Lobster Newberg Profile
By Ryan Fergus
Published in Insider Magazine
Lobster Newburg frontman Colin Peterik has a lot on his plate right now. While replacing recently departed guitarist Sean Briskey, writing new material for the group’s forthcoming full-length and trying to break out of his famous father’s shadow (that would be Jim Peterik, of both Ides of March and Survivor fame) are certainly things on his mind, one issue has shot to the forefront of that very long list- namely, figuring out where the heck he’s going to go for college next Fall.
Peterik, a remarkably well-adjusted eighteen-year-old from LaGrange, seems to be handling all of this in stride. As the lead singer/songwriter of progressive rock group Lobster Newburg, he’s been around music as long as he can remember. Still, just because he lives in the same house at the man who wrote “Eye of the Tiger,” don’t think it’s a constant joy being rock royalty.
“It’s not as glamorous as you might think,” Peterik attests as he sits down for a quick after-school phone conversation. “Sometimes, one of the guys from Night Ranger will stay over or something, but for the most part it’s pretty normal.” While most wouldn’t call getting singing tips backstage from 80’s legends like Kip Winger “normal,” it’s apparent from Peterik’s humble approach that he’s well aware how invaluable experiences like those can be for a young musician. Still, it becomes increasingly clear that he’s not only looking to make his own mark in music, but he’s looking to do it on his own terms.
As a group, Lobster Newburg cites wildly eclectic influences, eschewing today’s sometimes formulaic, radio-ready pop for broader, classic-rock pastures-King Crimson, John Coltrane, Bad Brains, Frank Zappa and Roxy Music are just some of the musical idols listed on the band’s Myspace page (www.myspace.com/lobsternewburg). In other words, there’s nary a My Chemical Romance or Green Day to be found- what gives?
“Everyone in the group was into doing something really different,” concludes Peterik. Although he cites Radiohead as one of the few modern groups that are actively challenging their audience, Peterik seems fairly disillusioned with the current state of music. “It suprises me what makes it on the radio today. I think you can force feed just about anything to people and they’ll eat it up- which, as a songwriter, makes me pretty mad.”
Peterik is quick to assure that giving more commercially viable music the cold shoulder was in no way a reaction to his father’s knack for penning a pop hook as mammoth as the Atlantic. “I wouldn’t call it a reaction; it’s just that straight-forward pop-rock isn’t really what I listen to. I could write three-minute pop songs, and sometimes I do, but I still give them the same amount of care that I would give to a Lobster Newberg song.”
Proposing a prog-rock concept (think the long running-times and intricate instrumentation of bands like Yes and early Genesis) to bassist Will Gumbiner, the duo quickly recruited hardcore punk fan Victor V.B. on drums and blues-based axeman guitarist Briskey to form the quartet. Lobster Newburg was soon born and Peterik’s plan to do something “different” was quickly moving forward, with the group playing out locally on a regular basis, acquiring a management team and recording demos for an impending record.
The band is now on a collision course with a crossroads many teenage bands face as high school draws to a close- namely- what comes next? With the loss of one member already under the group’s belt, Peterik isn’t going to be putting in time at a local community college in order to keep the original line-up intact. “I definitely want to do this as a career, but I’m also applying to music schools like Berklee, so I can still write and perform while I’m getting an education.”
This doesn’t mean the group’s current incarnation is out for the count however; next Fall is still ways away and the group is currently in the process of auditioning new guitar slingers for upcoming shows. With the release of the new album (hopefully by the new year), the band plans to aggressively shop it to labels with the hopes of a full-on record deal. Peterik, just as any opportunistic young man should be, has high hopes for the future.
“We wouldn’t be against being played on the radio,” he concludes in the weary tone of someone who has to get cracking on his history paper. “Our kind of music hasn’t been mainstream for a long time. Maybe it’s about time that it became popular again.”