Based in Los Angeles by way of the Nutmeg State – PERMANENT ABILITY is the rock/alt/funk brain-child of Emmy Award-winning TV producer Brian Lanese. Heavily influenced by the likes of RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS and RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE, Lanese blends his unique vocal stylings (i.e. yells/raps) with a musical hybrid of funk and amped-up alt-rock. Brian linked-up with former PARLIAMENT FUNKADELIC bassist Lige Curry to guest on the first EP – ‘From the Womb to Hollywood’. And the following 2010 full-length ‘Bring It On!’ was produced by Jim Wirt, who also worked on albums by NO DOUBT and HOOBASTANK.
In 2010, PERMANENT ABILITY received first-ballot Grammy nominations in five different categories for the album ‘Bring It On!’ The band is currently nearing completion of a new full-length LP ‘Love You To Death’ (produced by Brian) which features bassist Mario Pagliarulo of Serj Tankian’s solo band The F.C.C. and also features Orlando Mestre on lead guitar.
Backed by a legendary production team, some famous guest musicians, and some early Grammy recognition, PERMANENT ABILITY is very quickly making a name for itself, and putting its own unique stamp on a new era of funk rock music. We were able to catch-up recently with main man Brian himself for some funked-up Q&A. Enjoy!
RT: What does “the funk” really mean for you?
Brian: The “funk” means giving off an intensely-energetic-passion for me to create and perform to music that I love. I salivate when I hear a pop ‘n slap bass riff, and many people still do too. That’s why when I decided to launch the band, I knew it had to be based in the funk rock genre. This style WILL ALWAYS make you move regardless…and that is why Permanent Ability has such an explosive live show as well. The music makes you menace with energy inside and then it is released when we perform to it.
RT: With influences ranging from PINK FLOYD to METALLICA to LL COOL J – what’s your response for those who may be “confused” about your music?
Brian: Confused? I think our sound is pretty defined. Just because we have those influences doesn’t necessarily mean that they are all embedded within the music of Permanent Ability. I’ll listen to LL Cool J when I want to deliver a rap melody for a rock song to be inspired, or Pink Floyd to inspire a clever composition and/or arrangement, and Metallica at times when that craving comes for a beefier sounding Permanent Ability song. When I say our influences range from LL to Floyd I mean we listen to everything, and listening to everything gives the creative ammunition needed to compete within the music industry, and keeps our ear diverse too.
PERMANENT ABILITY DISCOGRAPHY
From the Womb to Hollywood EP – AUG 2008
Bring It On! – JUN 2010
RT: We definitely hear that RHCP vibe happening with many of your tunes. What have the Chili’s meant for you, and for music in general?
Brian: Thanks for the compliment. The Chili Peppers have been casting a long shadow, and it definitely isn’t a bad shadow for us to be in – and it’s a humbling comparison. My band does have a similar vibe, but let me express we do have our own sound. I feel Permanent Ability is a bit heavier at times too. I do often pay homage to RHCP when I write some of our songs, that really only die-hard Pepper fans could distinguish. If it wasn’t for bands like the RHCP, 311, and Funkadelic even, my passion and love for the genre probably wouldn’t run as deep as it does. The Peppers are iconic Hall of Famers. The torch of funk has to be passed at some point though, and Permanent Ability would be honored to keep it going if the wind blows in our direction. Speaking in general however, the Peppers have broken down so many musical barriers paving the way for upcoming indie bands like mine; my band simply wants to revive the funk rock genre and help keep it alive for generations. And like i said prior too, it still lives and thrives in the hearts of so many music lovers throughout the world too.
“GOOD AT LOSING” – FROM THE FORTHCOMING ALBUM ‘LOVE YOU TO DEATH’
RT: What is it really like rockin’ the L.A. live music scene these days?
Brian: The music scene here thrives with a lot of great bands, and is of course saturated with tons of shitty ones, too. LA was the unofficial mecca of the music business. But since a lot of major labels went under, the industry is in shambles. Now there really is NO formula any more as to where or how success can be attained. I think every good band has a love-hate relationship with the LA music scene, and it is definitely a grind at times too. But on the plus side, it’s a helluva lot easier to gain exposure here, and to work with real professional talented people from musicians to engineers to producers. Basically, like every goal anyone sets for themselves…it’s a fight, but as long as you stick it out and keep moving…talent will rise and always get you further than who you know.
RT: When you are 95 years old, what will you want to say about your life?
Brian: To go with the already long list of achievements my band has seized in our short time frame, I’ll always cherish and remember that in 2010 my record ‘Bring It On!’ was first-round Grammy nominated in 5 categories, and speaking cognizant of my near future…I can say I had at least a couple of hits too. All we really need is airplay.
RT: What are your thoughts on the upcoming U.S. presidential race? Where do you see the country headed over the next four years?
Brian: I’m a musician – not George Clooney. So, I’m really not qualified to elaborate on this topic any further.
RT: What are the top three places/venues you’ll most remember from your performances to date? Do you have a favorite that you have a particular fondness for?
Brian: Top three venues I remember being VERY memorable for a Permanent Ability show was The Red Door in my home town Waterbury, CT. The fire marshall had to come because too many people showed up. That was really a fucking AMAZING show!!! Headlining the Whisky A Go Go was very memorable too, rocking out to a wall-to-wall-sardine-canned audience. Finally, the Sunset Junction Music Festival here in LA was another GREAT stand out show for us too! My band was the only unsigned act on the bill, and we stood out by drawing the biggest crowd due to our funky sound, and our energetically explosive live performance we displayed to outshine some of the signed bands. My favorite venue for sound and to perform at is The Viper Room.
RT: What ultimately inspired you to start PERMANENT ABILITY? What happened when “the light bulb went off?”
Brian: I remember it was back in 2003 in Connecticut before I came to LA. I came up with the name Permanent Ability and how profound of a statement those two words alone made. I decided one day that I was tired of waiting for my favorite bands to create new music, and simply started writing. From there, I wrote a shitload of music, and found I could not only write with immense creative passion, but I also found that the funk rock genre was motivating all the energy I wanted to creatively portray. Since I write ALL of the music including the instrumentals…once I moved to LA it wasn’t too hard to find great musicians to circle myself with, who believed enough in the project to get it off the ground and start making some noise together.
RT: In ten words or less, describe RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE.
Brian: Renegades of Funk.
RT: Where do you see the digital music marketplace headed over the next 3-5 years?
Brian: My ear is very low to the ground, and it seems it is getting easier for musicians to make a living off of online streaming companies paying royalties. For us indie bands on the cusp, it helps make it less of a struggle to survive. I feel the digital music marketplace sincerely gives us indie bands a voice to compete and a real chance at stardom, too. Sure it’s not exactly all worked out logistically yet, and people still take advantage by pirating. But hopefully within 5 years, the platform will be developed to protect the music we love to create…and from my experience, quality sounding music isn’t a cheap make.
RT: What keeps you up at night musically/artistically?
Brian: Creativity can spark any where and at any time for me, but if anything keeps me up at night it’s my analytical musical mind that constantly dissects music i hear which inspires me to create my own. I keep my phone by my bed to record an idea or lyric in the middle of the night sometimes if it comes to me. So in a nutshell – it’s the music usually that will keep me up at night.
RT: What are your top 3 tips of advice for bands and artists amidst today’s industry landscape?
- Always have a day job to support yourself.
- Never stop trying to learn on how to improve your craft.
- Learn how to take criticism. It builds character.
RT: You get to spend happy hour with three deceased musicians. Who would they be and why?
Brian: Hillel Slovak, Kurt Cobain, and John Lennon. All great rock innovators and songwriters. Since a drunk man tells no lies, I would definitely use that opportunity to pick their brains about today’s current music industry, and ask if they can lend any advice on how to make myself a better songwriter/musician.
RT: What are your top five WU-TANG CLAN songs of all time?
Brian: “Reunited” hands down is my number one! “Killa Beez” be two, “Protect Ya Neck” three, “Method Man” four, and “Wu-Tang Clan Aint Nuthing Ta F’ Wit” five.
RT: What does the immediate future hold for PERMANENT ABILITY? What are your upcoming plans? Share some last words with us before we gotta jet.
Brian: We will be releasing our long over-due, first official music video for the new single “Good At Losing” – from our first full-length release entitled “Love You to Death.” The video will be released in early August and the album will be released closer to Christmas. For the most up-to-date news on Permanent Ability visit PermanentAbility.com, “LIKE” us on FACEBOOK and “FOLLOW” our ass on TWITTER too. We gotta eat, so if you like what you hear…support us! Our music is also available on iTUNES! Be good everyone!
Photo: PERMANENT ABILITY/Facebook