Paint Interview with Robb Johannes and Mandy Dunbar James Walker The Road Dog for CKMS 100.3 (SoundFM), Waterloo
The Road Dog Show on SoundFM (CKMS 100.3 Waterloo)
June 12, 2010, 6:30 p.m. EST
Road Dog: Host
Robb Johannes: Vocals/guitar
Mandy Dunbar: Guitar/vocals
Tyler Cardy: Guitar tech/road crew manager
Rachel LaGroix: Manager
* * * *
Road Dog: And welcome folks, this is the Road Dog doing a special, exclusive interview with the band Paint, who are gonna be performing here tonight at Maxwell's. I promised these guys, I said, "You know what..." I opened my big mouth and I said, "Damn, I like your music." At that point, that was it, they just stuck to me like glue. They said "Can you interview us, man? Come on, we just, we've gotta, we've gotta do it, man! " And I said, "Okay, fine, only cos I like your music."
Robb: That's why we came back to play again. One was for the pita two doors down and the other way for you.
Road Dog: They do have good pitas there, don't they?
Robb: It's the best in the universe.
Road Dog: It's cos they mix it in the bowl.
Robb: In a bowl!
Mandy: Why are they the only people in the world to have thought of this? That's what I can't figure out.
Road Dog: In the bowl, folks.
Road Dog: That's the whole secret to it.
Mandy: Pilot Pita.
Road Dog: Pilot Pita, in the bowl.
Robb: Sponsor our next tour.
Road Dog: They came all the way in from Toronto just to have a Pilot Pita. Not to talk to the Dog at all, not to perform here at Maxwell's, just to have themselves a pita. And the coffee of course at that place across the road which I won't mention cos I don't like them. They're just too establishment.
Mandy: Corporate. The man.
Road Dog: Yes, the man. There used to be place, what's that hockey player's name?
Robb: Wayne? That's the only one I know.
Road Dog: They've become corporate. But when I was a kid it was Country Style Donuts. Donuts this big, and hot chocolate this big – and I was only that big.
Robb: For everyone listening, "this big" was basically from the shoulder to the waist.
Road Dog: Well, I was hatched and I've always been a big kid.
Mandy: You were hatched rather than born?
Road Dog: Yes. You didn't know that, right?
Mandy: I have read about you in the Guinness Book of World Records, I think.
Road Dog: My mother spawned me. I love her dearly, but I was spawned from her.
Robb: MY mother was the rapture.
Road Dog: Shhhh, we don't want anyone to know, and I'm planning to get into politics.
Robb: And you're under Witness Protection.
Road Dog: Eventualy I'm gonna get into politics and take over the planet. YOU LISTEN TO ME!!!! How's it going guys? We haven't talked in a while, maybe a month and a half, two months?
Robb: Yeah, last time we were here was April 17, with our good friends in Michou and it's our first time back since then.
Mandy: It was a great show in April. We loved it.
Road Dog: Yeah, the Michou show. I caught you guys in the beginning and really enjoyed your act, and your album cover. Everyone looks at this thing and goes, "This is so cool!" Very professionally done, you got a bit of the Marilyn in there and celebs. A bunch of us sat down one day and went, "Okay, who's that?"
Robb: We wanted to have a contest that if anyone could actually identify all 47 or however many characters there are on the album cover that you'd win a prize of some sort. We're not sure what the prize is. I actually did that album cover on a film set. I was an extra in a film called Scott Pilgrim vs. The World.
Mandy: No way! I'm so excited for that movie to come out.
Robb: Every single person in the City of Toronto was at some point an extra in that film.
Mandy: How did I not know this?
Robb: You're on set for 18 hours and you're in the holding area for 16 of those. So my friend David Van Drunen taught me how to use PhotoShop and I just ran with it. So I spent the whole time on that set designing that cover.
Road Dog: Is that Louis sitting there, the black gentleman on the front cover? You've got Kurt Cobain, you've got...
Robb: That's James Baldwin.
Road Dog: Is that Malcolm X with the book?
Road Dog: Are you guys in there? That's you guys in the background, right?
Robb: I'm in there and Matt Laforest, the drummer from the Vancouver quotient of the band who played on the album is there, and Paula who played guitar, and Marcus, our bass player, is there. Mandy and Chris hadn't joined the band yet so they're not on there. And our manager Rachel is actually the one who's standing right above Satan. She's the angel on Satan's shoulder.
Road Dog: Oh, that's you with the sexy blue jean, black shirt going, "Hello... I know him, I dated him."
Robb: The concept behind that image was meant to play on that theme of "Can You Hear Me?", which is a song that's a conversation between someone who has murdered someone and the parent of the murdered person, and finding reconciliation on that. It's these fringe but very powerful voices that have existed throughout history and have not been heard. So I saw it as the speaker's corner from Hell, made up of all these people who have been so controversial but have said very profound things and have changed our whole way of thinking. What would happen if they were all hanging out together?
Road Dog: That would be one hell of a party! Literally!
Robb: Could you imagine Karl Marx, Ian Curtis, and Marilyn Monroe...
Road Dog: I would love that! "So tell me Karl Marx, tell me the truth. You want to know what really happened to communism?"
Robb: Marx, tell us about that baby you had that Engels raised for you.
Mandy: I can't even figure out who would be the good time on that. Do you think they'd al just be fighting for attention?
Road Dog: We've got the Sex Pistols there.
Robb: I don't think the Pistols are there – oh, that's Sid and Nancy. Not quite the Pistols.
Road Dog: They'd be too busy in the corner going "Uhhhhhh...."
Robb: That doesn't happen when we're on stage though.
Road Dog: Just amazing. Let's listen to the first cut, it's "Don't Blow Me Away." You're listening to the Road Dog special interview with Paint who are performing here at Maxwell's tonight.
SONG: "Don't Blow Me Away"
Road Dog: ...your voice, it has a bit of a feature... The Monkees did something like this, not to be funny or anything, cos some people go, "Oh, the Monkees" – but their music itself had some of this creaitivity, not the stuff that was written for the commercial market but their actual stuff, had sounds like that. And that could be Davey Jones at that time singing that song. Where did you come up with this idea of "Don't Blow Me Away"?
Robb: The song itself was just based on noise initially. At the time that it was written, Paula McGlynn, Matt Laforest and I were really just starting to explore tube amps and old vintage distortion pedals. I had just gotten an old Marshall ShredMaster, which is the Radiohead effect, and we created this giant wall.
Road Dog: And boy does that wall come at ya. That song starts with a scraping paint kind of sound.
Robb: That's why we put it first; we just wanted to say, "Hey, here we are." And start the record that way,
Road Dog: Beautiful, beautiful!
Robb: And the melodies suggested themselves. It came together pretty quickly. It's the only overtly political song on the album in terms of the lyrics. I've tried to stay away from that with the rest of the songs – or at least put it more in a personal standpoint. But that's very grassroots.
Road Dog: One political song, one love song, one "I'm lost" song, one hurt song... is that what you were...
Robb: Not consciously, but it has happened that way.
Road Dog: Just ignore that, it's my illegitimate bastard child from the '70s.
Mandy: Davey Jones?
Road Dog: Is there a video for this song?
Robb: Yes, Tyler shot it. If you go to our website, there's a link to our YouTube Channel. We shot it at a circus school in Toronto. Zero Gravity Circus. And that was fun, we were climbing all over the circus apparatus and swinging off things and jumping off the stage onto mats.
Road Dog: So, the Road Dog is gonna challenge you on this one. Where's the politics in the circus?
Mandy: Is it the elephants?
Robb: The circus in the politics?
Road Dog: Elephants are American.
Robb: The circus is the site for people who don't fit into established norms.
Mandy: Kids who don't really grow up and are in a rock band go to the circus.
Robb: Tyler, it was your concept.
Tyler: I'm working right now.
Road Dog: He's working right now... So, circus, politics, that makes sense... Queen's Park, capital building in Ottawa, it is a circus half the time.
Robb: It is a circus. Absolutely.
Road Dog: The G8 Summit will then be the G80 Summit.
Robb: 80? That'll have them almost all covered. When we get to the G192 that'll be a real success.
Road Dog: I think by then they'll call it "The Globalization of the World Domination." You now believe in the policed universe. And you put in your forms to cross the street.
Robb: My barcode is being planted into the back of my neck.
Road Dog: It already is.
Mandy: I've got mine tattooed on already.
Road Dog: 551222372. You may pass now. You may not enter this Starbucks restaurant because you do not have your pass. You are not permitted. You may feed from that garbage can though, until you get your pass.
Robb: That's good.
Road Dog: It's coming. Well let's go on with another song here. "Madonna." Well let's see how good Madonna's doin' these days, okay?
Mandy: She's workin' out, that's what she's doin'.
Road Dog: We don't play her music here cos we don't believe in her music here. You gotta go to other station to hear her music.
Robb: Well it's not actually about that Madonna. The chorus goes, "Hey my lady," and it repeats "MY lady," which is "Madonna" in Italian. So there you go.
Mandy: And there's been a lot more Madonnas than her in the past.
Robb: Exactly. Plenty of ladies out there.
SONGS: "Madonna" and "Strangers"
Road Dog: That was two hits for you from the band Paint, the Road Dog has had the great pleasure of interviewing Paint from Toronto, Waterloo, you guys are from all over the place, aren't you?
Robb: We're a smorgasboard. We meet in Toronto, that's the central home.
Road Dog: So you're from Waterloo?
Mandy: I am from Waterloo.
Road Dog: Are you a Waterloo girl?
Mandy: I am a Waterloo girl, born and raised. I went away a few times, but I was raised here. Went to N.A. McCecerin. University of Waterloo.
Road Dog: Anyone you want to say hi to?
Mandy: My dad's listening. Hi dad.
Robb: Hi Gord!
Tyler: Hey Gord!
Mandy: Gord. Our number one fan. He'll be here tonight, if that's a draw for anyone.
Road Dog: There'll be people tonight. The Road Dog has ordered you all. If not I will send my father and my mother and spawns into your dreams tonight.
Mandy: So scary.
Robb: I like seeing the Vancouver clock up on the wall there. Cos that's where I'm from originally. And that's where this album was recorded. Where Paint was a band.
Road Dog: I mentioned that to a couple producer friends and some techs and I said "I'm interviewing the band Paint tonight," and they said, "Oh, that band from Vancouver!" And I went "....yeah, cool..." I knew there was a connection to Vancouver but I figured you're from Toronto now. But they all recognized you from Vancouver times.
Robb: Well, Vancouver has glass ceiling. There's only so far you can go without having to either be on tour all the time or just move somewhere else.
Road Dog: Seattle, Washington, Portland.
Robb: There's the coast. I just don't know if I really wanted to become an American.
Road Dog: Oh – you can hear the crowds are pouring in downstairs.
Robb: That's the extra crew.
Road Dog: The roadies are here, watch out folks.
Robb: Tyler's help.... Just for clarity for everyone. There's myself and Mandy, we're here, we're in the band. The other two bandmates are on their way. But our manager Rachel...
Road Dog: If you wanna see someone really good-lookin', see Rachel.
Mandy: We should just have her do spins on stage in the middle of the set.
Robb: And our guitar tech and videographer and road crew manager, Tyler, is here.
Road Dog: And Tyler's done the video, he's head roadie kind of guy, he's the master blaster of making sure your show comes through.
Mandy: The master blaster.
Road Dog: The master blaster. He's the guy that makes the magic. If it wasn't for him you would not be able to perform the magic on stage.
Mandy: It's true.
Robb: I always say that Tyler is the most valuable member of the band. Without him I don't think the shows would go as smoothly as they do. We play in a lot of different tunings and use a lot of different instruments with capos. Our setup is very complicated. As simple as the music sounds, it's actually very complicated to achieve what we do. And Tyler makes it all possible. He's great. And he follows us around, he videotapes everything we do. So we have this series on your YouTube Channel called "A Day in the Life."
Road Dog: So, like in 1974, when bands came out of the bar and now the superstars today, we're at hat stage with you guys: you're at the bars and you're gonna advance, then you're gonna start opening for big acts, and then before you know it those big acts will be opening for you...
Mandy: You know it.
Robb: That's what we hope. And these videos will be worth a lot of money then.
Road Dog: They could be.
Mandy: Well that Rush documentary just came out. So when our documentary comes out, you'll need the footage from the beginning. So what Tyler's doing is very important.
Robb: Tyler, did you have anything you wanted to say about those?
Road Dog: Yes, Tyler, or forever hold your peace.
Robb: Just come sit over here, it's fine. We've all seen each other naked anyways.
Tyler: We are naked right now.
Robb: Absolutely. That's why we're so relaxed.
Tyler: Well, I'm the guitar tech, I do al the videos as well. On the website, www.thepaintsite.com, we've got a YouTube Channel, where I do a series called "A Day in the Life," which is all the behind-the-scenes stuff. For instance, the first one shows how a song is created – which is hopefully gonna be one of our singles coming up, "End of the Reel." I also shoot all the music videos. The last one was "Don't Blow Me Away," it's one of the greatest videos ever.
Mandy: He's not overselling it at all.
Road Dog: It takes place in a circus and it's a song about politics, it's gotta be great.
Tyler: Yeah, it is great. And it may be called "Don't Blow Me Away" but it's gonna blow you away once you watch it.
Robb: Tyler, you want a job as PR as well?
Tyler: And there's a newer video we're working on for "A Gentle Art." I've had these storyboards for a couple months now. On the 27th of June we'll be shooting the video. We're shooting at a bar, at Robb's place, in an alley way. And there's gonna be a lot of smashing. The song is about ripping someone's heart out, doing a Riverdance on it, throwing it in the blender, and smashing it against he wall. It's gonna be great, smashing up some guitars, TVs, frames.
Road Dog: Why not? You gonna throw some TVs out of hotel rooms?
Tyler: I would love to actually.
Mandy: We also just do that for fun. It's what you're supposed to do in a band.
Robb: Of course.
Road Dog: I can't tell you where, but yes it's hysterical. And if you've got some Jack Daniel's in you, it's even funnier. And then when the police come and put the handcuffs on you, you wet yourself laughing. All the way down in the paddywagon, and then for some reason when everyone's gone, and it's just you in the back of that vehicle, you start crying. It's not so funny anymore.
Robb: That sounds like a typical Saturday night for me two years ago. I don't think there was TV smashing, but there was Jack Daniel's and fighting with police officers. Good times. I've cleaned up now though.
Road Dog: They earned their paycheque that night.
Road Dog: Good, good, good to hear. As long as no one got hurt and it was lots of fun and paperwork.
Robb: Oh yes, plenty of paperwork. Especially the complaint that came about afterwards.
Road Dog: Jesus. I still don't think your generation is as rowdy as ours. That's why there's so many laws and rules and regulations – because of our generation.
Rachel: You ruined it for everyone.
Robb: Thank you.
Mandy: Now our generation just sits in front of the computer. You can't get quite as rowdy in front of the computer.
Road Dog: I think there should be an age category when you're permitted to be on the computer. Just us old rockers are allowed to go on there.
Road Dog: Yes. Young folks, when you play your rock 'n' roll, you've gotta get down and dirty and do all sorts of weird things. Use your imagination. Get into the trouble we used to get in.
Road Dog: Then, after all those years of abuse and violence and stupidity, and drunkenness, and debauchery, and rock 'n' roll, and stage falling off, and vomiting, and all that stuff – then you're permitted to go in front of the computer.
Robb: I agree.
Road Dog: And write about all the stuff you did.
Robb: That should be a new rule. I still have to write that story down.
Tyler: That's why you have a cameraman by you, cos you're not gonna remember three-quarters of this stuff.
Road Dog: So you guys are on the way of making a new album?
Mandy: We're in the midst of writing a lot of new material.
Road Dog: That's what I wanna hear. And same kind of angle you're going with? Cos this is a fantastic album, I really enjoy it. Are sales going as you'd expect, or better?
Robb: Well it's a tough market.
Road Dog: For everyone.
Robb: Especially when you're a small band. But for us it's opened up the need to go out and tour. I've always wanted to be a live band first and foremost.
Road Dog: Very important.
Robb: So it's really given us the kick in the butt to do that.
Road Dog: It's part of the evolution of this business. You've gotta do it on stage. Bruce Springsteen was an overnight success. In ten years. Bon Jovi, it took him ten years. Any of the greats. We were talking about Tom Waits, this guy was playing down in New Orleans, making money off the street, and playing in bars, and years later he became famous, he's on TV, loved him in Barfly, he's a hysterical personality. He's one of the hardest guys to interview too. I was talking to Henry Rollins and Henry's friend of his, but he said he's one of the guys he wants to interview, and he's a friend of his, and he won't do the interview with him. So whether that's kind of a publicity thing to help, get people talking...
Robb: Create a mystique. I watched some old interviews with Tom Waits from early one, late '70s, early '80s and he was hilarious. Completely strung out at that time as well, sitting there staring at his feet the whole time. But he's a character.
Road Dog: Gin and cigarettes, ladies, gin and cigarettes.
Robb: One of the few guys that's been able to pull it off.
Road Dog: Alright we're gonna go on to another song here. Folks, get yourselves down here to Maxwell's to catch this act. This is "A Gentle Art."
Robb: It's gonna be the third single off the album.
Road Dog: You're listening to the Road Dog Show, special Saturday evening edition with the band Paint.
SONG: "A Gentle Art"
Road Dog: ...as the record skips.
Robb: That's actually a Roland Space Tape Echo.
Road Dog: Do you have blisters on your fingers?
Robb: Not really, for that song I seriously just stand in front of my amp and let it do the talking.
Road Dog: Oh, Jimi! Jimi do it again!
Robb: Somebody yelled out "Jimi" at us once, remember that show at C'est What?
Robb: I finished that solo and someone in the audience goes, "Jimi!"
Road Dog: I don't what it is with that. Maybe it's my generation. I hope to see more of that in today's sound and in the future of music. I'm always looking to the future, and what is the next wave of music. When someone such as yourself does this kind of feedback thing, and it reminds me of Jimi and Peter Townshend. It does something to me as a music lover. I don't know if the caveman comes out, must grab woman, beat on head and drag home, I don't know...
Robb: There is something very primal about it. I'm a really big fan of Neil Young as well. His guitar playing...
Road Dog: Oh, "Hurricane"!
Robb: He said, "I don't play notes, I just make noise." Just so much crunch.
Road Dog: Grunge.
Robb: I saw this particular solo, and I'm not sure about Mandy. Mandy does some fabulous lead guitar work on stage as well, it completely blows my mind. But for me personally, I've never been a big fan of flashy guitar playing, but I've always been a fan of guitar playing that makes you feel something.
Road Dog: Yes.
Robb: The solo in "A Gentle Art" is really just chaneling. It's stepping outside myself and letting the instrument and me become one.
Mandy: I think the solo has to tell part of the song's story or else it's useless.
Robb: It's self-indulgent.
Road Dog: To me, it tells a story, it's a person with their instrument talking; making that machine communicate to me. Some people listen and go, "That's noisy, that's screamy, like cats being blown up." But for me, I enjoy it. It says something, it's loud, it's proud, it gets anger out, it gets excitement out, adrenaline, testosterone maybe.
Robb: Especially when Mandy does it.
Mandy: Yeah, I'm full of testosterone.
Robb: Wait till you see Mandy on stage playing the solo for "Can You Hear Me?", it's one of the most inspiring things I've ever seen on stage.
Tyler: Best female guitarist.
Robb: Best female guitarist.
Mandy: Aw, you're so kind.
Road Dog: Each of you gets to show your talent. Do you set it up so each of you get to show your talent throughout the show itself?
Mandy: Oh yeah. I always pretend that whatever I'm playing at that moment is the hardest thing anyone's ever played on guitar.
Road Dog: Make them just feel your pain, the blood, the fingers burning.
Mandy: Yeah. Robb always talks about how we don't have lead and rhythm guitar in our band, we just have left and right guitar, which makes it feel much more democratic and we can step forward and step back.
Road Dog: It's stereo in stereo, people.
Robb: Left and right, and we stack our amps on one side of the stage to just clobber you.
Road Dog: I thought you just did that to screw everyone up.
Mandy: So nobody can tell which guitar the sound is coming from.
Robb: That's the point. It's meant to be almost indecipherable. The parts are really distinct but they're supposed to work together as this "wall of sound." That's really what inspires us. That's our character: it's a wall of sound with vocal melodies that carry over the top.
Road Dog: Here comes the big question itself: what inspired you to become you? Both of you? Why do you play guitar, who brought you to formulate your own thing? Throughout your life, parents play a part in our lives, our siblings, cousins, the kids we play with, then we start developing our love for someone's talent. We say, "You know what? I love that, I can do that, maybe better!" Who formulated you? Was it 2 or 3 different bands? One musician? Two musicians? It's a tough one.
Robb: It is, and that's a very loaded question. Malcolm X once said that every single moment of your life shapes who you are what you've done. So in order to really understand someone, you have to see it all. In my case it was an evolution, starting from Motown through to... You and I were talking about the Beatles, and I laugh when bands say they're influenced by the Beatles because if you've lived on earth since 1964 whether you're a musician or not, you've been influenced by the Beatles. That's just obvious. In my case, Pearl Jam's been a big influence, everything they've done with their career. The shoegazer bands from the UK, My Bloody Valentine, which spawned into Oasis and Blur, were really huge. Folksingers, Neil Young, Bob Dylan; making sense of very complicated issues through direct means.
Road Dog: What was your first album? First song?
Robb: My brother had a copy of 1984 by Van Halen. I was really young. My parents hated it cos it had the picture of the angel, the kid, smoking the cigarette. That was the first one I think I had in my possession but it may have been a Public Enemy record.
Mandy: Yours are so much better than mine.
Road Dog: Let's talk about you, what shaped and moulded you? Did you start off with acoustic? The classics? Or did you go right to, "My parents are not paying attention, so 'Jamie's crying'..." Or "Runnin' With the Devil!"
Mandy: The first record I ever had was New Kids on the Block.
Robb: That's where it started.
Tyler: That was mine too.
Mandy: I do remember my parents waking me up to watch them on Arsenio though.
Road Dog: That's cool, your parents inspired you.
Mandy: We were a very musical family. On Sundays after church we'd sing on the piano. I think for me playing the guitar has been as much of a journey about growing up and figuring out who I am, as a woman, as it has been about the music. Music can be so presumed male that playing electric guitar as a woman, I find it to be extremely powerful. And as I've been sorting out who I am as a person it's been a great tool in figuring out how I relate to the world and I want the world to see me and who I can be different in the world.
Road Dog: Wow.
Robb: Cool. Nice.
Road Dog: My eldest got brainwashed terribly with all the classic rock, "Thanks dad," and I'm just thinking, "When did all of my rock become classic?" The other, one was the Backstreet Boys and N'Sync. My third daughter has a good round figure of everything, but overall, all three of them: Spice Girls. Then I started saying to them: "Chick rock is cool, girls." And I proved that when I had an interview with Joan Jett and the Blackhearts.
Mandy: Big influence.
Road Dog: And my girls went, "Yes, father! You are the ultimate..."
Mandy: If I could be half the musician as Joan Jett...
Road Dog: She is such a sweetie.
Robb: And Kim Deal. She is the coolest person that's ever lived.
Road Dog: The Runaways was my first chick band. They just had a movie released.
Mandy: Great movie.
Road Dog: It is? I haven't had a chance to see it yet, I've been so busy.
Mandy: It's really good.
Road Dog: In the '70s, when that band came out, I was overwhelmed. "Chicks can rock, man! They're good-looking and they can rock!" And I remember an interview recently with Joan Jett and they asked, "Is there a chance that the Runaways could come back together," and she says, "We're too old to be runaways. When we were young, girls ran away, and we could play this music, and it went very well with the persona: we ran away. Today, we're geriatrics trying to run away."
Mandy: Just change their name to The Geriatrics. You'd never guess how old Joan Jett is.
Road Dog: Joanie? I could tell you exactly how old she is cos I've stood right next to her. When you see her on film, she's gorgeous. When you look her up close... I'm not gonna say anything bad about the woman because there is nothing bad about her, but you can see her age.
Mandy: ...Now, if I could just defend my love of the Backstreet Boys and New Kids on the Block.
Road Dog: Go ahead, we love teasing them but they're very talented musicians. They can sing very well.
Mandy: Obviously they were playing to the girl love of, "Oh, these cute boys are singing about love and it must be about me." But I honestly think it shaped how I think about melody. I didn't grow up listening to classic rock even though my dad may have wanted me to. I still think about those bridges and those melodies and how it affected me as a child when I think about writing a song these days.
Robb: There's so much to be learned from pop music, and also from electronic music. I've been really listening to Kraftwerk lately.
Road Dog: Autobahn!
Robb: It's brilliant! The fact that their song "Computer Love" gave Coldplay "Talk, " they took that song and realized when they were about to release it, "Oh shit, we're gonna get sued! Again! So we have to ask them for permission to use their song." But when you have these things that don't sound like what your band sounds like but you look at the way they put chord progressions and melodies together. I played in a band called Paper Moon for a while. They were based in Winnipeg and they moved to Vancouver and I joined them for a bit when I was reconceptualizing Paint and what I wanted Paint to be. And Paper Moon was so unapologetically pop. I liked putting that limitation on. With Paper Moon, it was: "We sing songs that are poppy and we're not gonna apologize about that." Regardless of what you're doing to have that conviction, don't apologize, is what we do in Paint. This is what we do. The guitars are loud, the melodies and soaring and poppy, and they get stuck in your head. And we're not gonna apologize for that.
Road Dog: I'm a guitar man. I love the sound of the guitar. We talked about Neil Young. "Hurricane." My god. You've got 12 minutes of "Waaaaaaaaaaa...."
Mandy: Will they play that song at your funeral?
Road Dog: Probably. My kids and my wife have a list, and that probably will be one of them. But that's exactly what you're saying. That sound.
Robb: If we're talking about pop music, Peter Gabriel said it really well: if you give artists no limitation, they're just gonna go off into this self-indulgent universe. You have to impose structure, such as "We're only going to play songs with this instrumentation. It's gonna go verse-chorus-verse-chorus like this." I like having those boundaries, and working within those.
Road Dog: But if those boundaries did not exist. Take, for example, Meat Loaf. There's been so many artists that came up with something different.
Robb: Of course.
Road Dog: And it became an icon, a classic, original piece of work, that we wouldn't have because so many other talent agents would look at him and go, "Where's the three-structure, it's not there. I don't want it. It doesn't sound like this band. Why aren't you like this band? Why aren't you like that band? We don't want you, get out of here, go away!" So then they had to form their own label. Sell their own album.
Robb: So many bands did that. The Cure, The Doors, the new wave, bands like Joy Division.
Road Dog: Are boundaries good?
Robb: I don't think boundaries in terms of trying to pigeon-hole us into a particular sound.
Mandy: Yeah, I don't think Robb's gonna start rapping over the beat or anything.
Road Dog: Please don't. No offence to rappers out there, I don't appreciate it but I'd be the first guy in the firing line to defend their right to listen to it but I won't be listening to it.
Robb: It's more having a conception of us and "Who are we?"
Road Dog: That's a line in that song ("A Gentle Art").
Robb: Yeah, it is, isn't it?
Road Dog: Your poetry's coming out in your vocabulary.
Robb: I sometimes will bust into lines. I did one recently, we were talking about dictators, and I used the line from "Madonna," I was talking to Marcus, our bass player, it was Stalin or Mao, and I said "Don't let their darkest moments define everything they've done." Quoting my own songs, such an egoist.
Mandy: It's so meta of you, Robb.
Robb: So meta.
Road Dog: Let's go on to another song here, and this is "After" and "An Evening to Myself." And remember the famous words that Bruce Springsteen said: "Poor man wanna be rich, rich man wanna be king, and king isn't satisfied till he has everything." You're listening to the Road Dog Show, an exclusive interview with the band Paint and I highly recommend you get off your keester and get your butt down here and catch this act.
SONGS: "After" and "An Evening to Myself"
Video of this interview can be viewed at The Official Paint YouTube Channel (WATCH PART 1 // WATCH PART 2).