By Chyrisse Tabone, Rock At Night Tampa Correspondent
Venue: Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Tampa, Florida–June 11, 2016
Rock At Night had the pleasure of seeing alt-rock band Slingshot Robot at Seminole Hard Rock in Tampa, Florida on June 11, 2016. Normally, the band plays an electrified set of 90s grunge style music but they toned it down that evening for the Hard Rock’s June Acoustic Series in the Jazz Cafe, which showcases local bands. Rock At Night interviewed Al Picazio, drummer, and you can check out the interview below:
Rock At Night: Hi, Al…Great show at Hard Rock Casino, Tampa! Can you introduce me to the band and tell me what instruments each person plays?
Al: Thank you so much! We are glad you enjoyed it! OK, well, we have Doug Bailey on vocals and guitar, Al Picazio on drums, Harold Rule on lead guitar, Ed Rodgers on rhythm guitar, and Ed “Taz” Gardner on bass
RAN: So, how did you all arrive at the name of the band–Slingshot Robot?
The name was originally Doug’s Xbox username for online game play. We liked the name as it was original and no other band or entity had that exact name.
How long has the band been together? Did you start writing music together right off the bat? How does the music get written? What is the process?
Doug and I have been in bands together for the past 10 years, which brought us together for this band. We work very well together so it feels very natural to write music together. This band and all the members have been together for a year and a half now. We spent the first eight months writing and recording our CD simply titled “Slingshot Robot”. Doug usually comes up with a course and some chords on the guitar and then the band builds the song from there. This process works well for us.
Your music sounds kind of 90s/alternative. I noticed a bit of rap too. How would you describe the genre? What bands influenced you all growing up?
We haven’t really labeled ourselves in a genre as of yet. We are just concentrating on making music that moves us and hope the rest of the world comes along for the ride. The band as a whole has such a large and diverse musical background. Most of the band comes from a very heavy hard rock and prog rock background, while Doug comes from a very alternative rock background. The band’s influences are everything from The Clarks to Kiss.
You mentioned during the concert the band has an album. Can you tell me about the album and where people can find it?
Our CD is simply titled Slingshot Robot and is available for download on CD Baby and very soon on iTunes as well. The album is a collection of songs we wrote when the band first got together. It’s about everyday life and experiences that people go through. Life, love, loneliness and loss.
You all seem to be playing a lot of gigs in Tampa Bay. Does the band have any plans to expand its gigs, like maybe tour out of state?
We will be heading on a small tour starting this Fall and going to Georgia and New Orleans through to Houston and back home for a string of shows, here as well.
Now, you all played an acoustic set at the Casino but your music is typically “electric.” Was it difficult to tone down the songs?
Not at all. Most, if not all of our songs, start out in the acoustic form, so switching to acoustic seemed natural in a sense. Playing acoustic gives us the opportunity for more people to hear our music. Rock clubs to coffee shops, we got it covered. We enjoy performing our songs either way.
You’ve been in the music business a number of years. In the day of electronics and technology, how do you think this has changed the way people make and record music?
This is an interesting subject with different opinions from different artists. Making music in modern times has gone very digital, and gives the artist many different ways to record and write songs. Some things are lost though in the process and modern music seems too computerized and processed. The organic feel of a song sometimes gets lost. I know of bands who don’t even live in the same state but write and record together via the internet. To me or in my opinion, you lose the natural organic feel of a well-rehearsed band. There are pros and cons to every argument when it comes to this subject. This could go on for a long time as there is no simple answer to your question. It is a good question though and one worth being discussed for sure.
What is something unique about each member that people would be surprised to know? Like something contradicting to being a rock musician….
Let’s see, Doug is a father of six children, which is a task in itself. Al has been battling kidney failure for the past six years and undergoes dialysis treatments three days a week while being a powerhouse drummer (lol). Taz is a professional lighting director for the past 25 years as well as a tour manager for some of the world’s most popular recording artists. Harold likes mountain hiking and Ed is in his first band……and is very good celebrity impressionist.
What kind of message does the band have or is there something you all would want the public to know about the band?
We just love making music and we try to make music everyone can enjoy. We are well in to recording our second album and it is sounding so good we can’t wait for people to hear it. This band will be around for a long time, we are just getting started. Come on out, see a Slingshot Robot show and have some fun with us. We look forward to seeing our fans every show as they are all our family. Peace and God bless!
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I grew up in a household full of rock music, studied journalism in college, and then became a scientist.Although my science career has served me well, music has always played a major role in my life. I grew up reading "Creem" magazine; I play several musical instruments as a "hobby";and it seems a camera has always been in my hand. Now, I am combining what I love the most--music and photography--serving as editor of Rock At Night. My motto: life is short...no regrets. Chyrisse