Paint it Black Interview

Rising from the ashes of the late Kid Dynamite, Paint It Black began not only with enormous expectations on their shoulders, but clearly a lot of conserved rage.  Everyone pretty much agrees that Kid Dynamite couldn’t have ended at a more inopportune time, but even three years after the fact, this Philly outfit, led by Dr. Dan Yemin contains all the same great elements we loved about all their various previous incarnations complete with raging lyrics.  Paint It Black’s new record "CVA" on Jade Tree Records is a constant reminder that while maybe Lifetime and Kid Dynamite are long gone, there are still plenty of ways to get your fix.

For those not familiar with the band, could you please give us your name, and where Paint It Black hails from?

Dave (Guitar): I’m Dave Hause and I hail from Philly. Roxborough, to be exact.

David (Drums): David Wagenschutz. I’m from Philly via Detroit.

Dan (Vocals): I’m Dan Yemin. I play the sore throat and write the songs. We’re from Philly.

Andy (Bass): I’m Andy Nelson and I live in Philly, but since some locals get touchy about true residence, I’m from Ardmore, the western suburb known as the "East Coast’s Answer To South Central" which has spawned such world renown punks as R5 Productions’ Sean Agnew, KILL THE MAN WHO QUESTIONS + Rockpile Magazine’s Mike McKee, and Mitchell from LUNGFISH.

What inspired Paint It Black to get things started?

Dan: You know how when you’re making a mix tape, and you end up with 30 or 40 seconds to spare at the end of each side, and you’re really bummed about having dead space at the tail end of your carefully crafted mix? We felt that there was a real need that wasn’t being filled, to have a band whose songs are the right length to fill up that little space. You can thank us later.

I noticed Dr. Dan has switched from tearing it up on guitar, to tearing it up on vocals. Why the switch?

Dan: That way if anyone quits, I can just replace them and no one will notice. Since I write the songs, and I sing them, this will be the first band I’ve been in that can’t be destroyed by quitters…and the only thing I’m tearing up at this point is cartilage.

We know Dave is currently playing for Good Riddance, are any other members of Paint It Black engaging in other projects at the moment?

Dave: My main current project is babysitting everyone’s favorite band from Boston, THE EXPLOSION.

Dan: Dave Hause, our guitarist, was in THE CURSE, and is working on another band that hopes to someday tour with GOOD CHARLOTTE and/or NEW FOUND GLORY. Andy is in AFFIRMATIVE ACTION JACKSON, who single-handedly rule the East Coast thrash scene. People on the East Coast are afraid to play that kind of music anymore because the competition is so fierce. I also play bass in a band with Atom from ATOM & HIS PACKAGE, Mike from KILL THE MAN WHO QUESTIONS, and Jeff from AFFIRMATIVE ACTION JACKSON, TOKYO, KNIVES OUT. I know that sounds like a joke, but it’s not.

Andy: I’m also doing a project band tentatively called STAB with my pals Brandon from I HATE YOU./AMERICAN NIGHTMARE/KNIVES OUT and Dave from THE BOILS. Also worth a mention is that David is working on a crossover thrash metal band with Colin from GO! FOR THE THROAT which should pretty much kill everything.

Can you tell us a little about your new record "CVA" coming out this summer?

Andy: Just like "…And Justice For All", it features no bass whatsoever.

David: It features 1.67 curse words per minute and comes out July 29th, 2003.

Dave: It’s great, and the more copies you buy, the less drywall I have to put up.

Dan: There were endless frustrations and delays due to members’ other bands’ tour schedules and our drummer’s back injury, and then mixing concerns and and an asbestos emergency at the mastering studio. It’s really short, and really fast, and really loud. Even more so than you might expect…The next record’s already written, so keep your eyes open.

What studio did you record at?

Dave: Atomic! in Brooklyn, where my bud Bob Strakele works. He smokes some really good pot and does sound for N.E.R.D.

Andy: Yes, we definitely share(d) guitar techs with the NEPTUNES. Pharrell is working on some tracks for our next LP as we speak.

Do you plan on doing any touring in support of the new cd?

David: Not me!

Andy: I’ll go wherever, as long as we don’t play any Clear Channel or 21+ shows. Actually, that’s a lie. I would play a 21+ show promoted by Clear Channel if we got to play with THE CARDIGANS.

Dan: Yes, but not as much as we’d like, again due to jobs and conflicts with members’ other bands, and the fact that Andy is agoraphobic and doesn’t like to leave the house, and Dave and Dave are too smart to be tricked into getting into a van with me.

Dave: If we get good guarantee money and can tour in a bus, I will go.

Where is your favorite venue to play?

David: Anywhere close to home.

Dan: I like the Unitarian Church in Philly and Stalag 13 (R.I.P.).

Andy: Yes, the F-U Church is tops.

Dave: In Moscow, there is this rad squat called "Fuck John Wayne". They serve you stale bread and you play punk songs and then you sleep in beds with lice. It’s really cool. We played there with CATHARSIS once and it was fun, but their guitar player was a dick.

Paint It Black’s sound is very aggressive, have your crowd responses been good so far? and do you think people have been disapointed that its not more melodic?

Andy: I still the think best response so far was when George from AUTUMN moshed at our first show in clothes that probably cost more than most people’s first car.

David: When you play for more than a year on a 4 song demo, your live set can only go so far.

Dan: Crowd responses have been generally rad and have ranged from insane to enthusiastic to having a room full of people stare at us in disbelief. I don’t know if people have been disappointed or not but I can only assume that they have. People were upset that Kid Dynamite wasn’t Lifetime, and I’m sure they’ll be upset that Paint It Black isn’t Kid Dynamite. And so it goes…

Dave: Yes, people are disappointed. Hopefully after we have their 10 bucks, though.

What kind of a standpoint does Paint It Black take lyrically, and who writes the lyrics?

Andy: I would like to think we take a very literate standpoint. By that I mean all the lyrics are spelled correctly and most of it is grammatically correct. And all the subtle references to Jean-Paul Sartre and other existentialist literature shows we’re no dummies.

Dave: Primarily a Hebrew standpoint. Dan writes all the lyrics, so it’s naturally Hassidic.

Dan: The lyrics generally address political concerns from a personal perspective. I guess you could say that the common theme is power in its various manifestations (monetary, military, psychological, construction and control of knowledge and discourse) and how it is used/abused in the service of social control, and in relationships between individuals as well. They’re also about survival and transcendence.

How many of you are Phillies fans? If the answer is zero I’m going to be very disapointed, being the avid Philly fan I am…

Dan: Baseball is stupid. It’s only slightly more exciting than golf.

Andy: Don’t listen to Dan, he only likes un-American sports like body building. I like the Phillies and until he died, I lived down the street from Richie Ashburn. Wait, I think I just dropped something.

Dave: I like the Phillies.

David: Go Tigers!

How often do you guys get to play shows, and what can kids expect from a Paint It Black live show?

David: Ten minutes of severely out of tune guitars and missed drum fills.

Andy: Stefan sticking his hand in my mouth while I’m trying to sing.

Dave: We play too often for me to get to practice, and not often enough for Dan’s liking. Expect a baby elephant on guitar wearing Charles Bronson’s wig when I am not playing.

Dan: We prefer the "shock and awe" approach to live performance. Cinder-block-to-the-face style, without having to be intimidated by violent assholes in the audience. Depending on our mood, a little preaching, a little humor, and don’t blink or you’ll miss it.

What is your opinion on the current indie scene? I have also noticed a lot of newer bands in the scene are taking a less active approach to helping kids take care of each other at shows. I’m talking about the age old " Hey, if somebody falls in the pit, pick them up" speech. Since music is such a powerful medium, and kids are so impressionable, do you feel a band should feel obligated to make some sort of effort to educate kids on that subject?

Dan: I can’t really speak for what I think other people’s responsibility might be, but I personally feel at least partially responsible for creating an atmosphere of camaraderie and respect. I guess it a shared responsibility between band and audience.

Andy: I always thought one of the coolest things about punk shows when I was growing up was the fact that you could jump off a 10+ foot high stage and a room full of complete strangers would catch you and make sure you didn’t fall or hurt yourself. Call it a cheesy metaphor, but the idea of everyone being there to help each other out is really important to me – and it’s really aggravating to know that there are kids in Philly who would sooner let a stage diver fall than help them out. Craziness is one thing, I fully endorse that, but being an asshole is another. As far as macho idiots in the pit go, I don’t think there’s much that needs to be said other than the fact that they fucking suck and if I ever see any of that kind of shit going on during one of our sets, I’m putting down my bass and personally escorting the guilty parties out of the show.

Do you ever notice situations where people take this whole idea of a "scene" for granted?

Dave: Scene?

Dan: I think that, at least in Philly, there are people who take for granted the fact that we have all ages shows in a good venue with good sound every few days. Sometimes people would rather complain than be grateful and participate.

Andy: There are absolutely kids in Philly who take shit for granted. Kids here have the luxury of having a dozen amazing DIY punk / hc / indie / whatever shows here a week, so people who would otherwise be interested a DIY (Do It Yourself) scene become comfortable with a DIFM (Do It For Me) scene. Which is not to place any kind of blame on people like Sean Agnew & R5 Productions (since he’s pretty much single-handedly done more for independent music in this city than anyone else has for any other city), but merely from an observational standpoint, it creates the kind of atmosphere in which laziness gets the best of people who don’t necessarily NEED to find out how it’s really not so hard to do your own shows / fanzine / band / label or whatever. It’s a double edged sword, I guess.

What helped you guys as younger lads get into the whole punk rock thing?



Dan: MINOR THREAT, 7 SECONDS and SSD, dude. But also MaximumRockNRoll.

David: Drugs.

I will quote a band I know in this question. "When we played Philly, that was the most unsafe I have ever felt in my life." Being from Pennsylvania myself, I feel Philly gets a bad rap sometimes. Now is the chance to set the record straight, what are your thoughts on Philly as a city, and as a place to play?

David: I love this city. Not too big, not too small…

Dan: Philadelphia is a great scene and is no more threatening than any other city. If you go to see a band that draws meatheads, no matter what city you are in, it will be a scary time. Whoever said that hasn’t spent much time here. Although we did have a brief period of time during which there was a pack of feral wolves that started fights at GET UP KIDS shows. They’ve since been disposed of.

Dave: Philly is a shit town, and the only reason I stay here is because I love my family and couldn’t be without them. The west coast is clearly better. San Francisco, Seattle…Come on. Philly is unsafe, unclean and the people drive like retarded members of the Third Reich.

Does Dan have a hard time balancing the band and his full time job as a psychologist?

David: Does our starting band practice at 9pm answer that question?

Dave: Yes he does, but not because of the psychologist thing. It’s because he’s busy drinking.

Dan: Yes. I’m still waiting for my stupid punk bands to net enough cash so that I can quit the respectable life for good.

Why did you feel Jade Tree would be the best label to release your cd on?

David: Easy. These guys are cool and let us do what we want.

Andy: Uh, duh. It’s Jade Tree!

Dave: I didn’t. I wanted to be on Interscope.

Dan: They took us to a brothel in an attempt to woo us away from Warner Brothers. Dudes know the way to a man’s heart. Seriously though, they are old friends, they know how we operate, and we know how they operate. You need to trust the people who handle your creative output.

Name off your top 5 80s hair metal/butt rock cds of all time. Please do not say Firehouse.

Andy: "Butt Rock"? You mean like SIR MIX A LOT?

Dan: FIREHOUSE, BULLET BOYS, FIREHOUSE, WHITE LION, POISON (because they share one word with POISON IDEA), and oh yeah…FIREHOUSE.

Dave: FIREHOUSE. Hahaha. No, I’d say "Rock For Light", "Damaged", "Out Of Step", "London Calling" and "Start Today".

That about wraps it up, do you have anything else you would like to add?

Dave: Brendan Hill is a swell dude, and Dave Adoff needs a job.

Andy: Dude.

Dan: Thanks.

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