(Mental Health Conversations):  AMERICA PART TWO

(Mental Health Conversations): AMERICA PART TWO

Editor’s Note:  New Jersey socially conscious, mental health conscious trio America Part Two recently released their music video for “Welcome To The Times”, which follows up with previously released singles “I Don’t Wanna” and “Glaciers.”  The aforementioned singles take on hatred, racism and those that are just creeps towards women head on with their emotionally charged lyrics and powerful arrangements.  Case in point, the single “I Don’t Wanna” talks about when a woman says no, she means no and that’s the end of the discussion.  In this mental health conversation with Madness To Creation, America Part Two members Alex Fabio(vocals/guitars), Fred Rainville(vocals/bass) and Sam Weingarten on drums discusses education, dealing with loss of a grandfather and their music.  Fans can find America Part Two at their official website , Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.  I’m imploring you to pick up a copy of their album “Pride of a Nation” at their official website.

CATEGORY ONE:  EDUCATION

Madness To Creation: How has music education impacted you as an artist? What were some amazing things that you learned?

Sam Weingarten- My parents started me out on a violin from an early age, and made me stick with it for a long time even when it wasn’t the coolest thing in my mind. That laid a solid foundation to understanding other instruments and genres before I was even aware of it. Traveling and playing recitals back then was like playing shows now.

Freddie Rainville – I owe a lot of what I learned from my Dad, my cousins, family and countless other teachers in my life. From before Middle School, Scottish Marching Band, Jazz Band to Touring to digging through my Dad’s CD’s. I learn something new everyday in the life of music. My favorite thing I’ve learned is to let go of thought.

Alex Fabio – My mom, my sister & I all started taking piano lessons when I was 5. I haaated it for a couple years until I finally stopped taking lessons. I think it’s because I felt forced or whatever, but I just wanted my own avenue. When I was 10 my dad bought me a $50 acoustic guitar and I took lessons from several different college kids & teachers on & off until I was 15. Learning the foundational roots of music helps in songwriting so much more in the long run. Learning to play songs you love is important, but a couple scales & more general methods can go a long way in creating your own material.

Madness To Creation:  I’m a teacher by day. Tell me a teacher that inspired you to be the person that you are today, how did they inspire you?

Sam Weingarten – This one orchestra class teacher ,Mr Saunders was a rocker and even took us out to play gigs for people with songs we practiced in class. There were a couple other awesome nutcase professors at Drexel but I honestly cant even remember their names at this point. 

Fred Rainville – Mrs. Ruggerio was my middle school concert band, marching band and jazz band teacher. She definitely taught discipline but a lot of love as well. We’d compete every year at Six Flags and actually kinda crush. I was on some wild orchestrations at age 10. I was on percussion and got huge into Drumline, I was obsessed with Marching Band Snare Drumming haha – I hope Alex mentions Mr. Karp! Our Spanish Teacher in Middle School. He still comes to our shows. We used to jam Blink and Green Day with him in Mrs. Ruggerio band room. So sick.

Alex Fabio – Yes! Mr Karp is an absolute legend – he was our middle school spanish teacher and we put together a cinco de mayo celebration where we played pop punk songs for kids at our school. That was sick. Also, in high school, our music teacher Mr Pryor used to let Fred & I hide in the side room and write songs together. That’s how we made our first album (another band obviously)  together in junior/senior year.

Madness To Creation: Most difficult and easiest subject for you in school and why?

Sam Weingarten- Easiest were def music, photography, and philosophy classes, but nothing was ever too difficult. Maybe remembering a million terms and ideas for biology. Or math.

Fred Rainville – Easiest and favorite was history or social studies. I’m a sucker for Music, Art, and War history. My grandfather was a professor and I grew up watching war movies and history channel stuff with him. So I love anything like that. Most difficult was MATH. I cringe even thinking about it. 

Alex Fabio- I always loved English class, history & gym. I liked school but I thought the structure of the thing sucked. I don’t think I did homework for at least 3 years straight because I put all that time into hanging w friends, finding myself, and making music.

Category Two:  Mental Health (I’m a major mental health advocate and plus these questions will be featured in a book I’m working on

Madness To Creation:  What is the soundtrack to your life?  Meaning who is your go-to artist/band and what song/album gets you through the most?

Sam Weingarten – Always changing on the day to day digging up some old album from the back of my head, but consistently: The Beatles, Sublime, Triathalon’s “Online” album, Enter Shikari.

Freddie Rainville- Here are some of my all time favorite artists and some songs!

Robert Johnson (Love In Vain, Preachin’ Blues) 

Link Wray (Fire and Brimstone, Genocide, Rumble) 

The Cramps (Mystery Plane, Human Fly) 

Les Rallizes Denudes (Awakening) 

UPCHUCK – (EP)

Black Sabbath (Hole in the Sky, Lord of this World)

Courtney Barnett (Hopefulessness, Lotta Sea Lice)

Howard Shore and Jeremy Soule

 

Alex Fabio – Like Sam said, it’s ever-changing, but when I think about the albums I fall back on time & time again, it’s these:

 

Slipknot ‘Iowa’

Paramore ‘Brand New Eyes’

Say Anything ‘ …Is A Real Boy’

All Time Low ‘So Wrong It’s Right’ or ‘Put Up or Shut Up’

Jimi Hendrix ‘Are You Experienced’

The Beatles ‘Rubber Soul’

 

Madness To Creation:  Tell me about a time that was difficult for you and you rose to the occasion and realized everything was going to be okay?

Freddie Rainville – When my Grandfather passed away he was the closest person to me that had died. I wasn’t sure how I would grieve as I was present for his hospice care. Being around in those moments of your life are crucial. I had time to process and say goodbyes and “see you laters”. I knew my Grandfather really well, we were close on a spiritual level and because of that he’s literally always with me. Time happens.

 

Sam Weingarten – I mean any day’s thoughts could lead you somewhere you don’t wanna be, but if your’e able to move your body you can do literally anything with your time and its all gonna be okay overall. 

Madness To Creation:   What are some routines or regiments you do to keep your mental health in check?

Sam Weingarten – Cook and eat good, water, push ups whenever you think about it and movement, practicing your instrument(s) or other random skills, reading, podcasts, breathing, posture haha. 

 

Fred Rainville – What Sam Said! Plus hiking, skating, riding my bike and going on adventures!

Alex Fabio- What Fred said! Plus hot tea, not taking yourself too seriously, in fact, not taking anything seriously that doesn’t truly deeply matter to you.  

 

Madness To Creation:  Advice you have for the reader that is struggling.

Fred Rainville- Try your hardest to make peace at home. Do the little things first, like cleaning your room or making your bed or offering help. I find it’s so important to have those aspects of my life clean and clear. It keeps my head space clear. We all have to get started somewhere and everything takes time, hard work and patience.

Sam Weingarten- Breathe. 

Alex Fabio – I have in the past fallen prey to thinking external things will cure my blues. Movies, weed, booze, friends, music, food. All these things can help put a temporary hold on whatever it is that’s killing you…but it always comes back. And that’s because none of these external things address the core of the problem. What I’ve learned is that we are each our own faction, our own lil chunk of the universe. We live on a planet that follows the sun through space. Our bodies, minds & souls mirror the universe in which we live, because we are of it by nature. Therefore, looking inward to one’s self is the most effective way to address the core issues that I’ve found in my life. For me, that means trying my best to sit in silence, spaciousness, and stillness, and focus on my breath. It sounds easy or stupid or wooey or whatever but it’s quite difficult to just sit there with yourself. It forces you to confront your demons. Your mind will wander, that’s part of the process, but the key is to simply let your thoughts happen…and not take any action whatsoever. That is a huge step. I’ve opened my eyes to a world that makes a lot more sense after this practice, and I implore anyone struggling to give it a go. One minute alone is a leap for someone who’s never tried. We’re taught to grind ourselves into oblivion in our stupid fucking society. This is taking care of the self. Doesn’t cost a dime. 

Madness To Creation:  Biggest thing you learned about yourself through the Covid-19 pandemic.

Sam Weingarten – Routine is really important.

Fred Rainville – A lot.

Alex Fabio – No one’s gonna care more about any aspect of your own life than yourself.

Category Three:  The Music of America Part Two

Madness To Creation:  You have released the album “Price of a Nation” today, take us into the writing and recording process.  How does America Part Two come together to write their music?

Fred Rainville – A song can come together in many different ways. Maybe by just a riff brought to practice then expanded on. Or even an entirely thought-out 1st version of a song brought to practice. We’ve been recording/tracking live the past couple years. No metronome (99% of the time). Just Guitar, Bass and Drums. Then overdubs of vocals and any other instruments. That’s been my favorite process thus far with this project. I would love to try tracking live with vocals for AP2. I’ve done it, not for this project but its super rewarding.  

Alex Fabio – Fred nailed it there, and I just wanna add that it’s only our first record and there’s so much music left to write so I can’t wait to see how the whole process itself evolves over time.

Madness To Creation:  I love the garage rock, “in your face” feel of “I Don’t Wanna”, take us into that song, and it seems to be a middle finger to misogynistic behavior!  Good tune!

Fred Rainville Wrote the riff and it just chilled for like a year or so. Alex and I slightly inebriated one night acoustically hashed out a simple structure – Alex had the theme lyrically and it just branched out from there. Fricken Crank it!

Alex Fabio- So glad you dig! I was just hearing so many stories of misogynistic bullshit left & right from every angle and most every woman I know had something to contribute. It’s the oldest tale known to the human race…when will we stop acting like fucking apes?! Take ya dirty ass dick home. In a simplified sense, the song is about the everyday story of a person being oversexualized. 

 

Madness To Creation:  What was it like playing the first drive-in show in New Jersey?  I mean how freaking cool was it to get back on that stage?

Fred Rainville- Definitely a different experience. Was a little weird at first just because of the environment but now looking back on it it was truly special.

Alex Fabio- It was incredible to play and the vibes were immaculate! You could feel that everyone there was dying to hear live music, including us, and the release that we all felt was huge. It kinda felt like a festival stage or something. The beeps were wild haha.

 

Madness To Creation: How have you had to adjust promoting the band through your social media through the pandemic?

Fred Rainville – We just kinda took the energy from touring and put it into the other things we got going on. We were finishing our record so for us, it was perfect time to shift gears. We signed with Revival Recordings so that’s been a huge positive change. Grindin’ for that natural growth!

Alex Fabio – Yeah, we’ve tried to turn it into a positive the best we can! Meaning, we’ve been putting our efforts into creating a lot more visual stuff, recording more music, and just making more content for things online, which is something we weren’t putting as much focus on before so I think it’s made us more well rounded as a force to be reckoned with.

Madness To Creation:  Tell us about the first gig of America Part Two.  Crazy memories that you have of it?

Fred Rainville- Well the first gig AP2 ever played was upstairs at the Inkwell in Long Branch NJ. Our friend Jake was in the lineup at the time and we played with just 3 acoustic guitars and 2 room microphones in front of us. Everyone sat down with us and we definitely destroyed it. Different Time. 

Alex Fabio – I can definitely tell you the first real gig BACK is gonna be insane. Looking up, looking forward. AP2 has just begun.

And there you have it!  Check out “Pride of a Nation” by America Part Two via Spotify below!

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