Hailing from the Northern California Bay Area, the members of “Toy Called God” have already earned their stripes in the “land of freedom” since the bands inception in June 2010. With multiple nationwide tours, and countless shows in and around the Bay Area, the band continues to spread its music to the masses, taking each new step toward the ultimate goal in making “Toy Called God” a household name on a global scale.
How did you first get into music? Who or what turned you onto rock and heavy metal?
Music was just always on at our house, from a small age. My mother was always blasting all kinds of stuff, and my grandmother was always playing on the piano when we would visit her. Rock was definitely my mom, and metal just kind of happened through my own exploration and a little from friends from time to time.
What was your local scene like in the beginning, was there a particular band you aspired to be like, favorite local bands back then, favorite local bands now?
Back in Pittsburgh when I grew up, it was all about a band called G-Force aka The Granati Brothers. Donnie Iris is the Pittsburgh Icon as well.
How did you become a guitarist ? Are you proficient in any other instruments?
I started on piano at age 8 with lessons from my grandmother, who classically trained, picked up the guitar at age 10 and have been off and running ever since.
What do you call the kind of music you perform in Toy Called God?
Everyone has a different name for what we do. Some call us a hard rock band, some call us a metal band, some call us an alternative band. to me we just play loud fun music, that we hope people can relate to themselves.
You were involved, in Project Independent for awhile, which some said was a pay to play scam. What happened with that and were they correct?
We got involved with the Project Independent contest in 2013 through a submission on Reverbnation. They always had a slot available for one band through Reverbnation for each city, so we got the SF Reverb slot. I can not speak to how other bands got entered or if there was a fee. Once we did the SF show and won the judging that night, we were entered in the next round, which was a fan voting poll. We finished second overall in voting nationally, which moved us to the final round. The final round, which was an industry panel judging our complete package of music, videos, entertainment during our live set, audience engagement etc. social presence etc etc.. and we finished third or fourth in that.
When they combined all the rounds together we had the highest overall score nationally which won us a spot on the 2014 tour the next year. We were unable to do it in 2014 due to personnel issues, but they did allow to go out with the tour in 2015 instead. Many think poorly of Project Independent, but it didn’t cost us anything, other than little effort and some gas money for our rv. For us it was a great experience.
Should artists and other entertainers, such as actors and atheletes keep quiet, about politics and social issues?
I think entertainers are there to entertain. I don’t care about their personal stance on any issue. Their opinion has no relevance on mine.
What is the plan for recording new music, where, when and with who will be recording you? Will there be bonus tracks, cover songs, vinyl and cassette?
We recorded our new album called “#Socialvangelism” in Livermore California with Tim Narducci producing. He has done all our albums. The album includes a duet with special guest vocalist Melissa Mari, it also features a cover of the Beatles classic Eleanor Rigby. It is due on form Sliptrick Records on September 18, 2018 on all digital platforms and in some retail locations as well.
What is your favorite Toy Called God song to play live and have you played all of your recorded music live?
Favorite song to play would probably be Only One Menace. Its always been my jam. We have played I’m guessing 32 of our now 38 song catalogue live at some point during the last 8 years.
You also work with Distilled Entertainment, what is your role there. What have been some of your successes and joys there?
I recently started booking some tours for bands who are not at the point where they are ready to do buyons with bigger tours. Heat Of Damage’s summer run and The double bill of End-Time Illusion and All Out Mutiny were fun tours to book and go check out live since I discovered new music I wasn’t yet aware of.
Who are your original influences and who are your current inspirations and admiration’s local and or national?
We all have that bucket list of bands we came up listening and many times, we all generally list the same few etc. For me though the dudes that inspired me most were dudes no ones knows that I grew up playing music with. The friends I jammed with, learned licks from and showed licks to are really the ones who got me going and kept me inspired to be better. Today I am inspired by so many of the bands we have shared the stage with, all over California and the nation. There are truly so many I wouldn’t know where to begin.
Has music at all been therapeutic for you, is there a particular artist or type of music you go to for comfort?
Music is definitely therapeutic for me. It’s my salvation. I’m not sure where I’d be without it. I have different choices depending on the mood I suppose.
What was the first music you bought, what was the first concert you saw, where was it and who was it?
First music I bought was The Doors “Greatest Hits”, “Shout At the Devil” By Motley Crue and “1984” by Van Halen. I got them cause my mom let me order them from her Columbia House subscription.
Top 5 albums or songs released in the last 12 months and all time? Top 5 all time albums Pink Floyds “Dark Side of The Moon”, “Appetite For Destruction” – Guns N’ Roses, “Cowboys From Hell” – Pantera, “Master Of Puppets” – Metallica and Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “One More From The Road”.
What does rock n roll mean to you?
Rock n Roll is the single greatest form of expression ever devised. We are lucky enough to be alive while its happening.
What does the rest of 2018 have in store for Toy Called God.
National FM Radio campaign starts Sept 8, album drops Sept 18, and the start starts Sept 21. We’ll return to the Bay around Halloween and see what’s next.