Cruel Juno – Interview
Interview with Pete Devine of Pete’s Rock News and Views (http://petesrocknewsandviews.com)
PD: What type of artist are you?
CJ: CRUEL JUNO is straight up full-throttle hard rock. Loud at any volume! Drum-wise I don’t get too busy. I want the songs to rock, and I’m not going to step all over them by over-playing. I tend to stick to single bass, giving the songs a bit more old-school hard rock sound – think ‘80s JUDAS PRIEST, with modern production.
PD: Tell us the brief history of yourself.
CJ: When I moved back to my old hometown in Texas a few years ago, I couldn’t find a local band to join. So I thought I’d ask the musicians on some of my favorite albums if they’d be willing to record with me remotely from their home studios. Amazingly, they were interested, and CRUEL JUNO was born. With Italian guitarist Luca Princiotta (DORO, BLAZE) and Sicilian vocalist Gandolfo Ferro (Heimdall) signed on as special guests, I produced the first single, “Swallow My Medicine” – and then went in search of additional artists to work with, such as Fabio Lione (RHAPSODY, ANGRA, VISION DIVINE), Oliver Palotai (KAMELOT, EPICA), Gian-Andrea Costa (DREAMSHADE), and Jasio Kulakowski (KOBRA AND THE LOTUS). And there’s still more people I’d like to work with! I sometimes think of the project as “My Avantasia.”
Our new EP, “Playing With Monsters” will be available online everywhere January 10, 2020!
PD: Who are your musical and non-musical influences?
CJ: The bands I’ve mentioned are the biggest: JUDAS PRIEST, DORO, and many of the current Italian metal bands such as ETERNAL IDOL, VISION DIVINE, etc.
PD: What are your dreams and goals?
CJ: This is it, really. Sure, everyone would like to be the next biggest thing, but I keep my dreams realistic. This isn’t just an album – I’m realizing my dream. Ever wanted to walk up to your favourite musicians and ask, “Hey, will you jam with me?” And they respond, “Yeah!” That’s what I’m doing – I’m playing with monsters!
PD: Who writes your songs, what are they about?
CJ: I’ve written most of them. Gandolfo Ferro, my vocalist (who sings for Heimdall), wrote the music for “Wound Too Tight.” When I started out, I wanted to tie all of our songs together, not as a concept album, but using a general theme. With the first song being “Swallow My Medicine,” which had an overall Jeckyll/Hyde feel, I decided that each song would represent a classic monster: Jeckyll/Hyde, Dracula, Frankenstein, and the Mummy. The monster theme also provided a great way to have quality music videos. I’d edit old monster movies and set them to our music. They’re fun to watch, and it’s really the only affordable option with musicians are spread all over the world. – Although for the new mummy single, “Wound Too Tight,” there was really not enough footage of mummies in any old mummy movie, so I had to shoot my own video. I bought a spandex bodysuit mummy costume and filmed myself in front of a tomb backdrop. It was all going OK until the zipper broke midway through the take. Ever worn a spandex bodysuit? Let me tell you a secret: They’re just like Cinderella. You have until the twelfth stroke of the clock to get home before you’re naked, because those suits will literally just peel off your body once the zipper fails. The suit was ruined, so I had to reuse the first half of the take I’d filmed, making the mummy video I filmed genuine B-Movie material. Rock and Roll! lol
PD: How do you promote your band and shows?
CJ: Through Facebook, mostly. We are an international collaboration, and our audience is international. People from all over the world are finding us. We’re on YouTube as well, but that hasn’t worked as well, because our audience is finding us through Facebook.
PD: What do you think about downloading music online?
CJ: It’s great. Without it, our audience would never hear us!
PD: What song do you wish you’d written and why?
CJ: Any of them that sold millions.
PD: What are some of your pet peeves?
CJ: Musicians telling me how much better they play drunk or stoned, then showing up to a gig drunk or stoned and ruining the gig with their awful playing. (And still believing they’re doing great.)
PD: What is your proudest moment in music?
CJ: The first time my daughter saw me on stage.
PD: So what are you working on at the moment?
CJ: I am co-writing a new song with Jasio Kulakowski (KOBRA AND THE LOTUS). That should be done very soon, and Luca Princiotta (DORO) has contributed a new song that I need to record drums for. So we are well on our way to having new music in 2020!
PD: Tell us about your next shows and why we should be there.
CJ: There are no shows. It would be extremely difficult to play shows with the musicians I record with. Not only are we in different countries and continents, we are all involved in separate projects. That doesn’t diminish the interest, though. I’ve encouraged Gandolfo to perform the songs with his band in Sicily. I’d love to watch that via live feed!
Our music is available online pretty much everywhere – Spotify, Amazon, Google Play, Apple, etc. Videos are on Facebook and YouTube. And I’m currently pressing a VERY limited number of CDs – only 50. I’ll likely put the CDs on Reverb.com, but people can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to get one, too. I’ve got handwritten lyrics and the drumsticks used on each song for anyone who likes that sort of thing.