Interview (with Brian Paul)
After making a few waves across Europe, managing to get on Tony Iommi’s best unsigned list and releasing a damn fine album to boot, our Pete H caught up with Tenth Planet’s Brian to talk music, life and all those other nagging things in between.
How did you come up with your band name?
Basically trial and error. At the time we wanted to name the band, we compiled a list of possibilities….tenth planet was the one that jumped out.
How long has the band been going?
Martin and I have been together since 1998, bassist Nic joined in 2001 and drummer Glenn hooked up with us in late 2002.
In one sentence how would you best describe your music?
Melodic hard rock.
Who/what would you consider are your most inspiring musical influences?
Speaking personally, my main influences are Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Queen, Alice in Chains, and the Stone Temple Pilots.
What do you think is the thing that sets your band apart from the rest?
I would hope it’s melody. No matter how heavy we get, we like big, open choruses with A LOT of melody! No screaming in our band.
You’re soon to be recording with Grammy nominated producer Brandon Freisen Juno. This must be pretty exciting for you?
It’s very exciting; working on our last CD with Jeff Martin was a dream come true for me, being a good ole Canadian boy and growing up a fan of the Tea Party, but this time out we want a fresh take on things and we hope Brandon is the guy!
Getting nominated on Tony Iommi’s Black Sunday as one of the best unsigned bands of year has to be highlight. How did that come about?
Basically, I sent a CD in to his radio show on a whim back in may ’06, thinking ‘hey, what the hell’ after reading that his show was accepting submissions for best unsigned band. Not only is it a highlight of the year, it’s a musical highlight of my life! I still can’t believe Tony Iommi, THE Tony Iommi, picked us as a finalist. It blows my mind!
The final’s coming up on 26th November, so do you think you’re in with a good chance of winning?
This sounds so cliché to say, but in this case it’s really how I feel…just happy to be listed as a finalist. The prizes are pretty amazing too, but honestly, the best would be to get a copy of the show in which he introduced our song ‘Ariane’ before playing it! For anyone out there, it was the October 29 show, if you have it, we’d love a copy sent to us at [email protected]!!!
We also hear you’re starting to build quite a following in Germany. Is there any reason why its taking off for you there as opposed to, say the UK?
I think, generally speaking, Europe has been really good to us this past year. I can’t really explain it, but I will say that North America is very ‘flavour of the week’ musically speaking, here in Toronto, we basically get all the American stations and we’re bombarded with US culture. If it ain’t 50 cent, good luck!
Do you consider yourselves more at home in the studio or on the stage?
I consider myself more at home while in the studio writing. That’s my favourite part of the process, coming up with a riff or a part that I think the other guys will like, that’s the rush or buzz I get from music. I love the other stuff, but the writing is the drug for me.
So where was the first gig you ever played?
Our first gig as Tenth Planet was the famous El Mocambo in Toronto. Both the Rolling Stones and Stevie Ray Vaughan have recorded live albums there. Wasn’t the best show though, but it was definitely fun.
Ok so where was the best gig you ever played and why?
Off the top of my head, I’d have to say the Breda Barst festival in Breda, Netherlands. That was this past September. There were 12, 000 people there for our set and it was awesome. Just being in Europe for the first time, playing to such a big crowd, the hospitality shown to us, just fantastic. Met a lot of great new friends that day.
What was your most embarrassing moment whilst playing live?
That was probably last year while playing in Windsor, Ontario, Canada. I had borrowed an amp and halfway through the set it stopped working, the band kept playing the song and after finishing, we realized the amp was completely gone, and without a backup, the show was over after song number three!!!
So lets take a quick flight of fantasy. If you could choose the line up for the best gig in the world who would be on it and where would you stage it?
It would be at Donnington (just cause I’ve never been and it’s legendary!), we’d be a support act for Black Sabbath, with Ronnie James Dio on vocals!
If you could have a drink with any dead musician who would it be?
I’d go with John Bonham, on the starship if possible.
What’s your take on the current state of modern music? Good, bad, or darn-right ugly?
I think it’s very good. It’s a bit hard to find good new music, but if you put the effort in, via the internet, digital radio, etc., there’s lots of new stuff I’m really into. Conventional radio has nothing on it I like right now – the playlists are unimaginative and too many commercials!
So be honest then, if you were a groupie, who’s tour bus would you try and sneak onto and why?
I’d go with Willie Nelson, prior to him getting busted this summer!
What are your day jobs?
Just the basic ‘joe-job’ thing….mailman, bartender, mechanic and man of leisure.
And finally, anything to confess?
Nah, I confessed everything I needed to yesterday morning at church thank you very much!
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