Angelo Santucci, musical Orphan at heart
1.0 How do you see yourself, as a singer? a songwriter? or a musician? Musician first, then songwriter. I feel OK saying that I’m those things, or at least trying to be those things. I never liked my own voice much. It seems like most people don’t care for their own voices, and I’m one of them. I feel more comfortable being the background voice then the lead voice….I have this fear that I’m going to be at a party years from now and an old friend or band mate is going to put something of mine on, that I’m singing on, possibly to be reminiscent, or even as a joke, and I’ll be running for the nearest sedative….or rope.
2.0 Which do you prefer most, writing, recording, or playing live? I suppose that it depends on the situation, but writing and recording interests me more than playing live. Although, I do enjoy playing live, sometimes very much. Since I seem to play in different scenarios, either as a backing player, fronting a band, or solo, and I don’t do any of them consistently for long periods of time, there’s quite a bit of preparation needed which can be quite tedious. I often feel like I’m under-rehearsed and on shaky ground playing in some of the situations that I play in. Often times very relieved, almost celebrating, that it finished without a major glitch or catastrophe…..The writing, and the demoing stage, is what I like the most. Writing a new song, and doing the instrumentation on something that feels like it may be a good piece is always enjoyable.
3.0 Any “rule of thumb” advice for guitarists backing up & accompanying other artists on stage? First, and foremost, know the material extremely well, but still bring your cheat sheets or chord charts to hide onstage, in case there’s a brain cramp. Second, is to remember that it’s not your show. You’re there to help, add color, etc. Not overshadow the person, or people, that everyone has come to see. More times than not “less is more”. Ease in and out. Pick and choose your spots to play in and be seen. Many times I’ve played in acts where there’s been several of us that are asked to accompany and someone is really over anxious to impress, but instead was up front so much that they’ve annoyed the audience and the people that they’re playing with. Besides, those things, there’s the obvious other important aspects like proper gear, attire, being on time, etc..
4.0 How are The Orphans? All seem to be OK. It’s grown into quit a large club over the years, but they seem to be hanging in there. I wish I had a chance to see and play with them more often then I do.
5.0 How many songs have you written and recorded? have a favorite? Not as many as I should have for the amount of time that I’ve been at it. Recorded 35-ish that have been released on records. With another 10-ish that have been recorded for other media projects. I’ve probably written another 40-50 or so that I haven’t recorded. I’m fairly slow and laboring. It’s a bad trait. It doesn’t mean it came out better, maybe just beaten to death…..I think the last few things that I’ve released, “As You Fall,” “Good Enough From Here.” and “Not Far Behind,” turned out OK. Usually, I look back at most of the stuff I’ve recorded and wish I had done it differently.
6.0 How does a song start for you? Usually, songs start on a guitar or piano with chord progressions or a hook. Then I’ll come up with a vocal melody and some scratch lyrics. Eventually changing and finishing the lyrics. Sometimes I’ll come up with the vocal melody first and then write the music. I always write the lyrics last – those seem to take the longest for me. I tend to slave over that a bit.
7.0 How do you feel about a beer or two before going on? It’s essential for me before a show. Usually a second during the show. I’ve started shows with more in me, much more, but it ends up being more of a challenge then something that takes the edge off…..like the kid that smokes pot in high school, walks down the halls, talks to teachers, talks to other students, trying desperately to function, while hoping it wears off quickly…..I know, not a great analogy.
8.0 You have a sultry voice and spin yarns with your lyrics, do women ever throw themselves at you when you come off stage? Woman throwing themselves at me probably would ease the pain of some of those shakier shows that I mentioned. I’ve been using excuses, like I’m married with little kids, and that’s why there’s rarely any interest from woman in the audience. The reality is that they don’t even know that about me….I recently did have a woman stop me and tell me that there was something about me that she really liked, but she couldn’t figure out what it was. She went on to tell me that it may have been because there was nothing in me that she found attractive or sexy. That she liked me because I didn’t pose a threat to her or her relationship. All while sporting a big friendly grin, like she was giving me a compliment. All I could do was smile back and thank her. Didn’t know if I should laugh or cry, so I did a little of both…..That about sums it all up……I guess once in a while some over served woman will slur something my way, but not often.
9.0 What is your favorite stage acoustic guitar and why? My favorite acoustic guitar, that I own, is a Larrivee L-05. On stage and off. It has a red-ish Mahogany top and I nice deep bottom sound that I personally like. It’s a slightly smaller, more sloped shouldered guitar that I’m comfortable with. I have a black takamine ef-341 that I’ve also used for years. It sounds OK plugged in on stage, but not too good off stage. It’s been battered and broken through the years, and I tend to bring it when I play out of town; not too worried about it getting ruined.
10.0 Does time behave differently on stage versus off? It seems like time always moves very slowly before a show. Maybe it’s the anticipation thing. Depends on the gig. I guess it’s like anything. If it’s going well and is a lot of fun, time moves very quickly. Otherwise, not so much. If the show goes well and I’m with a bunch of friends afterwards, that’s always great. Maybe to the point of being a blur. Equally fast. Sometimes so fast that before you know it, it’s morning and you’re waking up with a stiff neck and a headache on someone’s couch ~