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Elliot Szabo understands what some people might think when they see the cover of his pop-rock band’s new, four-song, extended-play, independent disc. The title track, after all, is “Get Wasted.”
And the 33-year-old ex-Columbus resident does live in “Partytown USA,” more commonly known as Las Vegas.
But the alternative rock tune is anything but predictable. Szabo’s sad lyrics focus on a life wasting away through, well, getting wasted. And the urgent need to turn things around.
“People generally go, ‘Oh, OK,’” said the group’s frontman, speaking by phone from his Nevada home.
Szabo and bandmates are wasting little time making a mark in music. They recently played the prestigious Roxy Theatre in Hollywood.
“It definitely was cool to see some of the photos (of famous performers) on the wall,” Szabo said. “It was a neat experience and to play a place where they really take good care of you.”
Szabo ended up in Nevada because of his wife’s job. He also operates a rehearsal studio and event production business.
How did you get your start in music?
I started playing saxophone at age 13 at Central Middle School, and then I gave that up. Later, I started teaching myself guitar with the help of old Paul Simon, George Harrison and Neil Diamond records my Dad had lying around. I got my first electric guitar when I was 15 and influenced by Smashing Pumpkins.
Is that your guitar that’s on fire in one of the publicity shots on the band home page at szaboband.com?
(Laughter). That’s actually not mine. But it was a lot of fun going into Guitar Center and asking the guy what their cheapest guitar was. And when he tried to sell me a more expensive one, it was fun to say, “I’m going to fill this thing with something like dynamite and blow it to smithereens.”
Did you envision yourself as rock artist when you began playing electric guitar?
I don’t even think I pictured myself (long-term) as a guitar player. Well, I did want to be a musician. But I always was told that musicians are dirty and they live in their car, and then I was asked, “Are you ready to live in your car?”
I did that for only a little while, when I moved to Chicago. Destitution doesn’t inspire me.
What’s the next step for you and the band?
I have a realistic idea of what it will take (to make it). Now, we’re almost in this holding phase, waiting for the radio play to take off, and also building those markets. A lot of artists think if they keep playing the same shows and bars that (Grammy-winning producer) Steve Lillywhite or some other producer’s going to come in and say, “This band needs to be signed.”
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