Interviews: Mad Painter

On this new occasion, we have had the opportunity to interview the Rock band Mad Painter from the USA. Check out this band and follow them on their FACEBOOK PAGE.

1. Where did you get the idea for the band name, you plan it or come out just like that?

I had this crazy idea of putting together a band circa 1990 and calling it Mad Painter. Why? Because as a musician, singer, and songwriter I’ve always viewed myself as a “sonic” painter. I paint with notes. Now that I have a solid band, WE paint with aural palettes and colors, which are rhythms, notes, solos, chords, etc. Nothing came out of it at the time and I put the idea on hold for a very long time. It was just a wacky fantasy of mine. But then, many decades later, I got together with two friends for an impromptu jam after Christmas 2015; things just started to gel and we took it to the next level.

2. Why did you want to play this genre?

There was no choice, really. It's who I am. And I think it goes for all current Mad Painter members. We're not classical or jazz players. We're into rock. We all grew up on the 60s British beat and psychedelia, from the Small Faces to The Move and Procol Harum, the American "raw power" in the early 70s, Grand Funk, Dust, Frijid Pink, MC5, Mountain, and mainly the glam, hard and prog rock from the first half of the 70s, from Bowie, Sweet, Mott, Faces and Suzi Q to Uriah Heep, Deep Purple, Whitesnake, Rainbow, Nazareth. We do wear our influences on our sleeves and they're pretty diverse. For me in the early-mid 90s, as a 20-something it was a very easy route to take, 1970s escapism. Because everything that was happening in music at the time was so repulsive. That was a time of great discovery for me. But my bandmates, who were mostly born in the 1950s, actually LIVED it in the first place. So musically they're the only kind of musicians I feel I could connect with. There were many false starts and misfires prior to this lineup coming together. If I got together with people my age, I'd be hearing all the wrong sounds borrowed from Metallica, Dream Theatre, Malmsteen, whatever, and it bothered me. Those aren't my styles and they're not part of the Painter universe. With this lineup I feel it's important to be friends and musical soul mates, it makes all the difference in the world.

3. Did you know each other before the band was formed?

Sort of. The Boston scene is interconnected. One way or another you're bound to run into someone who knows someone else. I met Kenne, a veteran of the Boston and Mid-Western rock scene, in early 2017 at a Painter gig in Cambridge, at the Out of the Blue gallery. We were a guitar-less trio – just me on vocals and keys, and a rhythm section. And he approached me after the show and compared our sound to Aphrodite's Child, a huge compliment. So one thing led to another and he joined us, first on guitar and then bass, when the previous bassist quit. After the Covid malaise of 2020, we switched drummers too, and it was another friend and bandmate of Kenne's, Alan Hendry. And finally, he brought along another friend and bandmate, guitarist Al Naha, and the "corporate takeover" of Painter was complete. Kenne's got his own Kenne Highland Airforce, and the lineup is very similar, although the sound's totally different.

4. Each band member's favorite band?

Alex Gitlin, vocals and keyboards: Status Quo, Uriah Heep 

Alan Hendry, drums: King Crimson, Genesis, Jethro Tull

Kenne Highland, bass: Stooges, MC5, New York Dolls, Velvet Underground 

Julie Gee, backing vocals: Elton John, Queen 

Al Naha, guitar: Laibach, The Fall

5. Who or what inspires you to write songs?

It's a sonic vision. It's like a muse, it can visit you at any time, anywhere, even in your sleep. I grew up on classic Uriah Heep (Lawton, Byron on vocals) and Mk II and III of Deep Purple (Gillan, Coverdale). And I've always been fascinated by the sound of Hammond organ. Whether distorted or jazzy, with or without percussion and vibrato, different drawbar settings, etc. My late friend Eddie Hardin (Hardin York, Butterfly Ball, Wizards Convention, etc.) was my mentor. And the late Ken Hensley created such sublime dreamy soundscapes, he's really the main melodic influence on me. Our two singles off the forthcoming album, "Illusion" and "Rock and Roll Samurai" speak for themselves.

6. Where was your last gig?

The Jungle in Somerville. We come back there once in a while and the reception is always overwhelming!

7. Where would you like to act?

I'm not an actor and have always had trouble impersonating someone else on stage in a theatrical setting. I've got to be me, to paraphrase Sammy Davis Jr. and the Golden Rainbow musical. This is really why I never fit in with various tribute bands I'd try out for as a keyboardist.

8. Whom would you like to feature with?

If you mean who we'd like to open for, I have to be realistic, not many great or worthwhile musicians and bands are left on this Earth, from our favorite era. It would be great if we landed an opening spot for Andy Powell's Wishbone Ash or the modern version of Michael Schenker Group.

9. Whom not?

Anyone current, it would be a mismatch, and everyone, including ourselves, would be disappointed. We don’t fit in with the current scene any more than we would 20 or 30 years ago. Nor our ethos.

10. Have any of you ever suffered from stage fright? Any tips for beginners on how to beat that?

I have, and it's normal. Our debut show back in Oct. 2016 was a total disaster. As a performer you grow and over the years acquire more experience, and your self-confidence will keep building up. I used to have terrible anxiety before each show, and I've analyzed it and come to the conclusion that it had several contributing factors. First, if you're not confident in your bandmates' capabilities and desire to do their best on stage, especially if they're not your friends and have their own agenda. They'll let you down. Secondly, the voice. As a vocalist, I know it takes a few years to shape it. Sometimes you're not sure if you can reach that high note, and that feeling can give you serious chills. These days though there's no anxiety, because with this lineup I know my songs are in the best hands possible, and we feel each other's support on and off stage. It's a comfy feeling. No more stage fright when all the pieces of the puzzle fall into place.

11. What bands have inspired you the most?

The aforementioned three, Uriah Heep, Deep Purple and Status Quo. But more than any band, I'm inspired by the whole culture of the 1970s UK pre-punk scene. It was nothing short of magical. One night you could go out and see Rory Gallagher, the next T.Rex or Queen, as their star was just rising, then The Sweet and Nazareth. The list goes on. It was a phenomenon the likes of which are not going to repeat in our lifetime, that is for sure.

12. What's the weirdest thing a fan has ever asked you for?

One very nice lady in a club once asked me for an autographed CD of our new album, Splashed. She said it's for a friend of hers who is deaf. Then she added, hopefully, there are lyrics printed inside? So this person wouldn't be able to hear our music but would spend time reading my lyrics. I wasn't sure how to react, but of course, I accommodated her.

13. What do you think of your fans?

They're a rowdy, boisterous bunch. Par for the course, cause that's how we are, too. We now see regulars at our shows, those that come to every Painter show in the area. Which is terrific. But then, everyone knows each other and it's hard to draw the line between "other bands" within the Painter circle and just followers, that line is blurred. We're a bit like Hawkwind, there are satellite bands in our orbit, some of them share members with Painter, and vice versa, Painter is in some other bands' orbits.

14. What do you think of our site?

I've just spent a few minutes on your Genres and Subgenres page, and I am fascinated by how many there are out there. It's just mind-blowing. Mathcore? Jazz Metal? Nintendocore? Egyptian Metal? Post shoegaze! Wow. I wonder which subcategory we fit into.

15. Something to add?

Sure. We're about to make our debut in New York City this Saturday, at the Parkside Lounge in lower Manhattan. It's next to Katz's Delicatessen, you know, the place where they filmed Meg Ryan's orgasm in When Harry Met Sally. That was probably some kind of a pre-core. And our album, Splashed, is being released now on a label that has just signed us, Epictronic. The future is bright for Painter, Come see us if you're in the area, keep an eye on our website,, and connect with us on social media:

No hay comentarios

Imágenes del tema: Aguru. Con la tecnología de Blogger.