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Progressive Rock Interviews

Seconds Before Landing

Interviewed by Gary Hill
Interview with John Crispino of Seconds Before Landing from 2013
MSJ:

Can you catch the readers up on the history of your involvement in music – both individually and as a band?

Well, I started playing when I was about five.  My best friend’s dad was a marching band drummer, and I would hear him playing in the basement of their house when I would go over to visit. He would be blasting John Philip Sousa music, while practicing on a piece of wood that he had laid across two saw horses.  He gave me a pair of 1's marching band drum sticks, and told me to drum along. I did, and his encouragement really stoked the fire that I already had inside. From there, I played in marching and high school bands until I graduated. I also got my first real job as a drummer when I was fourteen, playing with guys who were in their mid 20s. They had the biggest R&B band around, and we traveled a lot on the weekends, doing gigs at all the colleges in a several hundred mile radius. By the time I graduated, I had played on the road with a variety of bands, learning a lot, but always coming back broke or near to it. I did that until maybe 22, then I decided with a buddy of mine to put together a studio, and that’s when I began writing music. We wrote and recorded a couple singles, an EP, and a few other things just to get our feet wet, and the music was received pretty well, especially overseas. My friend and I dissolved the partnership about five years into it, and I took over things myself. Fortunately, I really grew as a musician during that time, and I'm grateful for the days we spent in there.  Outside of moving the physical location of the building, and of course updating the equipment, I have been playing/writing/recording, ever since.  Once in the new location, I began writing for the new album, and finding the right musicians to work with me. That was about 2011, and the album was finished and mastered late spring of 2013. I have been working daily ever since.
MSJ: If you weren't involved in music what do you think you'd be doing?
Wow, there are so many things I love doing, but I would still be involved in the arts in some way. I love painting, photography and writing, so I am sure, it would be one or more of those.
MSJ: How did the name of the group originate?
The name "Seconds Before Landing" goes hand in hand with the idea I had for the concept album I created. It is suppose to be the time period in which people will be made aware of the "deception" that is going to take place on a global basis. Without saying too much, it can be what your mind envisions while listening to the music. . .
MSJ: Who would you see as your musical influences?
As a drummer, my main influences are two men. First is Joe Morello, and second is Carmine Appice. Also, I love the old blues, like Lightnin' Hopkins and Sonny Boy Williamson, and of course, anything the Funk Brothers ever played on.
MSJ: What's ahead for you?

What’s ahead now is me writing album number two, while at the same time letting people know about The Great Deception. That is a full time job for me, and with Deception taking me two years to write and record, I have wasted no time getting started on album two.

MSJ: I know artists hate to have their music pigeonholed or labeled, but how would you describe your music?
The truth is, when I released it, I wasn't sure myself.  The fans and reviewers have tagged it progressive rock, but prog rock that has hints of R&B, and maybe even a touch of jazz.  I would say that’s pretty accurate.
MSJ:

Are there musicians with whom you would like to play with in the future?

Yes, and I will tell you who comes to mind immediately: Adrian Belew, and David Gilmour.
MSJ: Do you think that illegal downloading of music is a help or hindrance to the careers of musicians?
How about both?  If you are a big name act, with multiple albums in your catalogue, I would assume you have enough money to live comfortably by this point. Those people are probably not hurt as much as a new act would be. I suppose people sometimes lose sight of just how much it takes to work on and put out a quality product.  If you don't support the musicians who are really playing their instruments and trying to create new and interesting music for you to listen to, then I suppose you will eventually be stuck with whatever corporate radio pushes on you next.
MSJ: In a related question, how do you feel about fans recording shows and trading them?
Personally, I have no problem with that. Unless they have a feed right from the mixing console, the sound will never be as good as something they can hear that was created in the studio.  Listen, I am a fan of many artists as well, and no matter what bootleg was given to me, I always go back to the originally recorded tracks.
MSJ: If you were a superhero, what music person would be your arch nemesis and why?
Oh goodness. OK, I am going to be "Peace Freak,” and my arch nemesis would be "Greed and Anger.” There is too much injustice in the world today, and as weak as it may sound, peace and love is way more necessary than anger and might.
MSJ: If you were to put together your ultimate band (a band you'd like to hear or catch live), who would be in it and why?
The "original" Funk Brothers! The number of hits they played on together is amazing, and they were just so unbelievably in the pocket.is.
MSJ: If you were in charge of assembling a music festival and wanted it to be the ultimate one from your point of view who would be playing?
Well, it probably would look confusing on the posters, but if I can choose living or dead, I am going with  Pink Floyd, Jeff Beck, Todd Rundgren’s Utopia (circa 1970 something), and King Crimson. Geez, what a combo.
MSJ: What was the last CD you bought and/or what have you been listening to lately?
The last one I bought was a mix of Steely Dan tracks I went and made at the local record store. That’s what has been in my car since the beginning of summer. Now, in my home, the only thing I ever have on is Pink Floyd. I literally wake up, reach over, and turn on the streaming internet radio station that plays nothing but Floyd. In the studio, I listen to nothing - just what I am working on.
MSJ: Have you read any good books lately?
I try and read/study for about three hours every night before I go to bed. I just finished The Trillion Dollar Conspiracy by Jim Maars.
MSJ: What about the last concert you attended for your enjoyment?
This won’t sound very "rock & roll,” but I am going to pick a Christmas concert that is done by a friend of mine: B.E. Taylor. Nice guys, tremendous musicians, and I love spending time with them the afternoon before their show.
MSJ: Do you have a musical “guilty pleasure?”
I suppose my guilty pleasure is Pink Floyd. I am amazed myself, at how much pleasure I get from listening to their music, and watching Gilmour play guitar. That - and working in my studio never gets old.
MSJ: What has been your biggest Spinal Tap moment?
There have been so many. Getting lost in the bowels of a theater while the band introduction is going on is one I recall clearly. You can hear the crowd is all wound up ready for that first note, and then, while you are struggling to get past waste bins and fire hoses to find the right set of stairs, you then hear your once excited crowd go eerily quiet - nothing quite like that.
MSJ: If you could sit down to dinner with any three people, living or dead, for food and conversation, with whom would you be dining?
My girlfriend Patty, my Goddaughter Alexis, and a dear friend I lost years ago, Turk.
MSJ: What would be on the menu?
Anything they wanted, and vegetarian for me.
MSJ: Are there any closing thoughts you would like to get out there?
First, thank you to all of the reviewers/fans who have supported this project early on. You have been absolutely wonderful. Thank you to all of the musicians who played with me on the album. I truly believe I have one of the most talented group of musicians ever assembled. And, thank you to those close to me, who continually show your love and support on a daily basis.
MSJ: This interview is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2013  Volume 5 at lulu.com/strangesound.
 
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