Drummer Greg Saenz is enjoying a fantastic music career. He’s currently the drummer for local band You Know Who; he plays in former Kyuss frontman John Garcia’s solo band; and he’s been involved with Excel, and My Head. However, he’s probably best known for his days as Gregory Pecker during a stint with The Dwarves. Greg was kind enough to answer the Lucky 13; here are his answers.
What was the first concert you attended?
The Village People with opener Gloria Gaynor at the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles, June 1979. Just think about THAT one! It is, to this day, the greatest concert performance I have ever seen. (Well, Alice Cooper …)
What was the first album you owned?
The Osmond Brothers, Crazy Horses. I was 5 years old, and after seeing them perform the title track “Crazy Horses” on TV, I was obsessed with Donny Osmond. On Christmas morning 1972, Nixon was POTUS, and I woke up to the first record I ever owned.
What bands are you listening to right now?
I’ve been enjoying Torche lately, and a band we recently played with called Vodun, from London. I’ve been listening to The Guess Who, and Grand Funk Railroad, knowing what an influence they were for Soundgarden. Same reason I’ve been listening to my Paul Butterfield Blues Band records, Swamp Dogg, and Etta James with the passing of Gregg Allman.
What artist, genre or musical trend does everyone love, but you don’t get?
The Mars Volta, Dillinger Escape Plan, and Korn. I “get” the bands, because I know they have a vision, and a purpose, and it serves ’em right. What I don’t “get” is “moved.” It doesn’t move me, not even to the point where I feel like I’m missing something. My reluctance to listen to those bands is always difficult to explain to my buddies who want to crank it all the way to L.A. and back.
What musical act, current or defunct, would you most like to see perform live?
I was really believing that The James Gang was going to headline Desert Trip, and I am terribly disappointed about that not happening.
What’s your favorite musical guilty pleasure?
Besides doing air guitar in the mirror? Berlin, Oasis, Alter Bridge, The Cardigans, and XTC.
What’s your favorite music venue?
Wild at Heart in Berlin: GREAT food, beer, a tattoo parlor with world-renowned artists, and a cool stage/sound system. Plus, it’s in Berlin!
What’s the one song lyric you can’t get out of your head?
“Baby I just need one good one to staaaaaaayy,” “Million Reasons,” Lady Gaga.
What band or artist changed your life? How?
Tom Araya of Slayer. Los Angeles, 1987. I was drumming for Excel, my first “real” band, and although I was handling my own, I was still quite green and insecure about my abilities. Dave Lombardo and Slayer had just parted ways, and their LP Reign in Blood was still in our ears. One week after the Lombardo departure, I approached Tom Araya at a hardcore show in L.A. that his younger brother’s band, Bloodcum, was playing at. Tom was quite friendly, and knew of Excel, and he gave me their manager’s phone number. I was told to learn “Altar of Sacrifice,” “Jesus Saves,” “Reign in Blood” and “Necrophobic.” I pooped my pants, but I learned the tunes and auditioned. I was thrilled! I obviously didn’t get the gig, and I knew I wouldn’t; I only knew that a chance to conquer my biggest fears would land me in a spot where I would earn respect so I could hold my head up high amongst my colleagues, and be uber-confident in my abilities. I’m still not sure if it worked, but it definitely changed my life.
You have one question to ask one musician. What’s the question, and who are you asking?
I’d ask Rivers Cuomo from Weezer: “Did you really audition for Quiet Riot?”
What song would you like played at your funeral?
Why, it would be “Champagne Supernova” by Oasis, of course!
Figurative gun to your head, what is your favorite album of all time?
What song should everyone listen to right now?
“Combination” by Aerosmith, to help prove my point. (Scroll down to hear it.)