Semi Precious Weapons. Remember that name, you’ll probably be seeing it a lot in the near future. Fronted by the undeniably attractive, bleach blonde Justin Tranter, the band of four comes from New York City. The over-the-top glam rockers released their debut album You Love You in June, they’re on Lady Gaga’s Monster Ball tour (arguably one of the biggest of the year), and things have never been better.
The band recently received a tidal wave of attention after their Lollapalooza performance a couple weeks ago, where their close friend Lady Gaga showed up and performed a now famous stage dive. The jump was covered by virtually every media outlet there, one Youtube video of the incident has over 7 million views.
I met with the band on their tour bus outside of San Jose’s HP Pavilion, where they opened for Lady Gaga on Tuesday as part of her Monster Ball tour. They sipped warm whiskey out of red cups, I stuck with water. We sat and talked about the current state of rock and roll, the famous stage dive, sexual tension with Gaga and her kissing skills, and why they’re hated in their home town.
First of all, I saw you guys at Lollapalooza, great show. It’s definitely a show people have been talking about.
Justin Tranter (vocals)- Even before she (Gaga) jumped off stage!
Yea! I saw you tweeted that you had 6,000 people at that show?
JT-Yes, we found out afterwards we had over 6,000 people there.
Is that your biggest show so far?
So, was that infamous [Lady Gaga] stage dive planned or…
JT– Not at all!
It just kind of happened in the moment?
Cole Whittle (bass)- We didn’t even know she was coming to the show. She didn’t either, she came last minute and kind of surprised us.
JT– Yea, two of our friends, Lady Starlight and another one of our friends were with her , and they were like “Oh, were gonna go watch SPW” and [Gaga] was like “Oh why the fuck didn’t anyone tell me?!”
JT– Well, cause normally you’re a little busy…
CW– And then she stole a fucking golf cart!
JT– She drove a golf cart to get there!
CW– She couldn’t find a driver and was like “Fuck this!” (makes golf cart sounds)
After that whole stage dive went down you said rock and roll isn’t dead, do you really believe that?
JT– We do believe that.
Cause these days it’s hard to get a song on the radio with out some kind of synthesized hook.
CW-Tropical robot (laughs).
JT– It’s impossible! Because even quote un quote rock bands, ya’ know, the drums are fake, everything’s fake. Pretend keyboards, ya’ know in a “rock band”. Um, but either we’re delusional or very optimistic go-getters. But we truly believe that we will get rock and roll back on the radio.
So you guys are shooting for a radio song?
JT– Yes, we actually want our whole album to be on the radio (laughs).
Did you have control over all the songs that went on your last album?
CW– 100 percent, either because they trusted us artistically or they were like “I don’t wanna get near these weirdos.”
JT– Either way!
So you were voted NYC’s best band in Village Voice, but I’ve also read that they hate you there. How’d that work out?
JT– Well it was actually just a Village Voice readers poll, so it was our fans voting. But at that point I don’t think we’d even played a show outside of New York, maybe in Boston or something but that was it. It was just that our fans, and the kind of magical, ridiculous world that we had created in New York, those kids were obsessed with us, and we were all that mattered to them. That’s back when Gaga was opening for us. And everyone else in New York thought we were losers, complete idiots.
You must have too fun for them I guess.
JT– Yes, if you have fun you must be an idiot, as far as New York is concerned. Which is pretty awful. Considering that’s what made New York, fun and intelligence and sophistication put together. But now it’s about something else. It’s about Sarah Jessica Parker and fat people.
Is there any tension with Gaga now that you’re opening for her?
CW– There’s sexual tension.
JT– That’s totally true, there’s sexual tension with Gaga. But no, it’s a dream come true, for all of us. And she’s so proud of the fact that she used to open for us. And we’re so proud of the fact that, ya’ know, if she wasn’t the biggest star in the world and we didn’t start to get more and more fans, partly because of her, we would be doing the exact same show to 100 people in New York City.
CW– Just like we were before.
JT– So we’re all pretty proud of the fact that, ya’ know, as far as we’re concerned it’s the new New York. It’s like a movement touring the whole world.
CW– She stage dove from our old shows, but there was no crowd surfing (laughs). Now there is.
JT– Her and I made out on stage many a time in 2007 and no one cared.
CW– I cared!
Is she a good kisser?
JT– She’s a great kisser.
Do you call her Gaga or do you call her Stefani?
JT– Gaga, we met her as Gaga.
You guys are definitely on an up swing of popularity, going on this tour, all these different things, your first album coming out. How far do you want to take it?
JT– We want to be the biggest band in the whole world.
CW– We want to be the best at everything. Ever.