Rock Energizes Letter Kills
Andrew Tetzlaff
3/13/2005 7:11:52 PM

“I could be like Keith Richards.”

Those were the words of Dustin Lovelis, lead guitarist for the band Letter Kills. Of course, one wonders why any healthy 22-year-old would want to end up worn-out like Keith Richards. But Letter Kills is a young band aspiring for big things. At this point, Dustin is just sure he will never get tired of touring. And this is after two years of touring in support of the songs released last July on their Island Records debut, The Bridge.

The song getting the most attention from their debut has been “Don’t Believe in Me,” which rocks hard and warns not to put your belief in rock stars. As lead singer Matt Shelton explains on their website, "People who look up to rock stars have their posters on their walls, and they idolize them," Shelton explains. "But then when they do something wrong, all of a sudden it's the end of the world because they thought they were super-human. We just want to know that people can't just put their faith in other people, they have to believe in something more than that."

Although the band wasn’t provided a budget for a companion video to go with their biggest song to date, they felt like they wanted to get something out there for the fans. So if you’ve seen their video, it may look a bit familiar to St. Louisians. It was recorded by friends of theirs right at St. Louis’ fabulously freaky City Museum. They taped a couple versions and, while they were all low budget, the video ultimately did get added to the Fuse playlist.

We caught up with both Dustin and lead singer Matt Shelton, in the hour before their Feb 22nd show at Washington University’s Gargoyle club. Dustin claimed to be tired from almost nightly shows, but they all seemed pretty energetic leading up to showtime.

NT: When will you guys know when you’ve “made it?”

Matt: “I think it will be different for all of us…Perhaps it will be as simple as writing a record that will be the record you were meant to write…..or maybe just feeling like we’re reaching the masses.”

NT: With your plans to go back into the studio after the tour, what do you hope to accomplish next time around that would improve on the first release?

Dustin: “Just writing even better songs. We’ve come a long way since then, when we were 19 or 20, and we want to put that into our songs. More musical integrity. We feel like we’ve matured, as musicians…and people, and hopefully we can put that into our songs.”

NT: If you’re getting all pumped on adrenaline so late in the evening at show time, how do you gear down, so you don’t end up like Keith Richards?

Dustin: “You can’t. For one stretch in the tour, I was going to bed at 8a.m. and not getting up till sound check at 6pm. It was like living the life of a vampire… It’s something you never get used to.”

NT: Are you a trained singer? How do you keep the voice fresh night after night?

Matt: “Well, at one point on the tour, I did have bronchitis, and couldn’t sing for 3 or 4 shows. And we don’t like canceling, so we asked the singers in the other bands to help us out. So they came out on stage with me, and helped me out. It was pretty cool.”

Matt and Dustin enjoyed a sit-down pizza party with 30 lucky fans before we arrived, and now it was time to go greet them again—this time from the stage in a hard rocking performance.

The Letter Kills guys are young. They’re having fun. Dustin, for one, doesn’t think he will ever tire of it. They’ve got the energy and the drive to push their way through the many contenders as their work toward their second release. And you can’t help but pull for them. Watch out, Keith Richards.


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