A million years ago, when I worked in a record store in Toronto, Mikey Campbell told me: “I heard a band, you’re going to love them.”
The sound was like nothing I had ever heard before. And, some bands are like that.
The first time I heard Purple Haze – when I was 12 and Cindy Cracknell brought to my psychedelic party, down to my parents’ darkened basement in 1967, her older brother’s brand new record – I jumped up, turned on all the lights and played that song over and over because the sound was something I had never heard before.
Today, a million years later, I am able point to influences in any song but every now and then I hear something truly new where comparisons become moot – like comparing any guitarist to Jimi Hendrix.
So when my daughter, Kaytie, played me Paisley Shades’ debut EP, Platonic Pinball, released this week, I immediately wanted to jump up, flick on all the lights and play those songs over and over. I was driving at the time, so I didn’t.
The EP includes songs: Mahogany Man, Where Have All the Gentlemen Gone? and I Know You Know.
Kaytie is the front woman and vocalist in the band and, as a dad, I could not be more proud, for her to be out in front of such a sparkling creative endeavor.
Paisley Shades is a big fresh fill-the-room sound that jumps ahead of you with its tight bright spirited horn section, as you lay back and groove to the casual sound that carries you.
The band is the brain child of Garett Dahl and Collin Riley both Hart High School grads who played in Hart’s marching band. After high school, Dahl – saxophone-playing, arranger, and songwriter – reached out to Riley – guitar-playing singer/songwriter – and, in 2014, the Paisley Shades songwriting began.
They found other Paisley Shades members easily since all of them – at one time or another – attended California State University, Long Beach and the Bob Cole Conservatory of Music there.
Dahl and Riley compiled the “best players they could find from the Long Beach and Los Angeles” areas for the first ever rehearsal of what would become Paisley Shades on Jan. 10, 2015.
Members include; Kaytie Holt, front woman and vocalist; Ian Holmquist, trumpet and whistle; guitarist and vocalist Will Luster; Jonathan Eastly, bass and vocals; Patrick Lenertz, trombone and drummer/percussionist Billy Parks.
Band bio says, ”The funk-psych/pop-alt group began its first string of rehearsals and shows and soon enough evolved into a musical family.”
Influences include: The Strokes, Tame Impala, Daft Punk, Caravan Palace, Arcade Fire and Pink Floyd – ah, good, I recognized one, still have the gate-fold.
Members describe themselves as a “psychedelic/alternative band from Long Beach … sounds of the 60s and 70s, fused with the technology of now / End genre limitation.”
And, while they may be from Long Beach, with Kaytie being a Valencia High School grad . . . a healthy portion of Paisley Shades is Santa Clarita Valley.
“One of my big goals as a composer,” Dahl said. “Is just to bring horns back into popular music because I love that big 60’s 70’s sound. I listen to a lot of Tower Of Power.
“I wanted to do something with that in mind,” he said. “But I wanted to bring it to the 21st century and, the biggest way to do that is with technology.”
Riley said: “We always had the idea for that many people but it was more about finding the right people who have the right given skill sets,” Riley said.
He described songwriting as a “group effort”
“I come in with lyrics and chorus with like rhythm guitar or a piano idea that I accompany myself – very much singer-songwriter style,” Riley said.
“I’ll record a bass part, and maybe drums and a guitar part and then I’ll show them and they (Paisley Shaders) kind of put their own spin on it,” he said. “It’s like I have a direction but then they just complete it and they add their own personality and flare to it.”
And, in case you were wondering what Mikey Campbell suggested back when music was on vinyl – Prefab Sprout.
When I hear Paisley Shades I hear theatrical arrangements that remind me of Prefab Sprout, with the horns I hear in Swing Out Sister
Just as Mikey Campbell told me about the Sprouts, I told Kaytie ‘“I heard a band, you’re going to love them.”
Now, it’s she to tell me what I would like – Paisley Shades. She was right.
Her favorite Prefab Sprout song, by the way is, ‘We Let the Stars Go Free.’