We recently interviewed Chip & The Chargeups as we discussed their creative mashup of Green Day/ Poison songs "Good Riddence, Fallen Angel" and MORE!
By: Micheale Janson
Running at full megaton speed, Chip & The Charge Ups are amped and ready to rock! A band that takes their passion for creating strong melodies and rocking them out. They know how to have fun too while creating their sound.
Zapping the rock n roll world with their latest single/music video/mashup Chip & The Charge Ups are set to bring Pittsburgh, Pa to your world!
Micheale Janson: Thanks for taking the time out! Please start out by introducing yourselves.
CHIP DIMONICK: I sing most of the lead vocals and play guitar in Chip & The Charge Ups.
MALEENA DOMINICK: I play bass and do a little singing for Chip & The Charge Ups.
JEFF DIPERNA: I play drums and sing backing vocals for Chip & The Charge Ups
CHRIS BOWERS: I play guitar. I joined the band back in March.
MJ: What is the music scene like there in Pittsburgh?
CHIP DIMONICK: The Pittsburgh music scene has improved tremendously since I started playing regularly in 2005. We have some amazing music festivals that have been started and grown in the past few years. They have really helped push homegrown music to the mainstream. Pittsburgh radio is playing a greater variety of local music than ever. There are plenty of opportunities for Pittsburgh bands to open for national acts. And, most importantly, the quality of the bands themselves has gotten pretty darn good! So, while I would rate the Pittsburgh music scene as "great," I still think we have a ways to go in the media, including radio. In some ways, there are media outlets who have a gatekeeper mentality that keep everyone but their friends out of the spotlight. In other ways, Pittsburgh's tight-knit community heritage has resulted in an "equal exposure for everyone" approach that has lumped the best music in with mediocre music, making it more difficult for fans to discover some of the more interesting music out there. I think that, as a city, we are finding our way on the path to becoming a great music city and I'm extremely proud of the progress we've made!
MJ: Do you get a sense that the social and economic climate drives the music being created everywhere?
CHIP DIMONICK: Yes and no. In some ways, it doesn't. Think about how tough it is to make money as an original music act these days, now that streaming has largely replaced physical music sales. And combine that with the fact that the Internet has allowed everyone to get their music out there. There's an economic environment of maximum competition for minimum money. Yet, musicians are still pursuing music! That means that people are playing for passion, not for money. But, some people do want to make money with music. I can think of several rockers who are now playing country music. And I can't help but conclude that it's because they simply want to make a living as a musician, because they were much better rockers than they are country artists. But, I guess there is still a little money in country, so they'll do whatever it takes to have that status of making money as a musician. So, there is definitely an economic effect on the music being created, but I don't think it totally dominates every musician's creative decisions.
MJ: It takes a great deal of practice to become an excellent musician. How many hours a week do each of you put into your instruments?
MALEENA DOMINICK: I sing in the honors choir and concert choir at my school, as well as play viola in the honors orchestra. Taking all that into account, as well as the time spent playing bass in Chip and the Charge Ups, I typically spend about 19 hours a week learning and practicing music.
CHRIS BOWERS: I’m a firm believer in taking time out of my day to improve my musicianship. I typically practice two hours every night. My practice routine consists of scales, ear training, music theory, learning new chords, improvisation, technique, and finger dexterity.
JEFF DIPERNA: Well, this might shock many of you. I do the majority of my practicing and learning in my car while commuting to and from work or on road trips. I enjoy studying whatever music I’m tasked to learn so I find it best to do it in my car where it’s just me. I’m able to focus on the material a lot more and, if necessary, replay portions of the material over and over so I can tighten things up. Of course, once I have it down I put it to the drum kit. Other than that, I’m rehearsing in two bands with two rehearsals per week so I get a good five to six hours per week bashing the skins.
CHIP DIMONICK: Even though I "do music full-time," it actually involves a lot of time working on the "business" side of the "music business": marketing, PR, booking shows, etc. I would say that I spend less than half of my work week on actually working on my instrument.
MJ: This mashup brought together two opposing genres really, punk and hair... was it a challenge to blend?
CHIP DIMONICK: Blending the genres wasn't much of a challenge. Actually, in all of the mashups I've composed, that's the easy part!
MJ: What process did you all go through to create the song from beginning to end?
CHIP DIMONICK: The tougher parts of the process involve finding songs that fit together, making decisions on what parts should be where, and then actually executing the recording of the song to the level of detail necessary to make it mind-blowing.
MJ: Where did the filming of the video happen?
CHIP DIMONICK: We filmed the video in three locations. The performance scenes, glass-throwing scene, and kick-to-the-lower-abdominal-area scene were filmed at the Rex Theater in Pittsburgh. The bus scenes were filmed at the Westmoreland Transit bus maintenance garage about an hour outside of Pittsburgh. And the other scenes were filmed in and around my house.
MJ: The wigs are great! It looks like an 80's Twisted Sister video... inspiration?
CHIP DIMONICK: I loved Twisted Sister's early videos! But the inspiration was definitely from the original Poison "Fallen Angel" video. We tried to match the hair as closely as possible. We even had a professional hair stylist work on Jeff's wig to get it as close to Rikki Rockett's poof as possible!
MJ: Of course, Chip & The Charge Ups do other types of music, didn't you all have an album come out this year? Talk about the music from it.
CHIP DIMONICK: Yes, we released our debut album, "Flow of the Current, Part I," in September. I think that the songs on the album are pretty diverse: "Front Row" is clearly in the vein of The Ramones, "The Ol' Two Niner" hints at metal, "Shine Again" has a contemporary inspirational vibe, and so on. But, the common thread is a power pop element that drives energy throughout the entire album.
MJ: What vibe would you say it put out to the scene?
CHIP DIMONICK: We aim for all of our songs to be catchy. It doesn't matter if we're doing a ballad or going for a reckless punk feel. We want all of our songs to be the type of songs that you'll be able to sing from memory an hour or a day later. I think that enables us to hook fans in no matter what genre a particular song leans toward and I think that is the vibe that people on the scene are getting as we try to grow recognition of Chip & The Charge Ups.
MJ: Looking back at your accomplishments this year- anything stand out to each band member as to what you have done musically?
MALEENA DOMINICK: One thing that stood out to me this year alone, was getting to be in the music video we recorded for our song “Good Riddance, Fallen Angel.” It was so much fun, even though it was just one song, getting to run around the stage for hours, performing and getting to perform in front of a camera. The end product of the music video was so amazing, and the whole process of getting to be the lead actress in it was a thrilling experience.
JEFF DIPERNA: I guess what stands out the most for me as a musician “musically” would be the new challenges in early 2018 to learn a complete album, within a very small time frame, written by other musicians and performing that material in front of live audiences within just a few months. I would say for myself I’ve accepted that challenge and conquered it.
That album would be Chip & The Charge Ups first album “Flow of The Current, Part I” and, as a band, we not only conquered this together and grew strong as a Pittsburgh outfit in just eight months, we’re going to conquer so much more in the days ahead. I mean, we truly hit the ground running with this. I’ve also changed my stage presence and appearance during shows which I’m having a ton of fun with. Chip just has that vibe about him which gets us all …..well…..charged up! This entire project has been full of accomplishments and I’m really looking forward to another year.
CHRIS BOWERS: I feel accomplished with our sold out CD Release Party, Green Day/Poison mashup music video, and every live performance we’ve done up to this point. It’s crazy to believe that the band kick-started in April. I’ve definitely learned a lot over the past couple of months.
CHIP DIMONICK: The combination of releasing the album then quickly translating those songs into an energetic live show really stands out to me as a major accomplishment. We are only getting started and I am charged up to continually work on our live performances so that they can get increasingly better. I am really encouraged by the open-mindedness of us as a band. With that open-mindedness, there are no barriers to really putting on a live show that stands out and gets better each and every time we set foot on a stage.
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