M897 Artist Spotlight: January 2015
Power Pop Piunti is Forever Young
Story by LCC Radio Staff Reporter Sarah Spohn
year was 1964. The Beatles performed live for the first time on “The Ed Sullivan
Show” to a whopping 73 million Americans. Little Nick Piunti (pea-youn-tee) was
just one of those 73 million. And just like that, he knew he wanted to be in a
band. After all, who wouldn’t want plenty of cute girls falling for them?
Seven-year-old Nick was no exception.
Piunti started his first band at age 11. Just because they were young, doesn’t mean they lacked creative material, though.
“We wrote and performed original songs almost from day one, released our first single when I was 15,” Piunti said, “continuing to write and get better at our instruments every year.”
Power pop/rock artist Nick Piunti grew up in Grosse Ile, Michigan. Some classify him a Detroit artist, but his hometown is still a half-hour drive from the Motor City. A city that’s given way to some of the most legendary musicians and genres around, everything from Motown’s Marvin Gaye, Kid Rock, and Eminem. Detroit’s music scene is abundant.
“Detroit music is so diverse,” Piunti said. “I went to school in Detroit (Wayne State) but there’s been so many different genres that have called Detroit home. Musically, I most related to Marshall Crenshaw and The Knack, but they were transplanted Detroiters. The more obvious ‘Detroit’ bands weren’t usually melodic enough for me.”
This energetic musician has lived through and seen the glory days of music with his own eyes. After moving at the age of 24 with his band The Take, to L.A., Piunti saw the harsh reality of the ‘80s Sunset Strip.
“We found out quickly that there was a scene in L.A. but not conducive to what we were doing,” Piunti said. “Guns ‘n’ Roses, Poison, Faster Pussycat – those were the buzz bands in 1985. There were some great local bands, but the ones I liked weren’t the ones filling up the clubs,” Piunti recalled.
After playing several infamous clubs including The Troubador, Madame Wong’s and The Viper Room along the seedy Sunset Strip, Piunti and The Take realized they were neither in the right place nor the right time. Time went by, and Piunti made the move back to Michigan. This time, music wasn’t the reason. He got married and started a family, and for a while, stepped away from music.
“It’s not that I had to quit, I just felt that I had given it enough time and I wasn’t inspired in that period of my life,” Piunti said.
These days, inspiration is alive and well. His new album, 13 In My Head, was recorded with Geoff Michael at Big Sky Recording in Ann Arbor. But at the beginning, Piunti was just a one-man-band and the thought of recording an entire album he envisioned was somewhat of a stretch.
“Geoff thought that Donny Brown of The Verve Pipe would be a great fit,” Piunti said, “not only for his drumming, but for his gift with harmony vocals and arrangements. So I sent Donny the demos, he came in and just nailed it.” Alongside Brown and Piunti were Ryan Allen, Chris DuRoss and Andy Reed.
The album has seen commercial success worldwide. The UK even released a special version of the album with bonus tracks. His song “It All Comes Down” is featured on the Paul McCartney-inspired power pop compilation CD, Songs In the Key of Paul.
“The airplay that I’ve received, the great reviews, songs in TV and film have all been ways to justify that I wasn’t crazy for all these years,” Piunti said.
“I never wanted to be a “rock star,” I just wanted to be the guys that could write some cool songs and have them on the radio, internet, wherever.”
Rockstar? Nah. ‘80s Cover band lead singer? Definitely not.
“Being in a cover band never interested me. Nothing against it, just not my thing. I wanted to be the guy that created something that would be covered,” Piunti said.
This power pop force has seen the dark days of the music industry and came out ahead.
“We survived disco, traveled the country and somehow managed to finish college,” Piunti said of his teenage band. “I personally escaped the lure of drugs and still love creating music. The one thing that has made me still want to make records is that I’m better than I used to be.”
Up next for Piunti is still, more music. “I just finished recording my next, still untitled follow-up to 13 In My Head. It’s in the mixing stage,” Piunti said. “My friend Ryan Allen and I just started a record company called ‘Two Brains Recording Company,’ that will release our next respective solo albums.”
Piunti’s been on quite the ride, whether it be with DWARF, The Take, R.A.D. or his solo efforts, in L.A. or Metro Detroit, this guy’s been there. And is proud of it. “I can say that I’m enjoying it more now than ever.”
His advice to fellow musicians is simple. “Trust your gut,” Piunti said. Finding like-minded talented people is key. “The best thing any musician can do is to find the most talented people you can. And remember it’s always the song that is most important.”