Rene Lopez

Rene Lopez

BandRockPop

NYC underground singer songwriter. His new record features Joseph Arthur, Leona Naess and Rogers Stevens (Blind Melon).

Biography

There came a time a couple of years back, not too long before the creative jag that eventually resulted in the writing and recording of his debut album ONE MAN’S YEAR, when Rene Lopez went through the awakening that turns a thirty-something boy into a man. “I would get frustrated with myself as an artist, as a musician, as a man who felt like I wasn’t yet a man,” he confesses.

“I wasn’t tapping into my talent, I was being lazy, riding on charm, bitter that I wasn’t as successful as I thought I would be. I felt that I was still acting like a selfish boy. Rock and rollers definitely do that, and it has some appeal. But to me, that appeal kind of wore off after a while. I could still be hungry and I could still write some good-ass songs without being this fucking little boy. I could still do that.”

ONE MAN’S YEAR is an album that transcends categories, as it describes that entire arc of a young artist’s career, from hunger to satisfaction, from self-rejection to self-discovery, from bitterness and disappointment in yourself to the most profound and life-affirming direction home. If Rene’s own life had not almost shattered into pieces when it did, and had he not been rescued by the collision of his muse with his New York-bred instinct for self-determination – this album might not be the attention-getter that it is. Rene’s transformation can be felt in the avatars of himself created for the CD package, which utilizes the mystic visuals of Houston-based artist Angelbert Metoyer.

In that way, ONE MAN’S YEAR reflects its creator, as Rene Lopez is an artist who moves from crunching rockers (the uplifting “Vacation,” the insistent beat that finally turns the grey sky to blue in “Under My Cloud”), to the protagonist’s malignant one-way invitation “Into My World.” Is Rene the protagonist, or is he merely channeling these stories about the incarcerated “Jeanine” (or was she committed?) and his mission-from-Hell promise to pick her up (or pick up her remains?) at the hospital, bearing only a dozen “Dirty Roses.” She makes her final appearance of this trilogy in the closing “Walk Through Walls,” the last great escape. (Rene dedicates this song to his wife, Susie, who just gave birth to their first child in April, Cosimo Alexander Lopez.)

Even in the autobiographical “Roosevelt Was Burning,” there is a claustrophobic itch to break out of a neighborhood where his girl could give him up for Lent. The epical struggle of “North And South” moves to an easy-going salsa groove that gives up Rene’s Latino roots – his father is the same Rene Lopez Sr. of the Bronx who played trumpet with the Ray Barretto Orchestra and Tipica ’73, beloved bands in New York’s Latin community. His son might be the city’s only musician of Puerto Rican descent whose debut album features rock and roll riffs flown in from the City Of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra (“Jeanine” and “Only I Know”).

ONE MAN’S YEAR was produced by Rene with Ken Rich at various locations around New York and Brooklyn. Rich and keyboardist-arranger Andrew Sherman work together in a ‘jingle house’ called Fluid Post where the album was mixed; they have frequently traveled to the City of Prague Philharmonic for string arrangements on commercials. An inventory of Rene’s chores on the album includes vocals, drums, percussion, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, National steel guitar, baritone guitar, Clavinet, keyboards, synthesizer, vibes, and Omnichord!

A New Yorker to the core, Rene speaks with a New Yorker’s fierce honesty about his life and the inspirations behind ONE MAN’S YEAR, an album that is the culmination of more than a dozen years of ’shedding in his own bands and others, and numerous studio assignments. There was an album with Extra Virgin, the group he created back in 1998 with Rogers Stevens, former guitarist of Blind Melon. Prior to that, The Authority (who released two private CDs), was the first major group that found Rene moving from behind the drum kit to lead singer, though he’d been singing and writing songs nearly all his life.

Along the way, there was always Wasabi, a fixture on New York’s downtown jam band scene. The kaleidoscopic lineup featured Rene and his former fellow students from the New School of Jazz and Contemporary Music, among them John Popper (of Blues Traveler), guitarist Eric Schenkman and the Spin Doctors rhythm section (bassist Mark White, drummer Aaron Comess), and their mentor and teacher, veteran jazzman Arnie Lawrence on alto saxophone.

Holding The Void is a trio with singer-songwriter Joseph Arthur on guitar and Pat Sansone (now with Wilco) on bass, which brought Rene back on drums after eight years of frontman work. (Rene has enjoyed a lengthy and productive friendship with Joseph Arthur, including reciprocal appearances on each other’s recordings and gigs. Insiders may also recognize the City Of Prague Philharmonic from their appearances on Arthur’s Our Shadows Will Remain CD with S

Lyrics

All the Stars

Written By: Rene Lopez

All The Stars

Under the dark dark night
I keep my eyes on you
What was once wrong is now right
What was once lies is now true

All the stars are maps to your heart
I will follow till I find I will follow

Devil still has my tongue
But you still have my heart
Lying beneath the sun
Keeps me from freezing up

All the stars are maps to your heart
I will follow till I find

You
Anywhere

Vacation

Written By: Rene Lopez

Here I go again
Using my imagination
Wishing I were on vacation
Wondering were I went wrong
Are you still a friend?
Can I call you late at night
When I’m feeling drunk and lonely
It’s hard for me to take my time

If there’s room in your heart will you save a spot for me?

Winters here again
Freezing up your tender smile
The city makes me walk for miles
Looking for your photograph
And the witches brew
Medicine to numb the pain
Faith has no cure today
All I can do is escape

If there’s room in your heart will you save a spot for me?

Oh, oh, oh I walked the line for you
Oh, oh, oh I sacrificed for you
Oh, oh, oh I lived a lie for you

If there’s room in your heart will you save a spot for me?

Only I Know

Written By: Rene Lopez

On the L devils trade jokes
Make me laugh before I go
Up the elevator I ride
Looking for a little light
Fight my way through the old haunts
Hells song’s on the jukebox
Dance around with an old witch
Offers me eternal bliss

Only I Know all the lies I tell myself
Only I Know which disguise I choose to sell

Sunday bells ringing all day
Everyone’s at the masquerade
Painting on a colorful face
Praying at their mother’s grave
All the minutes seem like they are days
And all the days are jumping off the pier
Searching for a piece of dry land
Dig a hole to hide it’s years

Only I Know all the lies I tell myself
Only I Know which disguise I choose to sell

I see what I want to see
I hear what I want to hear
I fear I’ve lost the years

I Know Only I Know

Discography

I Know What I See - EP Released in 2003
One Man's Year - Full length record released in 2005

Set List

45 minute set, set list varies but consists of all original music.