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Interview: Eric Owen of Black Pistol Fire

Black Pistol Fire

by Justin Trudell

Black Pistol Fire is a high-octane throat punching rock group based out of Austin, by way of Toronto. They’re composed of Kevin McKeown on guitar/lead vocals and Eric Owen on drums. The blues-rock inspired duo released their fifth album in September, Deadbeat Graffiti. Before they rumble into Detroit, Eric Owen took some time to talk to us about the new album and their memories of Detroit.

HWID: The new album is out, Deadbeat Graffiti, how’s the reception been so far?
Eric Owen: It’s been overwhelmingly positive – the fans, most people who have heard it. We’re really happy with how people have responded. It’s definitely a little different than what we’ve done for previous albums. So we’re really happy that people are digging it.

HWID: When I was listening to it, I noticed there’s significant changes from one track to the next, is that something you guys did intentionally?
Eric Owen: Yeah, that was definitely part of the motivation to make something refreshing. So you hear one song and it sounds completely different than the next song. So everything on the album sounds new and fresh.

HWID: This is your third album in the last three years, how are you guys able to write so frequently and still keeping up the quality as much as you have?
EO: I think it’s just a lot of hard work. And beyond just this what made it to this album, there are still so many other songs that were recorded for it, and there’s still other songs being created all the time. It’s just about having a good work ethic and constantly going. I know Kevin writes like every day. It’s about having the drive to do it constantly.

HWID: Speaking of Kevin, I’ve noticed on your Instagram there are dozens of photos of him getting reckless on stage – have there been any close calls or injuries from his crowd surfing?

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EO: Actually you know what, at Riot Fest a couple weeks ago, he probably did the most dangerous stunt he’s ever done. It’s a big high stage, maybe seven-feet tall. And to jump to the crowd it was maybe a four-foot gap to this island of speakers, then another six feet after that to get to the crowd. It was a big one, and he messed his neck up a little bit. He’s recovered though, gave himself a little whiplash, but he’s better now.

HWID: As a two-piece rock band, do you think the success of groups like The White Stripes and The Black Keys have helped or hurt your own personal success?
EO: That’s a good question. I think it did both to be honest. More than anything it helped. Because if The White Stripes didn’t do what they were able to do, we probably wouldn’t have even thought it was possible to be just two people doing it. So I’d say they opened the door to make it acceptable. But, I suppose a drawback would be that inevitably, it would be difficult to shake any comparisons to other similar acts. And no matter how different you are, there’s always going to be someone who says, “Oh, there’s two guys in that band, they sound like The White Stripes.” Even though, I don’t think we do.

HWID: Do you guys have any memories of Detroit or anything you’re looking forward to checking out?
EO: For sure! We played Detroit last year, with a band we like a lot some friends of ours call The Erers, they’re cool guys. We played The Shelter last year, which was pretty decent. But, we actually recorded our first album in Detroit with Jim Diamond. It was at a place called Ghetto Recorders – which I’m not sure still exists. I think he shut it down last year. The third album we kind of demoed out songs in that studio. So yeah, we spent some good time there. That studio used to be right behind The Fillmore and Comerica Park.

HWID: I wish I knew about a recording studio around there, it would’ve been cool to check out. Most of that area behind The Fillmore just looks like abandon buildings.
EO: It actually was an abandon building, and there’s no sign or anything. It was basically Jim’s apartment, and the studio just looked like a warehouse. There was no way of really knowing it was a studio. So we would record at the studio and go to a bar across the street that served all kinds of Mediterranean food.

HWID: Bucharest Grill!?
EO: I think it was, yeah. That place is great! We’ve spent a lot of time in Detroit and we’ve really enjoyed it.

HWID: Thanks for taking some time to chat with us. Looking forward to seeing you guys play in Detroit!
EO: Yeah, we will see you this weekend. Thanks!

See Black Pistol Fire on Saturday, October 14th at The Magic Bag in Ferndale

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