Interview with Chip & The Charge Ups


By: Writer Ronald Bligh

Ready. Set. Go! That is the energy the band Chip & The Charge Ups bring to the world of rock music. With a Six Song Debut album 'Flow of the Current, Part I' back in September and their current mashup between Green Day and Poison... its no wonder Pittsburg is shaking! Great music and tons of rock fun!

Ronald Bligh: Didn't you all release an album or was it an EP not too long ago?

CHIP DIMONICK:  Yes, indeed!  We just released our six-song debut, "Flow of the Current, Part I," on September 14, 2018.

RB: Where does this mashup fit within what you have released so far this year?

CHIP DIMONICK:  "Good Riddance, Fallen Angel" is one of the six songs on "Flow of the Current, Part I."  While original music is always our focus, we also do a few covers and some wild remakes live.  And mashups will always be something we sprinkle in there to keep our fans on their toes!

RB: How long have you all been playing together and what was it that brought you together?

CHIP DIMONICK:  I had fronted "Chip DiMonick" (the band) for 11 years before family matters required me to take a two-year hiatus.  When I was able to return to music, I wanted to come out of the gate with something new, exciting and fresh.  So, I first recorded two EP's and then formed the permanent lineup for Chip & The Charge Ups in Spring 2018.  Our drummer Jeff and I knew each other for several years.  Our guitar player Chris heard about the opportunity via Facebook.  And, Maleena is my daughter!

RB: What is it like having a dad and daughter in the mix?

CHIP DIMONICK:  It's been awesome!  There is no other feeling like looking over on-stage and seeing my kid rock out and captivate the audience with her talent!

RB: Reading that Chip's daughter is 16 and plays a killer bass, a few questions directly for her: How do you Maleena feel about your style and direction of music?

MALEENA DOMINICK:  I personally love the direction of the style the band is going for. Being a newer band, we really get to create the style we have for ourselves. With every different song we play, it really shows each of our personalities shining through. We all have diverse tastes in music and it is really fun to bring all of that together to create something new!

RB: Maleena what is the music scene like where you are? What are the other young adults your age listening to?

MALEENA DOMINICK:  The music scene is incredible for someone like me. There are tons of great local bands, including many that have members in it who are also near my age. My friends and peers all have very different tastes in music and will listen to almost anything. One of the best parts about summer for my friends has been Warped Tour. For teenagers my age, it is always so much fun to just discover new music!

RB: What do your friends think about you being in a band Maleena? 

MALEENA DOMINICK:  My friends think it is pretty cool that I am in a band. Some more than others. I have a few friends who do come out to see me play. I know that people can be ignorant about it as if they don’t believe me when I tell them. After I show them videos of us performing though, it isn’t too tough to convince them that I am serious. For the most part, they all think it’s pretty cool. 

RB: What got you interested in bass Maleena? Are there other instruments you like to play as well?

MALEENA DOMINICK:  I started playing bass when I was 10 or 11 years old. My dad took me to Guitar Center, and I saw a bass there that was small. Me being small at the time, I thought it was so cool like it was meant for me. I convinced my dad to buy it for me, and he did. He said he would buy it for me as long as I learned how to play it. And so I did, and here I am now!  I also play guitar, piano, and viola. I am self-taught on the guitar, for the most part. I took a few piano lessons when I was younger and then continued to learn to play this past summer. I started playing viola for school in 4th grade, and 7 years later, I am playing in the honors orchestra at my school. I love to learn to play new instruments and hope to add to my list in the future!

RB: Chip was this particular mashup a challenge to create?

CHIP DIMONICK:  "Good Riddance, Fallen Angel" was indeed a challenge, as it should be.  Unlike most mashups one encounters online, we recreate all of the music.  We do not use original recordings.  So, it took a lot of attention to detail to recreate all of the parts.  The way I look at it, if it's easy to create a mashup, it's not worth it.  Mashups can be mindblowing, so a good bit of craftsmanship should be used.


RB: Two well-known bands, two well-known songs. How did this idea come about?

CHIP DIMONICK:  I've been composing mashups for about 10 years now.  And every one I've done, the lightbulb just goes off and my brain tells me which two songs to put together.  Sometimes, random creative ideas flow through my brain like water flowing through a river bank.  Sometimes, I'll consciously notice an idea and try it and it works.  That's how "Good Riddance, Fallen Angel" came to be!

RB: Any note of, "Hey cool" yet from Poison or Green Day?

CHIP DIMONICK:  Not yet.  I haven't exactly tried to get their attention with it either so far.  Because we did a somewhat over-the-top video for it (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_RF5lZ5cD_4), I've been nervous about how they may react to seeing someone dressed up as them.  I don't exactly make the prettiest Bret Michaels, ya know?


RB: The video looked like you all were having a blast together- where did you film the video and who worked with you all on it?

CHIP DIMONICK:  We filmed the video in three locations:  a bus maintenance facility, my house, and the historic Rex Theater in Pittsburgh.  We had Marcus Morelli of Skene 19 Films direct the video.  Bethany Finnegan from Salon Ivy did the hair for the performance scenes.  And Kristen Cantu did our makeup.

RB: Being a Poison fan, you could hear the level of work that went into the drumming portion. Talk about that process.

CHIP DIMONICK:  That's cool you noticed!  The audio recording of the mashup was done prior to me putting the permanent lineup of Chip & The Charge Ups together.  So, I used a studio drummer.  I had given him a home recording of the mashup that I did use software drums and advised him that I wanted to more accurately recreate Rikki Rockett's beats and fills when he did the real recording.  He came into the studio prepared, but to execute the song to the level of detail I wanted, we had to take record much of the drum track measure by measure.  We would listen to the Poison song and have him record a measure and then repeat the process for each additional measure.  It took about two hours to record the drums, but it was well worth it.  He did a great job and I'm thrilled with how authentically we recreated the drums!

RB: Chip any thoughts as you portrayed one of today's music icons, Billy Joe Armstrong?

CHIP DIMONICK:  I remember what a whirlwind it was shooting the Billie Joe parts.  I had personally built the sets for the Billie Joe scenes.  I even painted a bedroom purple to match the original Green Day video.  I storyboarded all of the shots and noted all of the lighting angles and so forth.  So, when we got to shooting the parts with me as Billie Joe, I remember thinking "Oh crap, I put so much work into the scenery, did I put enough time into learning Billie Joe's facial expressions?!?!?"  But, fortunately, it turned out well!

RB: What does 2019 hold for Chip & The Charge Ups?

CHIP DIMONICK:  As we near the end of 2018, it feels like we are just getting started.  It was a "see what happens" type of year for us.  Now, we're prepared to make things happen!  We already have "Flow of the Current, Part II" recorded and we'll be releasing that in early Spring.  Even before that album is released, we'll be hitting the studio to record our third album.  The songs from that album will be first released to members of our Patreon program (http://www.patreon.com/thechargeups) in Spring and will be publicly released in the Fall of 2019.  The biggest things we are shooting for is to play live in as many places and as far from home as possible.  We'd love to get ourselves on a big, national festival.  Everywhere we've played so far, we've won over audiences.  That has given us the confidence that we can make new fans wherever we go.  So, we want to find those people who will love our music wherever they may be!

0