Custom likes fast cars, rock music, hot chicks, doing things his way, and pissing dads off. That’s the impression that one gets when listening to Fast, Custom’s edgy and sonically eclectic debut album from ARTISTDirect Records.
Custom, known to his parents as their beloved “6’8” classically trained musician Duane Lavold, recorded his album in a family-built studio in his New York City loft with a posse of close musician friends that included Duncan Sheik. The album’s amalgamation of alternative acoustic rock, punk, muffled hip-hop, and pop is backed with lyrics that range from aggressive and biting to juvenile humor.
Custom’s first single, Hey Mister, has been a hit on modern rock radio stations across the country. The single caught the ears of South Florida’s own rock station, Zeta (94.9 FM). Custom will be joining a lineup that includes Rob Zombie, Kid Rock, and Adema for Zeta’s Bonzai Festival on April 26 at Bicentennial Park.
The chorus and school girl na na na chant to the single is a prime example of the sly erotic and tongue-in-cheek matter that makes up Fast: Hey mister/I really like your daughter/I’d like to eat her like ice cream/maybe dip her in chocolate.
The song’s subversive lyrics were so racy that MTV’s Standards and Practices department deemed them misogynistic. The video for the song was shot on a digital camera in Malibu and Las Vegas by Custom. Although it contains nothing dirtier than Custom writing on his bikini-clad girlfriend with a marker, and nothing racier than a Ferrari being driven at 180 m.p.h., the video was banned on MTV.
Custom called MTV’s decision “preposterous” in a recent interview with The Hurricane.
“I was in a bar with my sister and watching her get picked up by a guy. That brought out the protective brother in me,” Custom said. “Then I realized that I was doing the same thing to a girl, who probably has a brother and definitely has a father. I imagined how scary it must be to have a daughter and see her go off on her first date. So I wrote it from that perspective.”
Custom, 27, will be playing the guitar and performing live vocals at Bonzai along with the band he culled together for the tour. While the name Custom stems from a nickname for Lavold, he opted to use the name as an umbrella moniker for his act to facilitate easier future collaborations with musicians.
“We’re going to have a heavier sound than on the record,” he said. “While we’ve done our best to replicate big string sections, we can’t get a gospel choir out on tour with us just yet,” he added referring to one of Fast’s standout tracks, Daddy, which includes a crescendo of rousing choral voices. “We don’t like to have too many loops and samples,” he said. “We rather err on the side of freedom and to rock out.”
Custom’s biggest musical discoveries as a kid were The Sex Pistols, Pink Floyd, The Cure, and Prince. Seeing as these acts are rock-and-roll pioneers that put their rebellious music above all else, it is no wonder that Custom decided to use the money from his record advance on building his own recording studio rather than spending it on a professional studio.
He enjoys the spontaneity that the studio is able to capture.
“I like having the freedom to come into your home recording studio with a little buzz and make whatever you are feeling at that moment into music,” he said. “It ends up being fresher and cooler.”
The easy accessibility of Custom’s home studio came into use when he penned the autobiographical May 26 on the same day his girlfriend dumped him.
“The entire thing was pure inspiration. I tried to redo it later, but it wasn’t as real and emotional,” he said. “So I retained the first pass of vocals and some badly played stuff, but it feels right.”
Feeling right about his music seems to be what Custom is about. Fast is a testosterone-laden paean to good times with friends, beer, and girls. It might not last as long as a six-pack with friends, but it gives you that definite buzz.