So what did I do today? Oh you know, I interviewed Yessi Burton from Chrysalis. All in a day’s work, right?
Yessi is the first interviewee that has read my blog. So while I was researching Chrysalis, he was researching me. We had a very entertaining conversation. Well, I was entertained anyway.
The band members are Yessi Burton, Chris Norris, Billy Norris, Gabe Gallego and Jared Sturgis. Seriously, go see these guys live when they’re in a town near you.
Please welcome Chrysalis to the blog!
How did you decide on Chrysalis as a name?
It’s worked to our advantage and disadvantage. It’s just as equally difficult to spell. It’s not a good or bad thing. It might alienate us from some people. People who seek us out are more likely to stick around.
When did you know that you wanted to be in a band?
I knew I wanted to be in a band when my uncle took me to first Van Halen concert. It was at the Blockbuster pavilion. Now it’s the San Manuel Amphitheater. It’s a huge venue. They have Ozzfest and other big shows. When we entered and took our seats, I saw the huge speaker and equipment and all of their stuff. I knew I wanted to be up there with all of that stuff. That’s when I knew. I was 100% certain. I never considered anything else. I have to hand it to my uncle for the opportunity.
Do you have any mentors?
Yeah, Patrick Teasley was my guitar teacher. He was a local instructor in Bartstow. He was a friend of my dad and my uncle. My aunt wanted to make sure I was capitalizing on my improvement (after getting better at guitar). I took lessons for about five or six years. A lot of good instruction. Some musicians say they learn it naturally. To say you are completely self-instructed, it’s bullshit. Everyone has some sort of instruction.
Patrick has been living in Florida. He is one of the best musicians I know. Probably giving lessons in Florida now. Billy and Chris were taught my their dad (Side note: Billy plays the drums. Chris plays the guitar). My uncle was the only one in my entire family who was musically proficient. My other family members are more like “Why are you doing that?” They don’t get the new waves and trends.
Tell me about the Battle of the Bands for the Warped Tour.
We’ve played the Warped Tour before. It’s not that big of a deal. Our focal point is working with our agency to get better shows.
For our next tour, we leave on July 5th. Going to florida, New York. Going to all 50 states hopefully.
There’s this one thing that I’d like to mention. We’re holding a fundraiser for the next tour. It will cover a small percentage of touring. Food, lodging, transportation. Enough to keep a group of guys on the road. Visit https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/chrysalis-nationwide-summer-tour-2014 to make a donation.
I read that you guys got stuck somewhere for a week while on the road. Do you think it make the band closer/stronger?
I think we’ve been as close as we want to be as a band. Breaking down and going through shit like that we’re a functional unit. Extended family rather than just a bunch of friends. Almost like I’m still home. I believe we were stuck in Rockford, Northern California. Transmission went out. 8 of us. Five band members. Two roadies. And a manager, who doesn’t usually roll with us but this time he did. So during the 5 days, we trashed the hotel, played football games. We pestered our manager. He would be sitting on his bed with his laptop. He’s a quiet guy.
We took multiple showers during the day because there wasn’t anything to do. Same animal planet shows over and over. There was nothing to do but get close to each other.
How long have you had the handlebar mustache? How did that come about?
I got it for almost 3 years. It started out as a bet between a friend. We were going to go 2 years without shaving our mustaches. He lost the bet within 2 months. I ran with it. When I commit to something, that’s that. If I commit, I’m going to keep it for 2 years and keep it for 2 more years just to show people I mean business. People notice that first before the music.
Is there anywhere you guys would like to play that you haven’t yet?
Ohio. We’ll come play a personal show for Holley.
You guys could come play in my backyard. It’s pretty big.
Are there any bands or musicians that you would like to collaborate with?
Yeah, I would really like to collaborate with Santana. That would be really cool to have a basic rock rhythm and have him come out and do a solo.
I would like to do a collaboration with a band that really inspired me . . a lot of their sound in our music. Lacuna Coil. They are an Italian band. I would sneak backstage whenever they came to town. Cristina Scabbia was the singer. If I could do a song with her. . . The next album is going to have a lot of female vocals. So female collaboration is going to be mandatory for our next CD.
Guilty pleasure? Any bands/musicians that you almost hate to admit that you love?
Yeah, there are a lot of those. All of the guys have those. We’re into a variety of music. One Republic. Just because they have 90s boy band appeal. But their sound is really good. Those guys are really on top of their pop game. I cringe when I watch the music videos. They are geared toward 12 year old girls. It kind of makes me want to vomit. When you compare, today’s pop and 90s pop, there were a lot more characters, like O-Town. Pop stars were a lot more colorful back then.
That’s one thing I hear in every interview. Every artist wants to think that they’re doing something different. There are forms of music that are strictly traditional. Now it’s a constant uphill battle to get the most original song. People are trying to zero in on successful music and get successful themselves. A Business plan if you will. The latest go around with Lady Gaga is similar to Madonna’s plan. You’d have to be stupid not to do it because it was so successful. What’s wrong with being traditional? A bunch of guys in a garage rocking the fuck out. I don’t want to much to change about that. I don’t want to change our sound because we’re trying to do something different. Bands have been together for 10 years and they are seasoned. Yeasayer is one of my recent influences. They are doing something different without trying to do something different. They’re from New York.
What did you do for a living before Chrysalis?
Yeah, I had a variety of day jobs. In Barstow, there are a lot of hotels. We’re between two of the largest metro areas. Los Angeles and Las Vegas. We get a lot of traffic. I worked as a hotel clerk. I could quit to go on tour. I’d come back and jump back into a different hotel. I worked at 10 different hotels in 3 years. I interview well.
I also did tutoring. Helped kids with science, math. Whatever they needed help with. I have students here and there that I teach guitar to now. I definitely won’t get behind the desk of a hotel. That graveyard shift. I couldn’t take it anymore. It was driving me insane. All of my friends were well-rested.
Tell me a little about Camp Southern Ground.
Our manager chose that as somewhere to donate to. I’m not too sure.
(It’s a camp for kids with special needs and typical needs.)
Roth or Hagar?
Ummmm. How could you do this to me? I’m gonna say Sammy. Sammy is just more of a front man. Just a cool guy. Roth is such a prima donna. One interesting thing about Roth that I learned not too long ago. Did you know that he was an EMT? So that makes it a hard decision. I’m gonna go with Roth on those terms. When he’s not touring, he’s saving lives.