From Riches to Rags
According to One Last Shot's frontman, Tj Provenzano, it ain't easy being a New York City rock band these days. "We try not to take ourselves too seriously," he tells me. 'But there's a fine line between having fun as a working band and just being four f***ing knuckle-heads.' Tj is sitting in the band's rehearsal studio in Brooklyn, on the oldest couch I've ever seen, smoking what has to be the third joint he's rolled since we started the interview about an hour ago. I'm surround by a relatively standard rock-band base camp: Marshall half stacks, a big beat-up drum set, and a number of oriental rugs that smell slightly of mildew. There is a pair of woman's underwear hanging from one of the microphone stands. Soon, the rest of the band shows up parading through the door. Will Peckenham is the band's lead guitar player; Mike Simmons, known to the other guys as Mickey Drips, is the bass player; Piss Kreck fills the drummer slot. They sit down eager and energized. Aside from the gear and the panties, One Last Shot is barely more than your "typical" rock band. But who knows: in a city that is dominated by thousands of overzealous, wanna-be bands with daddy's credit card, One Last Shot could end up being the real thing. They clearly know it takes more than a Myspace page to be a real band. While we were waiting for the rest of the band to show up, Tj gave me the skinny. They've been kicking around as a band since 1999, however he doesn't really talk about the history of the band before the 2006 release of Baghdad, NJ, which was the concept album that brought the band back together (be it in Boston) after years of what he calls, 'general adolescent time-wasting, a.k.a college.' As soon as they finished the album, they were booked for so many shows in Boston and NY (after receiving both commercial and college radio play) that he refers to it as the 'small tour to support the record.' In the summer of 2006, the band lost their longtime friend and bassist Oli Pullyblank to a Canadian law school, but quickly recruited Mr. Drips. Shortly after, the band relocated permanently to NYC and began playing every telltale 'starter' band venue in the city, building a small, but strong following; most of whom it seems has been keeping up with the progress of the band from the start. "One of the hardest things to do is talk about your band," proclaims Mickey. 'You tell someone you're in a band and the first thing is 'Oh, what kind of band is it? What kind of music do you play?' but unless you're trying to be a Suspicious Package cover band or some shit, that's an impossible question to answer.' I've never heard of the band he's referring to, but One Last Shot's brand of punk rock has been most closely compared to Guns N Roses and Minor Threat (and at times, Motorhead). At some point during my time with the band I ask about their favorite records and which ones they think had the greatest impact on the new material. They argue for a while and never really come up with a conscensus. But I'm amazed at range of musical knowledge between the four of them. For a band that plays straight forward punk rock music, they have a collective understanding of music that you'd expect from someone in their 50s. Unlike most bands in the flailing NYC rock scene, One Last Shot's music isn't limited by their influences. They play music the same way they found it: pure and honest, as only people who truly love music could. They are not young enough to be imitators, not tired enough to be emulators, but they may just be good enough to keep it going.