Erik Penny: A Life-Altering Journey My grandfather gave me his old Harmony electric guitar when I was 10, and, even though I liked the idea of learning to play it, I lacked the discipline to really do anything about it. Plus, it seemed to be chronically out of tune. When I was 16, I formed my first band with some schoolmates, claiming I could play bass and sing. I could do neither, but being in a band seemed a good way to learn.
My grandfather gave me his old Harmony electric guitar when I was 10, and, even though I liked the idea of learning to play it, I lacked the discipline to really do anything about it. Plus, it seemed to be chronically out of tune. When I was 16, I formed my first band with some schoolmates, claiming I could play bass and sing. I could do neither, but being in a band seemed a good way to learn. I took the first 3 chords I learned and wrote a song, then another, then dozens more, and eventually wrote a good one. This made me think I should keep at it, and I did: from that high-school band in Texas; through several more bands, first in Texas, then in LA; then finally embarking on a solo career in 2004, I have been going steadily at it ever since.
My mom and dad were both the oldest siblings in groups of 5. They met in high school choir and I was born a few years later. Upstate New York was home for 4 years, until a job for my dad in El Paso, Texas moved the family from the Canadian to the Mexican border. Summers on the St. Lawrence River and the rest of the year in Texas steeped me in 2 distinct cultures and kept me from ever having any connection to any particular place. That sense of wanderlust (along with a small record deal that ultimately amounted to nothing much) brought me to LA in 1997, where I began to re-learn a bunch of stuff I thought I already knew about the music business. I played in a variety of band projects, finally forming the band Penny in 2001. Penny released the 8-track-recorded full-length ?Fifteen Electric? in 2002, which was my first attempt at producing and engineering a full record. It was an addictive experience, and I soon put together a proper pro tools studio, and recorded and released my solo debut, the ?Summer Stars EP? in 2004; followed by my first LP, ?Footprints? in 2006; the ?Erik Penny EP? in 2007; and ?The Linger Kiss? in 2008.
In October 2008, I moved to Berlin, after a great tour through Germany with my friend Gus Black in May 2008. Gus produced a video for my song ?Easier Life? as a going-away present, and the song garnered my first German airplay on Sputnik Radio in Halle. In May, I began work on my new album with Simon Frontzek of Tomte, and we entered the studio to record my new album ?Bend?. With the help of new Berlin friends such as Mocky (Feist, Gonzales, Jamie Lidell?), Gabriel Gordon (Natalie Merchant, Roachford?), Fr?d?rique Labbow (Die Happy), and singer/songwriter/producer Mowat (Chinoy), Simon and I spent most of summer 2009 recording 12 songs that reflect a life-changing move around the world and my impressions of my new home and the characters that fill it.
The song ?Side of the Road? tells the story of that move, and the accompanying video, shot guerilla-style in Berlin, captures a 3-minute slice of life in Kreuzberg in high summer. With my new album released March 5th, 2010, and my new band and I on the road in spring and summer, the story continues?