This fierce, haunting debut album has an inner life: autobiography as tension, rock as release. Inspired by months of playing and living together in an old Victorian house in Newark, New Jersey, pete’s inherent power and emotional honesty is immediately striking. Guitars crash with jackboot force against bottom-heavy bass and smashing drums, while the lyrics scream of fury, pain and release.
David and Rich founded a long time friendship through their obsession with music. The addition of Lars Alverson instantly impacted their sound, lending his own deep, heavy pulse. The three began playing together regularly, gigging around town. In a short time, they found a manager and expanded their sound toward something more moody and tribal. But as drummers came and went, the group had yet to fully articulate their vision.
Meanwhile in Minneapolis, drummer Scott Anderson was looking for a new gig. His old band shared the same manager, who, by chance, happened to be working with David, Rich, and Lars. A few phone calls were exchanged and an open invitation to play with like-minded souls was all it took. Scott packed his equipment, his dog, and a bit of blind faith into a run-down old van and drove out to New Jersey. Once in Newark, Scott painted houses for bread money while living out of his van, now parked in his managers’ backyard.
pete. was now complete. With Scott in place, the music grew darker and much more rhythmically inventive. The new rhythm section locked into a deep, harsh groove and transported their music to a new level. “We held onto the melody, but we became heavy,” says David. “Lars is the duke of spook – he brought moody, and Scott brought heavy. Major chords started disappearing, and now we had a drummer who kicked ass – there’s wood chips flying when Scott plays. So now we could round out the music, but be even more explosive.”
From this point on, pete. was no longer just a band but a lifestyle, playing and writing 24/7. It was time to take the next logical step: “Once we knew we had something really cool, we realized that we needed to live together, play together, and say fuck it to everything else,” recalls Rich. “So we found this big, old, vacant house next to an empty church on Heller Parkway – all sloping staircases, stained glass windows and dark wood. We had to clean up trash, used syringes and piss. We just threw down rugs in the basement and played. No wonder the music came out the way it did.”
Living collectively helped cement their blue-collar work ethic, which now extended into touring and live performance. This took them all over the country, and they began building a fan base the old-fashioned way. Scott would book the band into clubs in towns like Detroit, Toledo and Iowa City, where Rich says he was pleasantly surprised by the welcome. “It was great – in a lot of these clubs, people were really receptive to new sounds and would just flow into clubs to hear original music.” David adds, “We basically discovered that if you can hold onto another band’s crowd, then you know you can survive on the road.”
Now all of that live energy is distilled and brought to a new level on the band’s self-titled debut. Careening from the pummeling leadoff track “Sweet Daze,” through the haunting “Burn,” the epic “Awake,” and closing with the stunning, powerful “Bury Me,” pete. achieves everything that rock bands hope to accomplish on any album, mush less a debut: A complete song cycle that expresses life bursting with raw pain and hopeful redemption. The lyrics are dark and personal, yet universal – cathartic in the best sense, letting the listeners share in the purge. David says, “Our music is not always happy – but I like the way it makes me feel. I’m into the stuff that fucks with our heads.”
The sound of pete. is raw, organic, but dynamic and full, moving effortlessly from quiet, melodic passages to thunderous rock. “We like that contrast,” says Lars. “It makes our music that much heavier. We respect the quiet parts of a song, it’s much more intense.”
“One thing I can tell you,” adds Rich, “Our ideas and our sounds are constantly changing – it changed even while we were in the studio making this record. We try to keep evolving. We always will.”
This is pete.: four musicians who have lived through their music and found a sound all their own. Together they share a vision, a rage and a combined skeleton of twisted spirituality. They have become a band through hard work. “We lived the music together,” says guitarist Rich Andruska. Adds singer David Terrana, “It’s how we became a family.”