In July 2013, while covering The Big Drum Bonanza (Thomas Lang‘s 5 day drum camp in Ventura County, CA), I met one the camp’s participants, Peter Lust, Jr..
Peter did a quick 30 second video for me as a student introduction, which briefly showcased his solid interviewing skills and infectious positive energy. We got to talking more and he mentioned he was the drummer of The Feisty Piranhas, an award winning band known for their impressive live performances, musicianship and a vast catalog of original music. As such, the band regularly landed great gigs opening for all kinds of great big name bands of a wide range of styles in many venues throughout Southern California. (I really enjoyed their live performances when I caught them at the Canyon Club in Agoura).
It was interesting to learn that his son, Peter Alex Lust, III, was the singer and lead guitarist of the band.
On the second to last day of the drum camp, Peter had some people over from the camp to check out his studio.
He proudly gave us the tour of his truly incredible studio and even showed us early footage of the band’s upcoming releases in DVD and CD format. He was excited about the guest artists appearing on their new album and how well it was turning out. He also explained that Peter Alex was practically born deaf, which is astonishing given his overall musical genius and vision.
At the end of the evening, I did a quick video wrap-up with Peter and was happy to have met him. I made it a point to keep in touch.
Sadly, the next time I saw Peter was at the Guitar Center Drum Off in 2014 and his son had just recently and tragically passed away. Shortly thereafter, it was neat to see a nice display as a tribute to him at NAMM in the Minarik Guitars booth.
As unimaginable as it must be to lose your own son at a young age, Peter has managed to make an amazingly fitting tribute to his beloved Peter Alex. The finished product has resulted in “Evil Monkey“, which is dedicated to the memory of Alex and the music of the Feisty Piranhas.
Mastered at the famed Bernie Grundman Mastering in Hollywood, the production values are exceptional and the extreme amount of care and attention to detail in creating this great work is quite evident.
After giving the CD multiple listens over the course of numerous long drives, becoming familiar with the CD was a real journey in and of itself. The music style ranges from reggae, ska, punk, prog and metal seamlessly within a single song. As oddly diverse as it sounds, it works so well. Musically, it’s all over the place, but in a really good way.
To do it over again, it probably would have been ever better to watch the DVD ( DVD “Feisty Piranhas – The PIRANHA Experience”) before NUMEROUS listens to “Evil Monkey”. It gave so much background into the history of the band and the making of the album. Everything is documented so well – it’s such a nice way to preserve all the memories and to display the effort involved. Getting a behind the scenes look at all that went on offers a glimpse into the genius behind the making of this CD and is a great story as a standalone documentary.
The 12 songs are immediately catchy upon first listen and the CD has warranted many repeat listens and never got old. There’s an undeniable brilliance in this recording. The music goes in many directions and the songs are fantastic on so many levels. Some songs seem so hopeful and others seem very introspective and thought provoking.
There’s something very provocative, powerful and meaningful about the lyrics and the musicianship and the way the songs progress into something completely unexpected with well constructed songs.
The title track (“Evil Monkey”) starts off with heavy, jamming music that borders on what some could consider power prog metal with vocals reminiscent of Yes. It has catchy choruses, technical drumming with cool stops and starts and, as a recurring theme with the recording, some intense lyrics.
“PCH” has kind of a reggae vibe, while “Change The World” has an upbeat pop punk sound with really good guitar work.
“Apologies” has good hooks and is a cool tune. With the the lyrics, vocal quality cool horn section, the reggae groove/ vibe, the song “This is Her” is one of the best songs on the album.
“Armageddon” is one of the heaviest songs on the CD. Very hard, yet melodic, it goes almost into metal territory range and has some kind of ska-style breakdowns in it. It’s such a unique song with neat processing on guitars with “YES-quality” vocals and it really works on this album.
“Nothing to Lose” is a rocker and “Shenanigans ” has great riffs, catchy hooks and soloing along with some reggae rhythms. “From Within” is a very up-tempo, almost speed punk song.
“Environmental Cancer: is a great tune – here is a video version of the song (not the album version):
With its reggae groove and vibe, cool horns, lyrics and vocal quality, “This is Her” is one of the best songs on the album.
“Memories” is the softest song – it’s kind of a pop punk ballad with a Pink Floyd vibe in the middle and the lyrics seem very honest.
With its deep lyrics and vocal quality, “Show Me A Free Man and I’ll Show You A Fool” is both an an up-tempo, upbeat melodic punk rocker with mellower parts with great choruses, a cool trumpet solo and rock-solid drumming (as displayed throughout the album by “Pops”.
If you are going to buy one “Ska Punk Prog Metal” album this year, this is the one to have.
The album’s catchy, memorable melodic punk pop interspersed with elements of prog metal, ska and other styles of music make it somewhat of a masterpiece. There are really good, meaningful lyrics and catchy songs that sometimes change in unexpected and very entertaining ways. The drumming is solid and even pretty fierce at times and the guest musicians add a lot of well. This band didn’t cut corners, crafted some quality recordings, amassed a large catalog. I never actually met the younger Peter, but it has been nice getting to know him a little through this album.
Happy Ending? 100% of the proceeds will go to Peter Alex Lust’s foundation: The Music Foundation For The Memory of Peter Alex Lust III, to keep young kids interested in music.
The DVDs contain documentaries about Peter Alex Lust’s life and performances and are highly recommended.
Both the DVDs and CD are available for sale at http://www.feistypiranhas.com.