We’re posting our weekly press releases here as we countdown the weeks until the record release show. This week, it’s all about the B-Side…
PRESS RELEASE #2
IN WHICH THE LINUS PAULING QUARTET
DISCUSSES THE AWESOMENESS OF
THE PAIN TEENS
AND HOW WE CAME ABOUT RECORDING
The Pain Teens (1991)
There were a lot of Pain Teens shows I’d seen over the years but one always stuck in my head. It was sometime in the late 80’s or early 90’s… I can’t recall.. but it was your typical night at the Axiom – a room filled with sweaty kids bobbing their heads to one of Houston’s most revered bands as Scott Ayer’s twisted guitar lines bounced off the walls and Bliss Blood commanded the stage in full-on dominatrix mode. She reached back and cracked her whip and when it came down, it hit some poor sod square in the face. Horrified, Bliss broke character and bent down at the edge of the stage saying, “Oh sorry! Are you OK?” It was funny in a way but also charming to see and for me it perfectly captured what made the Pain Teens so admirable; they weren’t simply phenomenal musicians and performers, but they were also good and real people. You still can catch Scott playing around town rocking with with The Electric Knives then switching hats to play some country tunes in Dead Cowboys. Meanwhile, Bliss has been doing some amazing work of her own in New York City with the Moonlighters, Delta Dreambox, Bliss Blood and Al Street, and… well she’s so busy it’s just easier to just direct you to http://www.blissblood.com/. In short, they’ve never stopped creating and challenging themselves.
But back to the Pain Teens. Often they are simply described as an industrial noise band but they never rested on their laurels. They constantly played with and refined their sound by drawing influences from all over. Sure, with Scott Ayers’ distinctive guitar and Bliss Bloods’ unique voice and lyrics the band could never NOT sound like the Pain Teens but consider the range they did play with:
Noisy experimental music, swimming in bonkers guitars, tape loops, and churning rhythms:
Fucked up Gothic industrial:
Insane instrumental rockers:
Shoegazy songs with pretty guitar lines:
Hell, even a James Bond movie theme…
and straight up pop:
They were definitely a big deal for a reason. Funny enough, given the band’s sophisticated experimental nature, my favorite song is actually one of its simplest – “My Desire.” It’s a pounding, primal song by Bliss that manages to give no quarter and simply beats the crap out of you with just two notes (E and A#). Now, here is the thing about “simple” songs; they’re hard. It’s so much about feel, texture, energy, tone, and conviction that just learning how to play the notes is never enough. Here, check this live performance of the song and try to tell me you aren’t pinned to the wall by how many Gs of heavy they are dealing!
Which brings me to the B side of the upcoming 7″….
See, a while back Ralph Armin (another tireless Houston music adventurer ) was putting together a Pain Teens tribute comp and I immediately jumped up and down to do “My Desire!” We got dibs but but of course that was met with a horrible realization, “Oh shit! Were doing My Desire!” It’s a doozy of a song to get right and I was honestly worried if we could pull it off but auxiliary member Carol Sandin walked up to the microphone at the studio and belted Bliss’ lyrics like her life depended on it and, at that moment (while I would never suggest we could surpass the original), I knew that we could at least come out with a pretty damn good version that tipped its hat at the original while still delivering the Texas Psych/ knuckle dragging/ chimp rock thing we kind of do and in the end, everyone had a blast at the recording session. Unfortunately, the anthology fell through and we had to sit on this track for a while. When we decided to release “C is for Cthulhu,” it just seemed like a perfect compliment to the A side. So there you have it.
Did we succeed? Did we fail? Well that’s for you, the listeners, to decide when you hear it. What I CAN tell you is that not only will Carol Sandin join us on stage to perform the B-Side but Scott Ayers himself will be sitting-in to play guitar at the record release.
I won’t lie to you; as a guitarist and a fan of his work, I am both thrilled and terrified by this.