Since forming back in 2011, New Brunswick, NJ-based rockers Lost Romance have been steadily evolving while still nodding to a time when popular rock was nothing but earnest. Formed by guitarist/singer Gerry Perlinski, the band has since solidified as a trio with Dave Harman (drums) and Dan Haag (bass) firmly in the fold.
Lost Romance will enter the summer of ’16 with a new single, “Heart On A Wire,” which is premiering exclusively with Speak Into My Good Eye below. The band will celebrate the release with a big gig at Maxwell’s on May 7th.
Speak Into My Good Eye has been covering the band’s exploits since the inception of the site’s current iteration and earlier, but never as comprehensively as the interview I conducted with Perlinski ahead of the single’s release.
Check out my conversation with Lost Romance’s Gerry Perlinski below and be sure to RSVP to the Maxwell’s show here.
Speak Into My Good Eye: Tell me a little bit about how Lost Romance first started out
Gerry Perlinksi: Yeah so originally it started out in late 2011 as a solo project. I was planning on putting some of this stuff out as a solo artist. So what I did was I went into the studio and I had some session players, and during the time that I ended up mixing the EP that we eventually put out and discovered that the music had more of a full band feel to it.
It was actually the guy who was mixing our record, David Pattillo, who suggested that I go with a band name. He thought I should explore that because everything that we were listening to while we were mixing it had that band kind of flavor to it. So he kind of gave me the push to really take a different course with it.
I remember reading a blog post or something from David, who lives on the Lower East Side somewhere, where he was going to get his shoes shined where some guy was doing it on the corner. In the post he was talking about the lost art or the lost romance of that sort of thing and of course I was like, “Ah! That’s a cool name for a band.” I ran it past David and he loved it and it stuck.
So Lost Romance is sort of about bringing back the lost art of Rock ‘N Roll. It’s a different world now. A lot of the classic three chord stuff gets buried.
From there I went on a search for people who wanted to play this style of music. So we went through a couple of different incarnations of the band at first. People that were playing different bands that I knew who liked what I was doing, but over time they couldn’t make the commitment to do that full time when they had two or three other bands going on.
The current form that we have now has been together for about a year and a half and I happened to know these guys from back in the day in the New Brunswick area in the late 90s. They had a band called Enemies of the Oyster and they still do some things here and there. Dan was also in a band called the Benzos in the early 2000s and another band called The AstroJet with Jody Porter from Fountains of Wayne. This was all going on when The Strokes were first coming up. The Strokes were opening up for them back then let’s put it that way.
So I met Dan through another friend of mine, Marty, and that’s more or less how we go together and it’s been a pretty stable lineup the last year and a half.
SIMGE: Going back a little bit further you mentioned a particular “style” of music. I have the familiarity in having listened to the output of Lost Romance, but could you go back into where you developed your overall aesthetic?
GP: Growing up seeing no-nonsense rock bands who just came out and put on a fantastic show with only three or four people in the band was what I grew up admiring. Bands like The Replacements and Hüsker Dü, their sound is something to me that’s just pure. It’s unadulterated, there’s no real schtick to it. It just is what it is.
Growing up I listened to a lot of classic rock but also a lot of prog too. Bands like Rush and Van Halen were also big influences on me. Just made me want to be a Guitar guy. That being the focus of the band, Guitar rock.
But over time I got into more of the indie scene and more underground. Funky, weird bands that never really made it onto the radio, but everybody that was involved in music at the time knew who they were. So my influences, as with any band, has been a gradual thing.
When I was first starting Lost Romance, I didn’t see a lot of bands doing just straight up rock and roll. I kind of wanted to bring a little bit of that old school back, but not in a retro kind of way. More of just, “Alright we’re going to go for it and bare our souls here and just be raw.”
SIMGE: It’s drawing on about three years since your last release. What, if anything, has changed or evolved since then?
GP: We have the single that’s coming, which is a part of a larger collection of songs. We recorded eight songs over the course of the last year and a half.
We actually did it in our Bass player’s basement studio on four track cassette. So we ended up doing it analog, for the most part, more or less as an experiment. Just to see what it would feel like and to deal with those sorts of limitations. Because I always find that when you have too many choices, it seems to take away from the creativity. So when you have a limited amount of choices you tend to be more creative and selective about how you’re spending your time creating these things.
And it was fun! It was fun to go back and do something like that just to see where it would take us. We all kind of grew up that way in recording. So it was cool to mess around with that just to see what would happen without any preconceived notions of what it would turn out to be in the end. When we ended up listening back to what we had, it sounded great.
So we ended up taking that and bringing it into the Pro Tools environment and just mixing it that. But the majority of it is analog. I think you can end up hearing the difference from our last EP in that it has a certain warmth to it. Even though you’re not listening to it as a full blown reel to reel or two-inch tape, you definitely hear the difference.
Of course, we had to go out and find cassettes which was its on challenge these days. So that’s definitely something different we did this time around.
SIMGE: Tell me a little bit more about the single that’s coming out. Was it meant to be put out as a little bit of a teaser? How far away is the album?
GP: The album is very close. We’re in the final stages of mixing right now. I’d say we’re about 90-95% done with the mixing.
You pretty much hit the nail on the head. We wanted to get this song out as a teaser to whet people’s appetites a bit and have something to shop around to labels.
SIMGE: What was it about this single in particular that made you go, “That’s the one.”
GP: We ended up picking the song, it’s not going to sound very sexy, but we kind of did some focus groups. We played three songs for people who are different ages, into different styles of music and they all seemed to gravitate towards this song. I guess the hook and the energy of it is what spoke to people.
The song itself, “Heart On A Wire,” without giving everything away, is sort of about dealing with someone in a relationship where you have a certain viewpoint of where the relationship is going and they have theirs, but they can’t seem to see what it is you see in them. They’re kind of looking for a reason why it shouldn’t work instead of focusing on the good aspects of the relationship.
SIMGE: What can we expect at the show at Maxwell’s? Anything up your sleeve?
GP: We have a surprise cover that we’re going to do. We’ve had this planned for quite a while, but it’s not to say we won’t do another one in light of Prince’s passing. So we may end up doing something like that, no promises.
But the cover itself is something I grew up listening to back in 5th grade. There was a kid who brought it into school one day on vinyl and it just spoke to me in a lot of ways. Some people might think it’s kind of cheesy, but we’re going to do it our own way. It’s going to be a lot of fun.