The Untitled Interview #25: Starring Stevie "Sunshine" Stapleton (Your 33 Black Angels)

Don't let the name fool you, there are not in fact 33 members in Your 33 Black Angels. There are a lot of 'em, though, truth be told. This gaggle of New Yorkers is out on the road supporting their super spectacular, rather fetching second album, entitled "Tales of My Pop-Rock Love Life." It's an appropriate title, really, since the album is choc-full of plum pop-rock nuggets. And as we all know, I'm a sucker for a good pop song. They're well-written, well-composed, well-executed...and I like each and every song. And I've gotta say, I've been finding "Cannonball" pretty dang sublime these days.

I managed to coerce bassist Stevie Stapleton (nickname: Sunshine) into answering my fairly usual line of questioning. Read on, gentle reader, to see what Stevie's been reading, what he's been listening to, and how he answered my favorite question (y'know, Beatles vs Stones of course). As you'll see, he cheated, but I'll let it slide.

For you Richmonders, head on over to the Camel this Sunday night to see Your 33 Black Angels in the honest-to-goodness flesh. I'll be there for sure, you should be, too. Pencil it in. In fact, go ahead and use a Sharpie.

Les Enfants Terribles: How the hell are you?
Stevie Stapleton: I'm itchin' to hit the road. It's the real life.

LET: What was the last song you listened to?
SS: I'm listening to Mountain Battles by The Breeders right this instant.

LET: Playing music is ___
SS: like painting the inside of people's ears.

LET: What album most made you realize that you wanted to make music?
SS: I don't know the names of many of the albums, but growing up I constantly heard albums by Deep Purple, Queen, Duran Duran, The Sundowners, The Partridge Family, Neil Diamond and Eddie Rabbit, so maybe they have something to do with it. I really, really love a rainy night.

LET: Beatles or Stones?
SS: Ramones.

LET: What're your top 5 albums (of ever, of this week, of this minute)?
SS: Road to Ruin by Ramones, The Cymbal and the Skull by Heavy Creatures, Ragin' Full-On by fIREHOSE, The Village Green Preservation Society by The Kinks, and Must've Been High by The Supersuckers. It's hard to choose.

LET: Favorite music-related movie?
SS: Along the Way from Bad Religion. It documents their Suffer Tour, and Greg Hetson tries to explain to a German reporter what Blades of Steel is. It's wonderful.

What city or venue would you like to play, but haven't yet been to?
SS: Why is it so Gosh-darn hard to book a show in the worst city in the world, Boston? On second thought, we don't need to go to Boston. We're from New York City. So I guess my answer would have to be Salt Lake City because I'd like to teach the people there how to rock.

LET: Half-full or half-empty?
SS: There is no half-empty.

LET: Apart from your band, which of your peers do you think is making the best music these days?
SS: Oh, boy. One of my favorite things about being in a band is being able to play with bands like Apollo Heights (NYC), Madam Robot and the Lust Brigade (NYC), Hank and Cupcakes (NYC), Scary River (Baltimore, MD), Slick (NYC), , The Hall Monitors (Washington, DC), Slaraffenland (Denmark), Teedo (NYC), Transmission Fields, Hollands (NYC), Discovery (NYC), Bone Cave Ballet (Seattle), International Graduate University (Washington, DC), Cheap Wine and Poetry (Seattle)...the list goes on and on and on...

LET: What's the first thing you think when you wake up in the morning?
SS: These days? Damn it's cold.

LET: The greatest record store in the world is:
SS: LUNA Music in Indianapolis. Hey Todd! What a bunch of cool people that work there, who really give a damn about what they do and really know how to treat folks right.

LET: If your band was a movie, you would be:
SS: A History of the Travelling Pants but without four annoying broads.

LET: What was your backup name, in case Y33BA had happened to already have been in use?
SS: A no-brainer. My 22 White Devils. M22WD for short.

LET: Last book you read:
SS: Snowcrash, by Neal Stephenson. Some call it cyberpunk, but it dealt with drugs and guns and Sumerian mythology and the ever-creepy thing called the internet and what might happen to it in the future and all the bad things that technology might bring and the mafia and death and all cool stuff. It is one of my favorite books ever. Highly recommend it. Two thumbs WAY, WAY up.

LET: What's the longest flight you've ever been on, and where were you going?
SS: It was a 64 hour plane ride to hell. Hell's Kitchen, I mean. Actually, it was a car ride. But we played at Siberia, so in the end it worked out all right.

LET: Shaken or stirred?
SS: From the bottle

LET: If you weren't in a band, you'd be:
SS: there's nothing else, so I suppose I'd be a dolt.

LET: Best song ever written?
SS: It's a toss-up between "Tales of My Pop-Rock Love Life" written by Tim Mumford and "On Days Like This It's Good to be Alive" written by Josh Westfal or "Step Aside" by Sleater-Kinney.


  1. Brooklyn's rock torchbearers Your 33 Black Angels have just been added to the bill at DC9 on May 27th, in support of Island Records' Young Love. Right on.


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