What I love about playing is connecting with other musicians and getting in a groove, whether it be instrumentally or vocally. The feeling that comes from getting to be part of something bigger than yourself. Playing live shows brings another level to that experience, you can really feed off the energy in a room and go places musically that you couldn’t without a good crowd.
Performing live is an escape from reality. For two to three hours I think of nothing but music. No worries. No cares. It’s one of the few things I can do that keeps my mind from running a thousand miles an hour. I’ve been singing with the Virginia Remnants’ guitar player, Jody Hanshew, for over a decade. We have been in two bands together and played as an acoustic duo.
Monster Atlantic had one goal: to produce a full-length, original album. This week, that goal officially becomes reality with the launch of “Sunken City Radio”. Blue Ridge Rocks sat down with Lance Smith, the band’s lead singer, to gain some insight into the new album which is a distillation of the best of nineties alternative rock, with an indie twist.
I’ve been playing guitar since I turned 13, so 40 years now. My father was a music teacher, so I played every band instrument under the sun for two weeks. He never gave me any grief when I quit – and quit and quit – which let me keep searching. And when I said I wanted to play guitar, he went out and bought me the black Gibson Les Paul Custom I still play when I go electric.
When I was young, my dad played guitar around the house and I developed an ear for music early. I had a cheap Yamaha keyboard and could pick out things on the radio, as well as what I heard on television. As an only child growing up in the country, you spend a lot of time alone and music was my outlet.
I love what creating music does for my soul. It takes me places spiritually. As does the adrenaline rush I get from being on stage and in front of a crowd. Well, the right crowd anyway. You can tell when people are into the music and that’s when the energy exchange is almost palpable. That’s the moment of performing that keeps me doing it. It’s gratifying for me as well as the audience.
The guitar has been in my hands for almost 30 years and the art of writing a song hits me pretty hard. I’m attracted to a well written song and am inspired to better myself every time I pick up my instrument. My songs are generated from real life experiences. I write what I live. Family, Fun, Friends, Heartache, Love, the Bottle…and silliness at its best.