By DONNA BALANCIA
The Phantoms have a punk pedigree with a rock n roll heart.
With frontman and songwriter Victor Penalosa, guitarist Xavier Anaya, Chris Iandolo on bass and Ed Masi on drums, the band is committed to making the music a celebration.
“We’re not into the political message, we’re into having fun,” said Masi of The Phantoms, whose home is San Diego. “We have different backgrounds but we love the music.”
The San Diego Boys Know How to Rock N Roll
The Phantoms self-titled album is the roadmap any thirsty music lover can use to find their way back to truly quenching Rock N Roll. This record satisfies.
The Phantoms album has songs ranging from upbeat rock to twangy working class tunes and a lot in between. Drummer Masi said there’s a reason why at least a few songs on the new album sound like T-Rex.
“You’ll be able to tell, we really like T-Rex,” he said. At least that’s one thing they all have in common. The guys collectively have played in a bunch of different bands.
Frontman Penalosa is known for his band the Zeros and also plays with The Flamin Groovies. Anaya is known for The Trebles and The Hoods; Iandolo is known for Dizzy and Masi has played with Ghosts of California and Sleeping Cranes. But the The Phantoms album is bound to be one of the most fun projects, maybe because the guys are all longtime pals.
“We went into the studio and banged it out,” Masi said. “We used none of the tricks they use nowadays. It was a lot of fun.”
The band signed with Rum Bar Records in 2015. The first thing they did is remaster some of the songs they loved and put out the 11-track album on Rum Bar Records.
“We’re really happy about how it sounds,” said Masi. “I really like the song, ‘Stab Me in My Broken Heart,’ the unlikely hero of the album.”
The guys released a video for the song SEE THE WORLDWIDE PREMIER OF “STAB ME IN MY BROKEN HEART”
It’s definitely one of the weirdest videos ever. But in a strange way, it’s kind of cool.
“We’re huge B-movie fans,” Masi said of the video created by Iandolo. “The song was written and when I put drums to it, I was thinking along the lines of Joe Jackson with punkish feel. I think Chris wanted to capture that. I think he did a great job putting the video together.”
The Phantoms Gig Tomorrow Night
The Phantoms make for strange band fellows: It’s an diverging group of characters, but somehow everyone gets along, Masi said.
“Victor and I have known each other for about 20 years,” Masi said. “We played in the Melanies together.
“He was into T-Rex, Big Star, he never really tried to get the chicks. He always wanted to have this big Rock N Roll sound. It was never about girls. He never really wanted to be a chick magnet.
“Then Chris is more like a sophisticated guy, he’s an accomplished bass player and just as goofy as we are. I’m lucky to have these guys.
“Xavier is the gentle soul, like a George Harrison mixed with Keith Richards. He’s not the typical lead guitarist.
“And me? I’m just a drummer. I was always the class clown trying to keep the rest of the guys on track but these guys do a fine job by themselves. I just enjoy the show, playing.
Rate the Album
The music on The Phantoms is driving and fun. There isn’t a song on the album that isn’t a rocker.
“Tears Me Up” has a nice twangy rock and roll feel to it, “Atomic Fireball” has got a T-Rex vibe. Anaya’s guitar work is impressive. “Chump Change” is about the working class stiff. and “One for the Road,” gives the impression you’re in a bar putting more money in the jukebox a la Johnny Cash.
“Tears Me Up,” is heavily influenced by the Rolling Stones and “Heavy Traffic” is like a Foghat style of rock.
Masi likes a lot of different music, but he doesn’t necessarily feel music has to be message or politically driven.
“With folk music, lyrically it was speaking to social issues that hadn’t come up before,” he said. “And today, I think some of the bands are trying to incite a reaction in the listening audience. I believe music should be a celebration. We like what we play, and if they like it cool. We’re just writing songs that feel good to us and if other people like them, it’s great.”