I hung out in a gold Toyota Corolla with Anthony Ciandella of Lowbrow a few weeks back! We talked for an entire forty minutes and made a few uncomfortable jokes about cancer - BECAUSE WE ARE ALLOWED AND HAVE THE BEST SENSE OF HUMOR. Anthony is the oh so talented guitarist of Lowbrow and only began playing in his late teens. You would never guess that based off his metal god shredding talent on those six strings. Read all about the band, his personal life, his nerdy hobbies, his recent health triumph and my criminal days of stealing t-shirts in my interview with him!
My name's Anthony. I play guitar in Lowbrow. I have a solo project called Panther Mountain - it's just ridiculous metal, it's a lot of fun.
I had no idea you were into metal music too!
Yeah - I love punk rock. I love metal. I love post rock, instrumental stuff, pop. I guess I love everything. Carly Rae Jepson's album two years ago - best record of the year. Emotion. I listened to it last night on the way home.
I TOTALLY AGREE! Very unexpected that her album ruled too because I was over her first single after a day or two.
Legitimately I love eighties music and that CD is straight Madonna.
This is quite the introduction: playing guitar for a punk band, writing metal music and loving Carly.
I used to take a lot of photos but then my shit got stolen so I don't do that as much anymore. Photos of bands and such.
Man that sucks!
Yeah, three or four years ago that happened. A lot of my work is hanging in my house. I still have a good camera so if i need to I can use it but I don't take it out anymore.
I don't blame you.
Used to be into video games.
USED TO BE?!
I kind of phased it out as the band stuff got busy in the studio. Then, obviously, when I was going through treatment - I played a lot more.
What kind of games are you into?
I like single player games. I like multi player games.
Okay this is too vague, top three - go!
Let's see. I just started playing Portal 2 again. Fallout 4 is the last Fallout I played. By the end of Fallout I just gave myself a million bullets and finished it. I bought a PS4 during my last round of treatment so I played through Far Cry 4. I like mindless shooters. Wolfenstein is a good one!
Are those the only types of games you like?
Puzzles too. I sort of got back into it during treatment but outside of that it's been a while since I was really into it. I'm tryna think now.
It's my job to put you on the spot!
That's right. I had a whole buncha games for my 360 but then that died. I like action. I'm not a huuuge RPG fan - I like the ones that kind of mix it ya know? Like Mass Effect.
Oooh you hit the nail on the head with that answer in my books! LOVE MASS EFFECT. The new one's coming out!
Can't wait! I'm interested in Ghost Recon too. Now that I'm done with treatment I like to go out and do stuff rather then stay at home. I was stuck at home for a pretty long time.
I totally get it. You were a forced homebody, haha.
Let's go back to music. Has it been a part of your life for forever?
Not really. I picked it up ...
*rudely interrupts cause I'm professional* You are the FIRST musician I've talked to that hasn't said, "yes", to that!
Haha. I picked it up when I was eighteen. (Guitar.)
What sparked you to do that at eighteen?
I've always wanted to be a drummer.
Okay, perfect, so you picked up a guitar then to make that happen. (I'm an asshole)
Exactly. I was always drumming on my leg or drumming at my desk - I always liked and appreciated it. Then I got to a point where I thought, "Oh wow. Drums are really loud and expensive....I don't wanna be a drummer." Then I listened to AFI and all I wanted to learn was, "God Called in Sick Today " I borrowed a guitar from a friend and learned that. That was in high school. I ran away with that afterwards. I still listen to drums and still wish I could play them.
Did you ever try to play drums? That was your original dream after all.
I can fake my way through it. I'm a really good leg drummer, haha. I write all the drums for the songs that I make. So - I can write everything but can't actually do it.
Drums seem super complicated. Then again my only experience is primarily guitar and piano though.
I'm always asked if I play drums because I'll get told I write the drum parts like a drummer. I'm glad I went with guitar because you can go so much further with it. You can write a song by yourself or as a full band.
Is that the only instrument you play really well?
Guitar, bass, "piano" (I can fake my way on that too), banjo, accordion, ukulele, mandolin...
Is your house just an instrument museum?
I have my own room now for it. At my old house I had it setup in the kitchen. So it was a little awkward but now I have my own little office // studio.
How many guitars do you have?
I hate this question because I have to count them out every time. It's over ten. It's a lot.
*a minute or two of Anthony verbally going through the backstory of all of his guitars to figure out the final number*
12 total with one on order. So 13.
WHAAAAT?! That's crazy -- in a good way.
It is. The reason why is Daniel and I have the studio so at this point I buy things that benefit the studio. Things that do their own.
So it's totally okay to keep buying and expanding.
Yeah, obviously! It's an investment. I don't have twelve of the same guitar, ya know? One of them is the very first one I bought -- the plain black Ibanez. I have my Schecter that if I tried to sell at this point I'd get $50 or something. There's more sentimental value to those ones anyway. I've got the pink sparkle one that I wouldn't sell and my purple one. I'm so happy with that pink sparkle one.
Since dating a musician I've become a very amateur and not informed gear head. So this interview is that much more fun for me hearing about all of your guitars! My social media life is now filled with guitars and whatnot. I'm obsessed.
You can appreciate the craftsmanship, if anything.
Of course! Ugh it's bittersweet because it's very overwhelming and addicting. It's weird because I played guitar for maybe 10+ years and not once did I ever think of looking at other models outside of my basic, black Fender Strat.
That's how Daniel is too. Just give him something to play and he's good.
But now - if I ever went back to playing........my bank account would be empty and I'd eventually have as many guitars as you!
You said you started playing guitar when you were eighteen but what exactly got you into this punk-rock community?
Let's see. I was listening to "metal" pretty much back in 2001. There was no YouTube, no Bandcamp...just Myspace I guess. You like Godsmack and think you're metal. Someone introduced me to Thrice: The Illusion of Safety and I was like, "Oooh, shit. I like this a lot." Then finally someone introduced me to AFI which was like Black Sails in the Sunset. Punk rock pretty much got me into playing guitar. Then I was into Avenged Sevenfold when they were punk metal, stuff like that. Rise Against, stuff like that, are the reasons I actually wanted to play guitar. I've been doing the whole, "punk rock", thing from the start.
What made Lowbrow form, then? I know you've been around for a while.
Okay, let's play the year game because I'm really bad with years haha. In.... 2007-2009 I lived in Vegas. I picked up guitar in 2003ish. Never started a band -- was just writing my own music I quickly found out I preferred writing my own music over playing other people's songs. I wrote, wrote, wrote, wrote. Was living in Vegas. Started jamming with some guys. They were like, "How long have you been playing?", and I answer, "Five years. Why? Does it sound okay?" and they say, "No, yeah - it sounds great!", and I was just like, "Oh cool, great! I had no idea." So I started writing some weird, pop punk/metal stuff out there. (In Vegas) We kept jamming for a bit.
When you are saying "We", who is that?
Guys I met out there, which ironically, I still talk to people in Vegas that I knew from when I was out there. It's a smaaaaall world! That's another story. I played with a few guys out there in Vegas but there was drama. Bands are usually nothing but drama. Finally I moved back to California. Hopped on my computer, went to Craigslist and searched, "Wilhelm Scream". Only one ad came up.
*Anthony turns his hat forward to reveal "A Wilhelm Scream" is on the front.* #notspons
So only one ad came up with that search on Craigslist. They go, "Well, we are a three piece converting over to a five piece. Our drummer wants to sing. We want two guitarists." I go, "Cool. I'm in. I'm moving back around 'x' time". The guy responds with, "Oh, I'm actually coming out to Vegas to meet a friend - so I could drop off our CD to you there." He drops it off. I learn all the songs off of there and move back. I met with Daniel, he was in that band. We met at the studio. We both open our guitar cases and we both have Cherry Red Gibson SG's. We were both like, "Okay. That's uncanny." We jammed for five or six hours. The bass player was like, "Alright I'm going to Del Taco, I'm starving. You want anything?" I go, "Yeah just get me a quesidilla with no green sauce and a french fry." Daniel turns to me and goes, "...I order the exact same thing."
ARE YOU JOKING? This is amazing.
It was pretty much Step Brothers, "Did we just become best friends?"
How long ago was that?
Has Lowbrow been together that long?
Daniel and I have been together for nine years. Lowbrow has its own story. We were in Guns Don't Argue for a year. (The name is from an old Western.) That was the band for a year -- the drummer's nickname was Shakes. When he was younger and he'd drink too much he'd get seizures and his friends were dicks apparently. He used to be the drummer for Guns Don't Argue but then he got a drum tech position for Bad Religion. He was all nervous to tell us but we were like, "Of course you're gonna go fucking do that - that's a sweet ass gig!" So now he's actually drum teching for Fall Out Boy. He's off traveling the world.
WHAT A DICK!
Yeah, piece of shit. Haha - so at the time, the bassist and the drummer (old friend's of Daniel) were like, "What do we do?" and ended up bringing Lowbrow back. That was their band in 2002-2003. Way before I even started playing guitar. We just played their old stuff for the time being, turned over and brought Lowbrow back. Now, that drum player and bass player are long gone and we have Andrew and Cam. We've been Lowbrow ever since and don't play any of those old songs but it allowed us to keep going. We didn't have any downtime, which was nice. Daniel and I work together obscenely well and have our own studio too.
For Lowbrow, have you gone on a lot of tours?
Not really. Unfortunately we have ran into standard band bullshit. The first four years was standard, nonstop nonsense. We'd get some momentum and then, "Whoops - I'm leaving the band." We'd find someone else, get them caught up, catch up on momentum and "Whoops - our bass player got high on speed and threatened to kick all of our asses."
Have you ever done any kind of tour then in the past years?
We did a tour last year to support that record - two Junes ago.
Where did you go? How was it?
At the start - I was dealing with other medical issues - which probably in hindsight is related to my current medical issues.
Wow you're a huge liability for this band. (People that are sick can make fun of each other OKAY!?)
Yeah, total jerk. I missed the first four or five shows. We played Orange County. Daniel, Cam and our drummer at the time played Vegas, Colorado, Wyoming, Idaho -- I met back up with them in San Francisco. Then we did -- San Fran, Bakersfield, Ventura, LA, TJ.. West Coast. Shortly after that, Daniel's daughter was born.
Damn so many selfish band members....
Right? And then after that I got sick again. That was probably about a year and a half into our current lineup. We were able to do that.
What are you working on now?
Ya know, at this point, Daniel and I are working on the studio. We are tracking the band right now. We have another one booked for April. We both LOVE: recording, writing, producing. There are a lot of bands that hate that process but we love it.
That's crazy to me - if you want that product..why would you not wanna be a part of that process?
Yeah -- some bands really just love touring and I do too. I love it all. Two records ago, we got a friend of a friend deal and...more drama. Cause -- fucking music.
There should be a reality show with just the little information you've shared with me so far.
That'd be pretty awesome. We actually have a really fun video I made of us swearing in the studio. It's literally just a swear track. I filmed an entire studio session and cut together all the band words we said. It's pretty funny and always makes me laugh.
So - we did that record and the guy gave us a shitty product. We took it to someone else and it came out...eh. When it was time to record the next record - we recorded it ourselves. It was an acoustic record. We had both been doing our own demos for ten years. One night we were in the studio and just were like, "Do you want to take the money we would pay for a studio and make our own record?" and he said, "Mkay." Literally we had a folding table, a couple pieces of gear and microphones. We recorded that whole record and I still love how it sounds. Now, the studio is just quadruple that. Daniel went to recording school - he's got a really good ear for mixes.
Where did he go to recording school? My dumbass had no idea that's a thing.
It was called.....Recording Connection. Basically you shadow an actual producer. The way it worked out for him, which is better than he could have ever asked for, is he worked with Derek O'Brien who played drums for Social D back in the day. So - he worked with a guy who does rock music - which is obviously what we cater too but he was in a punk rock band too.
That's very lucky. That needs to rub off on me sometime.
Meanwhile, I'm the gear head. I look at all the gear. I started building all the gear we needed for the studio while he was training - - refining and learning all the ins and outs of the programs. That's pretty much how the studio got built. We did a couple of projects last year - Jared from Sic Waiting. His acoustic record came out March 10th. It was the first thing we recorded, mixed and produced.
Is there a name for your label? Or are you gonna keep us in suspense?
Pizza Cake! We're both Italian. Haha. We are working on another album with a band from Chicago.
That's great - ya'll are growing already.
Now that you've taken care of yourself, most importantly, where do you want to see Lowbrow go?
We are gonna keep writing songs. Unfortunately, Daniel is a stay at home dad ultimately. Because of that it's hard to get on the road. It'll just be local with whatever we end up doing and I've come to terms with that - and it's okay.
Well you have your side project too! I'd love to hear that sometime.
We've got a split with a band from England coming up and we are gonna do an EP eventually. I was *kind of* stuck at home a lot so I did a lot of writing. Shocker - they're mostly depressing! But that's pretty much what we are gonna do with Lowbrow as of now. We are playing La Escalera this year and have been playing a few shows.
I mean, you sound pretty busy for just staying local.
That's the plan! Probably after my next scan we will do "The Remission Tour" - San Diego, San Fran, Vegas -- see all our friends who thankfully have had my back with everything since day one. It is what I love to do - I've played in other bands. I love writing music and playing it. What I have maintained since Day 1 is that music --- you're not gonna make any money. I'm gonna make songs that I want to write and the Lowbrow songs are songs that I want to play and songs that I want to write. That's what I'm gonna keep doing.
You can definitely feel that!
I've been so lucky with Daniel and now with Andrew and Cam - they love what I write. Now they want to write their parts -- which is amazing because originally I wrote it all but I want people who are gonna want to write, you know?
Since you're in remission now - would you say music has helped you a lot be able to overcome cancer?
Absolutely. Even before all of this - that was my maintainer of sanity. My whole solo record was written about a girl - shocker there. It's all instrumental but it's depressing haha. Ya know - when my hands started hurting and it made playing guitar harder - that was very rough for me, which is why I played with the glove.
That glove is fucking badass. You should play with it more.
I should! Not playing guitar was never an option. Even when I felt like shit and couldn't focus - that's always been my outlet. It had to happen in some way or another. If it was just programming stuff in the computer, actually playing guitar or trying to get out to practice. I'm kind of a hobby tourist. I'll pick up something, learn how to do it and then put it down. Music is the thing that has stuck with me for...15 years? Shit.
What advice do you have for someone that is going through something in their life that they may see as, "The End"?
Obviously, with what I had and the research that I did - I knew what I had was very treatable. For me, it was just trying to maintain a positive attitude. In general - I am a very positive person. Even the healthiest people, you're here for... 85, 90, 100 years... why be grumpy? There's no time to be grumpy. People get upset about the dumbest shit....I just don't get it.
I totally am on that page. Obviously we click on that cancer level, haha, but before it with me too - I've always tried to let positivity win. Why waste your energy? Put it into something else.
Exactly! Smile and have a good time. Even going through with what I went through - obviously some day were worse than others - but it goes a long way. Whatever you're dealing with - in the end for me, it was ONLY eight months out of my entire life. Whatever you're fretting about....
A day, a week, a year from now -- it won't be worth getting upset about. It really won't.
My mantra that I always tell myself is "This is temporary" and it's very helpful / reassuring in almost all situations. Nothing is typically permanent - and in the cases it is - you can either let yourself succumb to it and wallow in depression or you can try your best and come out on the other side.
I completely believe in the power of a good attitude.
That's why we aren't dead!
POSITIVITY, that's all I can say. It's cliche but true.
There's such a spectrum of positivity too - you don't need to be a peppy cheerleader personality if that's not your style.
I was talking with Jordan of Skip Jack - he was nervous asking me questions and I'm just like, "Please, ask away!"
Yeah, bottling things up is another thing you just can't do. It's not a form of weakness but I used to think it was. I do talk openly about my health but I used to see that was being annoying or having people feel bad for me (which I hate). But it just made my health worse keeping it all in. So with anything - I just don't think hiding stuff is ever the option.
The thing I tell everyone about my stuff is...girls have to go to gynecologists. Girls have to get breast exams. There's no standard operation for guys getting their balls/testicles checked. If you think something's wrong you go get it checked but we don't have yearly visits. That's why I don't mind talking about it -- IF SOMETHING IS WRONG OR DOESN'T FEEL RIGHT, GO SEE SOMEONE! Guys feel weird about doctors touching their stuff and...these doctors touch thousands of balls a year - trust me yours aren't special! I was stubborn. I don't ever get sick. I'd keep saying I'll be fine in a week. If I had come early enough I could have avoided a majority of this. I'm trying to spread the word to help other people too.
I always wrap up my interviews by asking what is the dorkiest thing about you that many people don't know? How do you #staynerdy?
Hm, let's see. HUUUGE Simpsons fan!
What's your favorite quote/episode/etc?
Obviously Hank Scorpio. I have two Simpsons' pins on my guitar strap. Our entire last album - CD name and tracks - are all Simpsons references. I've got the first 10 seasons plugged into my screen so I can watch while driving.
So you're just brainwashed with The Simpsons.
Oh definitely. First 10, 11, 12 seasons I can quote. At one point I was missing a season and I was able to name all six episodes I was missing. I've got The Simpsons house as Legos. That was my go to when I was stuck in treatment. I just went about bought a Star Wars kit today actually too - with Legos. I've got....8 or 9 giant Star Wars sets.
I didn't start drinking till I was 25. I learned everything about craft beer in about a month. People were like, "What the fuck? How do you know all of this about beer in less than a month?" Haha. So there's that.
Ugh sorry I hate beer. It's the only alcohol I can't do.
I started drinking in May of whatever year I was 25. In August of that year, I was out with the drummer of Lowbrow at the time. He was like, "I'm really into IPA's", which are really bitter and for more advanced beer drinkers. I took a sip and was like, "Hm. This is what I thought beer tasted like." And I've been drinking them ever since.
What's your go to IPA? You can only drink one for the rest of your life.
Ugh tough question. Sculpin is good...Stone IPA is a good choice.
Actually the shirt I'm wearing I accidentally stole from Ballast Point years ago. I got blackout drunk and totally forgot I was holding it and just casually strolled out. I woke up the next morning realizing I'm a criminal.
I built a rock climbing wall in my garage for my brother.
I guess I just like making things, to wrap that up.
Oh! I also won a Guitar Hero 2 contest where I won a PS2. OH AND ALSO - I have 40K in Dave and Buster's tickets and may have won 300K of tickets in my lifetime.
It was so fun getting to know Anthony more! We are split on the pressing debate of pineapple on pizza. I had tried it for the first time that evening and FELL IN LOVE. My pizza can't NOT have pineapple now but he is on the opposite pole of that argument. What do you think? Let me know and #staynerdy until next week!
MANI OF THE MONTH
As you probably know by now - I'm moving in just about a week! I got my final mani from the salon I've loyally gone to for the past two years. I'm pretty anxious and excited about exploring my new town and finding new spots that are "mine". But - I marched in there, asked for rainbow glitter stiletto nails, and retired my nickname of "Glitter Girl" at my salon. :( Very bittersweet! This is my favorite mani I've ever gotten! I have never gotten more than one color so I feel Lisa Frank AF.
GIVEAWAY OF THE WEEK
Did you know that you can win one of each of all of Perfect Humans' pins?! As soon as we hit 1K followers on our IG - I will pick a lucky cutie patootie! Check out our Insta for the deetz --> @perfect___humans.
TASTE OF THE WEEK
For a long time, I have seen the debate of pineapple on pizza - yes or no? I could never put my two cents in as I have never had pineapple - let alone pineapple on pizza. I finally tried pineapple in curry a few weeks ago and as I mentioned I tried it on my pizza at Anthony's show! I LOVE IT. Sweet and savory, heaven in my mouth. I'm on pineapple's side on this!
INSTAGRAM SHOP OF THE WEEK
Just Peachy is one of my favorite favorite shops! This week I ordered their new Master Sword pin in both colors. They are perfect and help me fight evil and cut grass each and everyday.