We went through countless band names, some of them serious and some were downright comical. We decided to call it Pet Shark because we didn’t want to take ourselves too seriously at the time, and we also thought that we could create some fun graphics with a name like that. Thus, Pet Shark was born. Bio: We are a progressive rock instrumental trio from Orange County, California, USA. We released our first album in November of 2011. We’ve been out supporting the CD ever since, performing showcases all over Southern California, and as far east as Nashville, Tennessee. We are currently operating as an unsigned band, although we’re open to the possibility of a relationship with an established label. Since our inception, we’ve been selling our music on most music sites around the world in addition to our website. We’re also on several internet radio stations, with the hopes of gaining ground in the terrestrial radio market.
Ted Morton (drummer): The back story is that Keith Moreland (guitarist) and I met back in 1992 when he got my phone number from somebody who recommended me for his band at the time. I ended up auditioning and got the gig. The next thing I knew, we were playing out quite a bit. We ended up making some personnel changes, and recorded our first album between 1994 and 1996 which was never officially released. During that time we both were also playing with many other amazing musicians in separate projects.
We had all gone our separate ways by 2000. Keith and I remained very good friends, and we played together on several other projects that I was producing and recording drums on throughout that time. All the while asking him to join forces with me again in order to write for a new band.
In 2009 we met in my home studio and began writing. A year later we had enough material for an entire album. We hadn’t yet secured a bass player, so we decided to ask my friend Matt Bissonette to join us. I had played with Matt on a couple of previous occasions and he is simply a monster musician, and a great guy. He brought something special to every track, and it was a real treat to have him play on the album. Matt is currently on tour with Elton John. Given the fact that Matt was unable to join us for the live shows, we were in dire need of a competent bass player. A singer friend of mine by the name of Dexter Espinosa recommended a bass player named Russ Reshaw, who had been on tour with the band Two or More for the last ten years. I contacted him and after several rehearsals, we played our first show at winter NAMM 2012 in Anaheim, California together where we only had enough time to play two songs, but it went over very well. Russ has been with us ever since.
Genre: First off, we love all kinds of music. We both grew up listening to a lot of the progressive rock bands such as Pink Floyd, Yes, King Crimson, Kansas, Genesis, Rush, and into adulthood with bands like Dream Theater, Porcupine Tree, and Spock’s Beard. But we also loved bands like The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, The Who, and so many of the other great rock bands of our time. There’s something very special about the way that these bands construct their songs. They create scenes in your mind with the music, soundscapes that are unlike typical rock or pop music. We wanted to write something that didn’t necessarily copy the bands we love, but instead complimented them.
Evolution of the initial musical and thematic elements: From the start, Keith and I agreed to write what we wanted to write. To be able to create in an unobstructed environment, and with no preconceived ideas. Most of the time, either Keith or I would come to the studio with an idea or riff, and expound on that idea, trying out different time signatures and modes. sometimes we would work out an idea for days, only to scrap the entire idea when we listened back. Huge sections of songs wound up being trashed if we both didn’t agree that it was something good.
Because of the fact that we were working on instrumental music, we often times would create songs based on a thematic approach. For instance the first song on the album called “Stimulus Package” is based on a musical approach to secret agent films. The song “Leopard Dance” is based on animal documentaries. Seven Fifty Seven is named for some of the prominent time signatures throughout the song. “The Chase” is based on a chase theme for a film score. “Master Cylinder” has a robotic theme. “Busa” is named after the Hayabusa Motorcycle which at the time was the fastest production motorcycle on the market. “Shark Boogie” is just a straight ahead boogie song in the style of Joe Satriani. “Steve” was written as a dedication to guitarist Steve Vai who is one of Keith’s favorites. “From the Deep” has elements from several of our favorite bands like Zeppelin, Pink Floyd and Procupine Tree. “Letter From Home” has a war theme, with a hybrid funeral march at the end on the snare drum. “Via Sonrisa” (Sonrisa meaning “Smile” in Spanish) has latin influences along with early Rush influences. And lastly “Song for JnJ” is a short Vignette dedicated to our wives, meant to be a sort of palate cleanser at the end of the album.
Ideas about the album: In a word, yes, we’re very happy with the way it turned out. Given the fact that the two of us wrote, recorded, produced, engineered, mixed, and agonized over every aspect of this album without the benefit of a budget, and without a record label, we think it turned out pretty well. The parts that we could have improved upon are: We didn’t have the ability to play the music in front of a live audience for months at a time before we recorded it, so naturally there are some nuances that we’ve picked up after having played the music for a while in live settings, that we wish could have made it onto the album.
Reception: The reception has truly been overwhelming and extremely humbling. We received a standing ovation at our first proper concert, and all of the live shows since have been very warmly received, for which we are immensely grateful! You never really know how your project is going to go over live when you’re in the studio writing and recording. All you can do is hope that people will like it somehow, and have a desire to come out and see you again. The fact that people seem to really enjoy the music is a huge reward.
Preference; live or studio: Clearly, it’s extremely exciting to play live, in front of people and receiving feedback from everyone, being in the moment and knowing that you’re bringing others together to have a good time.
The recording studio has a different kind of excitement altogether. The excitement of creating something new and fresh, after having started the day with a blank page. The satisfaction that you get when you believe that you’ve accomplished something worthwhile.
Next step; live or studio: We’re still out there playing as many shows as we can and working very hard to increase our fan base. We have begun writing for the next album and we now have several solid tracks that we hope the fans will like. As far as touring is concerned, we are working hard to put a tour together for parts of the United States, and It would be a dream come true to tour internationally.
Preference; cater to the audience or music for its own sake: We started this project with the idea that we wanted to make ourselves happy with the music first, and that hopefully everything else would follow. So far, that strategy has worked well. We believe that people know if you’re authentic or not, there are a lot of very smart listeners out there who can tell if you’re the real deal, or just faking it. We set out to be completely honest with what we created, and it’s very clear to us that people really appreciate it.
Anything else? Just that we’ll be working hard to bring you a new album as soon as possible and we’re looking forward to seeing you on road.
Want more of Pet Shark? Visit their Website!