Justin Tranter admits that he gets “a little bit” apprehensive when he takes the ambisexually flamboyant, high-energy “trash rock” of Semi Precious Weapons into more testosterone-populated confines, especially in the South.
But, he says, everybody usually winds up being good friends in the end.
“Normally, we do pretty well with macho audiences, as long as they like rock ‘n’ roll,” notes Tranter, 28, a Chicago-area native who formed SPW nearly five years ago with friends from the Berklee College of Music in Boston. “If I get a few hecklers that makes the show even better.”
His comeback? “Violence. Threatening violence in a very funny manner. In Alabama, I threatened to put a high-heel through somebody’s eye. The crowd liked it.”
SPW’s debut, “We Love You” — which came out in September and was produced by Tony Visconti (David Bowie, T. Rex, Morrissey) — is going down well, too. It may seem like its brand of glam-flavored rock is pitched below the group members’ individual studies in jazz and classical music and composition, but Tranter dismisses that as “boring (stuff),” although he acknowledges the education helped make SPW a better rock band.
“(Berklee) helped us realize what we wanted to do, which was have ... fun,” he explains. “You can keep all those hipster bands that can’t play their instruments. We know we’re good musicians, and we know what we’re doing, so we don’t care if everyone thinks we’re a bunch of shallow idiots who just want to look good and party.
“We DO want to look good and party. It really is much more fun.”
The Hell on Heels Tour, featuring Semi Precious Weapons and Von Iva, plays Tuesday (Feb. 10) at the Magic Stick, 4120 Woodward Ave., Detroit. Doors open at 8 p.m. Tickets are $8 in advance, $10 day of show. Call (313) 833-9700 or visit www.majesticdetroit.com.
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