No Fear for the Future

Damien DeRose, aka Peasant, will perform selections from his latest CD in Doylestown, Pa.

By: Megan Sullivan
   Success comes in many sizes, but it still counts no matter how trivial it may seem. When Doylestown, Pa., resident and singer-songwriter Damien DeRose is asked how his father views his success as a musician so far, he can’t stop laughing at the word "success."
   Of course Mr. DeRose, 20, isn’t successful in the same sense as the musicians that he strives to emulate, like The Beatles. And his name isn’t known around the world or across the country. But even if just a handful of people know who Peasant is — Mr. DeRose’s musical alter ego — then that can be considered a small success, can’t it?
   "My dad is very supportive and wants me to give (music) a go, but he also says it’s a big risk," Mr. DeRose says. "But if it’s all I can think about, it’s all I can do."
   Acoustic and folksy songs from Peasant’s newest CD, fear not, distant lover, can be heard at the Classic Cigar Parlor in Doylestown Feb. 10. Mr. DeRose’s friends from Providence, R.I., who make up the group Tom Thumb, also will play.
   The name Peasant stemmed from a mixture of philosophy and John Lennon’s "Working Class Hero." As an independent artist, recording music in his apartment, perhaps Mr. DeRose is similar to a peasant, at the bottom of the totem pole with high hopes of climbing the music world hierarchy.
   In the meantime, he’ll be keeping his day job at SeasonsGates, a home décor and accessories store at Peddler’s Village in Lahaska, Pa. While attending Central Bucks High School West, Mr. DeRose played drums in a band called Black Light Special. He also picked up the guitar and started writing his own songs, including one for his girlfriend at the time. "It was pretty primitive compared to what I’m doing now, but it had heart," he recalls. "I think she liked it."
   Eventually he and his bandmates went in different directions musically, or "Maybe there were just too many egos in a small room," he says. Mr. DeRose decided to compile the songs he wrote into his first CD, Sow and Scatter. He describes it as a lot more experimental than fear not, distant lover and got tired of it quickly. "The new one is a lot better and more professional," he says. "I focused more on songwriting and having tracks that can be done live and enjoyed with acoustic guitar and my voice."
   And he’s learned from his mistakes, like immediately getting 1,000 copies of his first CD pressed. "It was a waste of money," he says. "I got sick of it, I have like 700 copies still sitting in my room." For his current release, he took things slow and burned his own copies on the computer. After getting an "awesome reaction" to the CD, which he has sold copies of in local record stores, at shows and on the Web, he’s looking to get 1,000 pressed.
   In addition to playing local gigs, Mr. DeRose performs at Club Sin-e Corner Bar in New York City. He says the Web site, an online community that enables easy networking, has helped him make music connections with booking agents and gain exposure. Selections from fear not, distant lover, including the popular CD opener "All the Times," can also be heard on his personal page. When it comes to writing lyrics, Mr. DeRose says he doesn’t try to force anything. He says he writes what he’s thinking and feeling, reflecting on real-life situations.
   "Sometimes I’m wounded and sad (when I write), but I think to truly show triumph and beauty you need to show how you overcome sadness or trouble," he says in his bio. "Also, I’ve always felt music could be fun and humorous too. I try not to take it too seriously, so hopefully it gives a little joy no matter what it’s about."
Peasant will play the Classic Cigar Parlor, 10 N. Main St., Doylestown, Pa., Feb. 10, 8 p.m. Tom Thumb also will perform. Peasant on the Web:,