Up Close and Personal with LENNY

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Exposed Vocals: So tell us your story. Where did you grow up? What made you decide to become an artist?
Paul: I moved a lot as a kid, but mostly lived in West Tennessee – Memphis and Jackson. I went to high school in New Orleans and college in Nashville. I guess I’ve been living in musical places my whole life. I decided to start writing songs when I was about 13. I was (am) a big fan of the Beatles, Yes and 70’s hard rock. I guess the big decision was when I decided to quit playing baseball because I wanted to jam with my friends instead. Rad: When I was 5 years old I lip-synched Rocky Mountain High in a pizza place in Annandale, VA to a crowd of families. I loved the attention and sought it relentlessly thereafter. My dad was a pianist and played Dixie Land Jazz in bands in the DC area in the 60’s, so music was a part of our everyday life. I started playing piano and trombone in elementary school and picked up the guitar in high school. Musically, I have been influenced by Pete Townshend, Micheal Stipe and The Fall. The Who’s Quadrophrenia was my teenage-angst soundtrack, and the combination of Townshend’s guitar-rage and Stipe’s haunted melancholy became the foundation for my writing in my teens. You can still hear that today.
Exposed Vocals: Since everyone was a start-up once, can you give any smaller or local bands or artists looking to get gigs and airplay some tips?
Paul: Networking is key. Getting out there and becoming part of the scene is probably the most important first step. It’s hard to keep it up, but there’s no substitute. Rad: Don’t stifle creative burps. Some of the best songs are mistakes. Thinking often gets in the way, so I try not to.
Exposed Vocals: Do you ever make mistakes during performances? How do you handle that?
Paul: All the time. A jazz conductor I worked with one summer in high school told me, ‘…if you hit a bad note, do it again, so that people will think that you’re just being hip…’ I never forgot that. And he was right. Rad: The performance of a show is not dependent on the mistakes, it’s simply how you handle them. Some nights I’m bullet proof, and others make me question my existence as a human being. I wouldn’t say I’m even keeled. Munn:  I have no idea what I’m doing to begin with so if I mess up I just do it again with a Rock Face on.
Exposed Vocals: Do you tour? Anything interesting happen on tour that you think our readers would enjoy hearing about?
Paul: Not really. I do have vivid night terrors about my guitar cable not being long enough to reach the amp. But my therapist says not to worry so much. Rad: My 13 year old nephew got pulled on stage by the lead singer of Green Day, and then stage dived immediately afterward, which then made it to the Washington Post the next day. Oh, you mean, me? Us? We played in Charlottesville, and later that night I passed a kidney stone. Munn:  I have toured a bunch in a all kinds of capacities. From borrowing our friends moms Volvo Wagon to having a Van and trailer and even a little while in a bus. 13 Dudes in a bus smells like 13 dudes on a bus.
Exposed Vocals: Any planned studio upgrades? What are you working with now?
Paul: Aaron and I both have home studios and share tracks between us to get stuff done. He uses Logic and I have Cubase 6. We manage to make that work together, somehow.' Rad: I just got a laser trac radial arm saw. It’s a table saw and a miter saw all at once. It’s really more saw than I know what to do with. You see, I just make plant boxes and jungle gyms.
Exposed Vocals: How do you find ways to promote your music? What works best for you?
Paul: We depend on the Dave Munn Fame Machine to get the best gigs. He knows everybody. Rad: I tell my friends and family. Munn: I am shameless. I’ll tell anybody about a show anywhere, anytime. If I don’t bother to tell folks how above average we are who will? I’ll post and repost on social media it’s a great way to get the word out. I still use print flyers but more selectively… Paul: …because gig posters are Art. Man.
Exposed Vocals: If you could perform anywhere and with any artists (Dead or Alive) where and who would it be with? Why?
Paul: Sharon Jones at Tipitina’s in New Orleans. My mom used to sneak me in there in high school to see the Meters, Delbert McClinton and Buckwheat Zydeco. Miss Jones may be gone, but I’d love to hop in a time machine and be a Dap King for a day. Rad: I’d like to form a vocal trio with Michael Stipe and Eddie Vedder and play Beatles and Stones covers to a packed house at the Variety Playhouse in Atlanta. Munn: The Anywhere part is easy, that would be the 9:30 club in DC. That place has always felt like home. whether I was in the Front of the house or backstage it always feel like family, Great club and great people. Right now I’d love to play a show with The Hold Steady I think they are the greatest bar band in America. But if we are talking about bands of the past I’d have to go with The Clash.
Exposed Vocals: So, what’s next? Any new upcoming projects that you want to talk about?
Paul: We are already 8 songs into our next record. We are planning a vinyl release – but we aren’t far enough along to set a date quite yet. Rad: What Paul said. Munn: Make this new record! Since I joined the band after they had started recording the Bug EP, I’m really excited to record this new album.
Exposed Vocals: If you weren’t making music, what would you be doing?
Paul: Working for The Man. Rad: Growing Melons.
Exposed Vocals: What should fans look forward to in the next year or so?
Paul: A big honking slice of vinyl from Lenny. In Stereo. Rad: Good times with friends and New music from LennyRVA
Exposed Vocals: Any Shout-outs?
Paul: Yeah, Faraquet is my main buzz this summer. Math Rock from the Aughts! Rad: I heard (the)First Aid Kit(s) tonight. They are excellent. Swedish Americana.