Since 1997, The Complaints have been a modern rock staple in Rhode Island.
They’ve released six albums during their career, with a few garnering a handful of awards. They’ve worked with legendary producers with engineering resumes that include the likes of Tom Petty, Steve Earle, Amy Winehouse and Green Day. They’ve also graced the stage at famous clubs such as The Mercury Lounge and The Bitter End in New York City and places gone by like CBGB in Manhattan’s East Village and Lupo’s Heartbreak Hotel in Providence.
On Wednesday nights at Escada Restaurant & Bar at 39 Putnam Pike in Johnston, people can see guitarist and frontman Dean Petrella, bassist Chris Cruz and drummer Anthony Mariotti do their thing to get themselves through the week.
I recently had a talk with Petrella about how the gig came to be, performing at CBGB, working with a Rock & Roll Hall of Famer and what the band’s plans are for next year.
ROB DUGUAY: How did this residency at Escada come to be, and what can people expect when they come through the doors?
DEAN PETRELLA: The owners of Escada have been longtime supporters of the band, and Wednesdays nights there are amazing. It’s a free show and the place has great food and cheap drinks. There are always special guest musicians that come through and it’s always a good time. It’s also an intimate room, so we usually get around 75 of our biggest fans and musician friends out every week. It’s a total blast.
RD: The Complaints have gotten to work with some reputable producers, including Rock & Roll Hall of Famer Shelly Yakus. How did you get connected with him and what was he like to work with?
DP: We met Shelly at a music conference in Philadelphia some years back. He was a guest speaker and we really hit it off. We went back to Philly for a month to record our second album, “Criminal Mind,” with him in 2002. It was a great time and a great experience. Hearing him tell stories about recording Tom Petty, Stevie Nicks and other countless legends was something that stays with you for a lifetime.
RD: Another producer the band got to work with was Phil Greene on your latest full-length release, “Talk To Me,” which came out last year. What was the main vision that you and Phil wanted to capture while making the album?
DP: Phil actually recorded our first album, “Fear,” which came out in 1999, so we’ve known each other for a long time. He’s a legend and taught us a lot through the years. We really wanted to capture the singer-songwriter essence of some of these new songs and Phil did an amazing job.
RD: When did you guys get to play at the legendary CBGB in New York City? That must have been a wild experience.
DP: We played CBGB a few times in the early-mid 2000s before they closed in 2006. They were super nice to us. It was quite a thrill to play on that stage, when you think of the names that were there before us, like The Police, The Ramones, Blondie, and the list goes on. We still play at least three or four shows a year in New York City, but we certainly miss that place.
RD: Along with the residency at Escada, what’s in store for the future with The Complaints?
DP: We just finished a new single called “Downtime.” We will release it in January. We played at South by Southwest in Austin this past March and we are returning to play there again next year. I have also spent a bunch of time down in Nashville this year playing some solo shows. I’m hoping to get the band down there soon for some shows as well.
To learn more about The Complaints, follow the band on Facebook or visit thecomplaints.com.