Semi Precious Weapons

Semi Precious Weapons Featured in The Sun!

Semi Precious Weapons has been featured in the December 17th issue of UK's The Sun. Check out the feature in Gordon Smart's Bizarre section below…
Semi Precious Weapons
Semi Precious Weapons Dec 20, 2010

Semi Precious Weapons Interviewed in Music Fashion Magazine!

Check out Semi Precious Weapons' interview in Music Fashion Magazine!  Find out about the origins of the band's name, thoughts on their self-titled album, and…
Semi Precious Weapons
Semi Precious Weapons Nov 05, 2010

Vote for Semi Precious Weapons on MTV's Pop Star Elections 2010!

MTV's Pop Star Elections give fans the chance to vote for their favorite artists of 2010. Semi Precious Weapons are nominated for MTV's House of…
Semi Precious Weapons
Semi Precious Weapons Nov 02, 2010

New Semi Precious Weapons Interview with URB!

This week, URB's Alex Chapman sat down with Semi Precious Weapons to chat about music, success, and fashion. Check out the video below and click…
Semi Precious Weapons
Semi Precious Weapons Oct 21, 2010

Semi Precious Weapons Cover Lady GaGa's Dance in the Dark!

Check out this cover of Lady Gaga's "Dance In the Dark" performed by Semi Precious Weapons during a recent soundcheck!
Semi Precious Weapons
Semi Precious Weapons Oct 18, 2010

Semi Precious Weapons Interview with Urban Nomad on LA Weekly!

Check out the video below for Urban Nomad's interview with Semi Precious Weapons from LA Weekly. Watch as Justin explains why "A man in high…
Semi Precious Weapons
Semi Precious Weapons Oct 06, 2010

SPW Take a Stand Against Bullying on MTV

Check out what Semi Precious Weapons have to say about school bullying on MTV. Check out the video interview below and click the link below…
Semi Precious Weapons
Semi Precious Weapons Oct 05, 2010

MTV fettY Necklace Giveaway!

To help kick off the start of Semi Precious Weapon's Dirty Showbiz tour, the band has teamed up with MTV to give fans a chance…
Semi Precious Weapons
Semi Precious Weapons Oct 04, 2010

Examiner Interview with Semi Precious Weapons!

Before SPW's show at the El Rey Theater, the Examiner caught up with the band for an interview. See what Justin, Dan, Stevy, and Cole…
Semi Precious Weapons
Semi Precious Weapons Oct 01, 2010

Justin Tranter Talks Literature with MTV's Music Book Club

Justin discusses his favorite book, The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, with MTV's Music Book Club. Check out an excerpt from the article below…

Watch the New Semi Precious Weapons Video on Rolling Stone

Check out Semi Precious Weapon's sexy new music video for 'Look at Me' featured today at RollingStone.com. Click the link to watch and read more…
Semi Precious Weapons
Semi Precious Weapons Sep 21, 2010
  • Label: Geffen
  • Label Type: major
  • About:
    Justin Tranter's not like everybody else. “Why would you want to be like everybody else?” demands the Semi Precious Weapons frontman. “Rock'n'roll is supposed to be rebellious, shocking, ridiculous.” The Brooklyn quartet's debut album, WE LOVE YOU is all that and more: Ten soulful, sleazy, celebratory tunes that rock as hard and stylishly as Justin swaggers. It's not my fault that I look better in her party dress, he shrugs and taunts at the beginning of “Magnetic Baby,” a song that nails the band's garage-glam to your ears with hooks the likes of which have not been heard since Axl Rose was pretty. “Musically, there's a little more cock rock than what people think of when they think of glam,” says Justin. “It's raucous, hypersexual, easy-to-sing-along-to rock'n'roll, with my self-indulgent self-empowered lyrics.” Voted “Best Band in New York” by readers of the Village Voice last year, Semi Precious Weapons are a band that's thrilled to say they got to play all-ages gigs at CBGBs, but wouldn't necessarily feel out of place at the John Varvatos store (which recently took over the lease from the legendary music club). After all, Justin had a make-up artist (Jenny Brown) before SPW had an A&R guy.

    The band's not-so-dirty secret, and the reason why the songs are as accomplished and concise as they are bloody and bombastic, is that all four members are whip-sharp musicians. Tranter, guitarist Aaron Lee Tasjan, bassist Cole Whittle and drummer Dan Crean met when studying music at school in Boston. Introduced through a producer friend, the foursome joined up for good after a Tasjan solo gig in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. “There's a bar right down the street from my loft called Tommy's Tavern,” says Justin. “We heard him play and were blown away.”

    A classic rock obsessive whose own solo work remains firmly rootsy, Tasjan encouraged Justin to make SPW more grandiose. “We wanted to make filthy party hits; bring the party back to rock'n'roll and back to New York City.” Tasjan says. “The songs Justin had already written were great songs, but they didn't have super-catchy choruses. I kind of thought, let's write songs that should be on the radio.” Aaron’s new riffs allowed the band to play as hard as they wanted and the lyrics to be as over-the-top as Justin wanted. Ten minutes into their first rehearsal, the whole band bashed out its eponymous raison d'etre, a raucous mashing up of Iggy, Angus Young and Courtney Love, “Semi Precious Weapons.” Tasjan recalls, “We played it at our gig a couple of days after we wrote it. When Justin sang, I can't pay my rent but I'm fucking gorgeous, every face in the crowd lit up.” A star was born.

    Things were going so well Tasjan never got around to telling his new bandmates that he still lived in Ohio—he actually drove back and forth to gigs and practiced for nearly seven months before taking a spot on Justin's couch. Not yet 21, he also claimed to be a teetotaler, which was fine by Justin, a non-drinker himself. “I don't really have any inhibitions, so I don't need alcohol or drugs,” he says. “My role on this earth is to encourage others to be as crazy as they want to be.”

    He also fills that role by making jewelry, a business that he only started 'cause the band needed some merch to sell at early gigs. “My mom's an engagement ring designer, so when it was time to get a day job at 18, a jewelry store is where I went,” he says. “I knew where I could go in the wholesale fashion district to buy pieces to put stuff together.” His necklaces based on the band's gun and hearts logo quickly blossomed into Fetty Brooklyn, now a three-tiered line (Fetty, Semi Precious Weapons and Fame) available at Barney's, Urban Outfitters and Fred Segal, as well as home-base boutique Alter. “We paid for our record with jewelry money,” Justin says. Justin has also branched out into shoes, with a limited edition made for DKNY.

    Live, Semi Precious Weapons are in a class of their own. The band is known for their energy filled, circus-like live shows. LA Weekly describes “Gun-blazing bitch-rock. Weapons are a hybrid of Bowie-esque stage seduction and Sex Pistols-style insolence.” Bass player Cole Whittle thrashes about stage with his ultimate fighting moves, while drummer Dan Crean fiercely pummels the drums. The band has been engaging fans across the country, recently selling at shows at Canada’s NXNE Music Festival. Not to mention the shows in Paris and London (where Kate Moss showed up, and The Guardian called SPW “the most important band in America.”)

    The first stop on the path to WE LOVE YOU was B.P. Fallon (the legendary Irish DJ and former publicist for Led Zeppelin, T. Rex, Traffic, Thin Lizzy etc), who put Semi Precious Weapons on at one of his Death Disco nights and was simply overwhelmed by their tumescence. At a subsequent gig Fallon introduced them to producing giant Tony Visconti (David Bowie, T. Rex, Morrissey). “I've been waiting for you guys for years,” Visconti told the band. Given that Justin came of age listening to female rappers and Nirvana, he didn't know enough to be intimidated. “It wasn't until after I met him that I realized the amount of records he'd produced, and how many legendary songs he was responsible for,” he says. “It was really exciting to hear somebody who's been involved with so many important records tell us, “I'll do anything I can to be a part of it.”

    Executive-produced by Visconti with Mario J. McNulty and the band, We Love You is a 21st Century New York City classic, from the trashy deep-kiss overture of “Taste” to the gloriously blasphemous “Jesus”--a true story about two outwardly mad-for-it but inwardly abstinent fans (as I lay me down to sleep/I pray the Lord will pop my fucking cherry, Justin wails). “Her Hair Is On Fire,” pays tribute to the classic hip-hop chant, while “That's Kunt,” transforms America's sole remaining conversational taboo into the band's self-styled accolade. “Anything that has tons of attitude, anything that's fabulous, whether it was an outfit or a guitar riff or a packed house, we'd be like, 'that's kunt,' says Justin. “So I was like, fuck it. I'm going to write a song called 'That's Kunt' (the mutated spelling was a small concession).” The song is a monster hit live.

    Part hedonist and part satirist, Justin's lyrics are both tongue-in-cheek and a sincere expression of his core philosophy. Sometimes I bleed because red is a good color for me, he sings in “Rock'N'Roll Never Looked So Beautiful,” a slow-burn epic on the order of “November Rain” or “Champagne Supernova.” “If you decide you look amazing, than you are,” he says. “If you say you're the most beautiful, you are.” Don't let the clothes or make-up fool you – Justin is neither goth nor emo (nor a drag queen), just a guy who gets along well with his inner glamazon. “People get so upset that we like ourselves,” he says. “They want bands to talk about how tortured they are, and how much fun they're not having.”

    “The cool thing about this band is that everybody is themselves,” says Tasjan. “Justin wears his high heels every day. It's not a stage performance choice. It's what makes him feel good when he gets up in the morning.” Says Justin, “A man in heels and make-up is still quite a shock to most of the world. I think it looks fantastic, some people get angry. Which for rock'n'roll is kind of a perfect combination.” And it turns out Justin is willing to admit that Semi Precious Weapons are like everybody else in one respect. “We're playing rock'n'roll as good as anybody that's ever played rock'n'roll,” he says. “We just look better doing it.”

    And that's kunt.
  • Members:
    Justin Tranter - Vocals
    Stevy Pine - Guitar and Backing Vocals
    Cole Whittle - Bass
    Dan Crean - Drums
  • Influences: TRINA....ELVIS...JAY-Z....WARHOL....
  • Sounds Like: Marilyn Monroe and a bunch of dobermans locked in a metal trash can
  • Member Since: 2008-05-08

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