Chip DiMonick from Pittsburghs Chip & The Charge Ups recently gave us the following interview.
Tell us about the history of the band?
I had been performing in a band named after me – Chip DiMonick – for 11 years. Family issues arose, forcing me into a two-year hiatus. When I came back, I wanted to bring with me something familiar to build on the success I had achieved so far. But, I also wanted to communicate that this new project would be something new and fresh. So, I named the band Chip & The Charge Ups.
Our drummer, Jeff DiPerna, and I have known each other for many years after his band beat mine in a battle of the bands. I still think it was rigged, but we’ll let him have his glory! Anyway, when he got word that I was putting something new together, he stepped up and expressed interest in the drummer slot. He brought so much enthusiasm, we got rolling and never looked back!
On the contrary, our guitarist, Chris Bowers, and I had never met. But a mutual friend of ours shared my “musicians wanted” Facebook post. Chris saw it, auditioned and was quickly offered the guitarist slot.
Finally, our 16-year old bassist, Maleena Dominick, is actually my daughter! We didn’t intend for her to be in the band as she was playing in another band at the time we were auditioning bassists. But, the bassists we were auditioning often flaked out and didn’t show up or were quickly identified as not the right fit and sent home. So, we’d ask Maleena to sit in. She slayed! We quickly realized that she was the right fit and it’s been amazing!
We started performing live in May 2018 at some of the fastest growing music festivals on the East Coast. We released our debut album, “Flow of the Current, Part I,” in September. And we premiered our Green Day/Poison mashup video, “Good Riddance, Fallen Angel,” also in September.
How would you describe your music?
We call it “Electrifying East Coast Power Pop.” It’s basically combining all of the music that stemmed from old-school punk into a modern, high-energy, infectious sound. From the Ramones and the Pistols to Billy Idol and Joan Jett to The Killers and Green Day to current alternative…you can hear it all in our sound.
What are your influences/ musical heroes?
I’m influenced and inspired by everything from the time I started listening to music. My first introduction to rock music was the classic rock end of the spectrum, like Led Zeppelin. I then discovered metal in the form of Ozzy. And I continue to be inspired by the new music coming out this year, especially artists like Halestorm and Yungblud. I also have a love for ’80’s hair metal!
What record are you currently listening to?
I can’t stop going back to “21st Century Liability” by Yungblud.
What is your favourite song to perform live?
I love to play our song, “Front Row.” It’s about the spiritual experience of being at a concert. And it inspires me to perform in a way that creates that same type of experience for the fans at our shows!
What would be your dream tour to be a part of?
I would love to play with the bands I’ve already mentioned. But a dream tour would be one that takes me to all of the places that I fantasize about playing: the UK, Europe, Australia, South America, and every state in the USA!
What is the funniest/weirdest experience you have had on tour or playing live?
In October, we played the Le Creme Music Festival. It was a covered stage and the sun was out when we started playing. But, during our third song, wind and rain started. And it escalated quickly. By the middle of our fourth song, the stage practically blew over, the PA power went completely out, the sideways rain fried my amp, and we were soaked on-stage. It was insane! Like playing in a hurricane. We’re actually lucky we didn’t get electrocuted or struck by lightning!
What are your current thoughts on the music industry?
It’s very competitive and very cluttered. It’s difficult to get noticed. Even though that’s frustrating at times, I also think it’s good in a way. Most of the musicians out there trying to make a living at music are not in it for the money or to be a rock star since there isn’t much money to be made for most artists. They make music for the love and art of music, which is as it should be. I think that will result in better, more authentic music.
What advice would you give to someone starting their own band?
Getting back to the money idea, don’t go into a band thinking you’re going to be rich. It’s possible, certainly, because people are doing it. But, go into it with the attitude that you’re going to do what you love and whether or not you are financially successful is secondary. Doing it for the love of music will keep you in the game longer. And the longer you’re in the game, the more likely it will be that you’ll work your way up to financial success.
What are your future plans?
We will be releasing “Flow of the Current, Part II” in Spring 2019. Even before that is out, we will be recording our third album. We stay ahead of the curve because we give members of our Patreon program our music before the public gets it. We also want to work on getting to play some big national festivals and to hit as many cities as we can. We want to find all of the music fans with an appetite for catchy rock songs and introduce Chip & The Charge Ups to them!