First/Last-The Breton Sound

August 19, 2013

“The Breton Sound began in earnest with Jonathan Pretus and longtime friend and collaborator, Stephen Turner (lead guitar). This fruitful early period produced an ambitious E.P., Eudaemonia, one that covered a wide range of influences, combining Pretus’s Beatlesesque pop sensibility with Turner’s Rush-infused guitar work. Over the course of the next year, the two would perform and tour in support of Eudaemonia aided by a cast of friends filling in on bass and drums. During that time, the band solidified into it’s current lineup. In addition to Pretus and Turner, The Breton Sound include Brian Pretus (bass/vocals), and Jonathan Alcon (drums/percussion). Turner and Alcon had previously forged a strong musical bond in Epic, their experimental progressive rock group; and Brian, Pretus’s younger brother, brings years of experience in New Orleans tight knit punk rock community.”

Check out the band at their official Website, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, BandCamp and Instagram. As I continue my coverage of the Paste 50 States Project, we head to Louisiana to feature The Breton Sound. The band recently released it’s latest EP, “Maps” and I want to thank Jonathan Pretus (Vocals/Guitar) and Stephen Turner (Guitar/Vocals) for taking a few to participate in this edition of First/Last.

  • The first album you ever bought?
  • Jonathan Pretus: The first album I can remember buying was The Beatles “White Album” on cassette. I’d heard ‘I Should Have Known Better’ from “A Hard Day’s Night,” and can remember asking my mom who the band was, and she told me it was The Beatles. So the next time I was in a music store, I went and picked out a cassette. Obviously, they were far removed from the “Hard Day’s Night” sound at that point, but I still just thought it was the coolest thing I’d ever heard. I kind of got obsessed from there, an obsession that continues to this day. Still my all-time favorite band.
  • Stephen Turner: Aerosmith “Get A Grip”.
  • Your last album bought?
  • Jonathan: Chris Bell “I Am The Cosmos”.
  • Stephen: Primus “They Can’t All Be Zingers”.
  • Favorite album of all time?
  • Jonathan: The Beach Boys “Pet Sounds”. That was an album that came into my life at just the right time. I was young, confused about life, and the record just spoke to me like few records had before. So emotionally, it just crushed me. Musically, it just opened my eyes to the most incredible sounds, arrangements, and melodies. It’s one of those records I think every musician aspires to make, and few ever do. We’re all chasing “Pet Sounds.” Stephen: Toss up… Dream Theater “Scenes from a Memory” and “Van Halen II”.
  • Least favorite/most disappointing album?
  • Jonathan: I don’t know if I have all-time least favorite or most disappointing albums. I do know that this year, I’ve been really let down by Beady Eye’s “BE.” I’m a huge Oasis fan, and thought that their first album after the band broke up was pretty scatter-shot. I thought with Dave Sitek from TV on the Radio producing, they’d come up with something really cool. But it just kinda’ landed with a thud in my opinion.
  • Stephen: Least favorite… anything from the White Stripes. Most disappointing… Dredg “Chuckles & Mr. Squeezy”. I love Dredg and this one just missed the mark for me.
  • First concert attended?
  • Jonathan: More than likely, Jazz Fest in New Orleans, but the first real show I remember was going to see B.B. King for my 6th birthday. He was my first musical obsession, and he was playing at the Blue Room here in New Orleans. My parents took my sister and I, and my dad slipped the club manager some cash and arranged for us to meet him after the show. He was hanging out in the kitchen of the hotel the venue was in, sipping on a Budweiser. He pulled me up on his lap, asked me how old I was, and how I knew his music. He was so nice. We took some pictures, he gave us some guitar pics and lapel pins. I’ll never forget that as long as I live. He’s still one of my heroes.
  • Stephen: Rolling Stones ‘Voodoo Lounge’ tour with my parents, aunts, and uncles.
  • Last concert?
  • Jonathan: Rush. Stephen is a huge Rush fan. They played in Milwaukee at Summerfest the night before we played, so he insisted we go and bought everyone tickets. While admittedly, I’m not a Rush fan, and didn’t ever think I’d see them in concert, musically, those guys are fantastic. I can’t even dream of playing the technical things they do. The show was visually really interesting. I’ve never seen Stephen geek out so much. It was quite a spectacle.
  • Stephen: The last big concert was Rush at Summerfest.
  • Favorite concert ever?
  • Jonathan: My wife and I saw Brian Wilson perform “Smile” in it’s entirety in 2005. His voice isn’t at all what it used to be in the ‘60s, but where it’s at now brings a really interesting tragic subtlety to his songs now. Knowing the back story of that record, and his whole story in general, the show was like watching a living, breathing example of the triumph of the human spirit. I cried multiple times. It was unbelievably beautiful music, obviously way ahead of its time, and probably still ahead of its time even now. Just an amazing show. But it’s also, Foo Fighters at Jazz Fest 2012 was pretty damn incredible. One of those shows where they were just on fire, and everyone was sweating and jumping like 15 year olds. Right in the middle of a breakdown in ‘These Days’ the skies parted and brought this wonderfully cooling, brief rain shower, in one of those “God’s a rock and roll fan” moments. They’re just such an inspiring band, because they stick to their guns, and live, they deliver an amazing show. We’re a rock band, so it means a lot to see a band like that do what they do, and do their part in keeping rock and roll alive right now, because it’s in a pretty dark time.
  • Stephen: Tool ‘Lateralus’ tour in 2001.
  • Least favorite concert?
  • Jonathan: Dave Matthews Band, Jazz Fest 2001. The girl I was dating at the time just loved them, so we went. Stuck in the middle of 70,000 sweaty people, 110 degree heat. The songs just went on and on and on and on. I eventually just had enough and had to leave and wait the show out while she stayed with her friends.
  • Stephen: Unfortunately, The Police in 2007 at the New Orleans arena. They just were not into it at all and people were actually sleeping next to me. I love them too so it was unfortunate.
  • Any thoughts, experiences about Pittsburgh?
  • Jonathan: I’ve been there once or twice with my last band. One time, I had an incredible gyro, and found a great record shop. The second time, there was a gang fight outside of our tour bus. That was pretty rad, except that someone also slashed our tires. But all in all, it’s a pretty cool town. Also, I don’t get the Terrible Towel. A buddy of mine is diehard Steelers, loves that damn towel, and it doesn’t make sense to me. Of course, where I’m from, our main chant is an English major’s nightmare, “Who Dat?”.
  • Stephen: I’ve never been. But, being a huge football fan, I’m a fan of Mike Tomlin and I really always liked coach Cowher and his grimace. And who doesn’t love The Bus and Terry Bradshaw?

Thanks, fellas. I just love “SMiLE“, Jonathan. That sounds like a fantastic experience to have had.