On Stage: Pete RG fans to get album preview at Ortlieb’s

By Denny Dyroff, Entertainment Editor, The Times

Pete RG

Pete RG, who is headlining a show at Ortlieb’s (847 North Third Street, Philadelphia, 267- 324-3348, www.ticketfly.com) on October 9, will be treating his fans to a preview of his soon-to-be-released album “Whatever We Want Whenever We Want.”

Three years ago, RG was in Philly playing the now-defunct North Star Bar while touring in support of his debut EP “Lightning Strikes,” which was released in February 2015.

RG followed with the “Reaching for the Moon” EP in October 2015 and the “Tender Souls” album in September 2016.

“I’ve been staying busy,” said RG, during a recent phone interview from his home in Southern California. “I’ve been doing a lot of work with my band.”

RG’s band features original Pearl Jam drummer and Hall of Fame inductee Dave Krusen, Adam Kury (Candlebox) on bass, Kevin Haaland (formerly with Skillet) on guitar and multi-instrumentalist/co-producer Brina Kabler on keyboards.

“We finished the album two months ago,” said RG. “I tested some of the songs in shows in northern California. I’ve been really busy with recording, touring, doing the business side and home life.

“We made the album at our home studio in Santa Monica. We recorded in-and-out in June and July 2017. Then, we were on the road a lot in the fall of 2017. We finished the tracking and then mixed the album this spring. I’ve had the album done since May. Since then, I’ve been planning for the release – getting the ducks in order for the record label.

“There are eight songs on the album. We have series of four or five singles to release. We have our own label with outside distribution. The newest single is ‘Watching the River Go By.’”

RG describes the single as a “loungey, rock track that juxtaposes a chill bass-driven section one moment with euphoric guitars the next; all in support of a lyric struggling with the extreme discourse of our time.”

The tour got underway at the start of September in San Francisco. The three month-run will include a show with ‘90s platinum-selling rock band Candlebox for its 25th Anniversary Tour and special appearances with Dave Giles in London in November.

The singer/songwriter/rocker uses the surname RG because, if he used his full name, it wouldn’t fit on most marquees and it would be too difficult for most listeners to pronounce. The name, RG, is taken from his childhood moniker, “Argy” — an abbreviation of his lengthy, Greek last name, Argyropoulos.

RG, a singer-songwriter from Venice, California, writes songs that are deep and insightful and sings them with a voice that is deep and mellifluous. In 2012, he began his solo career with a debut album called “New Eyes.”

Prior to that, he was the lead singer of the L.A.-based indie-pop band Last December and performed using his birth name — Peter Argyropoulos. When he departed Last December, he brought Kabler, his musical partner/life partner, along with him. He refers to her as refers to as his, “Musical Swiss Army Knife.”

RG has music in his DNA.

“My parents were musicians — struggling musicians in the 60s and 70s,” said RG. “They gave me the itch. I started playing in bands when I was in college. I never played guitar growing up — instead I was playing drums, clarinet and keyboards.

“In my senior year in high school, I was bored so I started taking guitar lessons. In college, I met another guitarist and he needed a singer for his cover band.”

RG’s music career started with Last December 16 years ago — a band most known for its highly-acclaimed album titled “Hailstorm.”.

“Last December started in 2009 and was my project,” said RG.

“I was the leader of the band. We had a really successful indie record. We signed with a major label and had different sessions with different producers. Once the band was done, I started producing different acts.

“And, I was writing music for television. After doing that for a couple years, I looked at the changes in the music industry and decided it was

Returning to eastern Pennsylvania will be a homecoming of sorts for RG.

“I went to Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster,” said RG. “I had a great time. Coming from L.A., Lancaster County was sleepy, but the people were great.”

On this tour, RG will focus on his new music.

“In our lives sets, we’re playing almost every song from the new album,” said RG. “Up until a few weeks ago, we were playing it A-to-Z – all the songs front-to-back. Now, we have three or four songs that are even newer that we pop into the set.

“The songs from the new album are definitely more rocky — heavier and darker. They were pulling the angst out of me. But, they’re also just as melodic and elegant as ever.”

Video link for Pete RG — https://youtu.be/uDICXqjlo1U.

The show at Ortlieb’s will start at 8 p.m. Tickets are $10.

Another musical homecoming will take place the following night.

The Natvral

Kip Berman is the founding member of The Pains of Being Pure at Heart – an indie rock band based in New York City. Berman now is performing in a project caller The Natvral.

This venture is neither solo project nor side project, but rather a chance for Berman to create new music that connects in sound and substance to his present life. On October 10, The Natvral will headline a show at Everybody Hits (529 W Girard Ave, Philadelphia, www.everybodyhits.com)

For Berman, a Chester County native, the show is a homecoming. He grew up in Paoli and graduated from Devon Prep. From there, he went to Reed College in Portland, Oregon where he majored in religion.

“I moved to New York after I finished school in Oregon,” said Berman, during a phone interview Monday afternoon form hs current home in Princeton, New Jersey.

“I started The Pains of Being Pure at Heart when I moved to New York. We put our four records. The last one was right before my daughter was born and I moved to Princeton.”

The Pains of Being Pure at Heart released its self-title debut album in 2009. The band’s most recent LP was “The Echo of Pleasure,” which was released in September 2017.

“Those four albums were about one part of my life,” said Berman. “No, I’m in a different part of my life – and I’m listening to different music now. So, I just decided to do my new music under a different name.”

The debut EP by The Natvral – “Know Me More” – was just released on October 5 on Kanine Records. Instead of recording the EP in New York or Philly, Berman headed overseas and made the EP in England.

The EP was produced, engineered and mixed by Andy Savours (My Bloody Valentine, Cloud Boat. The Pains of Being Pure at Heart) at Wolf Den Studios London, UK. The songs were recorded live in single takes with the intention of keeping things fresh and spontaneous.

“The last time we were in London finishing a tour with The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, Andy invited me to come and record at his studio,” said Berman. “He has a nice little studio in London.

“In the studio, he just set up one microphone for voice and another mic for guitar. He said – just play your songs. It was a really different way to record and create.

“It was pretty stress-free. It got me to think about music in a different way. I would ask myself – is this a good song?  If you have a good song, it’s going to go a lot farther.”

Fortunately for fans of The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, Berman’s involvement with The Natvral does not mean the demise of TPOBPAH.

“I’m not doing The Pains of Being Pure at Heart right now – but it’s not over,” said Berman. “Right now, the stuff that is inspiring me is a lot different.

“And, it’s easier to do shows and perform because it’s just me. I’m able to say yes to any kind of show – from a house party to a full club date. All I have to do is show up and play.

“I chose the name The Natvral with the different spelling because eight other bands have the name The Natural. But, it’s the songs that matter more than anything else. Music for me is about writing songs and playing for people.”

Video link for The Natvral – https://youtu.be/xSw4BuwIniM.

The show at Everybody Hits, which has Living Hour as the opening act, will start at 8 p.m. Tickets are $10.

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