“We Love You!”, “I can't pay my rent but I'm gorgeous” or “Sometimes I cry because my eyes look bluer”, are some of the titles of the songs of the NYC band Semi Precious Weapons, a “garage-glam” band with a touch of rhinestone stiletto shoes, boy dressed as girl, a wonderful penchant for the word kunt, and a very appealing rock band for many teenagers.
Photo: Justin by Tommy Couture
“Justin wears makeup and high heels because he likes to. Cole, Dan and Stevy don't. It's all gonna be ok.” (From their MySpace page, visit them at www.myspace.com/semipreciousweapons)
They released their “We Love You” cd last September 2008, and are currently extensively touring the
Here’s the lil’ chat with Justin Tranter, singer of the band.
Rachel - Hey Justin, thanks for your time, how are you feeling right now? Everything cool? How was the show last night? And how is the tour going so far? Are you happy with it?
Justin - The show last night was fucking fabulous! We had lots of gorgeous little super fans screaming every word. Which always make things a blast. The tour is going so well. The other two bands on the tour are so great. Nico Vega and Von Iva. Its a fucking 3 hour long party every night.
Rachel - Do you get nervous or excited before a show? Do you have any rituals you do or something you especially enjoy doing to prepare for it?
Justin - I haven't been nervous since the 7th grade. Performing is my favourite thing to do, so I get happy, not nervous. Before a show I warm up, stretch, fix my face, have a little whiskey and get ready to live it.
Rachel - In your MySpace page, you mention musical influences such people as Axl Rose, Elvis, Marilyn Monroe. What were your other main influences, musically, while growing up? And, what is it that you find so fascinating about Axl Rose?
Justin - Axl Rose was a fucking amazing performer and singer. He had a few years of pure brilliance, danger, and sex. Growing up I was all about Nirvana, Hole, Lil' Kim, Little Mermaid, you know...the usual.
Rachel - Obviously you are into fashion and clothing, in fact you do wear many of your own designs and have a line of jewellery called Fetty, and you use guns or hearts as cool jewellery items. Were you a David Bowie fan on some level, have many people told you this before?
Justin - I actually have never been that into
Rachel - Looking at some of the dates of your current American tour, I see on your tour schedule that you are for example playing at the Legendary Milestone Club Jan 29th in Charlotte, NC, have you ever heard of it? Many legendary bands have played there like GG Allin and the Murder Junkies, Nirvana, The Go-Gos etc. I believe you are a big fan of Nirvana...)
Justin - I am VERY excited to play there. I'm excited to play a lot of these clubs and cities.
Photo: Justin by Tommy Couture
Rachel - Justin, about your personal image, do you do your make up and think of your outfits yourself or do you always wear Tommy and Roy Couture's clothes and allow Jenny Brown to take care of your make up?
Justin - Its all a collaboration, some looks I do completely on my own, but the idea may have come from something else Tommy or Jenny already did.
Rachel - Tell us as much as possible, if you will, about Platinum Ann, your full-time muse!
Justin - SPW has an amazing crew of ladies that inspire us. Platinum Ann and The Daughters. Platinum Ann is a gorgeous NYC it girl, who is a mess and a lady, all at the same time. She could kill a man with her bare hands, and then seduce him right before his last breathe.
Rachel - Time to talk a bit about your new record, would you tell me why should people buy your record?
Justin - People should buy our new record because it fucking wins. It’s dangerous, fun, sexy, filthy, cute, and we all play and sing our asses off.
Photo: Justin by Tod Owyoung
Rachel - How are your family and friends, are they treating you any differently because of your success? Do they like you and your music? Do they attend any of your shows?
Justin - My family and friends are amazing. Especially my family. My mom and dad know every word to every song. They check in with us after every show. They will prob come along for at least a week of this tour. They lurv a party, they love rockNroll, and they love SPW.
Rachel - Have you thought about your music having any longevity? Or do you not consider those things and prefer to live in the present time?
Justin - I want my existence and my face to be remembered forever. If the music is too, great.
Rachel - What’s currently getting the most playtime on your iPod?
Justin - I don't have an iPod, but my Discman LOVEs the new Beyonce, the new AC/DC, and Von Iva's Girls on Film.
Rachel - Tell me which are some of your favourite records?
Justin - Hole- Live Through This, Kylie- X, Fleetwood Mac- The Dance, Beyonce- Sasha Fierce,AC/DC- Back In Black
Rachel - Where did the band name come from?
Justin - I told my dad I wanted to start a band called "Precious", he said he would never listen to a band called Precious. So I said "what about Semi Precious Weapons?” He liked it.
Rachel - Who would you most like to tour or collaborate with in the future?
Justin - Well, we are touring with Von Iva and Nico Vega now, and it’s pretty fucking awesome. And SPW, Von Iva and The Ringers are starting a movement called Street Glam. So I'd love to tour with the 3 of us forever. But as far as legends, I really wanna do a tour with Stevie Nicks, Gwen Stefani and Courtney Love.
Rachel - What is your favourite song to perform live? Do you play or plan to
play any cover songs?
Justin - We wanna cover Bette Davis Eyes. Right now my favourite songs to do live are RockNRoll Never Looked So beautiful and our newest song called Put A Diamond In It and Bite Down.
Photo: Semi Precious Weapons by Justin Hyte
Rachel- How did all of you guys meet, and how long have all of you been playing as a band?
Justin - We have been a band for a little over 2 years. We all met at music school. Yes, we are filthy, over-sexed music school geeks.
Rachel - What are your favourite bands out there right now?
Justin - The members of the Street Glam Movement! SPW, Von Iva and The Ringers. Btw, Street Glam is sexy, smart, dirty, party RockNRoll played by people who work their asses off!
Rachel - Any chance of a European Tour coming up anytime soon?
Justin - I hope so dammit!
Rachel - Justin, I have read that first of all you did the now popular gun and heart pendants and sold them all before even becoming a band, is that right? Is that where the idea of forming this band came from?
Justin - I made the "shot through the heart" necklace for the very first SPW show! So it all started at once.
Rachel- Will you tell me the name of your hairdresser please, I want that platinum colour!!
Justin - Her name is Naomi Knights @ Ion Studios in
Rachel - And finally just think about something you would really like to say in an interview and that no one has ever asked you before. Whatever the fuck!! Say it aloud!!!!
Justin - I am not a drag queen, a tranny, a fag, straight, gay, bi or any of that bull shit. I am a fashionable genderless sea creature. (Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless handheld)
Rachel - Thanks Justin!!!!!!!
Check Semi Precious Weapons out on:
Photo's: used with kind permission of Justin SPW - Credits:Justin Hyte, Tommy Couture, and Tod Owyoung
Interview by Rachel 21.1.09