Inside My Head

the literary rantings of Angie Frissore

Pickin’ Brains: A moment inside the head of Paul Buckley

n648058626_1712353_3891On Friday, January 16, Dear Leader will descend upon the Paradise Rock Club in Boston, bearing post-holiday gifts of rock excellence for the masses, along with Hallelujah The Hills and Faces on Film. This is certainly an event not to be missed by anyone who has ever enjoyed live rock music. It just may even be an event not to be missed by anyone with a functioning sense of hearing.

In honor of the upcoming show, I recently had the opportunity to pull up a virtual seat with one of Boston’s most talented drummers, Dear Leader’s own Paul Buckley.

You just might have heard of this guy before. It turns out, he’s everywhere.

Buckley’s resume is extensive, which is not surprising, since he proudly boasts he’s a workaholic. Now a staple in the Boston indie music scene, he began releasing records in the early 90’s on his indie label, Lunch Records, having had little luck getting his first band signed in the vast, overpopulated wasteland of Boston indie bands.

I asked Buckley about the origins of the label, particularly its original name, Breakfast Records. The name change seemed to imply to me an evolution – perhaps a maturing of the label over time. n648058626_728016_19192

“When I released Orbit’s first 7″ single ‘Motorama’ [in 1994], we got a glowing review in Magnet Magazine, which triggered a nasty letter to the editor from another Breakfast Records.” Buckley explained. “This was also around the time that 6 major labels wanted to sign Orbit, so to avoid any legal problems I changed the name to the next possible name, Lunch Records…while traveling back from a show in New York.”

Orbit came to be in the early 90’s after Buckley was approached (while broadcasting live on Mass Ave for WFNX) by Jeff Robbins. After a few jam sessions and a free ad in the Boston Phoenix, Wally Gagel joined the cause, offering to record for the newly-forming band. With the addition of Mark Brookner on bass, Orbit recorded their first EP, “La Mano”. Gagel would eventually reconsider his early pass on playing bass for the band, and joins them on their 1997 A&M release, “Libido Speedway”.

Eventually, Buckley’s path would cross that of Aaron Perrino, when Perrino’s former band The Sheila Divine opened for Orbit at a 1998 gig in Burlington, Vermont. Impressed, Buckley offered to manage the band and even filled in on drums for some live shows while TSD looked for a replacement for Shawn Sears (which they would ultimately find in Ryan Dolan). After the split of The Sheila Divine in April 2003, Buckley encouraged Perrino to make a solo record, which Buckley offered to release on Lunch.

Perrino quickly went to work recording six tracks which featured Buckley on the drums, later to be released as the 2003 EP ‘War Chords’ (recorded by Darren Ottaviani with additional production and mixing by John Dragonetti).

“Aaron chose friends Jon Sulkow (of the band Tugboat Annie) and Will Claflin (of the band Cheerleadr) and asked me to fill in on drums as they audition new drummers,” Buckley explained. “He didn’t want to bother me as I just became a dad of twin daughters 18 months prior. After three shows together, I was really feeling the chemistry, and then Aaron asked that I join on.”

Since then, Dear Leader has released three full-length records and a split EP with fellow Lunch-mates Taxpayer, which was released in the summer of 2007. The gents are currently hard at work in the studio working on their fourth full-length release, to be released later this year on Lunch.

It would seem to be any music fan’s dream to walk a mile in Buckley’s shoes – aside from being a part of one of the freshest and hottest indie bands to come out of Boston since 1993, there are some perks to running your own label.

“All the artists on Lunch have been hand picked by myself and they’ve all been committed to their art,” said Buckley, when asked about his own musical influences. “I’ve tried to do my best throughout the years to deal with the commerce side, so they can just create.”

And his best is truly paying off. In February, Lunch artist Taxpayer is slated to release their second full-length, ‘Don’t Steal My Night Vision’, produced by Paul Kolderie. Kolderie has also produced the Dear Leader albums ‘All I Ever Wanted Was Tonight’ and ‘The Alarmist.’

“I think people are really going to be shocked at the song writing and playing growth on this record,” Buckley reflected. “It’s sort of a classic record, in a Queen sort of way, lots of emotion. You’re gonna love it!”

n648058626_1867579_944Truly a success story in the realm of self-starters and entrepreneurs, Buckley’s talent and expertise has given Boston’s indie scene the Midas touch. With Lunch artists like The Shods, Helicopter Helicopter and Rockets to Mars, it certainly seems that whatever Buckley touches turns into a brilliant slice of fried gold. I asked Buckley what advice he’d offer to bands that may be just starting out and feeling lost in the shuffle.

“Make art and put it out there for people to hear, see, and feel it, and make sure you’re enjoying the process. If you’re not, it’s probably not going to work.”

So if you haven’t done so already, be sure to grab your tickets for Friday’s Dear Leader show at the Paradise before they’re all gone (which I am sure they will be soon), as it promises, as usual, to be a night to remember. And be sure to keep an eye out for the upcoming Taxpayer release next month, which is shaping up to kick copious amounts of behind, all the while taking names.


January 14, 2009 Posted by | Pickin' Brains | , , , , , , | 2 Comments