Paint Interview and Concert Review September 25, 2009 at Rancho Relaxo, Toronto by Iddie Fourka for Mushy Pony

If Jackson Pollock was a Rock 'n' Roll band, He'd be Paint!

by Iddie Fourka
September 29, 2009

Paint formed in Vancouver in 2001, when the front-man/guitarist Robb was only 18! Originally, Paint was a funk-folk band, with political lyrics inspired by Robb's social-activism adventures. But as time passed, their guitar loudness increased giving the band a grungier edge (so, if you give your grandma the Can You Hear Me? album, make sure to provide ear plugs, because she'll definitely hear it). And it's exactly this rock 'n' roll sound, along with the more personal lyrics that makes Paint even more intriguing live than on record, as I discovered at their Rancho Relaxo show!

The charismatic Robb, after drinking herbal tea and undergoing a Zen ritual (despite Paint's Pearl Jam defeat on the Hamilton charts, Robb's nerves still race before each performance), joined the timid bass player Marcus, the energetic drummer Luke and Mandy; the female-guitarist/singer with plenty of stage attitude.

Right away, I was engulfed by their indistinguishable guitar blend, when the band members stringed their chords simultaneously! Then, Luke intensified the effect with his rhythmic drum pounding, making me feel trapped in a sound bubble! It was unique - unlike the typical band, with its members competing to outdo each other, Paint played as unified rock 'n' roll team! They interacted with each other bopping along to their tunes, and Mandy's backup vocals added softness to 's high-pitched, loud-enough-to-break-a-window-vocals. Robb's comedy-filled interlude was a good bonus too, which painted a smile on everyone's face.

I was lucky enough to chat with Robb and Mandy afterwards, who were just as entertaining offstage as they had been rocking out! Apparently, Robb was not only involved in politics, but also in painting (and boy, does he know Dali and Warhol) and film, until he realized that the guitar was an extension of himself (maybe, Robb secretly dreamed of being having a third arm). This catharsis lead to the formation of Paint, which allowed Robb to focus on his ultimate love, while experimenting with musical styles and equipment(Robb recommends vintage amplifiers, since they absorb sound well).

Sadly, Vancouver wasn't the best musical destination, since its isolation from other cities, made it difficult for touring (unless, you plan to entertain the prairie-dogs in the vast country sides), so after finishing their last album, Paint relocated to Toronto The original (lineup) didn’t make the move, so the spunky Mandy became (a) replacement.

Mandy from Waterloo, has been playing since 15 (she started learning to imitate the cool female-guitarist from her church group), and she auditioned for Paint via YouTube! Robb, who embraces the female rocker (he says that there are too many beards in the business), was impressed with Mandy and instantly invited her to join. And, even though Mandy was nervous at first, she already rocked three shows, proving to the world that gender is irrelevant when it comes to rock 'n' roll and that the guitarist Nancy Wilson wasn't an exception!

So come to see Paint in Toronto (they have a Toronto show on October 24th at C'est What?), before they become as popular as U2 and run away to the U.K or to America (Robb mentioned that these places are happening in the music-scene)! And while you’re at it, you might as well buy their wicked album Can You Hear Me? — the one with society’s outcasts on the cover (everyone from Virginia Wolf to Raffaelo), which is ideal for a game of 'Where’s Waldo?'

The original text of this article, written for Mushy Pony, can be found at Iddie Fourka's Weblog.