Semi Precious Weapons to release We Love You
New York’s most outrageous rock band, Semi Precious Weapons (SPW), has released their debut album WE LOVE YOU last September 30th with a very special limited edition USB jewelry CD combo package. WE LOVE YOU will be available in three formats: single CD, single CD with necklace, and double jewel case with limited edition gun USB jewelry necklace (link to photos: Semi Precious Weapons USB and CD photos). The re-writable USB will include bonus content – two full length music videos, liner notes, photos, and wallpaper. The inspiration for this comes from SPW lead vocalist Justin Tranter’s hugely successful rock-inspired jewelry line, Fetty. The line is available at Urban Outfitters, Fred Segal and Hot Topic; an exclusive high-end version is also sold at Barneys. SPW will do an in-store signing event for their new album at Barneys New York on October 21st.
"I started my jewelry line as band merchandise. It blew up and took on an amazing life of its own,” explains Tranter. “Having a USB necklace that we made ourselves brings it full circle. Kunty rock n’ roll jewelry that contains actual SPW rock n’ roll content. It’s like I made it up, it’s so fabulous, but it’s real!"
In other SPW news, the band will appear on E!’s much-talked about “Chelsea Lately” show on October 2nd and is also currently being filmed for MTV’s “Made” set to air in November. SPW will be featured in WWD, Zink Magazine, YRB Magazine, Venus Magazine and on the cover of New York City’s The Deli in support of their new release. The band will tour through the fall and are confirmed for Perez Hilton’s CMJ showcase in October (tour dates listed below).
Artist: Semi Precious Weapons
Title: We Love You
Release date: 09/30/08
Label: Razor & Tie Records
Semi Precious Weapons
Buy at: Amazon
SPW recently celebrated fashion week with a much buzzed about Page Six Magazine/M.A.C. Cosmetics-sponsored party and a M.A.C. Cosmetics Garage Glam Facial contest. The lucky winner received a makeover backstage in the main tent at Bryant Park 2008 Mercedes Benz Fashion Week and attended the Baby Phat fashion show with Justin Tranter.
Semi Precious Weapons is Justin Tranter (vocals), Aaron Lee Tasjan (guitar), Cole Whittle (bass), and Dan Crean (drums). Known for their eccentric and unbelievable live shows, the band has been described as “Gun Blazing bitch-rock….a hybrid of Bowiesque stage seduction and Sex Pistols” – LA Weekly. Vogue has called SPW “a hot new sound for 2008…deliciously animated.” WE LOVE YOU, produced by the legendary Tony Visconti (T. Rex, David Bowie, and Morrissey), features 12 in-your-face, raw rock songs. Crowd favorites include the song “Semi Precious Weapons,” which boasts the line: “I can’t pay my rent but I’m f***ing gorgeous”, first single “Magnetic Baby” and “Her Hair.” The Guardian (in the United Kingdom) has already dubbed SPW “the most important band in America.”
11 New York, NY Mercury Lounge/ 101.9 RXP show
24 New York, NY CMJ Perez Hilton Showcase
Semi Precious Weapons biography
Justin Tranter's not like everybody else. “Why would you want to be like everybody else?” demands the Semi Precious Weapons frontman. “Rock'n'roll is supposed to be rebellious, shocking, ridiculous.” The Brooklyn quartet's debut album, WE LOVE YOU is all that and more: Ten soulful, sleazy, celebratory tunes that rock as hard and stylishly as Justin swaggers. It's not my fault that I look better in her party dress, he shrugs and taunts at the beginning of “Magnetic Baby,” a song that nails the band's garage-glam to your ears with hooks the likes of which have not been heard since Axl Rose was pretty. “Musically, there's a little more cock rock than what people think of when they think of glam,” says Justin. “It's raucous, hypersexual, easy-to-sing-along-to rock'n'roll, with my self-indulgent self-empowered lyrics.” Voted “Best Band in New York” by readers of the Village Voice last year, Semi Precious Weapons are a band that's thrilled to say they got to play all-ages gigs at CBGBs, but wouldn't necessarily feel out of place at the John Varvatos store (which recently took over the lease from the legendary music club). After all, Justin had a make-up artist (Jenny Brown) before SPW had an A&R guy.
The band's not-so-dirty secret, and the reason why the songs are as accomplished and concise as they are bloody and bombastic, is that all four members are whip-sharp musicians. Tranter, guitarist Aaron Lee Tasjan, bassist Cole Whittle and drummer Dan Crean met when studying music at school in Boston. Introduced through a producer friend, the foursome joined up for good after a Tasjan solo gig in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. “There's a bar right down the street from my loft called Tommy's Tavern,” says Justin. “We heard him play and were blown away.”
A classic rock obsessive whose own solo work remains firmly rootsy, Tasjan encouraged Justin to make SPW more grandiose. “We wanted to make filthy party hits; bring the party back to rock'n'roll and back to New York City.” Tasjan says. “The songs Justin had already written were great songs, but they didn't have super-catchy choruses. I kind of thought, let's write songs that should be on the radio.” Aaron’s new riffs allowed the band to play as hard as they wanted and the lyrics to be as over-the-top as Justin wanted. Ten minutes into their first rehearsal, the whole band bashed out its eponymous raison d'etre, a raucous mashing up of Iggy, Angus Young and Courtney Love, “Semi Precious Weapons.” Tasjan recalls, “We played it at our gig a couple of days after we wrote it. When Justin sang, I can't pay my rent but I'm fucking gorgeous, every face in the crowd lit up.” A star was born.
Things were going so well Tasjan never got around to telling his new bandmates that he still lived in Ohio—he actually drove back and forth to gigs and practiced for nearly seven months before taking a spot on Justin's couch. Not yet 21, he also claimed to be a teetotaler, which was fine by Justin, a non-drinker himself. “I don't really have any inhibitions, so I don't need alcohol or drugs,” he says. “My role on this earth is to encourage others to be as crazy as they want to be.”
He also fills that role by making jewelry, a business that he only started 'cause the band needed some merch to sell at early gigs. “My mom's an engagement ring designer, so when it was time to get a day job at 18, a jewelry store is where I went,” he says. “I knew where I could go in the wholesale fashion district to buy pieces to put stuff together.” His necklaces based on the band's gun and hearts logo quickly blossomed into Fetty Brooklyn, now a three-tiered line (Fetty, Semi Precious Weapons and Fame) available at Barney's, Urban Outfitters and Fred Segal, as well as home-base boutique Alter. “We paid for our record with jewelry money,” Justin says. Justin has also branched out into shoes, with a limited edition made for DKNY.
Live, Semi Precious Weapons are in a class of their own. The band is known for their energy filled, circus-like live shows. LA Weekly describes “Gun-blazing bitch-rock. Weapons are a hybrid of Bowie-esque stage seduction and Sex Pistols-style insolence.” Bass player Cole Whittle thrashes about stage with his ultimate fighting moves, while drummer Dan Crean fiercely pummels the drums. The band has been engaging fans across the country, recently selling out shows at Canada’s NXNE Music Festival. Not to mention the shows in Paris and London (where Kate Moss showed up, and The Guardian called SPW “the most important band in America.”)
The first stop on the path to WE LOVE YOU was B.P. Fallon (the legendary Irish DJ and former publicist for Led Zeppelin, T. Rex, Traffic, Thin Lizzy etc), who put Semi Precious Weapons on at one of his Death Disco nights and was simply overwhelmed by their tumescence. At a subsequent gig Fallon introduced them to producing giant Tony Visconti (David Bowie, T. Rex, Morrissey). “I've been waiting for you guys for years,” Visconti told the band. Given that Justin came of age listening to female rappers and Nirvana, he didn't know enough to be intimidated. “It wasn't until after I met him that I realized the amount of records he'd produced, and how many legendary songs he was responsible for,” he says. “It was really exciting to hear somebody who's been involved with so many important records tell us, “I'll do anything I can to be a part of it.”
Executive-produced by Visconti with Mario J. McNulty and the band, We Love You is a 21st Century New York City classic, from the trashy deep-kiss overture of “Taste” to the gloriously blasphemous “Jesus”--a true story about two outwardly mad-for-it but inwardly abstinent fans (as I lay me down to sleep/I pray the Lord will pop my fucking cherry, Justin wails). “Her Hair Is On Fire,” pays tribute to the classic hip-hop chant, while “That's Kunt,” transforms America's sole remaining conversational taboo into the band's self-styled accolade. “Anything that has tons of attitude, anything that's fabulous, whether it was an outfit or a guitar riff or a packed house, we'd be like, 'that's kunt,' says Justin. “So I was like, fuck it. I'm going to write a song called 'That's Kunt' (the mutated spelling was a small concession).” The song is a monster hit live.
Part hedonist and part satirist, Justin's lyrics are both tongue-in-cheek and a sincere expression of his core philosophy. Sometimes I bleed because red is a good color for me, he sings in “Rock'N'Roll Never Looked So Beautiful,” a slow-burn epic on the order of “November Rain” or “Champagne Supernova.” “If you decide you look amazing, than you are,” he says. “If you say you're the most beautiful, you are.” Don't let the clothes or make-up fool you – Justin is neither goth nor emo (nor a drag queen), just a guy who gets along well with his inner glamazon. “People get so upset that we like ourselves,” he says. “They want bands to talk about how tortured they are, and how much fun they're not having.”
“The cool thing about this band is that everybody is themselves,” says Tasjan. “Justin wears his high heels every day. It's not a stage performance choice. It's what makes him feel good when he gets up in the morning.” Says Justin, “A man in heels and make-up is still quite a shock to most of the world. I think it looks fantastic, some people get angry. Which for rock'n'roll is kind of a perfect combination.” And it turns out Justin is willing to admit that Semi Precious Weapons are like everybody else in one respect. “We're playing rock'n'roll as good as anybody that's ever played rock'n'roll,” he says. “We just look better doing it.”
And that's kunt.
who is who?
Justin Tranter: lead vox
Aaron Lee Tasjan: guitar and b/vs
Cole Whittle: bass
Dan Crean: drums
more 'somewhat older' Semi Precious Weapons information
"I can't pay my rent but I'm fucking gorgeous!" Justin Tranter sings tongue-in-chic in the Semi Precious Weapons signature song Semi Precious Weapons - adding during SPW’s forthcoming first single Magnetic Baby “It’s not my fault I look better in her party dress!”
Managed by BP Fallon – associated with T.Rex/Led Zeppelin/Johnny Thunders/U2 - and executive produced by Tony Visconti - T.Rex/Bowie/Thin Lizzy/Morrissey – New York’s Semi Precious Weapons are the new heroes of garage glam.
SPW frontman Justin Tranter is the last great modern rock star, the most lewd showman since Prince was king, a fiercely charismatic six foot tall platinum blonde 21st Century Boy morphing of DB as Ziggy, Iggy with a mad stylist and Freddie Mercury on the high notes.
Says producer Tony Visconti “I’ve been waiting for this band for 20 years! Semi Precious Weapons are just incredible. The songs are powerful, glamorous and, frankly, dirty. Justin is – wait for it – beautiful. It won’t be long before they belong in your iPod”.
The Semi Precious Weapons debut album We Love You – the most highly-anticipated album in the New York semi-monde since the Ramones first 12-incher – is released in the USA October 30. This brilliantly kunty ten tracker will ruffle a few feathers in some places but those people need to be plucked.
The rest of us will get off on the most fearless new band on the planet. Glamour! Sexuality! Rock’n’Roll! Hit Songs! Incredible musicianship! Smiling people of all sorts. Justin Tranter clad magnificently in some mad garment created by Tommy and Roy Couture of Alter. Be who you are.
Says Justin “Semi Precious Weapons is about everyone. If you love great rock’n’roll, if you love glamour, if you love a crazy live show or if you just love a good party, you are welcome and We Love You. Conservative, Liberal, Straight, Gay, Young, Old, it doesn't matter. If you are ready to love us, We Love You. Actually, even if you hate us, We Love You”.
Already 70,000 items of Semi Precious Weapons jewelry designed by Justin have been bought at Barneys, Urban Outfitters and Hot Topic. Listen, it’s happening even in Korea - fabled photographer Terry Richardson shot our Mr Tranter for Korean Vogue, where he’s the face of fashion brand Polham.
And the stunning SPW reality series Magnetic Baby is executive-produced by double Academy Award winner Barbara Kopple - who made the acclaimed Dixie Chicks movie Shut Up And Sing – and is available free from iTunes and viewable at magneticbaby.com
Ah, Weapons of mass seduction. Says Steve Conte of The New York Dolls “Semi Precious Weapons are my new favorite band”. And UK music mogul Alan McGee – who discovered Oasis, The Jesus And Mary Chain, My Bloody Valentine and The Libertines – says “The Libertines and Semi Precious Weapons are Post Modern rock stars”.
It’s a Semi Precious World.
"We Love You" by Semi Precious Weapons - release date: 09/30/08..