We caught up with Donny Besancenez and Bryan Hoskins of TripStar after the band’s recent opening gig for Patrice Pike and the Black Box Rebellion at Off Broadway on June 13. For the uninitiated, TripStar is a four-piece local pop-rock-cum-glam band featuring the likes of (l. to r. above): Derek Bayer (bass guitar), Bill Wheeler (drums), Bryan Hoskins (voices and guitars), and Donny Besancenez (guitar and vocals).

LH: How has winning the category of “Best Pop Group”in the RFT Music Awards changed your life?

DB: [Laughs] Oh, man. I don’t know if it’s changed our life; it’s nice, though; it’s nice that people recognize us. We had a lot of friends and family who, obviously, voted for us, so it made us feel good. It’s a warm, fuzzy feeling.

LH: When you guys get signed, are you going to change your last name to something pronounceable?

DB: No, I’ll probably keep it. It’s my dad’s name; I’m a junior.

LH: You guys aren’t Women in Rock, so how’d you get the gig opening up for Patrice Pike?

DB: We promised Jeff women in rock if we did it. [laughs] No, I worked with Patrice in a show–with Jeff, actually–at Elsher’s. Basically, when I saw they were coming, I just asked him if we could open up and he was like, yeah, totally. It worked out good. They’re going to let us come down to Austin and play with them, too, in August or September.

LH: Do you worry about establishing a sound for the band when you alternate lead vocals?

BH: I don’t think we concentrate on establishing a sound as much as we concentrate on establishing songs.

DB: I think that’s part of our sound, the duet-type thing.

BH: Basically, Donny brings in songs and I bring in songs and we tinker with each other’s songs.

LH: What’s your opinion on Michael Jackson joining the coalition of artists against record labels?

DB: [Laughs] I guess I didn’t happen to hear that.

BH: I’d rather have Ani DiFranco sponsor that, as opposed to Michael Jackson. Somebody who’s actually doing their own thing outside the record labels. I think it would be great if we could all just bypass the record labels altogether and, you know, sell our stuff over the Internet or however.

DB: It seems like that’s the way it’s going; whether anybody’s going to make a career out of it, it’s hard to say.

BH: I think you initially need the help of a label, though.

LH: David Bowie said that in three years the record industry is going to be in tatters, that there will be a totally different way of putting out music.

BH: That’s what I’ve been hoping for.

DB: Has anybody heard the new Bowie record?

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