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PPPP’s Alex Petropulos Talks Graduating To The Capitol Theatre, The Origins Of “Gator” & More

Pigeons Playing Ping Pong

Pigeons Enjoying Ping Pong simply wrapped up their largest yr ever in 2018. Now, as they set their sights on 2019, they want to capitalize on their continued momentum, stepping as much as new markets and larger venues with storied histories. On January 26th, Pigeons will proceed their skyward ascent with their sold-out debut at one such venue, Port Chester, NY “rock palace” The Capitol Theatre.

Forward of Pigeons Enjoying Ping Pong’s debut at The Cap, we sat down with drummer Alex “Gator” Petropulos to speak concerning the excessive factors of 2018, “graduating” to new, hallowed areas, how off-the-cuff jokes develop into precise performances, and extra.

Reside For Reside Music: Let’s dive proper in with the newest. How was your New Yr’s run?

Alex Petropulos: The entire run was superb. Began with a few nights in Nashville which is simply such an superior music city, superior metropolis generally. We dove proper in, we walked round, I went to some music outlets, I went to a few these little classic drum outlets. And the exhibits went nicely. Then we went to Covington, Madison Theater [on 12/29], which is a spot we all know properly, and that was superior too.

L4LM: Final yr, that was the place you had your NYE present—the large factor you constructed as much as on the finish of the New Yr’s run. This yr, you bought to take it one step additional and convey it to Pittsburgh for a fair greater blowout. What’s it wish to see that sort of development?

Petropulos: The Madison Theater [is] a spot the place you possibly can see that progress [over time]. As a result of they’ve a smaller membership, Madison Reside, which is a candy spot, and we began there and made our method up in the direction of the theater. In order that was one other metropolis the place we have been capable of experience that momentum and progress. After which even having Madison earlier within the run [this year], it was so cool have it’s part of it. Then all of it constructed as much as the Pittsburgh present [on New Year’s Eve] which was simply unreal for us. That’s undoubtedly our largest headlining present ever. Bought out.

L4LM: That’s like a 2400-cap room, proper? That’s no small feat.

Petropulos: Yeah, simply the sensation strolling out was simply wild. I imply, we had performed there as soon as opening for Lotus on a previous New Yr’s run, which was superior as nicely, however it was simply so cool to have the ability to go from the transition simply from going to opening there to headlining there.

L4LM: That all the time appears to be the story with Pigeons. Persistently taking that subsequent step, after which one other one past it. And the New Yr’s stEve theme idea was hilarious, and actually opened up a number of doorways for the band to get artistic. How did that one come collectively? I do know Greg [Ormont] and Jeremy [Schon] talked about that you’ve a bunch of those sorts of concepts in your again pockets from through the years. 

Petropulos: Yeah, you’re proper. It’s type of half-and-half. Some are sort of humorous joke concepts we’ve had up our sleeve for some time the place you go “one year we should do this,” and it will get to a yr the place you possibly can’t consider one thing and also you’re like oh yeah, keep in mind we have been speaking about doing Pink Scorching Sgt. Peppers, or one thing like that.

After which different occasions, it’s tremendous spontaneous and also you’re at band follow taking a break and one thing involves thoughts. We do this so much with our songs, too. We’ll be jamming, Greg will simply begin singing humorous jokes or strains we’ve been saying at follow and a whole lot of the occasions they find yourself being lyrics. So far as New Years stEve, I need to say somebody simply blurted that one out. I feel that was extra of a spontaneous one at follow the place we have been simply speaking.

L4LM: The entire concept kind of feels like that. And as a listener, I feel you type of hope it’s that. Only a foolish joke that you simply thought was humorous however then was an actual factor at a sold-out 2,400-person theater.

Petropulos: Typically we’ll provide you with some the place simply the identify itself is humorous, however we’ll truly consider the music and we’re like, properly, what are we truly going to do? So this one, at first, we thought was simply, “Oh, that’s just going to be a silly one that sounds cool.” However then we began brainstorming Steves… and there’s truly a whole lot of good Steves on the market.

We have been simply making an attempt to brainstorm them on our personal, which was enjoyable. It type of introduced out totally different stuff that every us undoubtedly take heed to. A few of us are extra into the basic rock stuff so it was actually nice doing Abracadabra and the Steve Miller stuff, Fleetwood Mac. Some individuals are extra into the blues stuff, so it was enjoyable to do Stevie Ray, a bit of “Lenny”. That one type of pulled at plenty of totally different instructions, however it was numerous enjoyable for us, and hopefully for the followers.

Phierce Photograph | Keith Griner

L4LM: It’s all the time enjoyable to type of chart how these sorts of concepts go from inside jokes to precise materials and themes. That was my first thought whenever you debuted that new track “Yo Soy Fiesta” a short while again—that should have been only a foolish factor that was an precise track.

Petropulos: Yeah, it was. I’m an enormous Pats fan ’trigger I’m from simply north of Boston, and I really like Gronk, he’s a personality, massive fan of him normally. I keep in mind that well-known [“yo soy fiesta”] interview. That was only a jam we did at a sound verify someday earlier than we started the music and we have been doing that Latin type of sound. Greg simply ended up spitballing some Spanish lyrics as a result of it had that vibe. I’m fairly positive he simply ended up utilizing “yo soy fiesta,” after which he wanted a follow-up lyric, and I stated, nicely, “Party is my name!” In order that one, with Gronk, he was a heavy inspiration, however that’s a very good instance of us taking one thing humorous that we simply joke round about and using it in a music.

L4LM: That sort of angle and strategy, I feel, is what numerous followers love about your band. Even in case you hadn’t informed me that, that vibe comes off in your music and your exhibits. You provide you with this factor that you recognize goes to be enjoyable for you, so that you’re going to share it with everybody. 

Petropulos: We undoubtedly attempt to hold it constructive and maintain the followers hyped. Journey that power from our followers.

L4LM: 2018 was clearly an enormous progress yr for you guys. What have been your prime three highlights from the yr?

Petropulos: Oh man. If I considered it for some time, I may need three totally different solutions. However so far as stuff that involves my head first… Bonnaroo was sort of a bucket record occasion for us. We received lucky sufficient to play huge festivals like The Peach and LOCKN’, that are big, enjoying to over 20,000 individuals. However at Bonnaroo, that’s nearer to 100,000 individuals, and it’s simply wild. Not even simply enjoying, however the expertise of strolling round a pageant with that many individuals was mind-boggling. And there was some nice music there, too. Seeing Anderson .Paak and Eminem and Bon Iver and all these artists in that big setting was insane.

I feel our first play at Pink Rocks was undoubtedly a spotlight too, simply ’trigger it’s Pink Rocks. It’s kinda the Mecca for us particularly, and one other a type of bucket listing locations. We had our household there, too. So not solely enjoying there, it was with the ability to soak it in with all of the shut Flock household, and our precise households as properly, made it even higher.

After which… a 3rd? There’s so many to select from, however one which pops into my head is LOCKN’. There are such a lot of good moments for us, festivals particularly, however enjoying the LOCKN’ essential stage was simply actually superior for us. That was simply one other a type of issues the place it’s concerning the surroundings. They’ve that stage with the divider wall that they spin round.

L4LM: That factor is loopy to observe!

Petropulos: It’s loopy for the band as properly! ‘Cause you can peek up there, but you’re just about not getting a full style of what the gang is like till you truly flip round. We have been getting so pumped up, that entire expertise of the anticipation for that was simply mind-boggling. And to spin round and see the quantity of individuals we have been, luckily, capable of have at our set was simply unreal.

L4LM: It’s cool to listen to how lots of your most memorable moments from 2018 kind of centered across the expertise of getting greater, shifting as much as these greater venues and occasions with their very own greater legacies.

Petropulos: We undoubtedly don’t take it without any consideration, and we’re conscious of these issues. We love graduating to new venues, and it provides us the drive to maintain pushing more durable, too. That additionally comes into play with our subsequent exhibits arising, particularly at The Capitol Theatre. That’s undoubtedly one other a type of pinnacle venues to graduate to.

L4LM: Completely. That’s a very particular place. A lot historical past. There’s that Jerry Garcia quote the place he says it’s one among his two favourite venues within the nation. Have you ever been earlier than?

Petropulos: I’ve by no means been there earlier than. There have been loads of exhibits there that I’ve needed to see, and I grew up in New Hampshire so it wasn’t too, too far, however, I by no means made it over there. However everybody I’ve talked to only says by the point you stroll in you sort of simply get it. All of the historical past, you simply type of really feel it if you stroll in.

L4LM: Completely. The sound is nice. The lights are nice, too, as a result of they’ve that huge space across the stage to venture onto. I guess [lighting designer] Manny [Newman] may have a blast with that.

Petropulos: Manny goes to have a subject day there [laughs]. He’s already prepping. I simply went over to hang around with him earlier, and his bed room seems like entrance of home. He’s already working his butt off preparing—for all of the exhibits on this upcoming tour. However we’re all doing lots of prep for that one, particularly.

Oh, and talking of The Cap—on New Yr’s Eve, we have been lucky sufficient to have the West Finish Mix horns be a part of us on that present, and they’re simply so gifted. Not solely will they study no matter, however they’ll additionally simply provide you with nice strains simply even on the spot. And now I can share that we are literally going to be having them be a part of us for some options at The Capitol Theatre as properly. I’ve been getting some suggestions about individuals being particularly pumped for that one, and we’re, too.

L4LM: You guys are going to have a good time with that one. OK, final query, and this one’s principally only for me. Phrase on the road is you’ve been recognized to go by “Gator.” How did that get began? Is it a reference to The Different Guys?

Petropulos: [laughs] Its humorous as a result of I’m very conscious, in fact, that you simply’re talking of “Gator don’t play no shit.” I really like that scene and I really like that it’s occurred many occasions now the place individuals yell it at exhibits. I’ve seen it on indicators at Domefest. I’ve seen it on t-shirts…

However on the similar time, it truly didn’t begin from that. It began once I was actually, actually younger. Simply from being named Alex, some individuals sort of flip it to Al, after which to Alligator. My dad, particularly, referred to as me Gator or Alligator rather a lot, however then it type of went away [as I got older]. After which, humorous sufficient, once I first joined the band, one among my first band rides or one thing, as a complete joke, I used to be identical to, “Guys, by the way, I want you all to start calling me Gator now…” They have been like, “You know what’s going to happen now, right?” And it completely took off. They’ve been relentless since.

L4LM: Properly that’s the way it goes with Pigeons Enjoying Ping Pong, proper? Whether or not it’s New Yr’s stEve or “Yo Soy Fiesta” or Gator not enjoying no shit, you discover one thing enjoyable and also you roll with it. You make it a factor. Right here’s to the subsequent Pigeons joke that takes on a lifetime of its personal.

Pigeons Enjoying Ping Ping will make their extremely anticipated, sold-out debut at The Capitol Theatre in Port Chester, NY on Saturday, January 26th (with, as Gator tells us, some assist from the West Finish Mix horns).

For a full record of Pigeons Enjoying Ping Pong’s upcoming tour dates, head to the band’s web site.

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