Inga Rudin – Lola Montez
By: Frank Iacono
The Nashville-based band Lola Montez, led by frontwoman Inga Rudin, has only been together for a short time, but they have certainly developed a unique top-notch sound and style that is truly different from what currently permeates today’s airwaves and music charts. The origins of the band can be traced to casual encounters and coincidences over several years within Nashville’s burgeoning music scene. What was once friendly acquaintances pursuing separate projects eventually became fiercely committed bandmates sharing in the thrill of musical co-creation.
Lola Montez’s innovative approach to rock has been described as pissed-off punk. From a songwriting perspective, no subject matter is out of bounds including a date gone wrong, confessions of a jilted lover, wasted youth and surreal erotica. Along with Inga, who previously toured with the band Naked Beggars, Lola Montez features guitarist Blake Scopino formerly of Paryah as well as former Skinny Molly and Blackfoot drummer Kurt Pietro. The band is intent on hitting a raw nerve with music fans far and wide.
Lola Montez’s latest release entitled Dissonant Dreams sounds fresh, yet familiar which is no easy task in this day and age. You hear musical influences, but you don’t hear a cookie cutter approach to rock. Inga’s brazen vocals are powerful and flexible. She can fluctuate from a harder edged approach into a beautiful ballad-like tone at will. Blake’s guitar has a fiery fretboard but remains bright with clean chords. His rhythms are unique and allow for some interesting syncopated beats from Kurt on drums. Dissonant Dreams asserts Lola Montez plenty of muscle but with its pop sensibilities firmly in tow. You get hooks alongside a brooding, drop-tuned guitar coated with an icy edge. For this band, the attitude is in the authenticity.
In this edition of Music Player Magazine, we caught up with Inga Rudin from Lola Montez where we talked about her musical influences, her songwriting and recording process, her experience in the band Naked Beggars, her bands new CD as well as her short and long-term future plans.
If you like bands that put their own twist on rock music then give Inga and Lola Montez a listen, I’m sure you’ll love their sound.
Music Player Magazine: At what age did you first realize that you wanted to be a musician?
Inga Rudin: I would say there really wasn’t a specific age, I pretty much realized right away that I wanted to be a musician. At the age of 3, I began writing, singing and performing. The desire was always there. The path just needed to be shown. Lola Montez, the band, encompasses everything I have ever wanted to accomplish in my music career, including my aesthetics, my vocal variations, dancing and performing!
MPM: What famous musical artists and/or bands were among your early influences and describe for us how they impacted and/or shaped your musical style?
IR: Over the years, I have been influenced by so many different artists and bands. As I am evolving as a musician, I am still being influenced today. Personally, I love to listen to different vocal and musical styles. Throughout my life, I’ve observed many people especially those who have appeared in movies of the 50s, 60s and 70s. All and all, as a performer I believe all of these activities have helped shape my musical style and provided our band with its original flair.
MPM: Can you please describe for us Lola Montez’s overall sound and musical genre and introduce us to the band lineup?
IR: We could never seem to find a specific genre that truly defined our music. So, I just made one up. I call our musical genre Dream Rock because we have a heaviness, a darkness and an intense yet dreamy sound which is also very danceable.
The band lineup consists of:
• Inga Rudin – Vocalist
• Blake Scopino – Guitarist
• Carl Ray Hopper – Bassist
• Kurt Pietro – Drums
MPM: For the benefit of those who may not be too familiar with Inga Rudin and your musical career, please describe how you started out from Livingston, New Jersey and eventually ended up being a lead singer for Naked Beggars initially and now with Lola Montez?
IR: I was born and raised in Livingston, New Jersey. In 1998, I made my way to Nashville, Tennessee where I met a few musicians and together we formed the hard rock band Naked Beggars. We were lucky enough to have Eric Brittingham and Jeff LaBar from the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania-based 80s group Cinderella as part of our band lineup. Naked Beggars was active from 2003 until 2009. During that time frame, we released three albums: Naked Beggars, Spit It Out and XXX.
Around 2015, I began searching for new band members to collaborate and perform with when I first met drummer Kurt Pietro and then guitarist Blake Scopino. From the start, the three of us knew we wanted to work together. We began writing and recording but realized we still needed to find a bassist. Enter Carl Ray Hopper and the rest is history. We were actually working with Carl Ray last year before he took a nasty spill on his motorcycle and had to be in a wheelchair for quite some time. He is, however, one strong dude and is back at it and working as hard as ever! We love him!
MPM: Can you please share with us the origin of the unique Lola Montez band name and perhaps elaborate on its specific meaning?
IR: When I was researching potential band names, I came across the name Lola Montez. I discovered that Lola Montez was a dancer in the 1800s and she was free-spirited, risqué, wild yet looked up to by others. And I thought, this is totally cool because it really described our style of music and truly captured us. Everybody in the band agreed and liked it too, so we went with it, and that’s one of the things that’s hard to do: name a band.
MPM: Take us behind the scenes in the making of Lola Montez’s first album release entitled Glean Deluxe. What was your favorite part of its production and the most challenging from an artistic perspective?
IR: We were writing pretty vigorously for almost a year and had many songs written. In the process of developing our songs, the band also cultivated our relationships too. My favorite part was writing together and preparing myself to record. It was both fun and extremely fulfilling. During this time, the band pushed ourselves to make each song shine. It’s so exciting when a song hits it peak and is ready to be recorded. My least favorite part of creating this album was actually recording the songs. Although I must admit that I love the end results. It’s just a personal preference. Through the release of Glean Deluxe, the members of the band honed our skills and we established some really good chemistry.
MPM: Personally, one of my favorite songs off of Glean Deluxe is the track called “Strange Things,” so can you share with us its meaning as well as the concept behind the video concept?
IR: The song “Strange Things” came later in the writing process for Glean Deluxe. We really, really loved it. The song was written about how we should trust in our future and follow our path. In other words, “stranger things have happened”. So, simply just let it happen.
As for the video concept, I wanted to create a kind of Alice in Wonderland vibe. For example, here you are at a young age, here you are at an older age, but it usually doesn’t turn out as we imagined it. At the end of the day, it’s okay though. I always like to add a bit of quirkiness to everything I do. In other words, do what is least expected.
MPM: I can’t imagine what it felt like to walk out on stage to perform for the very first time. Could you tell us about the experience and how it compares to your performances today?
IR: The first time I stepped onto stage as the lead singer of Naked Beggars can be described as a bit rough. I was really nervous, so I drank a lot of beer. Honestly, I can’t really drink too much, if at all. Thankfully, because I was so nervous, I never got drunk. I’ve definitely come a long way since that initial performance. Today, I remain focused, dive into myself, jump onto stage and simply perform. There is truly nothing like performing live. The excitement gives me an electric feeling. I love to engage with the audience as much as possible. It’s never the same experience twice. Each performance is unique.
MPM: Tell us about the background story behind another great song entitled “Monster” from your second album Dissonant Dreams?
IR: Before the #MeToo movement gained its widespread media coverage and discussion against sexual harassment and sexual assault, the song “Monster” was written. There are plenty of men and woman that cross the line and make someone feel uncomfortable every day. And, this is what this song is all about. At the time, this song was written about someone specifically but today it symbolizes the extent of problems associated with harassment and assault.
MPM: Could you describe for us one of the strangest experiences you had during the course of your music career and what you learned from it as a performer?
IR: One of the strangest things that happened to me during my musical career involved a garbage can. Yes, you read that correct a garbage can. I once walked right off the edge of the stage and into a garbage can. That alone probably isn’t that strange or weird, but I just kept singing as if nothing happened. As a performer, I learned that I must always check where I am stepping.
MPM: Tell us about your experience as lead singer in the band Naked Beggars and your hit “Through With You”?
IR: Well, that was certainly a great time. Overall, what an amazing learning experience. I was truly honored to work with so many great musicians. I learned so much from that band, including how to tour. We made 3 albums and had that last release right as I was entering in with the new band. It was an older song that had not been released in which we decided to go ahead and release. I guess at the time, when we wrote this song, we decided against releasing it for some reason. We have more that we can release. Lol. With that band we had lots of writers and the songs were almost endless. We all did try to write together. Some us would pair up and write and then bring it to the main band later. Those writing sessions were really awesome.
MPM: As an independent artist, how do you market your songs, albums, merchandise and appearances?
IR: From a marketing and advertising perspective, I am very aggressive with all of the promotional aspects for Lola Montez. Essentially, I come up with all of the ideas and implement them. These strategies range from email marketing to social media marketing to radio/talk show marketing to news media marketing. Touring provides an added ripple effect. Utilizing these concepts is the only way to get yourself out there today. We do what we have to in order to drive people to our live show which can be described as unique. All of the hard work is really rewarding especially when you get a great response. Not only to the showmanship but to the actual songs. That truly is the most fulfilling part. I love playing live.
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MPM: If you weren’t in the music industry what would you see yourself doing instead?
IR: If I weren’t in the music industry, I would have loved to have been a mechanic. My grandfather was a mechanic. However, I feel I am not strong enough to do that job. But it is really gratifying to fix shit. LOL.
MPM: What does the short and long-term future look like for Inga Rudin and Lola Montez?
IR: Well, this band and I will continue to push and move forward. As a matter of fact, we are currently in the writing process right now. Additionally, we are in the middle of making some new music videos and recording a new song. Both should be released soon. As musicians, we will always continue to evolve and keep changing. There is no end in sight for Lola Montez.
About the Author: Frank Iacono
Since 2012, Frank Iacono has served as the President and CEO of The Creative Spotlight, the ultimate destination for unearthing a wealth of undiscovered musical talent, reading exciting interviews, releasing new music and sharing exclusive videos.
Every good story needs a good storyteller. And, The Creative Spotlight has truly provided a quality forum for revealing those great stories. Through the years, the online publication has featured national and local musicians such as Screaming for Silence, Ages Apart, Roxy Petrucci, Peter Beckett, We The Kings, Everything Falls, Rod Black, Derek Crider, Daniel Mason Band, Michelle Leigh, Jessie G., Karen Mansfield and Hillbilly Vegas.
Additionally, they’ve also focused on historic Pennsylvania-based paranormal venues, well-known actors and actresses, published authors, professional artists, local businesses, consultants, trainers, speakers and more…