The Lucky 13
Justin Ledesma (vocals, guitar) is the main creative force behind the blues-rock band Sunday Funeral, which has been entertaining local crowds since 2007. Learn more about Sunday Funeral by visiting the band's website at www.sundayfuneral.com, or head to Schmidy’s Tavern on Friday, Sept. 26, to watch them play a free show with Burning Bettie and Cosmic Jellyfish. Ledesma—who also plays in a Dresden Dolls tribute band, The Caesareans—was kind enough to answer the Lucky 13.
What was the first concert you attended?
My very first concert was the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles' Coming Out of Their Shells Tour. It was essentially a ninja-turtle boy band. It was held at Milwaukee’s Bradley Center in 1990, and I went three times. It’s pretty dorky, but some of the songs were catchy enough that they still reverberate in my memories and my ears from time to time.
What was the first album you owned?
Album? As in vinyl? My first vinyl record was Frank Zappa's Apostrophe. I was about 10 years old. First cassette album was The Ghostbusters soundtrack. First CD albums were Jimmy Page's Outrider, and Queen’s A Night at the Opera—all of which I still love.
What bands are you listening to right now?
I just recently got way into Watsky. Besides that, I’ve loved My Chemical Romance since they hit the scene. You can hear their influence in Sunday Funeral’s song “FVD!” My other standard favorites over the years have been Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, AC/DC, Megadeth, Shinedown, Faith No More, The Black Crowes, Epic Rap Battles of History, The Human Failure Rate … and Burning Bettie. My all-time-favorite band is Cry of Love; you can really hear the influence they had on my singing. We used to cover a song of theirs call “Hand Me Down," which was always fun to perform.
What artist, genre or musical trend does everyone love, but you don’t get?
I like most music. I’m not a fan of most current pop music. I’m not a fan of most rap, but there are always exceptions. I’ve recently gotten really into Watsky, and it’s made me more open to other rap. Also, I’m not a country guy. Once again, there are always exceptions, like Brad Paisley’s “Alcohol.” That may be solely because he says the name of my hometown (Milwaukee) repeatedly, though.
What musical act, current or defunct, would you most like to see perform live?
Iron Maiden. The other guitarist, Brian (Frang), and I missed seeing them when our “Alloy Stars” music video shoot coincided with Maiden’s most recent show near us. I stupidly set the date not realizing what we’d be missing.
What’s your favorite musical guilty pleasure?
The Real Ghostbusters cartoon score. I still love those instrumentals. (Haim) Saban was clearly asked to capture the feel of the movie soundtrack for the cartoon and succeeded with flying colors. I even use one of those instrumentals during the intro for Sunday Funeral’s song “Hell.”
What’s your favorite music venue?
Wherever I’m performing my original songs. It could be anywhere, as long as I’m doing what I love and entertaining people.
What’s the one song lyric you can’t get out of your head?
“I’m in my room making cardboard castles with shoestring rope. Soup spoon drawbridge, tinfoil moat. I’m still dreamin’ after all these years,” Watsky, “Cardboard Castles.”
What band or artist changed your life? How?
The Black Crowes. When I heard The Southern Harmony and Musical Companion, it came to me at just the right time in my life. I was 16 years old and full of angst. That particular album got me through what seemed like rough times in 1998. Also Aerosmith’s Nine Lives.
You have one question to ask one musician. What’s the question, and who are you asking?
Kurt Cobain: “Be honest: Did Courtney have you murdered?”
What song would you like played at your funeral?
Cry of Love, “Saving Grace.”
Figurative gun to your head, what is your favorite album of all time?
Judas Priest, Painkiller.
What song should everyone listen to right now?
Sunday Funeral, “Alloy Stars.” (Scroll down to hear it.)