'Black Coffee in Bed!'
Chicago-based alternative rock band Painkiller Hotel has signed with Rock Ridge Music. Their debut album, 'Black Roses', will hit stores on October 27, 2009. Chris Henderson, guitarist for 3 Doors Down, and a principal at Rock Ridge music, was so captivated by the unique sound of PainKiller Hotel that he personally inked the band to the label.
Painkiller Hotel has worked hard to create a batch of melodic rock songs with emotive, distinctive vocals and hooks the size of Illinois. The album’s ten explosive tracks were produced by Chris Sevier (Eliot Morris) and mixed by George Tutko (Duran Duran, Rod Stewart, John Cougar, and The Rolling Stones). The lead single on 'Black Roses,' "How Was I Supposed to Know," which displays Painkiller Hotel's use of dynamics, huge choruses, and tight arrangements, will go to radio this fall.
Chatting one-on-one with lead singer Kevin Presbrey, I first wondered what had been his musical influences growing up and how many still factored into his music today? "Pearl Jam, Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, Radiohead, and G n' R to name a few. I'd say they all still factor into to our writing quite a bit. We're always looking at how great bands composed their songs and how their songs were structured. Some songs had a great breakdown, some had a great hook. We're always trying to figure out how and why. Let's face it, we're making rock music, there is no re-inventing the wheel here. We're modeling our music off of the great ones that came before us."
For the Average Joe who may not have heard your solo material, and was thinking of buying your debut ' Black Roses,' how would you yourself describe your bands sound? "Melodic rock music. This album is all about the songs and lyrics. There's a little something for everyone. Fast, slow, sad & aggressive. It covers quite a bit of the spectrum. This is a record you can listen to from start to finish. I know that's hard to believe, but trust me on this one."
Tell us more about your new debut album, 'Black Roses' ... does it tell a story and why that particular album title in general? "Every song tells its own little story, but the overall story is pretty much the story of the time period when I was writing these songs. It was a time period in my life where things were changing a little more rapidly than I expected and I suppose the writing reflects that quite a bit. The title...well it's a really a symbol of the music on the record. A beautiful object with a darker vibe."
What song are you most proud of on this album on this album and how does it feel to be able to share it with a live audience? "I'd have to say Voice in My Head. When we were recording it, it was my least favorite song of of the ten we'd chosen, but when we got the first mixes back from Nashville, it quickly became my favorite. It's amazing what adding more instrumentation can do. Sonically I think it's the best song on the record, and when we play it live, the whole thing really just comes to life even more. From being my least favorite to seeing audiences singing every word is a pretty cool thing."
Indeed, how easy (or hard) is it to create a new, vibrant, wanted-by-the-public sound that both builds on and surpasses the musical wonderment's/accomplishments that preceded it within the industry? "It's always difficult to forge a new sound when there have been so many great artists before us. We just write what we are feeling and play the songs for people at our shows. We know if it works by the audience's reactions. If it's connecting with people, we go with it, if not, back to the drawing board. I think we've done a really good job thus far, and the best is still yet to come because the sound has really developed and matured over the last few years."
Some fans may know your song “So Far Away,” which has been featured commercially on shows like “The Hills,” “Living Lohan,” and other TV placements…. How quickly did that impact the bands popularity? "I wouldn't say it was overnight, but it was damn close. I remember when my brother called me the first time it was on the Real World. He says "dude I swear I just heard So Far Away on the effin Real World, WTF?". That definitely helped bring a lot of new faces to our upcoming shows, and we always have that song requested."
Your press release states you’re one of the hardest working bands coming out of the Midwest having done over 200 regional shows per year over the last few years... are you guys ready for a break or are you gearing up for a tour around the rest of the country now that you’re signed to Rock Ridge? "Break? LMFAO...I don't think that's in our vocab here. There's no rest for the weary. We want to play as much as possible and anywhere and everywhere we can. Europe, Japan, US it doesn't matter, we want to play all over. When's the bus leave?"
Speaking of your travels… any mishaps or interesting stories from the road you care to share? "Well, when we were tracking Black Roses, my old Ford Explorer decided it was time to die at about 3 am on a Sunday when we were in Seymour, Indiana (home of the infamous John Cougar) en route to Nashville. We had to hitch a ride the rest of the way with our producer and left the car in Indiana to get worked on."
"When we came back a few days later with the rental and picked up the car, not more than 5 minutes after we got back on the road, the damn thing died again. A tow truck ride and a few choice words later, we ended up trading in the explorer for the van which now is known as Seymour. All this with a temperature of 103 and bronchitis. Twas awesome. There can never be enough obstacles when you're recording an album."
Being from Chicago and its baseball season… Cubs or Sox? "Born into Cubs misery....wasn't really my choice. I'm kind of pissed off that I'm stuck with this team really. People try and get me to switch to the Sox, but I can't do it. I HATE THE SOX! The only thing that makes a Cubs loss easier is when the Sox lose. It's hatred really. I'm a Cubs fan...for better or worse."
If asked to record one for charity, what '80s (and possibly cheesy!) pop/rock song would you love to cover today ... and why?! "Hmmmm...I'd have to say Cutting Crew's 'I Just Died In Your Arms Tonight.' I remember driving around in my mom's Astro van as a kid listening to that song and singing as loud as I could. It'd kinda be a nostalgic thing for me. I miss the 80s, but wish they would have kept the skinny pants."
Lastly, and throwing you a journalistic curve ball, Exclusive Magazine lovePenguins ... do you?! "How can you not love a penguin? I was thinking about getting one to waddle around on stage with us at our next show!"
Interviewed by Ken Tebo
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