Peter Recine is the musical director of my touring band, my go-to guitarist, and one of my best friends. Crazy enough, we met on Craigslist. In 2012 was putting together a band for tour and I was looking for something special. I wanted professional players who also happened to share the same DIY punk ideals that I did, people who were down to join me on this crazy journey of mine.
Pete thought his audition went terribly. He broke a string on the first song. He broke a string on the second song. I still talk about how much I loved it. What I saw was a guy who was so good he could have everything go wrong and yet play the parts perfectly. I was sold, and nearly four years later, he's still my right-hand man.
Pete is really really really fucking good at knowing exactly what I want. When I ask "can you play something like needly needly noodley noo" he somehow is able to translate that into the guitar lines of my dreams. When we were making New Love, I played everything I could within my limited scope of ability (I'm a rhythm guitarist, I guess?) and then Pete swooped in and saved the day, filling out the songs with the intricate layers that were the icing on the cake.
For the next three weeks, Pete will be holed up in his newly built studio in Los Angeles, producing and engineering as many sessions as possible before we hit the road. Check out my interview with him below to learn more about him, and make sure you say hi when you see us on tour this fall.
AW: How long have you been a professional creative person?
PR: I've been playing music my whole life and started recording my own bands when I was a freshman in high school but I didn't start making a living off of music until I was in college. By the time I graduated and moved to Brooklyn 5 years ago I was able to support myself solely with music. It was really hard starting out, but I'm living comfortably now.
When you were a kid, did you dream of doing what you do now?
My mom used to do this really cute thing where she would use a cassette recorder to 'interview' my siblings and I - there's one tape where she asks 3 or 4 year old me what I want to be when I grow up and I say, "I want to be like John Lemmons!" (Mispronouncing a Beatle! Unforgivable!) I started playing music so young that I don't really have any memories of the time before. For a long time I didn't realize it was anything more than something I loved to do. I didn't know it could be a 'job' or a career - I didn't really grasp that concept - I just knew I loved it.
How do you define ‘success’? Do you feel successful?
Success is a tricky word in the music biz. I feel like many people wouldn't consider a musician or performer successful if they aren't big in the public eye. This always becomes evident in holiday conversations with extended relatives who want to know if I'm "still doing the music thing..." and assume, since I don't play for one of the 10 pop singers they know, that I'm living in total squalor. I've never had any designs on 'fame' - I've only ever wanted to make music I love and believe in for people who appreciate it for what it is. In this regard I happily consider myself successful.
Personally, I define success, in general, as being able to do what makes you happy. I am lucky enough to live a life where I get to wake up each day and do creative work that I love. I live and work in beautiful places surrounded by wonderful like-minded people and I get to travel all over doing it.
My album is called 'New Love'. You remember the first time you fell in love? Can you describe the feeling?
I guess my first love was music. One of my earliest memories is my mom teaching me how to drop the needle on a record player because she was tired of me digging out LPs and bugging her to put them on for me. I couldn't ever get enough and that love affair is alive and well to this very day. In terms of people love, like romantic love... The first time I really fell in love was I was 19. I really didn't expect it. It was like opening a door expecting to find your apartment, but this time you open it and it leads you to a totally different and new world that you've never been to before. It turned my whole life upside down and made me feel weightless. My world felt bigger than I thought it could be. It was exciting and terrifying and I didn't know how to handle it which led me to screw it up real bad!
How old were you when you had your first KISS!!! Feel free to tell us the story?!
The first time I really like liked a person [like, like liked] was when I was in the 7th grade. I had just played guitar at a school assembly - I think it was the time that my friend and I played Blink 182's "Dammit" substituting a few choice words... (Did you hear? He HUGGED her!) I went into the band room to stash my guitar before going back to class and there was the person I liked, hanging around and waiting for me to come back. She asked if I'd ever kissed anyone before and I said I hadn't and she asked if I would be her first kiss... It was real awkward and messy, but we kissed on the mouth in the instrument locker room and then walked back to class holding hands the whole way.
How old were you when you had your heart broken for the first time? How did THAT feel?
I was 21. It was my fault. Still, I felt abandoned - like I'd carved a giant person sized space in my world that was left empty. I tried to fill it with other people and other things but it never felt right. I don't think heartbreak is something that I'll ever completely get over. I feel like I'll always be carrying a piece of that experience around with me, at least until a new person appears and turns my world upside down all over again.
Do you even believe in love? Feel free to elaborate.
I absolutely believe in love; love for people, love for places, love for things. It can be an intangible and elusive thing, but there is nothing more beautiful than two people who care for each other so much that it's all consuming and freeing at the same time.
What was your favorite part of working with me? Your least favorite? ;)
My favorite part of working with you has always been how genuine, real and honest you and your music is. There's a realness that so many artists lack, or are afraid to show. It makes the music so immediate for me, I just know what to do for you. My least favorite? That it all happened so fast! We only did one day of guitars together for New Love. It was still, as always, an honor to get the opportunity.
What is your greatest memory associated with our time together?
We've had some times! I think my favorite memory is from our first tour together. About a week into the tour, when we'd known each other for about 2 weeks total, the band had a night in Chicago where we all drank some wine and told the stories of our '#1 Exes'. It was so emo haha! We all became such fast friends on that tour.
What is your favorite track on ‘New Love’?
My favorite is 'The Same'. It's too easy to relate to. And that lonesome guitar at the end...uugh.