTE: A PEV alum), Tony Lucca. I mean, I’m inspired by those guys. Even Tyler Hilton (NOTE: A PEV alum), who is not as up and coming and more established but is just a great guy.

Richie: What can fans expect from your latest release (NOW AVAILABLE), the self titled “Curtis Peoples”?

CP: In a way this is like my first full length record. I had an EP before that I’m really proud of. But with this album, I worked with other people, which was good. It was like our record, we were all in it and when it got down to it, we had like 15 songs and we sat in Marshall’s office and played the songs back and forth until we had the ones that we wanted. It’s really great man. The first three songs are really live and upbeat and then there are some ballads. It’s made as a heightened form of me… and I’m really, really stoked.

Richie: You said you worked with other people on the record. How is that different than doing your solo work?

CP: You know the thing is you just move on and keep going. If you disagree, you keep going. There were like two songs on the record especially… or this one song – I thought it was like too “pop” and Marshall was like, ‘No, it’s great, it’s great.’ And it’s that kind of thing for us. I said ‘Okay’ and we moved on. And one time he turned to me and was ‘I was wrong, you were right. Ok, let’s move on’. It’s cool.

Richie: What’s one thing we’d be surprised to hear about you?

CP: (Laughs) You know it’s funny because I share a lot of myself with everyone… I don’t know… People are surprised that I’m a good athlete.

Richie: Really?

CP: Yeah. It’s like anyone that’s known me after I was like 18 years old, doesn’t think I play sports. I think people expect since I’m like a “rocker dude”, that I can’t play sports. I mean, I’m not amazing but I’m pretty damn good (laughs). My brother was so good, that I had to compete with him. I keep telling people ‘I know I’m not amazing but I’m really good’ (laughs). I need to post a video of me like playing sports on something.

Richie: So, what’s next for Curtis Peoples?

CP: Well the record is coming out and we’re doing shows for it. We’re playing good shows with my friends like Keaton Simons, Tony Lucca. Then I go on tour with Keaton Simons and Todd Carey – east coast and Midwest. Just all these cool things that I’ve never gotten a chance to do. I’m just trying to ride the wave.

Richie: Well thanks man. I’m a big fan. Best of luck.

CP: Thanks man.

For more information on Curtis Peoples, check out www.CurtisPeoples.com

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