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An Interview With Pröwess Guitarist, Curly Staples!


Prowess North Carolina's very own, Pröwess, is a rising rock n’ roll act hailing out of the country's southeast. Their debut full-length album, “Blacktop Therapy” released in early January of last year, features some of the band's most successful singles such as title track, "Blacktop Therapy", "Every Right", and most notably, "Lookin' For A Bullet" which has accumulated nearly 50,000 streams on Spotify and 11,000 views on the official music video released via Pröwess' YouTube channel. Last month, Pröwess guitarist Curly Staples chatted with Gauntlet writer Liliana Guzman for this in-depth interview. Here, we discuss the band’s upbringing, their recent album, and their latest single, "Let It Ride"

Read all about it, below!
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LG: Liliana Guzman
CS: Curly Staples (guitar)

LG: Who is Pröwess? Can you each introduce yourselves and give a bit of background on the band?
CS: Pröwess is a rock n' roll band. A LOUD rock n' roll band that can, and WILL take your lunch money if you're not careful. Pröwess was started back in 2016 by Scott Roby, the other guitar player, but with a different lineup. Scott, Kenny Mange (bass), and Dalton Bowes, and our lead singer are the only members that were in Pröwess then. I joined the band a couple of years ago in 2018 after moving back from California. I was originally just supposed to be filling in. Guess I decided to stick around for a while haha. Our drummer Brandon Chinn joined in 2019 right before the "Lookin' For A Bullet" tour and the lineup hasn't changed since.

LG: What is it that you love about music? When did you realize that your calling was being on stage rather than in the audience?
CS: When I was maybe 14 or 15 or so, I saw Mötley Crüe's Carnival of Sins on VH1 Classic one night. I remember watching Tommy Lee play drums and he had that big ass fuckin' bass drum and I remember thinking "That's it. That's what I wanna do!" For every musician it's different, but that's when I realized I wanted to be on stage. That's definitely what started it. The thing I love about music is that there's really no wrong way to do it. Some ways are definitely more right than others haha, but it's all personal preference at the end of the day. Like, there are no rules to it! But I'm just a fan of creation in general. The whole process of creating something that didn't exist until you did it, and then putting it out into the world and having people react to it has always blown my mind.

LG: What type of satisfaction do you get from being a musician?
CS: Most of the satisfaction comes from a few things that I'm not going to mention here haha and then you know, the rest comes from the feeling of being a part of something and being on the road, traveling to new places. It's hard for me to just sit still really.

LG: Blacktop Therapy, your newest album released in January of last year, pulls influences from different decades and sub-genres of rock. Do you guys think that album was everything that it could've been? Having been a full year since the release, is there anything you guys wish you could go back and change about the album? What have you learned since the release of BT?
CS: That's a tough question because I feel like artists are their own worst critics. I'm really tough on myself when it comes to what and how I play, so I'm constantly trying to get better and do better than I did before. But yeah, as far as Blacktop, we're all really proud of it. I love playing those songs and I still listen to the whole album like every other day or something haha. I feel like even if I was never in Pröwess, I'd still listen to the music. But I wouldn't change anything about the album because it did what it needed to do and it's a representation of where we were as a band at the point in time that we recorded the song. I do play a few parts differently when we play live though because my playing is constantly improving, so I'm always looking for a way to make it better. As far as what I've learned, I've learned that I really don't like the recording process that much. I mean, I understand that it's very necessary and part of the job, but sometimes it just gets to be so tedious! And I don't like having to limit how much I drink beforehand haha. Cuz I can always play, no doubt, and sometimes better than others wink wink. In a live setting, you might be able to get away with it, but in the studio, you're just S.O.L., which is not a good idea considering the time and money it takes to cut a record!

LG: Where did the album name, "Blacktop Therapy" come from?
CS: It probably came up some time while we were on the road in the bus or something. But I'm always passed out haha so I can't say on that one!

LG: During the recording of Blacktop Therapy, are there any funny stories to share that happened during the production of that album?
CS: Well as far as in the studio and during tracking, I'm not sure. I would usually be asleep or something, and someone would come wake me up and I'd go in and track my guitar take then go back to the bus haha. Cuz like I said, recording ain't necessarily my favorite thing to do! But outside the studio... for sure! I remember I had just got in the band and we went to Atlanta to record a few tracks. We stayed with some friends in another band who lived there. Well, one of their friends came over and me and her started talking haha. Anyway, fast forward, we're at the studio in the control room the next day and I reach in my leather jacket pocket and felt something, but didn't know what it was. When I pulled it out, and it wound up being this chicks panties! Haha, all the memories started coming back! Tuk (our producer) and the sound engineer had a field day with that shit! There was another time we went out to this karaoke bar and it was packed. I ended up getting way too drunk way too fast and passed out in the back seat of the car we rode in. From the time we got there to the time I passed out, I must've been in the bar for only like, maybe 45 minutes. Hour max haha. The girl we rode with (a different girl than the one in the previous story) was talking so much shit haha. To this day she won't let me live it down! She's cool though.

LG: What is the biggest complaint you have about being in a band?
CS: Having to share my cigarettes!

LG: Pröwess recently released "Let It Ride" —your award-winning single with an accompanying video that features several video vixens. Let It Ride has a softer, more southern-rock sound compared to other arena-rock songs of yours such as Heart's Desire and Welcome Home. What made you guys want to experiment on this new single?
CS: Let It Ride has actually been around for a while, as we play it in our live set. It's always been one of the ones that no matter where we are or what kind of crowd we have it always gets a great response. It just seemed to be one of those songs. We wanted to get a studio recording of it and release that to keep up momentum while whatever was happening was happening during COVID. The song has actually been around for years, so it's not so much "experimenting” as it is just finally taking it to the studio after letting it mature and seeing people build an emotional attachment to it.



LG: What are some of your non-musical goals?
CS: I don't think I have any non-musical goals haha. Stay alive I guess?

LG: Pröwess recently updated fans on the three-year-anniversary of your’ guys bus getting hijacked back in 2018 during a show in Pittsburgh. Can you explain a little more about that situation and the events leading up to that? Have you guys received any new updates on what happened to the individual that stole your bus?
CS: I wasn't in the band when that happened, but I know there's a bunch of articles and stuff on it. One of the other guys could answer that better than I can! I heard that guy went to prison for it.

LG: Since the incident in 2018, has Pröwess taken any extra precautionary measures for the security of the members or equipment? Were any of you, crew, or friends shaken up due to the event?
CS: Yeah, they put out the video update the next day haha. Did you see it? I wouldn't try it after watching that! But no, I bet some of them were a little shaken up!

LG: What is your favorite beer?
CS: Free. 2nd favorite: Budweiser. 3rd favorite: whatever's available! But I'll always prefer Jack Daniels over a beer...if you're wondering what to get me for Christmas.

LG: With uncertainly as to when musicians and bands will be able to hit the stage again, how has COVID-19 changed your perspective on touring and live performances? Has this affected your guys' experience as an up-and-coming rock band?
CS: I was just telling the guys at rehearsal the other day that I miss being on the road. When we're on tour I love it because we're constantly moving from one place to the next; new faces and surroundings, playing music every night. But when we get off the road, for me anyway, it's kinda hard to adjust to normal civilization haha. There's like this switch you have to flip back on and it's like I have to relearn how to go about my days. None of the other bands I've been in has seen the kind of success that Pröwess has, so this is all new territory for me. But we are still staying busy, and trying to do what we can under the circumstances.

LG: Artists of all mediums suffered mentally, emotionally, and financially in 2020 —how have you guys, as a band and personally, been able to stay motivated during a year of COVID-19 restrictions and setbacks?
CS: We've continued to rehearse and write new material, so we still see each other every week. That kinda keeps us from getting too lazy and keeps us busy. So that definitely helps.

LG: What’s next on the horizon for Pröwess?
CS: Well like I said, we've been writing new tunes, so we'll probably be heading back to the studio at some point in the near future. We did have a couple of shows set up for next month or so, we'll see how that goes. But other than that we're just gonna keep doing what we know how to do, so keep an eye out for what might come next!



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Tags:  PröwessNew AlbumNew VideoCurly StaplesInterview

    February 28, 2021

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