Sunday 20 Apr

Dustin Prinz - Eleven

Few musicians take the time to master their instrument in the way that Oklahoma City singer-songwriter Dustin Prinz has; he’s a guitar virtuoso in every sense of the word, and Eleven gives him the chance to show just how far he can push that skill.
04/15/2014 | Comments 0

Horse Thief – Fear in Bliss

Listening to Horse Thief’s previous release — the haphazardly melodramatic Grow Deep, Grow Wild — felt like a chore. Whatever potential the Oklahoma City folk-pop act demonstrated on the EP was obscured behind a formulaic, contrived and ultimately hollow cloud. But it at least offered a glimmer of promise for a band consisting of, frankly, five pretty talented dudes. Critics saw it; the band’s management saw it; its current label, Bella Union, saw it; and its increasingly fervid fan base saw it.
04/08/2014 | Comments 0

Colourmusic — May You Marry Rich

There’s always a sense of danger when debuting songs in a live setting and playing them well. Without having heard the studio versions, expectations are set according to the live incarnations. But capturing the breadth of free-flowing atmosphere and sheer volume on a disc, vinyl or digital file isn’t the easiest thing to do, especially for a band as vociferous as Colourmusic.
04/01/2014 | Comments 0

Em and the MotherSuperiors — Churches into Theaters

As titles go, Churches into Theaters is an apt descriptor for the debut album from Oklahoma City rockers Em and the MotherSuperiors. It’s a reverential record, one that shares the gospel of classic rock, blues and soul but embraces the need to refashion it for modern times, channeling The Dead Weather, Grace Potter and Cage the Elephant along the way.
03/25/2014 | Comments 0

Rachel Brashear — Revolution

Rachel Brashear’s second EP, Revolution, starts with a kick to the shins.
03/18/2014 | Comments 0
Home · Articles · Music · Music · Bang on!

Bang on!

Despite setbacks, Bang Tango is in the glam-metal game for the long haul, making lots of noise along the way.

Chris Parker January 18th, 2011

It all happened pretty quickly. One moment, Bang Tango singer Joe Lesté was just Joe McElyea, a 19-year-old from San Diego, Calif. The next, he was a rock star with a major-label deal and a hit video on MTV.

Bang Tango
7 p.m. Saturday

Samurai Saki House

3034 N. Portland

“I moved to L.A. and then the rest is history,” Lesté said. “We were signed six weeks later, and we’ve been going ever since.”

That’s not technically true, inasmuch as within three years of their 1989 glam-metal debut, “Psycho Café,” and its minor hit, “Someone Like You,” the band was dropped by MCA, another victim of Nirvana’s tsunami. But that wouldn’t be the last chapter, because Lesté’s never seen this as anything but a lifetime endeavor.

“I’ve had a hit, and it’s a great feeling and everything, but the one true thing that came to me at a younger age is that this is not about getting an overnight hit.” he said. “It’s about having a career.”

Bang Tango plays Saturday at Samurai Saki House.

One of the things that distinguished the group on the Sunset Strip in late ’80s was its sound. While the guitar featured those trebly, candycane-sweet runs indicative of the era’s metal, the rhythms were fueled by funky, hard-thumping bass.

“The idea was to have strong bass lines, no pre-thought-out notion of any sort. I wanted the guitars to drop out in certain spots and when they did, the bass was so prominent with the drums,” Lesté said. “It really lets the songs breathe a lot. That’s really important when you’re writing songs. They have to have breadth and everything, but also a solid punch and groove. We just kind of loved that sound.”

The guys endured a cycle of breakups and reformations throughout the ’90s. In 1999, Lesté went in another direction, hooking up with former BulletBoys guitarist DJ Ashba to form Beautiful Creatures, a more contemporary, angsty, post-grunge act. The whole thing arose when another band with a major label deal approached Lesté about replacing its lead singer, but its manager had a better idea. “He said, ‘Why don’t we just build a band around you and get you your own record deal?’” Lesté said.

We’re not Mötley Crüe — we know that.

—Joe Lesté

For a stretch, Bang Tango and Beautiful Creatures were alternating projects for him, but for the last few years, Bang Tango has been his main focus, hitting the road to rebuild its audience, using the same thing it initially did: a hot live show.

Lesté’s assembled a crack backing unit that banters maniacally in twisted camaraderie. Drummer Trent Anderson bags on guitarist Scott LaFlamme’s penchant for Addiction shirts.

“Trent dresses pretty cool, but at least Scotty can change his clothes; Trent can’t change his voice,” Lesté said, referencing Anderson’s high pitch, reminiscent of television’s “Saved by the Bell” character Screech. “We’re just a community of bullshit-slingers.”

Bang Tango’s currently putting together tunes for its as-yet-unrecorded sixth album. He said they’ve started writing “massive songs” that sound like a hybrid of Bang Tango and Beautiful Creatures.

“I love playing with all these other bands and new bands, seeing old buddies. It’s just like being a part of an awesome community,” he said. “I may not make much, but I’m still here. We’re not Mötley Crüe — we know that, but we’re not the smallest beans in the bucket, either.”

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