How two high school friends came together to create a potential finalist for the next International Songwriting Competition
Two of the coolest people with whom I went to high school in the reddest region of Ulster County, NY, have collaborated together on a new music video.
The last time I saw Pete Lombardo was in 1989 during my freshman year at Wallkill Senior High. He was a senior, and was always on the late bus, which I would take home from school after hanging out at my friend’s house next to the football field. He was literally one of the only cats in my school who used to skateboard. Plus he had great taste in music, as I remember him being one of the only people in the area who heard of Sonic Youth. Its been over 30 years since we last spoke.
Melissa Holt was a grade above me, and was easily the coolest person in her graduating class hands down. While most of her classmates were caught up in the toxic sports culture at Wallkill, Melissa was going into Manhattan on the weekends catching the sickest gigs at The Ritz, the Palladium, Roseland, The Academy and then some. She barely talked to me, or anyone else beyond her small crew of friends, in high school, but over the years we’ve become pals via Facebook.
This summer, Pete and Melissa–who have been friends for many years–came together to manifest the music video for the great new single from Lombardo’s one-man band Serious and the Girls. Holt, who has established herself as a true player in the motion picture multiverse (most recently doing the special effects pickups for the new David Lynch film The Happy Worker), took her craft to a new level with the video for “Desperate (On and On)”, which she directed on location in Malibu, California, utilizing only the finest elements of her creative toolbox, including penning the storyline.
“Melissa’s so talented,” Lombardo told me on the phone earlier this month. “She wrote the whole script for it, and it came out great. I couldn’t have asked for anything better.”
The song itself was a fun surprise for me to discover, considering our familiar history. During our chat, Pete reminded me how much of a fan he was of The Church, and that vibe is quite prevalent in the sleek rhythmic drive of “Desperate (On and On)”. Meanwhile as a guitarist, the influence of such underrated six-string heroes as Robert Smith and Martin Gore is quite prevalent in the melodies. Pete knew he had a potential contender for the International Songwriting Competition on his hands.
“I had submitted a song to the International Songwriting Competition last year, but it was basically a YouTube audio track,” he explains. “So I didn’t get selected as a semi-finalist. And when they announced those who made it to the semi-finals, I was curious to hear the music. So when I went on the ISC page, I quickly noticed that all of the songs selected all had one thing in common, and that was music videos. So for ‘Desperate (On and On)’ I figured, ‘Well, if I’m going to submit it for next year’s competition, I’m going to need a video.’ So I reached out to Melissa, and it just snowballed from there.”
And when you see the vivid, crisp style of the finished result, it’s easy to see the creative kismet between my schoolmates in seamless motion.
“She really captured the essence of the song,” Lombardo asserts. “She asked me to just send her the lyrics and she made a whole script out of them. She did an amazing job, and I was just do jazzed that she liked the song and wanted to collaborate. I felt so grateful to be part of the process. It was so cool. I’ll never look at film and TV the same way, and I’d love to be able to do it again.”
VIDEO: Serious and the Girls “Desperate (On and On)”