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For the Perfects, success was surprising

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Last year was a big one for Baltimore alternative/new wave band the Perfects.

Three music videos — two from their first album "Many Nights" and one from their new album "A Sudden Victory" — reached No. 1 on MTV's website.

For lead singer and songwriter Ric Peters, it was reaffirming. Before the videos became popular, he wasn't sure if the Perfects would even record a second album.

"It came about quickly," said Peters. "After the success we had with [the song] "Girls That Dance" and "Many Nights" on MTV, it made sense to repackage songs from that record, put some new material together and introduce the band to a new group of people."

Peters, along with bandmates Justin Posner and Scott Griffith, hope to reach that new audience with a record release show Saturday at the Ottobar. The gig will be The Perfects' first show in six months.

Peters, who works in marketing in the cable industry, says his ultimate goal is to play music full time.

"By no means are we living a lush style," Peters said. "Whatever money we earn right now goes back into things to keep the band going. But we all enjoy doing it, and I wouldn't trade it for anything."

Before the record release party, Peters spoke about the new album, playing for Baltimore crowds and the next single from "Sudden Victory" — a cover of U2's "With or Without You."

What song from "Sudden Victory" are you most eager for people to hear?

My personal favorite is "Forever." It was written for my fiancee [Stephanie Hnida]. Whenever you write a song that is inspired by something positive and it turns out well, you want everybody to hear it. She's been extremely supportive, and there's no way I could be a musician without her.

In a sense, songs are like children — they're all your creations, so you love them equally.

It's kind of hard to pick just one. There's almost a sadness that comes with the birth of an album or song because there's finality about letting go after you've spent so much time putting that creative energy into working on something in the studio. When you have that fire of creativity, you always want to be working on something.

Is there added anxiety after not playing a live show for a long time?

No, I'm of the mindset — especially when it comes to playing locally — that we want every concert that we play for people to be an event, not just a show. I think that by having that lapse in between shows creates more desire to see the band.

Your fans can pass the wait by watching your videos online. Can you talk about how MTV has allowed you to reach a wider audience?

MTV holds a lot of weight, even though some people don't think they play music videos anymore. They do; they just cater videos toward the Web portal as opposed to TV. Our rendition of "With or Without You" by U2 is our next video, and I'm excited to see how that will be received.

"With or Without You" is the only cover song in The Perfects playlist. What is the importance of that song?

You don't want your band to be known for a cover song, but this song has always had a special meaning for me. Music is something that I cannot be — with or without.

I think every musician has gone through a period of doubt because there are highs and lows. I can relate to that song because it makes me think of music and my relationship to people supporting my music.

Is there a fine line in doing your rendition of a classic song because it's so beloved?

You want to respect the source material and the integrity of what it means to people, but you also want to put your spin on it. Some U2 fans will hate our version, and that's fine. Some fans will love it. I wasn't thinking about that when I approached this idea. I was thinking about how this song would sound if our band had written it. But any time you touch a classic song like that, you're taking a risk.

You weren't expecting to make a second album, so is it too far ahead to look at the Perfects' future?

The focus is promoting "A Sudden Victory" because it is still new. I'm working on the next single after "With or Without You," which is "Control." That song will be released as a single and will have two B-sides attached to it as an independent release of "A Sudden Victory." We'll also be touring in the new year and will come to Baltimore.

I never stop writing material. My hope is that I have another album of material by the end of 2013.


If you go
The Perfects perform Jan. 5 at the Ottobar, 2549 N. Howard St. in Baltimore. The Static, Loving the Lie, My Enemy Complete, and Stars and the Sea will also perform. Doors open at 8 p.m. Call 410-662-0069 or go to theottobar.com.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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