Al Capo of ‘Stuck On Planet Earth’ On The 5 Things You Need To Create A Highly Successful Career in…

Posted on

Al Capo of ‘Stuck On Planet Earth’ On The 5 Things You Need To Create A Highly Successful Career in The Music Industry

… Staying vulnerable. I’ve been discussing this a lot in recent interviews, particularly in relation to our latest EP. What I’ve found is that the songs resonating most with listeners, those songs where people connect deeply and say, “I totally get what they’re saying,” are the ones where we’ve been the most vulnerable, where we’ve embraced discomfort. It’s like when you’re afraid to broach a certain topic with a friend, partner, or bandmate. You hesitate, fearing the reaction. But often, they’re feeling something similar, and opening up can lead to profound connections. So, staying vulnerable — that’s a lesson I’ve learned over the past couple of years…

I had the pleasure to talk to Al Capo of Stuck On Planet Earth. From the bustling streets of Toronto emerges a sound that resonates with the pulse of the times. Enter Stuck On Planet Earth, the alternative rock trio poised to deliver their poignant insights with a power-packed punch in their latest EP, “Semi-Stable”.

Led by the evocative vocals of Al Capo, supported by the melodic strums of Adam Bianchi, and backed by the rhythmic beats of Andrew Testa, Stuck On Planet Earth crafts music that doesn’t shy away from the complexities of millennial existence. Their sound — an authentic blend of grit and melody — portrays a landscape marked by societal expectations and the distorted reality of social media. It’s a world where each heartbeat is underscored by the anxiety of what tomorrow may bring.

“Semi-Stable” isn’t just an EP — it’s a narrative. Produced by Steve Mo of Finger Eleven, the 4-track compilation digs deep into the collective psyche of a generation navigating an unpredictable future. Their lead single, “Crack in the Glass”, released earlier this year, is emblematic of their approach — raw, relatable, and layered with emotion. Its acoustic rendition live from Sun Studios in Memphis followed, peeling back another layer, revealing the raw nerve of vulnerability in a poignant sonic tapestry.

While their music speaks volumes, the visual component is just as compelling. Rewind to last year when the band introduced “Strange”, a track accentuated with neon-tinged visuals that caught the eyes of MTV Italy, propelling them to the Top 10 of the country’s rock radio charts. They swiftly followed with the intense single “Makeshift Paradise”, an exploration of the battles fought in the quiet recesses of the mind.

Stuck On Planet Earth’s debut, “Beautiful Nowhere”, was a thunderous introduction that garnered the spotlight not just in North America, but also in Europe. With tracks like “Ghosts On The Radio” and “Higher Than Drugs” achieving enviable positions on rock radio, and the honor of featuring in the Netflix Original, “Sex/Life”, the band established a robust foundation.

As 2023 rolls on, the trio isn’t resting on past laurels. While “Semi Stable” had its grand release via Anthem Records on July 28th, the band’s creative juices are already flowing for their next full-length album. Collaborations beckon, with songwriting sessions in both Toronto and Nashville. With a tour set for the fall, Stuck On Planet Earth seems unstoppable.

So, whether you’re a longtime fan or just discovering the magnetism of their sound, Stuck invites you into their world — one of truth, tenacity, and a touch of transcendence. Keep your eyes and ears poised — this is a band that promises to be a fixture in the ever-evolving realm of alternative rock.

Yitzi: Al, it’s a delight to meet you. Before we dive in, readers are eager to learn about your origin story. Could you share the story of your childhood and how you grew up?

Al: I grew up in Woodbridge, Ontario, which at the time, was predominantly an Italian Canadian suburb, and a pretty cultured community about 30 minutes northwest of Toronto.

Yitzi: Okay, great. So what led you to pursue a career as a music artist?

Al: Music was always playing in my house growing up. My older brother and sister grew up in the grunge era and exposed me to bands like Nirvana, Pearl Jam and Radiohead. My dad loved the Beatles and Gypsy Kings, and my mom was always playing 60s pop music.

When I was 13, I met Adam in junior high. There was a school ‘’Rock Night’’ happening at our school. We wanted to participate, which meant we had to put a band together. We were big fans of pop-punk music. Bands like Green Day and Blink-182 were our inspiration, especially because their music was, for lack of a better word, pretty easy to pick up and play on a guitar and bass. Adam was already playing guitar, and I was dabbling a bit. I wasn’t good enough to play guitar in a band, but I could strum a few chords and that’s how I ended up playing bass guitar. It was simply a desire to play in a band and create original music that led us down this path.

Yitzi: You’ve surely amassed a trove of captivating experiences. Can you recount a particularly intriguing anecdote from your time as an artist? Something that allows readers to glimpse into your world.

Al: I’ve told this story quite a bit, but it doesn’t ever get old… Back when we were just getting started, we had brought Andrew, our drummer now, into the fold. The three of us had been together for a short time. After Adam and I had done the high school circuit as a band and were ready to move forward, Andrew joined us. We decided to form Stuck, and we were brainstorming ways to connect with fans in a unique way.

We came up with this idea called the “backpack tour.” This involved heading to high schools throughout southern Ontario, where we’re based, within a few hours radius. We’d show up right around three o’clock, as school ended for the day. Armed with acoustic guitars and Andrew capturing it all on film, we’d spontaneously perform these acoustic sets as students wrapped up their day. As kids were leaving school, they’d spot the two of us playing acoustic guitars and singing, while Andrew documented it. We repeated this a few times, and suddenly these videos started gaining traction on YouTube.

This led to demands from students for us to visit their schools and perform. In the beginning, there was pushback. I remember the first time we attempted this in the winter. Showing up after school with acoustic guitars in the cold, and kids pelting us with snowballs. Then teachers ushering us away. Eventually, though, things started to click. Kids began inviting us back to their schools and their student councils would book us to play their auditoriums or gyms, and all the sudden we’d play to the entire student body.

So, here’s where this somewhat lengthy tale leads when we finally played our inaugural club show as Stuck in Toronto, it was packed with kids who had witnessed our backpack tours. Our hard work paid off and we cultivated a solid fan base. That provided the boost we needed to get things rolling. Doing what we did required a lot of courage. It genuinely endeared us to people through that real, authentic connection. Seeing us in person, performing live, taking risks, having fun — it set us apart and helped us connect with a new audience, rather than just taking the conventional route of playing small club shows to the floor.

Yitzi: It’s been said that sometimes our mistakes can be our greatest teachers. Do you have a story about a humorous mistake that you made when you were first starting and the lesson that you learned from it?

Al: Yeah, there have been so many mistakes along the way. I think, back when we were younger, we tended to overthink everything. We’d focus too much on what others might think of our projects instead of finding personal satisfaction in our work.

Now, we’re unapologetically selfish, creating music that resonates with us. However, in the beginning, as young and aspiring musicians, you don’t really have a guidebook. We’d see things and look up to these massive mainstream bands that were doing incredibly well, and somehow, we felt the need to emulate that. But in doing so, we may have lost a part of ourselves.

So, the early mistake was not fully embracing our own vision. We placed excessive emphasis on others’ opinions. This held us back considerably. There were times we entered the recording studio, only to have certain songs shelved because we believed they weren’t up to par. Looking back, we should have released them all. Putting your work out into the world forces you to confront your art head-on. It makes you assess what resonates and what doesn’t within the public sphere.

For us, holding back and not being as candid proved to be a hindrance. Particularly when you’re young and emerging, the idea of having a perfect recording weighed on us. There’s a prevailing feeling that things must be a certain way. Yet, growth doesn’t occur without stumbling along the way.

With that said, as time went on and our experience as musicians and songwriters deepened, we gained insight into our direction. Our path became clearer, and that inherent integrity that was always present but concealed by our apprehensions became our greatest strength.

Yitzi: Is there a person who made a profound impact on your life? And if there is, could you share a story about that?

Al: A person that made a profound impact on my life? I don’t think I’ve ever been asked that question.

Well, I guess it would be my dad. My dad, he passed away when I was 20, and as I’ve grown older and wiser, I find myself reflecting on times, memories, conversations — all sorts of things. I wish I had more time with him because I probably would have learned so much more. But I think in the short time that I did have with him, he instilled a lot of wisdom in me that maybe didn’t make sense at the time. But as you get older, you become wiser and all those messages from the past sort of rise to the surface.

He was very present. A story that comes to mind is when we were just starting out the band and stuff. I’ll never forget — Blink was coming to play a show during the SARS outbreak here in our province. They were coming to play a relief show in Sarnia, like three or four hours away from where I grew up. My dad drove me and my two buddies out there. He just hung out all day, waiting for us to be finished, and then he drove us back. When I think about that, I’m like, “man, that’s a nice thing.” To care that much, to bring your son to some concert three hours away. It’s those moments that I think his support was always present in whatever I wanted to do, whether it was to go to a concert. I know he loved music, so I don’t know if that’s a good story or not, but that one kind of sticks out to me.

Yitzi: Let’s imagine you were the proverbial king of the music industry. What positive changes have you observed in the industry over the past five or ten years? And what changes would you, as the king, implement and drive forward?

Al: Well, one obvious adjustment is finding a way to better compensate musicians for their streams. Stuck has garnered a few million streams, yet the compensation doesn’t really reflect that, especially when looked at from an income-based standpoint. That, in my opinion, is a bit off. The prevailing trend seems to be that everyone anticipates art without charge. With the abundance of streaming options, everyone tailors their choices. No need to adhere to any specific content; you can curate your own preferences.

You know, there’s this rapid-paced, personalized culture where everything is meticulously tailored. You watch your preferred shows, listen exclusively to your desired tunes and podcasts. Art consumption aligns with individual interests due to the influence of social media.

To me it’s clear that artists should receive fair compensation for their music. I recognize that this shift might disrupt the delicate balance. Suddenly, your $9.99 per month Spotify subscription might not remain as affordable. This poses a complex challenge. Yet, on the flip side of this, where things get even more intricate, our band has gained significant visibility through various playlists on music platforms.

These platforms are essential. Now, traditional terrestrial radio — how we knew and understood it growing up — has changed so much. Consumption patterns are vastly different. When people discover our music on a playlist, it’s awesome because they might not have stumbled upon us otherwise. Exposure gets a boost, and then there’s the matter of streaming revenue.

So, it’s a nuanced situation. I’m not entirely sure how it will all play out, but what I do know is that the current model needs substantial improvement. For instance, currently there is the ongoing writers’ strike in Hollywood involving film and TV show writers. Productions are halted due to this. I’m wondering why musicians haven’t taken a stand to demand better compensation for their streams.

We’re fortunate that our band emerged during the streaming era. There were a few awkward transitional years between the era of physical media and CDs and the rise of streaming. During those years, people were unsure about accessing music. Often, these years, from around 2007 to 2012, even stretching to 2013 or 2015, are forgotten. Streaming hadn’t yet solidified its presence.

So, in terms of personal experience within the music industry, the most significant change has been the evolution of technology.

Yitzi: So you’ve got a lot of impressive work going on. Could you fill the readers in on some of the exciting projects you’ll be releasing and working on now, and give us a sneak peek of what to expect in the near future?

Al: Absolutely. Our band has been splitting our time between Toronto and Nashville over the last six months. Just wrapped up the process of demoing all the tracks for our upcoming second LP album, which we’re planning to record this fall. So, yeah, there’s definitely some fresh music on the horizon for 2024. Also, about two weeks back, we dropped a new EP titled “Semi-Stable.”

Yitzi: Your band has developed a devoted following. What, in your view, was the key factor that drew people to your music?

Al: I’d like to think it’s the band’s messaging. We’ve consistently strived to remain authentic to our core identity. Our focus has always revolved around the idea of remaining vulnerable and authentic — we’re not a politically inclined group, we’re a band that crafts songs about the quintessential human experience. Themes such as love, lust, loss, the yearning for more, and the unyielding spirit to persevere — these are the threads weaving through our music. Universally relatable messages.

People listen to music for various reasons; it’s a multifaceted experience. Our band encompasses a bit of everything, maintaining that dynamic essence to keep us rooted in the present. Our creativity perpetually feels new.

For those who lend an ear to our melodies, if there’s a connection, if they find a piece of themselves within our music, that’s the goal. To me, even if it’s just one person, winning them over by resonating with something I penned in the solitude of my 3 AM thoughts — if that can brighten their day or touch them in some meaningful way, that’s what makes this all rewarding.

Yitzi: This is our signature question that we ask in all of our interviews. You’ve achieved a lot of success now, but looking back to when you first started, are there five things you wish someone had told you back then?

Al: Definitely, there are five things.

  1. First and foremost, I’d emphasize being present. It’s crucial to savor your successes, failures, and everything in between. Life’s a rollercoaster, and you’ve got to be fully engaged for the ride. Now, speaking specifically about myself, not my bandmates. Personally, being present has been a challenge for me. Especially during times of success, you reach a milestone, and then you start pondering, “What’s next?” It’s like we’re wired to always want more, you know? So, being present — that’s something I wish I had really embraced. When you achieve something great, take a moment to relish it.
  2. Staying vulnerable. I’ve been discussing this a lot in recent interviews, particularly in relation to our latest EP. What I’ve found is that the songs resonating most with listeners, those songs where people connect deeply and say, “I totally get what they’re saying,” are the ones where we’ve been the most vulnerable, where we’ve embraced discomfort. It’s like when you’re afraid to broach a certain topic with a friend, partner, or bandmate. You hesitate, fearing the reaction. But often, they’re feeling something similar, and opening up can lead to profound connections. So, staying vulnerable — that’s a lesson I’ve learned over the past couple of years.
  3. Have fun. Amidst all the emotional and sometimes physical strain that comes with our playing in a band, we tend to forget the sheer joy of it. As it evolves into a business, that element can fade away. Recently, though, we’ve managed to recapture that spirit. We’re onstage, beaming with smiles, embracing the zest we had initially. It’s like a return to our roots. You know, at a certain point, external pressures, like dealing with managers or agents, can tighten their grip, and you lose a bit of that initial fun. So, I often have to remind myself that it’s just music, and to have fun.
  4. Teamwork. Whether you’re an artist, part of a band, or sharing your art with the world, it’s vital to be a team player. Sure, you want to express your individuality, but you’ve also got to collaborate. In music, collaboration is key. We’re a trio and finding that perfect collaborative rhythm took time. We’ve honed it over the years. It’s easy to get a bit egocentric, especially in the arts. But staying open to collaboration, being a team player, it’s humbling and enriching.
  5. Kindness. This industry is a melting pot of diverse personalities. And let’s face it, you don’t make strides by being a jerk. Why would someone want to work with you if you’re not approachable or genuine? Treating others as you’d like to be treated, with respect and dignity, goes a long way. It’s those little gestures, like thanking your audience after a show or acknowledging your team’s hard work. Maintaining that genuine kindness is how you keep people invested in you. Now, I get it; it’s often easier said than done. But for me, these values were instilled from my humble beginnings, shaped by my father’s teachings. It’s about being kind because everyone’s on their own unique journey. It’s a principle that truly resonates in music and is integral to achieving success.

Yitzi: You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?

Al: First of all, your words are very kind. We always joke about this thing — if the world could go through, and I think it may happen at some point — maybe I’m predicting the future here. We always envision, especially in our DIY days when we played more punk rock shows touring across North America and all that, we used to have a zine. It’s like a little fan magazine filled with lyrics and pictures. We even had a fake publishing company on the back called “Offline.” We found the concept of being offline fascinating.

I’m not sure if this will ever catch on, and maybe it will, maybe it won’t. I envision a time where people decide to unplug, to really get off the grid, like truly step out of this screen-time, fast-paced everything, constant news bombardment. It’s like dialing everything back to what we call the “Offline Club” or something, where you just literally disconnect. Maybe not completely offline for life, but like, you know, families start having more…

I believe it will happen, to some degree it already does, with people making such choices. Certain sects of different religions adhere to that, but usually for religious purposes. I’m proposing something beyond that — not for religious reasons, but for this innate need and desire to be in the present moment. We’ve always joked about this idea of being offline, like a new movement in the future. Could it change the world for the better? Possibly. I think it would foster more genuine interaction and human connection. More face-to-face, physical interactions.

Yitzi: Okay, let’s wrap it up with our final question. We like to call this our matchmaker question. We’re fortunate that prominent leaders and people in entertainment are readers of this column. Is there someone in North America or anywhere in the world you’d love to sit down and chat with, or even collaborate with? We could give them a shout-out and maybe make that connection.

Al: For me, it’s Paul McCartney, you know? I mean, I grew up with the Beatles’ music, and I’m a huge Beatles fan. Having a chance to spend an hour with Sir Paul, man, even just five minutes, that would be incredible. He’s the real deal for me. Although, I doubt he’d be too interested in meeting me.

Yitzi: Don’t underestimate yourself. You never know; he might just be open to it. How can our readers keep up with your work online? How can they purchase your EPs and music? Can they continue to show their support?

Al: Yeah, you can always visit And of course, we’re available on every streaming platform — Stuck on Planet Earth can be found on YouTube, Instagram, Tiktok and more. If you’re looking to support us, keep an eye out for upcoming shows in your city. Your live attendance and support mean a lot to us.

Yitzi: Well, it’s truly been a pleasure and a blessing to have this conversation with you. I wish you continued success, and I hope we’ll have the opportunity to chat again when you embark on your next exciting project.

Al: Absolutely, looking forward to it.

Al Capo of ‘Stuck On Planet Earth’ On The 5 Things You Need To Create A Highly Successful Career in… was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.