By Adam Lovinus
By Lilledeshan Bose
By Gabriel San Roman
By Rachel Mattice
By Stephanie Zacharek
By Daniel Kohn
By Nate Jackson
By Mike Seeley
Guitarist/vocalist Ron Kustes of Sister Morphine likens his band to the mustang. Plane, car or animal, a rock band can't really go wrong with that one.
What's your band's story?
Last year, I was at the end of another band called Spooky Jones. It was kind of funk, R&B, and a little bit of rock. I did that for five years, and it wasn't getting serious enough for me. I decided I wanted to go back to what got me really excited as a kid: hard, bluesy rock like Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath. We [drummer Jim Anderson, bassist John Hart and guitarist Tom Bremer] started putting this together about seven months ago.
What was it that made you want to go back to playing hard, bluesy rock?
I gave the funk thing the best try I could, but it never really went anywhere. It's like it wasn't meant to do anything. One of the things that helped last year was when Wolfmother came out. I was listening to those guys [and] going, "These guys make me feel like I'm 14 years old again, listening to Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin." That just brought me back. [Wolfmother is] a record that sounds like it could have come out in 1970-something. And Zeppelin, Sabbath and the Stones wrote stuff that people are still inspired by 40 years later. And I've always wanted to write music that will be around. You listen to something from the '80s, and you instantly know that it's from the '80s.
How do you feel about the description "classic rock" for your band?
I like the title, but I don't like that it has baggage associated with it. We're like one of those brand-new Mustangs that have that old feel to it, but they're new and bitchen. That's what we're like. They look like the old ones, but they're new. That's the best way I can explain it.
How does it go over in Orange County?
We seem like we're more unique because we play with a bunch of bands, and they all have the emo sound, or the new rock sound, or the rock/pop sound—whatever it is. I'm okay with playing anywhere, really. I like standing out. If I go into a room and there's a bunch of guys with long hair and beards, I start feeling weird because then there are too many of us that look the same.
Have any favorite favorites?
I like playing this little Tropics Lounge in Fullerton. It's a fun place to play. It's a little hole in the wall with a great vibe. Everybody has a good time. And we're a band from Fullerton, so it feels right.