Adrian Pain & The Dead Sexy (Interview)
Today we chat to Adrian Pain & The Dead Sexy.
Let’s start with this: What’s the history of your band?
I started using the name Adrian Pain while playing in my 1st real band after high school. ‘Adrian’ was actually in tribute to my guitarist’s dad Adrian and Pain because of my life long struggle with depression. When I was 17 my parents divorced and divided up my brother and sisters but left me to fend for myself. My then girlfriend’s dad took me in, gave me a job and opened his home to me. While working for him, I formed a band with his son Mike who was my 1st real song writing partner. He would come up with these amazing chord progressions that feed my compulsion to release all my deep inner sadness. I remember one evening while Mike and I were writing, Adrian pulled me aside and told me to never stop writing and performing music; that he believed I had a ‘God given talent’ that should not be ignored. I’ve always considered that the point of no return for me. It was the encouragement he gave me and the weapon I needed to fight my biggest enemy.
After a few different projects and line-ups through the late 90’s and early 2000’s I decided, like so many others out there, that I had to ‘grow up’, get a real job, and get married. I had been a single dad raising 2 young boys in rehearsal halls and jam rooms and was feeling the pressure. In 2001 I was introduced to a friend of my sister’s, and went on our 1st date September 10th. The relationship was very much like the very next day 9-11. I thought I found the woman I could be happy with and so I married her. I was wrong. You really don’t know someone until they show you who they truly are. Unknowingly I had changed my entire life trying do everything I could for my wife. There are some very dark details i could tell you about her and her family but it doesn’t deserve the energy or the spot light. On Jan 19th, 2010 I came home to find my house emptied of all our furniture and my credit cards and bank account drained. For the next few months I spiraled down into the worst depression of my life.
Music is the best medicine and so instead of taking prescription drugs the doctor wanted to put me on, I picked up my guitar and started to write again. I quickly came to the realization I wanted my life back so I began jamming covers with a few friends and having my son Ethan play drums while I would write new original material. Both my sons and I struggled for a while but I began to get healthy and back on my feet again. The fall of 2010 was the turning point.
That November, for my birthday, a friend gave me a pair of tickets to see Atreyu, Chiodos, BlessTheFall at the Phoenix in Toronto. My son Ethan and I were both stoked to see BlessTheFall who was on tour supporting their “Witness” LP. To my surprise, Chiodos blew me away. I bought Illuminaudio right there at their merch table and binged so hard the CD ended up stuck in my truck CD player and is probably still in some wrecker’s yard to this day. The BTF guys also truly impressed me by how amazing they were to Ethan. While a huge line-up a fans were waiting to get things signed and take pics, Beau & Matt sat with Ethan and talked hockey and drums for quite some time. Finally I pointed out the line-up waiting for them and just before they wrapped up the conversation, Ethan leaned towards Matt and said “One day soon I’m going to open for you guys”. About 16 months later, Ethan would play his 1st professional show as The Dead Sexy’s drummer, at Lee’s Palace in Toronto.
As mentioned I had illuminaudio on repeat for weeks after the show at The Phoenix. This was also right at the point I met my amazingly wonderful girlfriend who is also our awesome manager. She and I were drawn together by our very similar taste in music, both being big As I Lay Dying fans. I remember playing her “Notes In Constellations”, a track off the Chiodos record which was the start of our wonderful relationship. Our 1st official date was Alexisonfire for their Farewell Tour. Later, Linda would sum up our band’s sound and approach as “picking up where Alexisonfire left off… …being the metalcore to their hardcore”. Linda and I moved in together in April 2011 and our house quickly became the local jam spot. Between myself and Ethan both working on writing and playing, we’d often be sitting in helping each other. He was in the early stages looking for friends that could play at his level, and I had begun recording some solo music with friends as well. It ended up being too convenient to just work together on both projects. When it cam time to book shows and play some of my new solo stuff, Ethan’s drumming was way beyond his 15 years, so I asked him if he would play Live with Dad.
Our first show together at Lee’s Palace was nothing short of a true Rock ‘n Roll story. We loaded in, and were hanging out when the security arrive and began carding everyone. They didn’t even ask Ethan for ID and instead told him he’d have to wait outside until we went on and then leave again when we were done. He was pissed but begrudgingly went out to the parking lot and we took turns going out and tailgating with him. When it was time to perform, he walked in twirling his sticks, sat down and stole the show! From that point on, The Dead Sexy has been the family business.
What’s your musical history? (Trained or Amateur)?
I believe i am the only one in the band with actual formal training which is hilarious when you see Ethan play drums or Brian play guitar. Both of those boys are truly gifted. I had been in boys choir since before i can really remember, and played viola and cello in school. I did rebel in high school switching cello for a bass guitar and stopped altogether with vocal training when we started try to form bands.
The rest of The Dead Sexy guys come from the world of youtube lessons. I know for certain Ethan put in many hours watching and learning from guys like Luke Holland, and Brian doing the same type thing watching and learning from guys like Paul Gilbert and John Petrucci.
I believe our original bassist Grant may had had some formal training as well, but i can’t say for certain.
So what can you tell us about your latest album? (Inspiration. Sound. Style.)
Our latest record is “Mixed Messages” and it came together during a transition period in the band. We had started writing tracks while recording the previous EP (Picture Day At Night School) but while we were supporting and touring for “Picture Day..” we had a line-up change and had our original bassist Grant Kimmerer come finish the dates with us. Grant also plays on “Mixed Messages” and will always remain band alumni but while we were looking to fill the position, he was a saving grace. Instead of a full length like we had originally planned, we opted to do a few Adrian Pain solo tracks together with The Dead Sexy band track we had ready and put then together to make “Mixed Messages”.
How did you go about making it?
We record with Sean Gregory at SG Music Production in Toronto, ON. Sean has been our engineer for the last 3 Adrian Pain & The Dead Sexy records, and understands our vision. Our mastering was done by Jon Mychal at Sky Mixing / The Sonic Spa in Toronto.
Anything you’ve learnt as you’ve gone along?
I’d say we’ve learned that nothing can stop us. We know we have something unique and special, and the people that didn’t feel the same or have the same drive to succeed, aren’t with us at this point. Nothing will just fall in your lap, and there is no such thing as overnight success. You have to work hard all the time.
What sort of technology and instruments do you work with?
We use Shure mics, Ibanez Bass with Traynor cab/head. Our guitars are Brian playing Jackson & Schecter leads, Matty playing Gibson rhythms, using Krank heads, Mesa & Behringer cabs, with Line 6 & Boss pedals, Seymour Duncan pickups. Drums are Pearl Vision shells and stands, Zildjian cymbals and sticks, DW pedals. Ethan also plays a custom SJC snare and has recently joined the SJC family.
Let’s have a few general questions now. What do you see as a musicians role in society?
I look at it like this: My role is as an artist first and therefore is to create and present my perspective on the world around me. My role in society, as a musician, is to entertain people. If I can combine to two I have achieve what I set out to do.
How’s the scene different in your country to what we’re familiar with? -Anything unique to your country?
Oh wow… Canada. It’s hard being an independent artist in Canada. Especially when you are doing something different. For starters there is no mainstream terrestrial radio support in Canada for heavy music at all due to an old corporate radio guard that hangs on to their own personal taste in music. Also, there are not enough big market cities to logistically support regular touring like there are in the US, and the cities that we do have are too far apart. Proof is when you see major acts come through Canada it’ll be for a Toronto date, or Toronto & Montreal. If you are going to add Vancouver to the tour, there will be US dates between them, I’m sure.
The scene for heavier music is alive and well in the smaller centers and suburbs though, and there are many great bands and artist coming up in Canada.
Where do you stand on music videos? -Do you see their value in today’s world?
We all enjoy music videos and do see value in them. Brian has produced a couple really great lyric videos for us, and the fans love them. It is a way to get our music out there to people that wouldn’t normally get a chance to see us. It gives the fans a visual instead of just the audio and a chance to familiarize themselves with the artist.
If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?
There are a few things that need to change in the music industry. For starters a large portion of terrestrial radio is run by out-of-touch corporations and program directors that don’t have a clue what music fans really want. There is nowhere near enough support for independent artists or the proper representation for all genres. Without satellite and internet radio there really isn’t anywhere you can find newer and heavier music.
There are a lot of people in positions throughout the music industry that have no business being in them in the first place. It’s filled with parasitic agents and talent buyers that make a living off of up and coming bands looking for exposure, paying to play and selling tickets so these assholes can pay the headlining bands, like a bullshit pyramid scheme.
Any advice for new bands?
Create a scene by supporting one another. Stop hating on, and competing with each other. Work your ass off to make what you do the best it can be.
Let’s have some generic questions. Star Wars or Star Trek?
Our drummer Ethan says “Star Wars”, our guitarist Matty says “Star Trek” and I, (Adrian Pain) would say Battlestar Galactica beats both lol
Sci-Fi or Fantasy?
All the Mad Max movies!
We all agree on Friday the 13th.
Books or Comics?
We all read books. Some of our favorite authors would be, Jack Whyte, Bernard Cornwell, Jean M. Auel, Edward Rutherford. Ethan is a big Stephen King fan too, & comics are cool as well!
Anything you’d like to tell our readers? Any last words for our readers?
We hope you enjoy our newest record “Mixed Messages” and that you’ll go deeper into our library and check out some of our other stuff. Find and add us on all your social media sources. Thanks very much from all of us in Adrian Pain & The Dead Sexy.