BTD Interviews the band The Complaints
Written by Matt Zin on November 3, 2023
BTD Interviews the band The Complaints
I am so excited to talk with you. Thank you so much for the rock’in CD and swag! Love love love it! I am going to just dive right in and start this interview because I just can’t wait to hear everything about you and the band!
Can you go around the room and introduce the members of The Complaints and tell us how the band originally formed? I want to throw one more into this, how did you come up with the band name?
- Dean Petrella – Vocals and guitar
- Chris Cruz – Bass
- Anthony Marotti – Drums
- Anthony and Chris went to high school together and have been in bands together since then.
They saw me [Dean] play a solo gig and really liked my songs, but we didn’t get to speak that night.
Soon after, my band and their band at the time ended up playing a show together and we got to talking and decided to get together to work on some songs I had written, and the rest is history!
Band name – complaining is the essence of rock n’ roll, and it sounded cool!
Your album “Chasing Light” has been receiving great reviews. What inspired the band to create this album, and what do you hope listeners take away from it? And just a side note for our BTD listeners, you can check out the BTD “Chasing Light” review here.
Most of the album was co-written with our good friend Joe Martira. Joe and I [Dean] have been spending a lot of time in Nashville, where I perform a lot of songwriter showcases. Being around some of the best songwriters in the world has been inspirational to our writing. The title track “Chasing Light” is an ode to all of us who struggle with depression and anxiety. It’s an attempt to steer us away from darkness and keep us “chasing light”.
How have artists like Tom Petty influenced your sound, and what other musical influences can be heard in your music?
I [Dean], am heavily influenced by classic singer-songwriter rock icons like Tom Petty, Elvis Costello and Neil Young.
The band is heavily influenced by bands with great, unique feel like The Police.
How would you describe your music in 5 words or less?
Classic, modern, edgy, lyrical and moody
Could you share with us some personal favorites from the “Chasing Light,” album and tell us what makes those tracks special to you?
The theme of Chasing Light hits home as many of our friends and family struggle with anxiety and depression. It’s meant to be a blast of optimism.
Looking for Liars captures the band at its best. It’s a song about denial. The song circles around from judging someone to realizing you are just like the one you were judging. We get a great reaction to this one live too.
Are there any interesting stories or experiences behind the creation of songs like “The Bottom,” “Let Heaven Fall,” and “That’s What You Get” that you can share with our BTD listeners? And if you would like to step outside the box from these fabulous song titles and share anything else, we would love to hear. Inquiring minds want to know, lol.
That’s What You get is a unique sounding song and we all grew up as hard-working guys who lived on little to no sleep, working day jobs and playing music at night. Joe came to me [Dean] with this idea and it was perfect. While the song can be a little dark, the bridge reminds you it’s not too late to do what you want to do “you’re not dead yet!”
Let Heaven Fall was not written about a specific person, but everyone can relate to “the one that got away”.
You worked with renowned engineer/producers like Chris Lord-Alge, known for his work with Matchbox Twenty, Madonna, and Green Day. How did this collaboration come about, and what did you learn from working with such experienced professionals?
Being independent artists, we have always sought the help of engineers and producer’s we respected. We have worked with legends like Chris Lord-Alge, Phil Greene, Shelley Yakus, Greg Calbi, Adam Ayan and up and coming superstars like Matt Ricci.
The Complaints are known for performing live extensively, with around 150 shows a year. What’s your favorite part of performing live, and do you have any memorable moments from your live shows, BTD’ers want to know
We LOVE to play live. Getting reactions from the fans is one of the most exhalating feelings in the world. Sharing our music is our lifeline. We recently played an outdoor concert with Gin Blossoms and Collective Soul in our hometown of Providence. It was amazing to see thousands of fans there, sharing in an unforgettable day of music.
I was reading that you’ve shared the stage with several national acts like Gin Blossoms, 3 Doors Down, and Nickelback, just to name a few. Can you share some of your experiences and interactions with these bands?
Sometimes you don’t get much interaction with some of the national acts, other times you get lifetime memories. When we played with Sugar Ray, Mark McGrath was so gracious. He came out and listened to our sound check, he thanked us by name many times during their set, and he let us hang in the band’s dressing room. We also made a lifelong friend Al Keith, who was playing percussion with Sugar Ray, and he is our first call when we go hang out in LA.
I am sure you have lots of fans out there, how do you engage with your fans, and what role do they play in The Complaints’ journey?
We are very active on social media, and we love to hang with our fans at the shows. It’s really one of the greatest aspects of the journey.
Another one of those inquiring mind things , can you share a memorable fan interaction that stands out?
At a show the other night a fan came up to me [Dean]. She told me that a family member had committed suicide some years ago, and a song I had written about suicide called “The Rope”, had really helped her through that tough time. That was many years ago, yet still fresh on her mind. It was very humbling to hear a simple little song you wrote helped someone in their time of need.
I know I have asked you a lot of questions so far, I promise you we are about to come to a close, but I do have a few more questions. So, here are a few more I am going to throw at you. What does the band like to do for fun when you are not performing on the stage or in the studio.
We are foodies. We love to eat and drink good food, that’s another great part of touring is trying out new places to chow down!
Are there any social causes or community initiatives that The Complaints are passionate about or support?
We have lost close friends and family to cancer. We always support multiple cancer causes. St. Jude is a personal favorite that I [Dean] support along with my family. Cancer in children is devastating to families. St. Jude is an amazing organization.
You mentioned that the band is currently writing material for various soundtracks. Can you give our BTD listeners a sneak peek into any upcoming projects or soundtracks you’re working on?
A lot of our music was used in an award-winning movie called Randy’s Canvas and we wrote songs for a film that was just released called Poor Paul. Adam Carbone is an up-and-coming writer, director and actor. We have many other projects in the works with him as well.
Ok, I am sure I exhausted you with my questions, I will close this off by asking you where can BTD listeners find your music, social media and all that fabulous stuff!
It’s been a pleasure! and also be sure to check out The Complaints at their official band website: https://www.thecomplaints.com/