Pernice Brothers 'Live a Little' in new album
Joe Pernice occasionally thinks about what it would be like to have a career that provides at least a semblance of stability.
Instead, he's like the vast majority of musicians who don't have tour buses, personal publicists or fawning acolytes waiting for them at every tour stop.
It's not the easiest way to make a living, but Pernice, who performs Saturday with the Pernice Brothers at Club Cafe, South Side, really isn't worried about becoming rich or famous.
"I learned a long time ago you don't stumble upon things too often that hit you with this much impact," Pernice says. "For me, writing songs and making music, I accidentally found it, this thing that I really feel strongly about, that I really love doing more than any other thing. I think about any other career or job or how I could spend my time in any other way, and there are very few things that come close to this. "
Pernice's passion is evident in a body of work that exhibits a dogged resistance to trends. "Live a Little," the new album, is filled with melodic miniatures, breezy pop confections that gain ballast from trenchant, intelligent lyrics.
It's music, Pernice says, that is outside the mainstream. But it also is music that is not created with an audience in mind. There's no conscious attempt to be different, trendy or anything other than Joe Pernice.
"I just try to make music that is honest," Pernice says, "and has an emotional connection, an emotional importance, to me. And then, I kind of just go from there; let the chips fall. Which is kind of why I wanted to start my own record label."
Pernice's Ashmont Records allows him to concentrate on music without having to worry about demographic studies or meeting sales quotas. He admits this might not be the savviest way to do business, but it does allow him to write songs that might be summarily dismissed by record executives.
For instance, if Pernice took the song "B.S. Johnson" to a major label, they'd think it was a song about someone prone to exaggeration. Actually, it's about the British experimental novelist and writer B. S. Johnson who was the subject of Jonathan Coe's book, "Like a Fiery Elephant." In the album credits, Pernice gives nods to Johnson and Coe, and also gives kudos to mystery writer George Pelecanos, who often cites musicians in his work.
"It is amazing, and yet it makes sense," Pernice says of the confluence of writing and music. "Artists like different things. I like George's writing, I love the TV show, "The Wire," that he works on. It just makes sense. It's not that unusual. When you start connecting all the dots, I don't know if it's people who influenced each other or people who just like each other."
There certainly are enough people who enjoy Pernice's work to make music a viable career for him. He says that his fortunes grow better every year, even if he's selling less than he would on a major label. Pernice makes 10 times as much on every record he sells, and owns all of his publishing rights. And with the Internet, there's a possibility that Pernice's music can be heard by a kid in Olympia, Wash., or a kid in Sweden.
"Even better than that, some kid in Olympia, Wash., or a kid in Sweden can put up his own record and be a star just over a weekend on its merits," he says, "whether it's fashion or quality or both. It's viral these days, which I think is pretty excellent."
The Pernice BrothersWhen: 7 p.m. Saturday
Admission: $12; $14 day of show
Where: Club Cafe, South Side
Details: 412-431-4950 or www.clubcafelive.com
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Plum superintendent says lack of school tip line was ‘oversight’
- Steelers quarterback Vick getting more acquainted with offense
- Police: Woman, 18, pretended to be student, assaulted Perry principal
- Banshee trailer featuring Vandergrift released
- Penguins see Stars, blanked by Dallas in opening game
- Starkey: Pirates gaining bad big-game rep
- Downtown Pittsburgh Macy’s donates bits of history
- Guns, drugs recovered during raid in Wilkinsburg
- Kennametal HQ relocation rankles Westmoreland County business leadership
- Hydrangeas flower year after year with proper care, placement, feeding
- Audit: Work of adviser in Pa. Dept. of Education hard to pin down