Why I Love Ariel Pink, plus a brand new Queens Of The Stone Age cover

Ariel Pink is so good. He just has this quality to his recordings that I love. It’s homemade and all mushed up and just very cool. I think alot of it has to do with the fact that it’s made on a 4 track cassette recorder. Plus he’s just himself. You can tell he just made stuff that he thought was cool. It’s very odd and unique and pure.

I was listening to lots of his stuff when I recorded this cover of the great Queens of The Stone Age song “First It Giveth” for my friends over at Good Eye Records. I hope some of his greatness rubbed off on me. Enjoy!

Brief Thoughts On Whiskey, Death, and Parenthood

“It’s called being a parent!”

Somebody yelled this out to me in the middle of my set the other night in Asbury Park.

I had just finished playing a new song called Whiskey & Jellybeans.

Whiskey and jellybeans
Goodbye to all my teeth
Nothin ta see but gums
Not kissin anyone

The point of the song is to feel better about death. To laugh at it. That’s what a rock n roll song can do. It can give you a way of laughing at death. Other kinds of music don’t have the same power.

Whiskey and jellybeans
Diet of champeens
Can’t get a leading role
Maybe some radio

I finished the song and talked a little bit about getting older. My teeth are falling out, my hair is falling out. My body is crumbling.

“It’s called being a parent!”

I don’t mind a good skewering when I’m up on stage. That’s part of the deal. I’m your sacrificial lamb.

It was a good night. A special night. Lots of familiar faces in the house. A good show brings everybody together. It’s kind of a miracle in that way.

Here’s a recording of the performance.
Quality is not so good, but you can get the feeling.

This World Is A Playground

I wrote this song a while back for another artist. It never really got off the ground, so I kind of shelved it. At first it didn’t seem like the kind of song that I could deliver convincingly. When I first wrote it, it was more like something Michael Frante would do. More world music influenced & not quite my style.

But over the past year I’ve played it here and there in my living room and just the other morning I found my “in”. Something just clicked. I was strumming it in different keys and through some combination of chords & a capo I found the right sound. And I realized it was kind of like “Imagine” and that gave me the touchstone for where to take it.

So that was how I figured out how to play it in my own style. That’s the whole trick about playing a song, to find a way to relate to it. Finding all the things in your past that allow you to connect the dots and then do it in your own way. And mean what you’re singing. Here it is, I hope you enjoy it. It’s called “Playground”.

Download “Playground”

Lyrics

 

 

 

 

Which Show Is Right For You?

brother paul drawing rooms

Photo by Jim Pusterino

You might be thinking to yourself,

“Gee I really would like to see Paul perform sometime this June. It would make me happy and I just feel like it’s the right thing to do. But… which show is right for me?”

Well, you’re in luck. I’ve put together a little guide to help you make this decision.

Without further adieu…

WHICH SHOW IS RIGHT FOR ME?

SHOW #1
Friday, June 6th
Drawing Rooms, Jersey City

This might be for you if…
You like drinking wine from a solo cup.

I’m playing at an old schoolhouse on Grand Street, about a 10 minute walk from the Grove St. Path Station. It’s an art gallery now, run by my friend Jim. I’ll be there from 7-8:30 playing solo as part of “Jersey City Fridays”. Free admission. I’m pretty sure they’ll have some wine, cheese and pita chips there too. Afterwards you can walk one block to the Golden Cicada, a bar that transforms ordinary life into a Quentin Tarantino movie.

SHOW #2
Thursday, June 12th
Lamp Post, Jersey City

This might be for you if…
You liked Death Cab For Cutie until Zoe Deschanel got involved.

The Lamp Post is a sweet little dive bar in Jersey City. Unlike more polished venues like Maxwells or The Mercury, you can actually get up close and personal with artists who are developing their craft. No cover for this show. New Brunswick’s Sink Tapes are playing. So is Tri-State, friends of mine who you’ll want to check out if you like 90’s indi in the vein of Pavement, Built to Spill, or Archers or Loaf.

SHOW #3
Tuesday, June 24th
The Saint, Asbury Park

This might be for you if…
You own a turntable.

Psyched for this show. I’m opening up for Wreckless Eric, who had a single come out in 1977 called “I’d Go The Whole Wide World”. Great fucking song. One of those songs that’s just so simple and pure. Kind of like Wild Thing or Louie Louie. And now you get a chance to see it live for just 12 bucks. Ron Santee is also playing, he’s a talented dude who is making a name for himself around Asbury Park. Amazing show, don’t miss it!

 

And there you have it. Pick a date, toss it on your calendar, and I’ll see you out there.

Paul

You Don’t Always Get To Choose

You don’t always get to choose.

But you always get to play.

Besides, life would be pretty boring if you always got your way, wouldn’t it?

There in between what you want and what you can’t have…

Well, there’s your story.

 

WILLOW BRANCH (Download)

Recorded in a 2008 Toyota RAV4

A dress in the mail
A suit from the mall
Hung some crystals on trees
All we had was three days

Some nails and some wood
A few potted plants
Dad knew a judge
Who could help with the plan

This is where it all began
Under that willow branch

A few folding chairs
a bright autumn day
the boys cleaned up nice
uncle don brought a cake

john took some pictures
of us with our folks
jess caught the bouquet
paul gave a toast

This is where it all began
Underneath that willow branch
Hand in hand
We’ll start again
Underneath that willow branch

 

 

How To Be An Artist When You’re A Total Nobody 

I should know. I’m an artist. And a nobody.

But guess what? If you’re an artist, obscurity is your best friend.

When you’re anonymous you can develop your art without answering to any expectations other than your own.

But to develop, you have to cash in every day.

What I mean by that is, you have to get today’s art out of yourself because tomorrow it will no longer be there.

One way to look at it: Magic Dollars

Your ability to make art is like a stack of magic dollars that disappear at midnight. You’ve got to spend them or your lose them. You’ll get new magic dollars tomorrow.

Another way to look at it: Speeding Train

Imagine yourself in an open field, looking at a freight train racing across your field of vision.

That train is your artistic identity.

Always moving, never the same.

If you sketch (write, sing, paint, invent, sculpt, design, build) the cars you see today, you capture who you are in this moment.

If you wait for better cars, they will surely never come.

The way you feel today is a thing.

Seize it and draw upon it! Melt it down and form it into something.

Do you think Springsteen could ever write another Darkness on the Edge of Town?

Of course not. But I bet he wishes he could.

Life moves forward, and our insides evolve with every day.

That’s why we have to always be taking pictures of what we see.

Every day, a snapshot.

Someday you will be wiser than you are right now, but you will have paid in innocence.

The innocence is what makes your art great.

Enjoy your innocence. Revel in your obscurity. Spend your magic dollars.

TODAY! GO! NOW!