Lansdowne is a Boston-based rock band that is largely regarded by fans and industry insiders alike as one of the top unsigned bands in the country. Made up of Jon Ricci, Shaun Lichtenstein, and Glenn Mungo, Lansdowne has put on nearly 500 hard-hitting shows across the country with bands like Theory of a Deadman, Saving Abel, and Halestorm in addition to playing on a recent USO tour overseas.
Lead singer Jon answered a few questions on the band’s behalf in our interview below because we wanted to get to know more about this band that has a massive following and infectious sound! So continue reading to learn all about the huge respect they have for the fans, what inspires them to write, and why so many decisions revolve around how to best put on a live show for those that pay money and sacrifice resources to come see them!
We also have three of Landsdowne’s tracks in the jukebox for you to rate! We want to know if you think “Watch Me Burn,” “Open Your Eyes,” and “The Secret That You Keep” have hit potential! So make sure you check them out and let us know! And, if you want to hear more from Lansdowne make sure you check out all of their websites listed below, and look for them on tour! Their next big gig is headlining Air Force Week at Cocoa Beach Pier in a few weeks in sunny Florida!
How would you define your music?
Active Rock. Our music has evolved over the years with every change being focused around how to make our live show more exciting and more interactive for our fans. With our latest record, A Day In The Life, I feel like we’ve put together a collection of songs that take you through every emotion – from the hard-hitting rock stuff to the crossovers to the ballads. We’ve really made an effort to write songs that our fans can connect with while also making sure we’re having as much fun as we can performing those songs on stage.
How did you come to form Lansdowne? How long have you been playing together?
Shaun and I formed Lansdowne in 2006 and Glenn joined us about a year later. The name comes from a street in Boston where we all used to go to shows at legendary rock houses like Axis and Avalon and we thought giving ourselves a name that reflected the place where we saw so many amazing shows would keep us motivated to work as hard as we could and to stay focused on writing songs that translated to a great live show.
One of the early highlights of the band was playing the final show at Axis before they shut down. I remember staying late with the sound crew and drinking whatever was left at the bar – from PBR to champagne to Jager – since it was all getting thrown out the next day anyway. By morning that place was a real mess, just like a dirty rock club should be.
Where is home base for Lansdowne? What’s the music scene like there – supportive of your type of music, or do you travel a lot to play shows?
The band is based out of Boston, where Shaun and I grew up. Glenn is from New York but moved out here once he joined the band.
Believe it or not, the rock scene in Boston needs a lot of work. When we first started out there seemed to be a much better culture, but it feels like a lot of the bands we came up with have broken up since then. A lot of the clubs have closed or tightened their age restrictions, but we feel incredibly grateful to have the fan base that we do; they’ve worked as hard as we have to spread the word and there’s nothing like coming home to play for the people that built us and stood behind us when we were trying to get off the ground. This includes our favorite venue in town, the Middle East. That place is our home and we owe them a lot of love for the support they’ve given us over the past few years.
As far as touring goes, there’s nothing we love more. I think we’re coming up on our 500th show as a band, and those shows have taken us around the country numerous times, and to Asia where we spent two weeks playing U.S. military bases to show support for our soldiers. There’s nothing more gratifying for me than when I’ve got people singing my lyrics back to me. You just don’t get tired of that and if you can’t appreciate what those fans go through to be at your shows – the hours in the car, the gas money, the tickets, the tabs at the bar because they know we’re there to have a good time, the late nights and then having to wake up and go to work or school the next day – then you don’t deserve to be this lucky. I love my job.
Who or what would you say your artistic influences and/or inspirations are as a band?
We’re more inspired by seeing great shows than any one band or genre in particular. Lately, we’ve been listening to the new Three Days Grace, Shinedown, Sevendust and Halestorm records when we’re on the road. These are all bands that crush it when they’re in front of an audience and we get fired up knowing that if we want to be GREAT at what we do we have to keep watching and listening and learning and never settle.
Do you write your own lyrics and music? What influences you in the writing process?
Yes, absolutely. Generally speaking I write the lyrics and we all come together to arrange the songs and write the instrumental parts. The band and our producer, Paul Trust, try to make sure we’re working as a team. I need to be able to tell Shaun that his guitar riff sucks if it sucks, and if he doesn’t like some of my lyrics, he needs to be able to do the same thing. Everyone’s got the same goal and there’s no time for thinking any one of us has all the answers. We’re a team.
One of the things we love about Paul is that he gets our vision for the music we want to write. There’s no bullshit or boundaries, and we’re lucky to have that kind of relationship with him. He knows how to kick my ass while also teaching me things when we’re tracking vocals and I’m better for it.
Pick a song to go in-depth about – a “single” if you will – and tell us about the lyrics, inspiration, etc.
“By Your Side” – it’s my favorite song to play live and has a ton of meaning and message behind it. We partnered up with an amazing company called iRobot and they are responsible for building the robots that go out with the soldiers and disarm bombs. They’re saving lives and we wanted to be a part of that.
So, “By Your Side” started out by being a song about the relationship between people, things, elements that needed each other. Bottom line, it’s a song about saying when the shit hits the fan I’ve got your back. The greatest part about the message is that it manifests itself in every part of our lives – soldiers, best friends, family – because everybody is going to need to be picked up at some point in their lives and this is an anthem for everyone; from a Marine to your college roommate to the guy that’s busting his ass working overtime to provide for his family. This is a big fuck you to being afraid or second guessing yourself. For me, it’s a nightly reminder about how fortunate I feel to be on stage with a couple of guys that would do anything for me, and in front of a whole bunch of people that make it possible for us to write these songs.
Do you have any other projects in the works?
We’re all training to be prettier than Justin Bieber. It’s not working out.
Where can people catch a live performance?
The best thing to do is keeping checking back on our Facebook for an updated calendar and tour information. Coming up we’re headlining Air Force Week in Cocoa Beach, Florida, on October 29th and we’ll be headlining our final Boston show of the year on December 10