A genuine original, the Pauley Lane Band pulls no punches in life, lyrics and song. The same straightforward approach is heard in the South Florida-based group’s album, Dog Days. The collection reflects a bit of country musicianship and sensibility while staying true to form. With a candid what-you-see-is-what-you-get kind of bluster, the PLB probably would not want things any other way. The band brings an individual perspective to the music, free of additives and fillers.
On the In-Ex Record label, one of the highlights from Dog Days, “Mary Jane,” is topical and entirely personal in more ways than one. There is no mistaking the lyrics, “Can’t seem to keep it all together…I lose my sense of reality.” But for the Pauley Lane Band, the cut runs deeper than expected. As a matter of fact, personal experience is the basis for most of the songs from the band, with a helping of hardnosed reality thrown in for good measure. With acoustic and electric guitar melodies and a solid drumbeat dominating the mix, other favorites include the album opener “Five Fingers,” “Drunks & Fools” and “Fame Faded.” Look out for a curveball with the punked out “Fluff And Fold.”
Pauley Lane Band is Wyatt Pauley – guitar, vocals, producer; Rich Pistocchi – drums, percussion, vocals; and Douglas-Paul: bass, vocals.
During the late eighties, Pauley was a member of the pop group Linear. Pauley and Pistocchi, who met in school as children and have remained friends ever since, recorded and toured with King Bria and opened for Hootie and the Blowfish, Brother Cane and others. Long Island raised Douglas-Paul, formerly of The Jinx and Llama, was featured on radio station WBAB’s 1981 Homegrown compilation.
An Interview with the Pauley Lane Band
Musicinterviewmagazine.com spoke with the Pauley Lane Band’s Wyatt Pauley and Rich Pistocchi.
The new single from Dog Days, “Mary Jane,” speaks to the growing spirit and ideas of our time. What prompted you to write and record “Mary Jane”?
Rich Pistocchi: You know we do live in Amerijuanica.
Wyatt Pauley: Yeah, we definitely do. To tell the truth, marijuana has really helped me a lot, believe it or not, with drinking. I decided to stop drinking, those years of over indulgency, if you will and marijuana helped me get off booze. So, that’s my story and I thought I’d write about it. Rich [Pistocchi] put his input into the song and you know, we just recorded it.
Tell us about the songwriting on Dog Days. Who is the lyricist? Who arranges the songs?
Pistocchi: I’m gonna start off and say we both do. We’re a fucking team. He writes some lyrics, I write some lyrics, he writes some arrangements, I make some arrangements. We just do it all together, in whatever works. That’s how we do it.
Pauley: We’re more of a production team and a songwriting team, so anything goes. It could start with some music or it could start with a line, there’s no real process. If we like something, we just follow through. We have our own studio and some of it sticks sometimes and some of it doesn’t. There are many songs that we’ve recorded and haven’t used at all because we thought, okay, half way through, this is silly.
Though not on Dog Days, what was the inspiration behind “Songs My Daughter Gave Me”?
Pauley: It’s about our daughters. We [Pistocchi] both have daughters. My daughter made me a mix CD of a bunch of her songs that she liked and it had a variety of music, from indie artists to Tom Petty, Kate Bush and people like that. So, I kind of took it personal and we decided to make “Songs Our Daughters Gave Us.”
How much of a role does personal experience play in the band’s writing?
Pistocchi: The songs on the record [Dog Days] are pretty much about events and people and other stuff that happens in our lives over time.
Pauley: Yeah, it’s basically what we focus on every day, just everyday things. It could be anything, something that is funny, or something that’s controversial. We usually come from a funny point of view first and then it tends to go sarcastically. Some of the songs have been Rich’s life experiences.
Pistocchi: That’s what I was going to say. You know, it plays a big role. In my personal experiences, a lot of those songs are stories that have happened in my life and some by Wyatt’s side. “Five Fingers” was an inspiration in the same way. That’s a saying that my mother said my whole life. A bad night and a good saying, that’s how that song came about.
The Pauley Lane Band came together as a result of what you have described as a stagnant music scene. How do you see the current state of independent music in South Florida and elsewhere?
Pistocchi: Well, with Wyatt being in the music line he had been in all these years and me playing covers and all that stuff and considering the music scene locally, it had just become stagnant. The same bands, the same songs, the same four guys rotating between eight bands, so every night you see the same guy with different guys, it just becomes the same stuff over and over, like I don’t want to do it anymore. That’s the reason why I describe it as a stagnant music scene. You’re basically just going in a circle, doing nothing. You get to entertain people, but that’s about it, going to the bar to play for some people to make a few bucks.
Pauley: People do have a good time but you could play a juke box too though. How can you discover new music if you don’t hear new music? We wanted to stick to basic songwriting, but we were going to write about what we wanted to write about and not worry about being edited or fucked with, or record labels telling us you can’t write that, you can’t say that, you can’t sing about that. Everything came out of necessity, which is probably going to be the title of our next album. Rich and I have known each other for years and we were tired with what was going on here and what was starting to happen with the music business. We realized we didn’t need anybody if we came up with some good thoughts, some good titles and a good melody.
Pistocchi: We really sunk our teeth into playing our own music instead of going out and playing other’s music. It didn’t make sense doing it over and over and over again and at the end of the day not feeling very good about yourself. As far as the state of having an independent music wave in Florida, I haven’t seen one in twenty years. We had a wave and big bands came out of here, like Marilyn Manson, The Mavericks, Saigon Kick, they all came from South Florida. But right after that, it pretty much disappeared. People don’t support original music, like in bars and venues anymore. Doing everybody else’s stuff is nowhere for me. As for the music scene elsewhere, I’m not really sure.
Pauley: Atlanta used to have a great music scene, but the city doesn’t cater to original bands either anymore. It was the place to be. Everyone seems to be going to Nashville. Everyone from North Dakota to Florida to Hawaii seems to be getting off the bus every day in Nashville.
Pistocchi: Nashville is where I spent the last five years living as one of those transplants. I’ve seen it grow to a ridiculous size and yet not much is still happening, just a bunch of guys playing in the window, playing a bunch of cover songs. Nobody’s playing originals on Broadway – it’s all cover songs, with the hope someone will discover you.
Pauley: In Nashville, what’s going on now is like every genre of music has come together and run over itself and crashed into one another. That’s why we love the term Americana because it’s like a box and anything can go in there, so you’re not boxed in with Americana or independent music.
Pistocchi: We’re not trying to emulate anybody. Americana has opened up our horizons. We’ll do whatever the hell we want and get away with it.
Do you have any advice for rock bands just starting out?
Pauley: I always say on Twitter to all the bands out there that are really trying to get a start and believe in their music, you know, hone your songwriting, get good at it and write whatever you want about, but make it work so it’s pleasant to the listener’s ear. The other thing is it’s out there. No one says you can’t go out there and grab it. You just have to work real hard for it. It’s just like anything else in the world, like getting that lawyer’s job or passing the bar. It’s out there. There’s no rule.
Pistocchi: You’re gonna hit many walls, no doubt about it.
Pauley: It’s like the lottery, if you don’t play, you don’t win. But you sacrifice a lot of people along the way, including spouses, friends.
Pistocchi: And if you don’t play a lot, your chances aren’t as good. I mean, if you’re a band and just wanting to start out on a local level, okay, you don’t have to kill yourself if that’s what you’re striving for, just playing in bars or you’re not worried about making a big deal. You know, doing it for fun and pleasure, that’s awesome, do whatever you want, have a good time, enjoy it. If you’re trying to make it to the next level, well, there’s a lot involved. Like Wyatt said, you’re going to walk over some people and they’re going to walk over you. It’s part of it. You just have to keep going.
Pauley: The things we’re doing didn’t come over night. These are things we’ve learned along the way.
Pistocchi: We have done these things. I have done these things for many years and experienced it. It’s the only reason why I know.
Pauley: I’ve worked with some great producers over the years and I have almost an eidetic memory; it’s just that I can recall certain situations so I kind of remember everything. Watching these [producers] has really taught me a lot. It depends on what you want to do with it.
Pistocchi: I have heroes and enjoy playing their music. But since a young age, Wyatt and I have been doing original music. I did cover music to earn a couple of bucks. As part of it, you gotta work hard for it.
What is next for you and the Pauley Lane Band?
Pauley: Were currently working on a new album and hope to have it done within three to four months.
Pistocchi: We are working on setting up a summer tour in the UK and hopefully other parts of Europe. We’re also working every day on new stuff to get the album out.
Pauley: Our next record, more than likely, will be called Out Of Necessity because that’s exactly what we’re doing, to create, inspire and motivate up-and-coming bands and things like that.
Pistocchi: Love, friendship and God, that’s what we’re striving for.
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