Interviews

Hearty punk’n’rock’n’rollers THE PETTY SAINTS discuss San Diego music scene, live shows, and more

San Diego rock and roll outfit THE PETTY SAINTS recently released their captivating new video for ‘Clean Hands and Guilt’ off of their 2021 release ‘Long Way Home’ dropping July 30th on Dark Horse Coffee Records, and today we’re pleased to give you our insightful interview with the band touching on their local music scene, new music, live shows, and a lot lot more!

The first single is an ode to the never fleeting feeling of guilt and lack of self worth all of humanity has over the course of their lifetime.

“The modern world is full of reasons to feel guilty for not being enough.The doubt and the restlessness are a common trait that we all share. We all have Clean Hands and Guilt.” – Ciaran O’Reilly

The Petty Saints’ unique blend of rock n’ roll, punk, country, and folk create a stand-alone, dynamic brand of Blue collar, Americana Rock n’ Roll!

Hailing from London, singer/song-writer Ciaran O’Reilly arrived in San Diego in 2016 with his brand of soulful, emotion-filled lyrics that have given life to The Petty Saints‘ music. Guitarist Brett Reeves, a musician that has been around the San Diego scene for a few years, gives credence to Ciaran’s words with signature guitar tones and emphatic leads. The rhythm section is rounded out with bassist Daniel Shane and his thunderous, new wave, style of bass as well as Matt Yansch, a staple of the San Diego scene, bringing in solid, focused, energetic drum beats to the music of The Petty Saints.

The Petty Saints

The Petty Saints exploded onto the San Diego music scene in 2018 with their debut EP “Wild Young Love”, produced and released by Dark Horse Coffee Records. The song “Troublemaker”, nominated for song of the year at the 2019 San Diego Music Awards, was met with praise and saw heavy rotation on local station 91x on the top 5 for January 2019.
Continuing to play shows from San Diego to LA with bands like Hoist The Colors, Flatfoot56, The Drowns, The Ataris, and Original Son, the band hit the studio with Dark Horse Coffee Records to begin work on their first full-length album.

This is the first single from the upcoming album ‘Long Way Home’ coming out later this summer on Dark Horse Coffee Records. Once the pandemic subsides, The Petty Saints have plans to tour in a city near you!


I know not everyone is local to San Diego, what was your experience like breaking into the local music scene?

Ciaran: I’m Originally from London so for me it was pretty nerve racking to come into a scene that I knew would already be pretty tight. Everyone seemed to know each other and had played together at some stage so I wondered where I might fit coming into that being from a different background. Luckily, everyone was incredibly welcoming right from the start and gave huge support to me and the rest of the band which was really humbling.

Dan: The experience was fairly typical for any band – we practiced a lot, wrote a few songs, and messaged a friend about playing some shows at local bars and just went from there.

While finalizing your first full length record, what did you do differently recording/writing wise compared to your first EP?

Ciaran: The basic writing of the record was similar to the first in that I generally started with a song with basic chords and melodies and the rest of the band took it from there. What was different though was how deep we went in on the songs and never stood still with them right until they were recorded. There were rewrites of rewrites and a lot ended up on the scrapheap. Over the time working on it we probably had close to 20 songs written.

Dan: For this full length we had much more guidance and direction from Daniel at Dark Horse Coffee Records. He is the one that produced and recorded this record and he really helped us shape these songs into what they became on the record.

I’m sure there are a lot of creative ideas while writing, that also comes with compromise! Is there a song on this record that may have had some butting of heads?

Ciaran: There were a few, and that only comes naturally when everyone wants to leave their stamp on the record. There are plenty of practice and writing sessions where tempers are frayed, and we can’t stand each other. But we always figure it out and I think that helps to add to the tension in the record. We’ve all learned to have a little bit of tougher skin, but the first few times someone tells you they hate what you’re playing it can be hard to take.

Dan: As soon as we finished the EP we just began writing songs as they came while still playing shows so the majority of the songs were written over the past 3 ½ years with “Anymore” being written and finalized and finally recorded in back in March.

You have a song “Troublemaker” off of your first EP so we must know, have you ever had any troubling scenarios at a show or on the road with another band/venue/fan?

Ciaran: Not really yet, everyone has been really cool so far. But I did play a show in London one time at a homeless shelter where people were allowed to drink and do drugs. There was no security or anyone around and the small audience wouldn’t let me finish! I played U2’s “With or without you” about 6 times before I finally caught someone’s attention to help me off the stage.

Dan: I’ve gotten rolled up on by a car a few times when I was out on the road. Don’t linger in bad neighborhoods at 2 a.m. with a giant van.

Being a rock and roll/Americana band, the listeners can hear some strong influences of Springsteen, Gaslight Anthem, and Dave Hause, but what are some unexpected influences that came into play while writing this record?

Ciaran: A lot of these songs start as folk songs in a lot of ways and are really influenced by that style of music. They end up being rock n roll a little later on so there’s some artists like Todd Snider that influenced this record. The most surprising one is probably Marianne Faithfull though! You’ll have to listen to the record to guess which song and why.

Dan: I think with a lot of these things the influences were carried from bands like Oasis, John Mellencamp, The Clash, you know bands that had a “big sound”. Ciaran has an amazing voice and we always felt like the tone that he carries in his volume needs to be supported by the volume in the music.

The first single Clean Hands and Guilt is amazing and a great peak into what’s your come with “Long Way Home”. What drew the inspiration to this song specifically?

Ciaran: My personal experiences mainly. In a very short time I had uprooted and moved to the other side of the world, started a new job and a family. I think I was doing too much and at some stage that started to take a toll on me. That song really came together around that time.

The Patty Saints

Besides the single, what song(s) are you most excited for fans to hear off the album coming out?

Ciaran: I can’t wait for everyone to hear the record as a whole. But ‘Anymore’ and the last song on the album are two tracks that I think are really impressive and I hope others feel the same!

Dan: I’m excited for people to hear Only the Good, Anymore, That’s a Lie. Pretty much every song on this record I am excited for people to hear. We were supposed to have had this out almost a year ago and Covid threw off the timeline that we had planned.

You’ve been a band for a few years now, do you have any big stand out moments regarding live shows or opportunities?

Ciaran: There’s two for me. Our first ever show which was to a Packed house at ‘Til Two’ in San Diego. The reaction to our first show was huge and as everyone in a band knows, a lot of the time you’re playing to an empty room, so to play our first show like that was amazing and really gave us a lot of drive as a band. The second would be our first show in LA at the ‘Five Star Bar’. That was a landmark moment for me to pack up a van with my mates in my band and drive to play a show in LA. That might not mean as much of a big deal to some people who are born and raised in southern California, but for a boy from North London it was a dream come true.

Dan: My biggest moment was definitely hearing “Troublemaker” on a huge local radio station. I’ve been playing music since I was 9-years-old never really having any success and after going into 91x San Diego and interviewing on the radio and talking about the song I felt like I was finally doing something right. I hope that I get to have more moments like this. Shout out to Tim Pyles in San Diego for having us on!

What are some of your favorite venues that you have played?

Ciaran: Back home I have always loved playing ‘the Dublin Castle’ in Camden town. Here in San Diego I always enjoy playing for friends at the tower bar and Ken Club, both those venues have always been great to us. We’ve had some great moments at the Soda Bar and Casbah too. I think the venue doesn’t matter so much as who is there on the night and the energy in the room.

Dan: I am obsessed with having a good sound on stage so I would have to say that a couple of my favorite venues that I’ve played are the Casbah, Brick by Brick, and Soda Bar all here in San Diego. Hopefully when we finally get out on the road we can start experiencing and discovering new, great sounding venues!

What have you learned the most from starting the band to where you are now?

Ciaran: I’ve learned that it’s important to listen to other people’s ideas, accept that yours are not always great and to rely on other people for their talents rather than to try and control everything yourself. That been tough for someone like me who likes to have control over everything all of the time. I’ve also learnt that this needs to be fun, and that if you’re not having fun you might as well pack up and go home.
Dan: If you’re an asshole you won’t get very far and get rid of the ego. Also, if you join a band just to party and get wasted you’re just wasting your time and everyone else’s time.

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