|Saints and Lovers
|brothers, inmates, little kids?
Vicky U. Lee - April 28, 2008
The most impressive three-piece
band you will ever encounter, brothers Scott (lead guitar) and
Doug (drums) Meola and adopted brother, Dennis Cahlo (lead vocals,
rhythm guitar, bass), have joined forces as Saints + Lovers to
create a sumptuous sound that Phil Spector could only do with
a full orchestra.
How long have you all been doing
Doug: We [Scott & Doug] started playing guitar and drums respectively
when we were real little. We took private lessons and made noise
in the house ever since we were old enough to do it.
Dennis: When I was in middle school, I was in chorus. My voice
was so high, I was in the first soprano section with all the girls.
I used to get made fun of all the time. Then-I used to want to
direct movies-then I picked up the guitar and it was so much fucking
easier. It was just instant.
What's your songwriting process
Doug: We never labor over songwriting, it just flows. And Dennis
writes all the lyrics.
Scott: Dennis can come up with amazing melodies that are finished
on the spot, I've never seen anything like it. Plus, everybody
does what they do well, and we all accept what the other one does.
Dennis: We don't really have our hands in each others'
And I think we've all had experiences where we've been very frustrated.
Now we're in a band where we can do whatever the fuck we want-the
inmates are running the asylum.
The EP is beautiful, but I was
really impressed by the fullness of your sound live.
Dennis: We hear a lot of criticism, "You need a bass, you
need background vocals." But working with those limitations
actually makes you sound fuller, because you're finding ways to
say, "All right, how are we going to make this sound big
without a sampler, without a backing track, without anything?"
How much do you think about
Scott: The Realistics really downplayed style, and the band we
[Scott & Doug] were in was out there-glam, makeup, like David
Bowie weird stuff. So when Dennis and I got together, I was like,
"I'm downplaying it, I'm tired of all the weird shit."
Dennis: And I was like, "I'm putting on a dress!"
What about the backlighting?
Dennis: People say, "I had to kind of turn away because the
lights blinded me," and I'll say, "Great!" Because
then you're really listening to the music, you're having a more
sonic experience than visual.
Doug: We wanted to have almost an anonymous appearance, so that
it doesn't matter how cute the guitar player is.
Dennis: [to Scott] Very cute. And people are always like, "You
know, if record labels come out and see you guys with the backlighting,
you're never going to get signed."
Scott: If someone doesn't want to sign you because of your backlighting,
there's a problem.
How much do you think about
Dennis: In New York, you have to starve, you have to live in a
crappy apartment, you have to suffer. Because then you've really
earned your stripes. If you've been in a band for six months and
get signed to Columbia, go fuck yourself. Go on tour and eat peanut
butter out of a jar with a plastic fork, then get your record
Scott: But if we get a record deal right now, we're okay.
Dennis: Yeah, I wouldn't mind. But we've paid our dues. And other
people's dues, too.
So what's the next step?
Scott: Madison Square Garden.
Doug: World domination.
Dennis: Remember what we said about record labels? [Moves in closer
to the tape recorder] We really want to get signed.
Tell me a fun band story.
Pressure's on, go!
Dennis: What about the time
like, two shows ago at the Mercury?
Scott: We had already gotten to the Mercury, and Doug was going
Doug: I had a rental van for all our gear. I went two blocks from
the Mercury, I'm making a turn, and a lady pulls out and smashes
right into me. And I'm like, "You're kidding me." I'm
standing in the middle of the street, the woman's yelling at me,
nobody speaks English except me, and I got a gig to play! I had
to wait for the police to come. An hour goes by, all this is rectified,
I'm driving down the street and I pull up to park, and I scrape
against another car. It was like Spinal Tap.
Dennis: Then we had this amazing show! When things go wrong, we
have amazing shows, so we're always hoping for some high drama.
Doug: But as serious as our music is sometimes, we're like little
Dennis: We laugh so much. I don't care if you're the darkest band
in the world, if you can't laugh with each other, just quit.
"In New York, you have to starve, you have to live in a crappy apartment, you have to suffer. Because then you've really earned your stripes. If you've been in a band for six months and get signed to Columbia, go fuck yourself. Go on tour and eat peanut butter out of a jar with a plastic fork, then get your record deal."
Saints and Lovers
listen to "
The most beautiful wall of sound yet to grace the New York Scene