Pink Floyd tribute band co-founder, life long musician Paul Lesinski, shares with us how The Floydian slips started. If you’ve ever thought about starting a tribute band, you need to listen to this episode! Paul also talks about balancing music and family and shares some life long lessons.
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What You Hold Near
Old Becomes New
Tim: We are talking with the singer, songwriter, and co-founder of the Floydian Slips. Paul Lesinski, welcome to the show.
Paul: Thank you! Thanks for having me.
Tim: Now, you’ve been part of a Pink Floyd Tribute band for over two decades, right?
Paul: Yeah, we are in our 23rd year if you can believe that. It’s almost half of my life, which is bizarre.
Tim: That is so incredible. We would love to hear about how that got started. What’s the story behind that?
Paul: Yeah! So I was in a touring band for about five years in the early ’90s, and when that ended, our manager and I ended up being in the same business together, and we basically booked and promoted music in Eugene, Oregon. He worked to promote music at the Wild Duck, which was a music venue and a restaurant there. So we kind of had access to the room, it was a 450 person room. You know, he turned to me one day and said “Geez Paul, we should put a project together with all of our friends to play music. What do you think we should do?”. For whatever reason, it just popped into my head, and I’m like “Dude, I bet we could learn ‘The Dark Side of the Moon’ and that would be a blast! Let’s just see if we can do it”. So we put together some friends, and the songs, they are not technically really difficult, but you have to get it right. We did it; we put it together, booked the show, promoted it, turned it into kind of a thing. We played that first night, it was back in ‘96 I think, might have been ‘95. It went so well that they wanted an encore, and we were like “ Oh shoot, we didn’t learn anything else”. Like, we had learned ‘Pigs’, and ‘Have a Cigar’, maybe one other thing. So, we ended up doing ‘The Dark Side’ all over again. I think we realized that we had something there, so we just kept booking shows.
A couple of things that are a little different is that we always try to make it a bit of an event, so we only play maybe once or twice a year, and we try to do a lot with lights. We’ve had lasers, we’ve had projection screens, we’ve had props, done full albums. We played with Eugene Ballet, where we did ‘The Dark Side of the Moon’, and they danced in front of us. We’ve done ‘Dark Side’, we’ve done ‘The Wall’, we’ve done ‘Animals’, so we just kind of keep it unique and different, and it’s just sort of grown. Now, we play The Cuthbert in Eugene once a year, on average. We do Revolution Hall in Portland. Yeah, 23 years on.
Tim: Wow, that is incredible. I believe we found some videos of the Floydian Slips on YouTube even, and I was listening to it and was like “You are almost at a Pink Floyd concert!”. There are the lights, and the show and the music were so spot on. It was really cool.
Paul: Thank you! Yeah, we try to keep the music very authentic. We don’t worry that much about the people in the band and what they dress or look like, we are not one of those types of tribute bands. Those are great, but we don’t do that. We just try to capture the spirit of the music. Therefore, we have seven people in the band, actually eight, and I think five of us sing. We all take turns doing lead vocals, so there is no like Roger Waters guy, or David Gilmore guy, with one exception. We have a guitar named Al Toribio, who does all the solos. He is an amazing guitar player, and he’s got Gilmore lead tone and spirit and vibe down, so nobody else– like I wouldn’t even touch it, it’s Al’s deal. Otherwise, we try to keep the music very authentic and put on a good show.
Tim: Who else is in the band with you?
Paul: So I play rhythm guitar and do some of the singing, and we just talked about Al. There’s two drummers, one of them is Ned Failing, and he’s in a band in Portland called ‘Mexican Gun Fight’. He also worked at Pickathon for a long time and does booking at Revolution Hall. The other drummer is a guy named Rich Sellars, and he is based in Eugene. He’s in a lot of different bands, one of them is called ‘Candy Apple Blue’, which is a yacht rock band, and they are amazing. It is really difficult music to get right, and they do. He does probably the bulk of the singing besides me. He does the Roger Waters parts really well. Then our bass player is Brennan Releford, again that’s my buddy from way back, who used to manage ‘The Strangers’, which is the band I toured in. Nicole Campbell is one of our singers, so she does backups, and she does ‘A great gig in the sky’, which is not easy. Our keyboard player is a guy named Dustin Lanker. He was in ‘The Daddies’ in Eugene. Our sax player, who plays on whatever songs need sax, is Sean Flannery, and he was also in ‘The Daddies’. Then finally, our acoustic guitar player, whose name is Ehren Ebbage, and he also does a lot of singing. Ehren lives in Eugene, and his gig is that he writes and records music for films and tv. I think that covers everybody…God, I hope I didn’t forget anybody. I think that’s it.
Naomi: That’s a lot of talent for one band. After 23 years of doing a tribute band, do you have any advice for people starting one today?
Paul: I think that the tribute band scene today is pretty predominantly around bands that are trying to look like the band that they are giving tribute to, so you have the ‘Steve Perry’ guy, or the ‘Jon Bon Jovi’ guy, and everybody in the band kind of corresponds to a player. I think that that’s fine, there is obviously a huge, huge scene for that. I mean, there is Hair Fest, there is a country one. My advice would be that don’t necessarily get locked into feeling like you have to do it that way, because you can also just play the music. Just stay true to the music and the spirit of the music, and I think that people respond to that equally well. It just depends on where you want to take it and who you want to play it for.
Tim: Very cool! What was the cinder block story? You mentioned something about that, and that got me thinking, what is this?
Paul: We did the wall for about three years, I think, and it was, it’s a lot. It’s a lot of music, it’s really heavy. We kept trying to make it different in terms of the staging, you know, so we had different lights, we had different video screens. One year, somebody in the band, whose name will go unmentioned, had the brilliant idea to build two big platforms on either side of the stage that we could get upon. So there was this little staircase, and you would stand on top of these platforms, and it visually was awesome. When we did ‘Run Like Hell’, the lines go back and forth between me and Rich, who’s our drummer, who would also come out front and sing when the other drummer is drumming. So I was on one side, and he was on the other, and we are going back and forth with the lines. It was huge. Then there is another moment where Al was playing the lead guitar to ‘Comfortably Numb’ from up there, and it just looked really cool. But, to kind of put a facade on it, instead of making some cardboard thing that looked like bricks, or a wall, we actually built a cinder block wall that covered these little platforms. It looked great, but at the end of the show for loading out, there were like a hundred cinder blocks to load out. We were just like “What are we doing? What are we going to do with these cinder blocks?” and I think they ended up under the bass player’s porch, or his deck, in his backyard for years. Then, later we had this funny idea that “You know what we should have done was have a promotion and we could have signed all of them and had everybody take a cinder block home”, which again is a total joke because you see some 14-year-old kid lugging this 30-pound cinder block home with all of our signatures on it. Sometimes we have ideas that are really good, and other times there are some ideas that are like “Maybe we should have thought about that a little bit longer”.
Tim: As you’re unloading.
Naomi: After a long show, oh my goodness.
Paul: That’s what we wanted to do.
Naomi: “Everybody, pick up your instruments and grab a cinder block”. Geez, or two, yeah! Oh my gosh, that is a lot of work. How has band life changed due to COVID?
Paul: Yeah, band life due to COVID. I think the answer is the same for almost everybody. The live gigs are done, for the moment, which I feel bad for musicians who are trying to make a living. Not just the musicians, but sound engineers, light engineers, bookers, pretty much anybody that has anything to do with live music is on hiatus. I’ve seen it in articles and heard it said, it’s the first thing that closed and the last thing that is going to open, is live music. So, a band now has to figure out how to get to their audience without playing a live show. I’m talking now, specifically about local bands. If you are a touring band, it’s even harder. If you are able to tour, you are really hurting. In terms of just wanting to be an artist that wants to connect with an audience, what you are needing to do now is lean on the internet in ways maybe you didn’t before. I mean, in some senses, there is more opportunity because I think that people have more time. This is how I found you guys. I was looking at all the different music groups on Facebook that I’m in. There’s the Northwest Artist page, and all these different pages. There was a post about your podcast, and I started listening. I don’t think I ever would have found it had I not made the time to dig around. Now, this is something that every musician should be doing anyway to help promote, but there are only so many hours in the day if you are doing it yourself.
Paul: And so I think that you know, you have to get really creative during this time to do that. The other thing that is equally important, is that you really have to be respectful of what’s going on. I put a CD out two months ago, and I wasn’t so driven to get it out on a certain day that I couldn’t be a little flexible. You guys know what’s going on. Every week, there’s something going on in the news, like right now the whole west coast is on fire. Kind of a selfish thing to say, but I look around and I’m like “I am so glad I got it out”. I had this little window where there was nothing crazy happening that week, you know?
Paul: I mean, I think a lot of times with musicians, they try to time their releases around another artist’s release. But now we have this thing where you can look completely tone-deaf, putting out a song, or a video, or an album, on the day that a thousand people have lost their homes in a fire. I mean, you don’t want to do that, right? So I think there is that other element there, that you have to be careful of. I could also make a counterargument to that though, that now, more than ever, people need an escape.
Naomi: That was a big and open question. You answered it really well, actually.
Tim: You’ve got a three-piece power trio as well, and I think you just mentioned that you had an album release, but I swear that I could have seen that you have a show coming up, or you were doing a live-stream show. Tell us about that, what’s going on?
Paul: Sure. So, there is a couple of things there. You know, in February and March when all this stuff happened, I am sure that you guys noticed that everybody who owned a guitar did a live-stream show on Facebook. Some of it was just “I’m going to play at 5 o’clock every Thursday” or it was less formalized, where at night you go on Facebook and your buddy in New York is drinking and playing music. You’re like “This is great!”. I chose not to do that, because again, the longer I waited, the more I felt like I was just jumping on this bandwagon. Now, it has kind of chilled out a little bit, I think we got over the kind of hype cycle of that. Not to say that it was a bad thing, it wasn’t, it was awesome. It was awesome to see people play that, you know, you necessarily wouldn’t go see because they don’t live in your town, or whatever.
Again, just doing this research, I stumbled on this thing in Portland called ‘PDX Couch Tour’, and what it is, is it’s a guy named Brian Straus, who is in the business, and it dawned on him that people are out of work. So, he actually partnered up with a venue and got a lighting guy, named Jason Gowers, who coincidentally does the lights for ‘The Floydian Slips’, and a woman who does sound named Lizzy Tanzer. They basically started doing a new thing where the band plays in a venue, but nobody’s in the venue. They have like, six or seven cameras, and they live-stream it. But they also use Zoom, so your fans are actually on this big screen to the side of the stage, if they choose to join via Zoom. You can actually see them. So, that’s kind of fun, and we just did that last week, and we are going to do it again on October 29th.
Then there is another one called ‘Northwest Talent Spotlight’, and that one is done by a guy named Bobby Pollozza (Bobby Pallotta), I think his last name is, and I apologize, I think I might have got that wrong. But, he’s in Vancouver. He has a little different of a spin, so it’s like you’ll play a few songs, he will ask about the song, he’ll ask about your instruments, how long you’ve been together, play a couple more songs. So there are a couple of different forms that that’s taken. It’s a way that if bands are comfortable getting out and playing, that they can do it in a safe way. So, ‘PDX Couch Tour’ has done more than a hundred of these, with no COVID incidents, so they’ve got it down to a science. So, it’s actually been really fun because, again, socially distancing, but it’s been great to play with the guys in the band because we had a reason. The shows are great, I mean, it’s lights, full sound, monitors. It’s like live and loud, but you are playing to potentially the world, as opposed to a small venue.
Naomi: That’s really awesome. So are they doing ticket sales with that too?
Paul: It’s a donation situation, and the donations go to the producers of the show to offset their costs, and then after a certain cap, it goes to the band or they also encourage you to donate to charity or whatever. For our gig, we just told the venue to just keep it, because they put it on and we were really excited about it. We are not in it for the money. That’s the thing that I’m really thankful for, is that I’m not trying to do it as a living. It’s an expression, and it’s really really important to me, but I don’t have to worry about that layer of making a certain amount of money every month because it’s a hobby.
Naomi: Yeah, that’s really awesome. I think there are a lot of musicians that are right there with you.
Paul: I did the obligation thing for five years, and I got tired of eating corn chip sandwiches out of the back of a van.
Naomi: Oh my gosh, we know what that’s like.
Tim: Yeah. You reach a certain age, and it’s not as fun as it was when you were younger.
Naomi: How did you manage to find balance with career, family, and music? And, have you found a balance?
Paul: Yeah, that’s a great question. I think I have finally found a balance, and the way that it works is that I know that I have a certain amount of time and brain energy to be able to devote to being creative, so I have to be choosy with how I use that energy. A good example is that prior to playing this gig that we were talking about earlier, I hadn’t actually played a gig with Dave and Mike, which are the guys in my band, in about a year and a half. The reason for that is because we were working on the CD, and I don’t really have time to do both.
If I book a gig, I am focused on getting ready for the show, set-list, promoting the gig, rehearsals, all that stuff. If I’m recording, I don’t have time for that. I need to just focus on writing the song, putting out the guitar part, and mix. I just have to be really choosy with that because it’s very easy to get overextended and then you are really not doing a good job with anything, which nobody feels good about that, I sure don’t. But it has taken a long time to kind of learn that over the years. My kids are a little bit older now, but when you have really little kids, it was pretty much like I’d pick up a guitar and just mess around, maybe record a couple of ideas. Maybe I would just play a couple of covers, I would learn how to play a song that I wanted to play, but there wasn’t any real aspiration of putting out an album, or doing anything really quote-on-quote big, or something that would be really time intensive.
But then when the kids get a little bit older, I’ve got a little time. It’s like “Wait a minute, my nights are a little bit more free”, so I actually can spend an hour every night working on a record, or promoting the record, or doing something like that. Give yourself permission to do it, and not feel bad that you are not spending the amount of time now that you may be used to when you were younger. There are certain periods that have been very busy, fruitful, and productive, and there’s others that haven’t been. At the end of the day, you have lived a creative life, and you’ve created music that people can listen to long after you’re gone.
I work in a PR firm, a lot of our entry staff come from U of O. I’ll be at an intro lunch with them or something, and we are talking about this, that, and the other thing, and all of a sudden they are like “Dude, I came to the New Year’s Eve Show in 2006 for the Floydian Slips at the McDonald Theatre”. So, just living this creative life, it’s more than just what happened last week, or last month, or even last year. It’s the sum total of everything. You have to give yourself a little bit of slack if you are going through a period where you either aren’t inspired, or you can’t find the time to do it. Hopefully, you will find, and or, make the time. I put in a lot of late nights, right? Like going to bed at 1, because the only time I really had was 11-1, but, you know, you just make it work.
Tim: Yeah. I think what you’re really touching on there, is for the musician, or the person that is producing, making music, is defining success and what that means to you. For some of us, early on in our career, success to us meant 12 hours a day, overworking ourselves to death trying to work on our music, our career, and get everything rolling and kicked off. Maybe we thought success was a record deal, or we thought success was getting a certain number of followers or fans. But, it doesn’t look the same for everybody and it doesn’t have to be the same for everybody.
Paul: Yeah, I think that’s a really, really good topic. You’re right, the definition of success is a really slippery eel. When I got out of college and was in the touring band, our entire goal was to get a record deal. That was all we wanted to do. We thought if we got a record deal, then we made it. That’s success. We played for five years, I have all the gigs logged. We played 900 shows in five years. We were road dogs, we did the west coast, the Rockies, the midwest, and Canada. It was a blast, but never a consummated record deal was thrown our way.
After you have been passed over by enough record labels, back in the early ’90s, we felt there was maybe a bit of a stigma. However, some of the bands that we were playing with stuck it out, now they are well known. Widespread Panic, Big Head Todd, and The Monsters, because they just kept touring and building, and building their thing. But, we burned out. And so when I got out of the band, I felt kind of like a failure, right? I was like, I never achieved that success that I wanted, we never got the label deal. In retrospect, knowing what I know now, it’s a pretty damn good thing we didn’t get the record deal, because then all of a sudden, you are beholden to the record company, and you owe even more money than we owed. That’s when the work really starts, so if we were burning out…man, forget it! But what happened was that about, I don’t know, maybe five, ten years later with perspective, I looked back on that time, and I still do, and I thought “No, it was not a failure at all, it was amazing!” I mean, we did all these shows and went to all these places I never would have gone. I met a bunch of people, I’ve got these life-long brothers that were in the band with me. I’ve got stories, upon stories, upon stories. It was amazing!
Even in retrospect, your definition of success can change with a little bit of perspective. To answer your actual question, I think that for me, what I want to do is leave a legacy of music, so that when I’m long gone, they can hear the couple of CDs I put out. I know that’s only meaningful to a small handful of people, probably mostly family. But you know, again, living a life of creativity and a life of music, to me that would be success.
Naomi: That was a good answer.
Tim: That was good. We could probably talk about that for an hour, but we won’t. So how do you balance between The Floydian Slips and your solo power trio?
Paul: It’s a good question because it couldn’t be further apart. You’ve got a tribute band that plays Pink Floyd music, I mean, we play to between a thousand or five thousand people, and then the other end is the original prog-rock power trio, that is all original music, and that is, you know, let’s be honest, we’ll play to maybe 50 people on a really good night. More than that, if it is promoted right. It’s two different worlds. It’s actually very satisfying to do both. I get my large audience fix from The Floydian Slips, and the super creative, original fix from the other band, so it’s nice to have both.
But, to answer your question, balancing both is tricky. I’ve got a Facebook page for my own music, and of course, The Floydian Slips has its own Facebook page, and I don’t think we’ve ever discussed it as a band, but there is kind of an unwritten rule that we don’t promote our personal projects on the Facebook page for The Floydian Slips. So if I have a show or put a CD out, I don’t post on the Slips site because we try to keep that pure and Floyd related. Sometimes, I am a little bit “Ugh”, because I can reach three or four times as many people if I was to do that, but we just want to keep them separate.
There have been some instances where I have been able to combine the worlds and the one that we talked about on the phone the other day. On our 20th anniversary, we had a big show at Revolution Hall, and then we did the Cuthbert the next day. I had stickers made, which basically just said “Thank you for 20 years of support” and I can’t remember how I worded it, and I stuck them on my CDs, and I literally walked through the line of people waiting to get in and I handed out my CDs to folks for free. I said, “Thank you for supporting this, this is my solo CD”. Then at the Cuthbert, we had a merch table, and I said this at Rev Hall too, “Anything that anybody buys, just give them a CD for free. I don’t care if they buy a hat, a sticker, a shirt, just make sure that they get a CD also”. You know, that was maybe crossing the line just a little bit, but the 20th anniversary, and I co-founded the band, I’m like “I can get away with that, that’s okay”. That’s about as skeezy that I was comfortable as I was getting with it, you know because you have to be careful with that. So, I hope that The Slips is a way for people to maybe find out about my music, who wouldn’t have previously, but I’m pretty conscious to not use it in the wrong way.
Naomi: Well, that was a good way to make it a little bit personal, like thank you to the people that have supported you.
Paul: It’s a long story of why I had this many CDs made, but it was costing, it was cheaper to make more. So I had literally boxes and boxes of these CDs, and I’m like “They are doing me no good sitting in my garage. Everybody who I know should have one, has one”. I think I got rid of like, 500. Again, for me, if someone has that and they play it, or it’s stuck in their car, or whatever, it’s better than sitting in my garage. Every little bit helps, every little bit goes towards that end goal of getting the music out there.
Tim: Speaking of CDs, that brings up an interesting question. It seems like CDs are definitely down in sales, but I keep hearing from certain people that there is still a market for manufacturing and selling CDs at shows.
Paul: In terms of CDs, I’m on the fence. I don’t know exactly the answer to that question because a lot of people don’t have players anymore, even new cars don’t have CD players in them. When I send out a copy of my latest CD, there are a handful of people that say “I don’t have anything to play this on except for my car”. But, I still like to make the physical, actual thing that you can touch, and feel, and hand to somebody. There’s just something about that that you can’t replicate with digital, or even giving them a download card that they are never going to use, let’s be honest, right? I have it in my head that I’ve got to make at least a few hundred so I can mail them out, send them out, give them to the people who still have CD players. But having said that, I promote the fact that I am on Apple Music and Spotify just as hard as I send people Band Camp. The truth is people stream music, that is the primary way that people listen these days. I guess you just got to cover all the bases somehow.
Tim: I also saw in the news that there was a little bit of a resurgence of cassette tape sales as well, and I thought “That is interesting”. I think a lot of it is just nostalgia. What was it? It was the ‘Stranger Things’ soundtrack, or it was the ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ soundtrack.
Paul: Yeah, yeah.
Tim: It’s that type of nostalgic feel and sound. Realistically, people aren’t going to play those tapes a lot.
Paul: There is a band called ‘Ghost’, that is a heavy satan band, but they are super melodic, it’s really weird. They’re kind of like ‘KISS’, in that they have costumes and personas and all this stuff, but the music is all melodic satan music. But, it’s very [inaud 25:32]. In fact, I’m still on the fence, I think it might actually be, the whole thing might be a joke actually. Part of the reason I think that is that one of their players had a keytar, and did a keytar solo at a show, which I’m just like “You just don’t pull out a keytar, in all seriousness, anymore”. The other thing was that they did sell 8-tracks of their latest album.
Tim: Oh, nice.
Naomi: That’s awesome.
Paul: They were gone before I was going to buy one. Nobody actually, I actually do have an 8-track player from my parent’s old house that is in a box somewhere, but it’s like, people are buying them just to have them. They’re not going to play an 8-track of the new ‘Ghost’ album. By the time I tried to buy one, they were all gone.
Paul: So, there is something to it.
Tim: It’s that “This is really cool! I have no way to play it, but I want one”.
Tim: You know? It’s a lot of fun.
Naomi: I think we just dusted off and got out our record player the other day.
Paul: Yeah, I mean vinyl is absolutely coming back, and in the last five or six years, my oldest kid is 23, and for the last four or five years, he and his buddy go to the record store. He’s probably got a couple hundred records at this point, and it’s not a fad, they will literally listen to records. It’s fully back with Gen Z like they are into the vinyl, they are into the tactile experience of the album art. He even did something I did back in college, he’s like “I bought this album because I thought the cover was interesting. I don’t even know if it’s any good”. Yeah, I think vinyl is making a resurgence right now.
Naomi: We kind of have a tradition with all of our guests. We like to ask them their biggest gear fail, or anything that is like the biggest fail that you would like to share with us.
Paul: Oh boy. I have a doozy, and I have to be careful of how much I disclose because I am not sure who will be listening to this. So, the band I toured with was called ‘The Strangers’, and we had a band that we played with quite a bit that was out of Eugene, called ‘The Renegade Saints’, and we’re all still great friends to this day. They were our brothers on the road. So we would open for them, they would open for us. If we were in town, they would maybe pull me up on stage to do a solo, I was the lead guitarist in ‘The Strangers’, or visa versa. Actually, Al Toribio from ‘The Slips’ was in that band, so that is how I know him from way back.
They were doing a Halloween show at the Wow Hall in Eugene, and let’s just say that I was in a slightly altered state. The caveat on top of that was because it was Halloween, I was in full Gene Simmons KISS makeup and costume. They decided to pull me up on stage to do a solo and jam, which was just a very basic song in E, or whatever. But, I had a bit of a panic attack on stage because, again, I was not quite 100% in my usual frame of mind, and I couldn’t tell if I was in the right key or not. So, here I am trying to bust out a solo, dressed fully head to toe in Gene Simmons makeup, and not really grasping who I am. Like who am I, actually here? This is really surreal and weird. Everybody’s looking at me weird, right? I’m in KISS makeup, and here I am playing a solo. I think it’s going really badly, but I’m not sure. It might be going really well, I just can’t tell, and I’m looking around and people are looking at me. Then the band brought the music way down, and I’m like “Are they doing that because I am in the wrong key? Or are they doing that because that’s what we are doing?”. So, I was really shaken. It took me a couple of weeks to get back to center. That’s the worst story I could give you about a musical experience.
Naomi: Did you ever find out?
Paul: Nope! And I even asked them days later. I’m like “How was that?” and they were kind of like “It was alright”. I got this answer that, again, that could have been that they were being nice and it was absolutely horrible and embarrassing, or they were just like “Nah, it was fine”, you know. I never really got the answer.
Naomi: Nothing that made it very clear, like “Oh man, that was epic”, you know.
Paul: Nope. That was a tough one.
Naomi: Oh no! That’s actually the hardest.
Paul: I will tell you right now though, that now I understand, going back again to Pink Floyd, why somebody likes Syd Barrett, who like basically ate acid for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, would have an absolute nervous breakdown and lost his mind for his entire life, you know? I mean, you just..you’re playing with fire.
Tim: That’s incredible. So you actually finished the solo though?
Paul: As far as I can remember, yeah.
Tim: And then you walked off the stage and you were like “Mic drop. Done”.
Paul: Pretty much.
Tim: So, your newest album that you released this year I think, you recorded that with the help of your drummer.
Paul: Yeah, that’s right. So David built a studio in his home. About ten years ago, he started doing this. We were in a band called ‘Color Field’, which was a band before this trio, and his sister was the singer. Mike, who was our bass player, was the bass player. So, we did an album with Rob Dieker at Falcon, which sounded amazing. It was the best sounding album I’d ever been on. Dave, out of nowhere, says something along the lines of “I think I can get a better drum sound if I build my own studio”, and I’m just like “Dude, you’re high. Were you at my Halloween gig back in the day?”. But, I’m like “Great, dude! Go for it!”, and he’s a super nice guy, optimistic guy, he’s just open-minded. So he started getting some gear and putting some stuff together, and he said “Paul, I need you to come over and play some guitar, because now I am at a point where I just need to record, and learn, and stuff”. So, that’s actually how our first CD started, which came out ten years ago.
Then, basically, we never stopped recording and what happens is when we get a certain amount of songs, and I’m thinking “These make sense together”, you know, and this has a cohesive picture and story to it, I’m like “Okay, let’s stop recording and let’s start mixing. Let’s finish these and put them out, then we’ll go back and do another one ”. So that’s how that’s been working. Because he has the studio at his place, we do everything that’s important sonically there, I mean that’s all-important sonically, but drums, acoustic guitars, a lot of vocals, things like that. Then I can do a lot of guitar overdubs at my house, and keyboards that are like midi. Our bass player can record either at Dave’s studio or at his home, he’s got a home setup. So, we try to do the backing tracks together as a band, but it doesn’t always work out that way. Just depends on what’s going on, and what the song is. Sometimes, it’s a demo to a click, and I will take it over and he will put drums down and we build it from there.
So, we’ve done it every which way. But, I think every CD sounds exponentially better because he gets better gear and more knowledge. You know, again, it’s a journey. We keep learning, and we keep trying to outdo the last one. I will say, the one we put out in 2005, it’s called “Hearts in Reason”, I kind of thought I might not want to put another one out because I was so happy with it, it was ridiculous. It sounded amazing, and I just accomplished everything I wanted to in terms of the flow and songs and all that, and I had such a great response. There’s a couple of friends who, to this day, just talk to me about that CD and I’m like “God, I don’t know if I want to do another one”. Long story short, I got over that, and yeah, we put this thing out a couple of months ago. I’m really proud of this one too.
Tim: Great, I think we’re going to play a song from that. I thought maybe you could tell us a little about it.
Paul: The song is called ‘Ride’, and it’s the second song on the CD. We’re coming up on kind of a weird milestone in my life. Five years ago, my father passed away, and then two and a half months later, my mom passed away. My dad was kind of, we knew that was coming. He was ill for a long time, my mom was not quite ready for. This was one of those periods where I would just pick up a guitar and see what would come out, and I would just record. This song ‘Ride’ came out of that period, and my census is that it is tied to the release of my mom and dad into whatever is next, and them sending me a calming message. So I think it is one of the songs I am proud of, happy for you guys to play it. That’s great!
Tim: Awesome, well we want to thank you for joining us and sharing your personal journey with us.
Paul: Thank you guys, this was super fun! I appreciate it. I love the podcast, I am glad that you guys are rocking it and I look forward to continuing to listen more and more.