We’ve been thoroughly enjoying the music of Mad Painter, and felt the need to get to know them a little better.
Mad Painter is a new band in the Boston area, deeply rooted in the melodic rock tradition of the 1970s. They play mostly original music, ranging from Woodstock-era psychedelic rock to glam-tinged rock’n’roll a-la Mott the Hoople and the Faces and to epic heavy anthems in the vein of Uriah Heep. It consists of four individuals with wildly ranging backgrounds.
Who’s the crazy one in the band?!!
Our guitarist. Whacky sense of humour, personality, and quirks, mind you, I’m not that far behind him! His nickname is Schmel (stemming from the made up Facebook name), and when we really get into it, the rest of the band calls it Schmellex. If you were a fly on the wall at our practices, you’d hear the raunchiest stories and jokes this side of purgatory.
We love your Deep Purple-influenced style, but please describe it in your own words for our readers.
The influences we all share are psychedelic and progressive rock of the late 60s and early 70s, from Aphrodite’s Child to Spooky Tooth and Deep Purple Mk I (with Rod Evans). That’s kind of the bedrock. Then you add the English whimsy courtesy of the Zombies and the Small Faces, which is a gateway into the 70s (Humble Pie, Rod Stewart and the Faces). The absolute crux consists of Uriah Heep and Deep Purple, since this is a Hammond organ – guitar band. Other things are incidental, in the way they get mentioned during our practices (oh, I stole that lick from John Entwhistle, etc.) So besides the above-mentioned lot, the names that get the roll call routinely as Grand Funk, Mountain, Cream, Jethro Tull and Procol Harum. Mind you, we’re musicians first, not rock historians. So a lot of this stuff is very spontaneous – “this melody sounds a bit like so-and-so”. But at the root of it lie the 1960s and 70s ethos and musical standards. The only language we speak is that spoken by the bands of that time period, although now it feels like Latin, we’re the only ones, in these locales anyway, carrying this torch.
Who are your biggest influences?
Mine personally would have to be Deep Purple, Uriah Heep, Rory Gallagher, speaking as a musician, although lately, I’ve been listening to Jimmy Smith, Jimmy McGriff and Brother Jack McDuff. As an organist, there’s no better starting point than these three. All legends. I’ve listened, and collected, a lot of music throughout my lifetime, from glam and pub rock to prog. Melodically, my influences can be quite “francophonic” sometimes, on the new album, Splashed, we have three songs that are influenced by French pop of that era: San Michel, Jacques and A Friend In France. And I always try to keep things very melodic. If there’s no melody, there’s hardly a point to the song. For that, I often source my inspiration from the Paul Mauriat Orchestra.
We love your commitment to the 70s vibe. Where did you get your outfits for your press photos!?
Various places. There used to be a place in Cambridge called the Garment District. According to Google, it’s still around! Speaking for the entire band, various online stores like Rusty Zipper, Poshmark, Etsy, and Amazon of course. A few years ago you could get really fantastic corduroy bell bottoms and platform shoes on Amazon! I love my Run ‘n Fly bells, shipped directly from England.
What can fans expect from your live show?
Joy. A feeling of elation. Belonging. Exhilaration. Euphoria. If we’ve achieved that, our mission is accomplished.
Tell us something about you that we wouldn’t believe!
Perhaps I’m the only person in the universe who has Grave Digger and Brotherhood Of Man in my music collection.
Do you have any pre-gig rituals? Stage fright? Superstitions?
No special rituals. The drummer will just chill out with a beer, once he’s done setting up his kit. I get busy setting up my instruments, connecting the cables and interacting with the soundman. The bass player will retire for a while to grab a bite. And the guitarist will show up with just enough time to set up, plug in and go. Simple.
Who would you most like to collaborate with?
Of the famous people? You know, the one dream of mine that’s never come true, and I’ve never talked about it before, is playing the organ for an authentic bluesman. Someone like Freddie King, Howlin’ Wolf, Muddy Waters, Willie Dixon, B.B.King.
What is your favourite song to perform, and why?
At the moment it’s Empty Bottles. It’s simple, and straightforward but catchy as hell and always gets the audience going! We’ve not yet recorded it in the studio, so that’s yet to come.
But here’s the Boston Wave Radio live version.
Do you have any upcoming shows to tell our readers about?
Yes, absolutely. C Note in Hull, MA. The Michael Weddle benefit and celebration of life. He was a Mad Painter fan and enthusiast, and he booked us there many times. Now it’s our turn to thank him. He, unfortunately, passed away last year and his friend Barbara Rhind is organizing this benefit on April 8.
Then there’s the Jungle in Somerville – April 22. This has become our “stamping ground”, and we love returning there every time. Lately, we’ve been putting together our own bills with friends, bands like The Thigh Scrapers, The Stigmatics and Johnny Plankton. It’s like one extended Painter family. We help each other.
Finally, the BIG ONE is The Chelsea Table in New York City. May 27th, it’s Memorial Day weekend. We’re now trying our best to spread the word and publicize this gig to the max to ensure attendance. We’re going to be the only band on the bill (no opening acts). So the race is on and the stakes are high! Let’s do it!!!
Thank you Mad Painter for chatting with us today.
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