The Prospector

Costello returns to the studio and prepares for Neon Desert performance

By Krystopher Rivera

Published: Monday, February 20, 2012

Updated: Friday, May 17, 2013


Special to The Prospector

Johnny Costello sings dirty rock and roll in the new album he will be working on in the studio.

Rocking a black tank top shirt with a red long sleeve plaid shirt, indigo Levi's jeans rolled up to his ankles and a pair of grey boots is Johnny Costello singer/songwriter and senior communication major.

It is a late Thursday night at the Lowbrow Palace and Costello is thumping turbulent rock and roll blues on his cherry red Epiphone Dot electric guitar.

After his gig, he heads to the patio to cool down.

"Things have been crazy. I think the last record, ‘Crossroads of the Southern Pacific," was kind of like a quiet, more honest me," Costello said. "Then it swelled up into six months of getting to play with Charles Berry from The Lusitania and we just started making dirty rock and roll."

Costello said that he is evolving drastically as a musician. On Dec. 16 of last year, Costello released his six-song EP and is now back in the studio recording a full-length record.

"Bands like Black Motor Cycle Club, Black Lips and Black Keys have really influenced me in a way that I started writing really dirty rock and roll," Costello said. "It's more fun to play, more fun to see people's reactions and they get really into it."

Berry has been assisting Costello as a drummer since "Crossroads of the Southern Pacific." He said Costello's new record is bigger, more cohesive and faster rock with more drums and heavy base lines.

"His sound is more cohesive and he has a better understanding of what he wants the entire record to sound like as a whole," Berry said. "It's definitely more electrically driven, not as acoustic."

According to Costello, the recording process in the studio is moving along fast and unfolding naturally.

"We planned two days to do drum tracks and knocked out drum tracks the first day and I'm almost done with the guitar tracks," Costello said. "There's really cool ideas as far as different tunings on the snare; really cool concepts that have kind of been created on the spot and we just did it and then we're like, ‘Whoa, that's cool.'"

Costello said he is eager to start getting his new material out.

"With this record, I'm really excited about it. It's going to be loud and something I really want to promote," Costello said. "Hopefully, I can get it in Paste Magazine, SPIN, just really work hard at promoting it and booking shows, start playing festivals and put myself and the album out as much as I can."

Costello is currently working on a deal to play 11 shows with Frank Turner in Australia and is officially booked as one of the acts that will be featured at this year's Neon Desert Music Festival.

"I already have six more songs I want to do for a new record and then just keep going, keep creating and putting out as much music as I can," Costello said.

Emmanuel Arzate, senior marketing and finance major, said he liked Costello's folk-rock music sound and that he is anxious to see where his new record will go.

"I thought his music was really chill and very different. When finding out that he is going into another genre it surprised me," Arzate said. "Overall I guess only time will tell if this new style will work for him in his second album. As the good musician he is I think he will succeed, I look forward to hearing his new album."

Kristopher Rivera may be reached at


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