Thursday 31 Jul

Power Pyramid - The God Drums

Power Pyramid doesn’t have much patience for nonsense. That appears to be the takeaway from the Oklahoma City quintet’s last 10 months, which brought The God Drums in September, the Insomnia EP in January and its latest, self-titled effort in July.

07/29/2014 | Comments 0

TJ Mayes - "When Love Comes Down"

’50s era rock ’n’ roll had been long overdue for a rebirth. Thankfully, the stockpile of capable luminaries has not been in short supply over the past few years. 

07/23/2014 | Comments 0

Boare - "playdatshit"

The world is in the midst of an electronic music renaissance, and you find most of this boon of producers laying claim to the club-friendly, bass-dropping variety, holing up in the the free-flowing world of hip-hop beatmaking or pitching their tent on the out-there, boundary-pushing EDM camp.
07/23/2014 | Comments 0

Broncho - "Class Historian"

Broncho has never been hurting in the hook department. The success of the trio’s 2011 debut, Can’t Get Past the Lips, was predicated mostly on its ability to marry melodies with kinetic guitar riffs and anarchic energy. Yet we’ve heard nothing to the degree of pure pop catchiness on display in “Class Historian,” the new single from Broncho’s upcoming sophomore album, Just Enough Hip to Be Woman.
07/23/2014 | Comments 0

Manmade Objects - Monuments

No one wants to be forgotten; everyone wants some sort of legacy, a mark they leave behind as they exit this life for whatever lies beyond.

And for as long as there has been death, there have been monuments — whether austere or understated, abstract or concrete, prominent or tucked away in private — erected by the ones they loved to assure that remembrance, at least for a time.
07/15/2014 | 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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