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Many groups have one or two members who are the driving force. They have the vision. Other members make significantly smaller (though sometimes vital) contributions or are just along for the ride. The problem comes when these lesser talents seek artistic equality. If they are indulged, their creations are usually audibly inferior to the group's core sound and often damage the group's reputation. If they're ignored, the group soon splinters amid acrimony. Just can't win.

Some performers, like Custom, have adopted a "group" persona but dumped the group dynamic. Born Duane Lavold in Calgary, the lanky Canadian migrated to New York. Coming from a musical family - his mother was a concert pianist and his father an opera singer - Custom began his musical training at age three. But as an adult, Custom's first brush with notoriety came as an independent film writer/director. His most notorious work was the unreleased "Limp," featuring Michael Hutchence that was filmed just prior to the INXS singer's demise. Ironically, Hutchence's character was obsessed with death.

Listing Guns 'N' Roses, AC/DC and Rapper Biggie Smalls as influences, Custom began recording in his self-built home studio. Playing most of the instruments himself he used outside musicians, as needed, including frequent collaborator, poet popster/multi-instrumentalist Duncan Shiek.

"Fast" arrived in '02. The album's debut single "Hey Mister" worked its way up the charts despite MTV's refusal to air the accompanying video. Though controversy is generally good for a Rock career, Custom cried foul, playing the victim of a huge media conglomerate. The song contained the infamous F-word but MTV balked (they didn't ban the video just chose not to play it - some difference) due to the graphic sexual content. Now this was MTV making the call! Too bad, the video was shot in true indie fashion - filmed on a low budget with an improvised shooting schedule.

Custom Discography


2002 Fast

Custom's "Hey Mister" is just about as good a debut single as an artist can hope for. It was successful, controversial (thanks to MTV's refusal to air the video) and it summed up the artist's style. Starting with a laid-back groove before morphing into to Punk style Rocker, the song is about a guy meeting his girlfriend's dad and telling the old man what he's really after. Custom claims the song was based on a realization he had while clubbing with his sisters. "Morning Spank" which documents how a guy's short-term desires can lead to love's reckless ruin is other experience based effort.

"Fast" has Metal, Punk, Funk and Rap, along with a healthy street vibe that proves to be, in his hands, a pretty compelling blend.

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