North Texas Daily

Satans, soft rock and real talk

Satans, soft rock and real talk

Satans, soft rock and real talk
September 05
09:48 2013

Christina Ulsh / Senior Staff Writer

With a cigarette hanging out of the corner of his mouth and the scorching Texas sun on his face, Tony Ferraro started talking.

“I like shopping for good kitty litter. I’m the guy who has the best kitty litter in town. I want to be the guy who makes his own kitty litter, I’m just not there yet,” he said.

How do you become infamous? Take a look at the life of Ferraro and follow suit: be in seven bands, create band art and tweet ridiculous things to various celebrities and politicians.

“I want to leave a big pile of ‘Hey, I was here’ before I go,” Ferraro said.

Tony Ferraro and the Satans of Soft Rock is the band he birthed, and he controls it creatively. Ferraro is the thick-lensed frontman, lead singer and head writer. On Tuesday, the band released its record “Friend of Man and Beast Alike.” Ferraro said it is the first completion of a concept record that he’s done.

There is an interchangeable four- or five-person core unit who make up the seven different bands Ferraro is in. The leader of the band is determined by who writes the music, though the remaining band members still contribute to the creative process.

“I could play all day in my underwear on an acoustic guitar on a barstool in an open mic any night of the week,” Ferraro said. “But I’ve got a really special group of guys that make it extra special.”

Grady Sandlin, who works with Ferraro in several other musical projects, said the band comes together and produces powerful work.

“They’re all good, tasteful players on their own, but they move through Tony’s songs like two dogs connected by their collars,” Sandlin said. “They push and pull each other in different directions while still knowing exactly where they are headed.”

Ferraro said most of his music and lyrics reference characters from a wide array of short stories and novels he has read.

“Thematically, lyrically, there are a lot of the same characters,” Ferraro said. “Not only thematically does it have a common thread, [but] almost all of the songs borrow a melody from one of the other songs.”

This concept was born when Ferraro realized he was writing deeply personal songs that were based on his own fleeting feelings.

“By the time I was done writing them or recording them or releasing them, I was bored with them because I don’t feel like that anymore,” he said. “It wasn’t so openly naked me.”

Ferraro said he started writing songs based on characters because they resonated longer than the ones about his personal feelings.

“I feel like this [album] is a milestone for Tony,” Satans bandmate Ryan Thomas Becker said. “It is Tony’s strongest material to date, and also his best band.”

Sandlin also praised the musical steps forward Ferraro and the band made on “Friend of Man and Beast Alike.”

“The first song, “Satanic Verses,” is likely to get stuck in my head and hang around for a couple of days,” said Sandlin. “It’s like a drinking buddy who overstays his welcome.”

The “drinking buddy” that Sandlin referenced comes from Ferraro writing from a good place, even if the material may make it seem otherwise.

“A lot of the songs are very serious or angry or dark or mean,” Ferraro said. “That’s an easy place to write from but it’s a fun place to play from. Serious rock is good. Fun rock is better.”

Becker said Ferraro is a keen songwriter who pays attention to the intricacies of his music.

“He’ll change one note at the end of a melody to something weird just for a chance at making someone’s flesh crawl,” Becker said.

Ferraro draws inspiration from multiple styles of music, including music from the ‘60s and ‘70s, rap and country and western, which one of his bands plays,

“As long as the music is not trying to make you feel bad about yourself then I’ll give it a try,” he said.

One artist that influences Ferraro’s work is Kool Keith, an eccentric, New York-based rapper.

“He’s wild and he’s very original and he’s always messing with what is normal,” Ferraro said. “His imagery is very confrontational, and it’s either insanely angry or insanely sexual.”

The darkness that lies in the creases of his own mind, he said, are also available to the public on twitter. He said he is ensuring he can never run for public office.

“Social media is hilarious. It’s such a joke. It’s not even real. That’s why I have so much fun on it,” he said. “There’s a lot of things I say on there that I’m not gonna bring up at a turkey dinner with my grandmother.”

While he works in a restaurant, his preferred realm of money making is in band art. He freelances artwork, such as posters and web design, for other artists.

“I do a lot of odd jobs. Anything I’m comfortable asking people to give me money for, I’ll do it. Which is most things,” Ferraro said.

However, he does not make music for the money.

“The payoff of the brotherhood of the people that I play with and the writing and just challenging myself to be a better writer and challenging my friends to write more is infinitely more rewarding than any dollar,” he said.

He said he also reaps the reward of influencing his audience.

“Music always comforted me in my absolute worst times and it fortified my good times,” he said. “I like being in the position where I can help make that for other people who can’t or want to.”

“Friend of Man and Beast Alike” can be streamed or purchased at http://tonyferraro.bandcamp.com. The raunchy comedic thoughts of Tony Ferraro can be found at the Satans of Soft Rock Twitter handle @T666NY.

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