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Ariel Aparicio

Pretty in ink | an interview with Ariel Aparicio

A modern-day gay Renaissance man, Ariel Aparicio had 2009’s third most requested video – “Pretty In Pink” – on the LGBT cable network LOGO. The same year he released the EP “The Bedroom Tapes” (arielaparicio.com).

Aparicio returned to Logo’s “The Click List” with the videos for “Lucille” and his remake of the late Jim Carroll’s “People Who Died.” More recently, he received a nomination for a 2010 Outmusic Award.

As if all that wasn’t enough to keep him busy, Aparicio and his partner of 15 years, Andrew Jerro, opened a third Thai restaurant in Brooklyn.

Aparicio took time out of his busy schedule, which includes fatherhood, to answer a few questions.

GS: You have had amazing success with music videos on LOGO’s “The Click List.”

AA: I grew up with MTV, so … I find it very exciting to add some kind of visual to a song. It’s very exciting for me to conceptualize everything that I do in terms of video. …It has opened up so many new fans. …I love it.

GS: The “Pretty In Pink” video was incredibly popular on “The Click List.”

AA: It stayed on there for about 18 weeks. …Then it ended the year at No. 3, which was great.

GS: What made you want to cover that song?

AA: I usually pick a band that I really like first. I’ve always been a huge fan of The Psychedelic Furs. When I was in college I had a T-shirt made that read, “Richard Butler is God.” (Butler) managed to hear (the cover) and he loved it. We share drummers. Paul Garisto is my normal drummer and he is still touring with the Furs. …He’s been with them since the mid-80s.

GS: The “Lucille” video was similarly well received. What does that kind of support from LOGO and from fans mean to you?

AA: It’s huge and it’s wonderful to have that kind of (national) outlet for the GLBT world. We didn’t have that before. We had little niches and local things. …What it’s done for me as a musician is pretty big. It’s really gotten my name out there and gotten my videos recognized. I love LOGO. They have been so supportive of me.

GS: I keep hoping that they will do a “LOGOpalooza” queer music festival.

AA: I pitched that to LOGO, but they didn’t take it. They’re not financially prepared at this point. I thought it would be fantastic. We did a show in New York – it was me and Josh (Zuckerman) and Athena (Reich), all Logo artists. … It was great. …I thought that this could work in other places … and markets. I’d like to keep it as diverse as possible … and bring on someone mainstream like Tegan and Sara or The Gossip. That was the idea: Have a headliner and then all of us nobodies opening. … (But) it’s hard to get that on the road financially.

GS: Your new EP, “The Bedroom Tapes,” also contains Jim Carroll’s “People Who Died.”

AA: That song has affected me immensely. It’s a very New York song. I remember first coming to New York and discovering all these older punk rock records. They were all on vinyl. “Catholic Boy” was one of the albums I bought on vinyl. I’ve had a lot of friends who have been affected by AIDS and drugs, so “People Who Died” really resonates with me. I wanted to give it new life and have it mean something else for someone hearing it for the first time.

GS: Both of the covers come from the early ’80s. Also, the song “The Future” reminded me of early Romeo Void.

AA: I think that’s my niche. There was a lot of great stuff that came out in that period. Romeo Void is such an awesome band. I think of Joy Division and very early New Order, that whole dark period which is really just 1980/81/82, before the 1980s started turning into something else.

GS: You sing in Spanish on “Torito.”

AA: I usually do something in Spanish on all my records, because it’s my roots and I always want to be tied to it. I enjoy singing in Spanish immensely. …And when I do I feel like Celia Cruz.

Spanish rock is very popular. We have a lot of young guys who work with us at the restaurant, most of them are from Mexico, and they play Spanish rock downstairs. I wanted to incorporate that into my music.

GS: How do you balance your music career with running three restaurants in Brooklyn?

AA: And raising a 4-year-old?

And a husband who’s pretty demanding?

I don’t think about it much. It’s all time management. I start my day doing what needs to be done, whether it is the billing for the restaurant or reaching out on Facebook or Twitter or the person who’s booking my gig. Honestly, my husband is incredibly supportive.

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