Hey, what’s up?
Waking up kind of late. You know, I’m living that rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle.
How did you get to live the rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle?
I would always send my demo tapes that I made at home to my Uncle John, and so my Uncle John, he’s in Fleming & John, would hear them and tell me that I was getting better and better. And one time he told me to come out and record at his house, so I went up there one time and we did a batch of songs. We did like two or three songs at his home studio in Nashville. I think his manager called on the phone one time and he was like, ‘Wow, who is that?’ So his manager came over, who is now my manager, and wanted to work together. Then I got some connections through Mike and he owns an independent record label called Facility Records and signed me to that label. Then they shopped me around to major labels, but have you ever heard of the band Flick? Well, they signed to Columbia and got a big deal and never panned out. Well, the point is that I actually auditioned to play drums for them before I recorded with John and that didn’t work out. To make an already long story short, Flick was signed to Facility and Facility got them signed to Columbia. That is why me and John thought that it would be a good thing to do. Hollywood was the first label to really respond. The A & R guy was like, ‘This is really good. When can we see you play?’ You know, the typical thing, but the guy who runs Hollywood, Bob Cavallo, he called Mike and told them that he wanted to sign me right away, and we just liked their enthusiasm and signed with them. They’ve been great.
So you play drums too? What other instruments do you play?
On the album, I played everything except string quartet. They came in on a couple of songs. I started out playing drums at five or six. I was banging on paint cans as a kid so they bought me a toy drum kit when I was five. They got me real set when I was seven. I was like drummer boy until middle school. My first band I was in I was the drummer/singer. I was in the eighth grade. It was tough. I wrote all the lyrics but I couldn’t put good melodies together. So I picked up the guitar and just self taught myself like I did with the drums. That is when I started writing my own songs on guitar and left that band and formed Rich Creamy Paint. It is just my solo career, you know, in the eighth grade. (laughs) I wanted to come up with a cool name so I just took my name and it’s history. My dad had recording equipment lying around the house so I recorded an album. I played the guitar and simple bass lines and went from there. I just started figuring out simple keyboard parts, but I recorded three or four Rich Creamy Paint albums throughout high school. Those are the things I’d send to my uncle. At the studio, I played a lot of percussion. I played cello on some songs and all these little instruments I just messed around with and added to the album.
How old are the songs on the album? Did you bring songs into the studio or did you write them beforehand?
They are all pretty spread out. Some of the songs date back three or four years. I made this one album at the end of tenth grade strictly for this girl I had been dating for a year and we were really serious. I mean, we thought we were getting married. I kind of told her I wanted to date other people and we broke up, but I wanted to get back with her so I wrote a whole Rich Creamy Paint album just for her. That album had “Telephone Number” and a couple other ones on it that are on the album now. The others I wrote in between that. “A.D.D.” I wrote in college last year. I even recorded the album while I was in college in Belmont. I wrote a couple of songs in college, but most of them are three or four years old.
Are you taking time off from college now?
Yeah, you have to take time off. The band and me got out this year.
Did being in a band help you out with the girls in school?
Uh. Well, that is a hard question, but I was always the one girl kind of guy. I wasn’t the groupie kind of guy. A lot of my songs, I really talk about my future wife and stuff, so I wasn’t the kind of person that started a band to get girls.
When did you write your first song?
You know, I’m seeing a lot of magazines are writing that I started when I was eleven and I don’t know where they got that information.
You know what? It’s in your label bio.
Oh, it is? Wow. Check that out. I don’t know where they got that. I would say my first song was around six or seven. My sister and me put this imaginary band together. My parents were in this local rock ‘n’ roll band and so we were always like rock kids. They weren’t super big, but they were always playing. So we were in this imaginary band and my dad had a drum machine and we used to mess around with it. I remember my first song was “Freeze It To The Beat”. That wasn’t a real song, but I was composing. We came up with words and everything when I was that young. I don’t know if that counts, but eleven? I guess they just figured it was when I was in my first band. That must be where they got that.
What inspires you to write?
A lot of songs are just about growing up and hanging out. “You Make Me Laugh” was about when I broke my leg playing baseball, and I was really bummed out and I wanted to write something to cheer myself up.
Do you have a song formula?
Every song is different. I usually just mess around on the guitar and then I’ll find a melody in my head. The words usually come last. I always try to come up with really simple words just because that is how I am. I want them to be more direct rather than use weird metaphors.
Your music reminds me of songs from the ’50’s and ’60’s? What did you grow up listening to?
Well, I guess Rivers Cuomo from Weezer always had a real ’50’s tinge, but all my influences come from singer/songwriters. I like guys that are real creative and intelligent and like to rock. I was listening to Ben Folds, Matthew Sweet, and Built To Spill. When I was growing up, my dad loved classic rock. He would listen to Cream and ZZ Top. I hung out with a lot of older teenage friends and they were always putting Duran Duran and Bell Biv Devoe on. So maybe a lot of my stuff is just a combination of those things.
Your album reminded me a bit of Jason Falkner. Your styles aren’t exactly the same, but you play all the instruments, and that is impressive.
You know, I’ve been hearing a lot about Falkner and I never knew who he was until now. Is he a recent artist?
Yeah. He was in the Grays, then the Jellyfish, and his last album came out early this year and it is one of the best albums of the year.
I need to check it out.
It is genius. But it is a little darker than yours.
I dig dark music. Actually, my new songs are a little more emotional, passionate, and more mature. I don’t want to give too much away.
Will you record a new album with your band you tour with or will you do it by yourself again?
That is a tough one. I’ll have to decide. It depends how much I’ll want to stick with these guys.
+ charlie craine