Artist Corner: Mad Painter
Mad Painter is a new band in the Boston area, deeply rooted in the melodic rock tradition of the 1970s. They play mostly original music, ranging from Woodstock-era psychedelic rock to glam tinged rock'n'roll a-la Mott the Hoople and the Faces and to epic heavy anthems in the vein of Uriah Heep. It consists of four individuals with widely ranging backgrounds. At the center of Mad Painter is Alex Gitlin, the songwriter and creator of the concept. He is backed capably by Julie Gee on vocals, drummer Al Hendry (Bubba Loaf, Tokyo Tramps), as well as bassist Kenne Highland, a true veteran of the Boston rock scene (ex-Gizmos, Hopelessly Obscure, Johnny & The Jumper Cables, Africa Corps.) and the newest addition is guitarist Al Naha (Thighscrapers), who plays with Kenne in Kenne Highland Airforce. They've played, in different line-ups and guises, many venues around the Boston area, such as the MIT, Out of the Blue Gallery, McGann's, Hennessy's, Club Bohemia, The Jungle Community Music Club and C Note in Hull, as well as the Winter Tanglefest in the Poconos. It's always a good time when you come to their shows, and you know what to expect - nostalgic 70s rock vibes and stage gear to match, great musicianship and songs that will make you get up and bop around, singing and clapping along. A party.
Give us the set up of how your latest music came to be?
Some songs were written after the first album was already completed (you can hear our 2016 debut on YouTube) but before this current line-up got together, so between 2017-2018. Others are newer, like "Jacques" and "Let Him Go". Yet some of the poppier numbers date back to 1997, which is when I recorded them first as my solo demos. This line-up of Painter has enabled me to bring them out of mothballs and back to life, "Lie To Me", "A Friend In France", "I Don't Know".
What is setting your music apart from what is being heard in the music industry today?
Everything. We don't look or sound like anyone else on the scene today, that we're aware of. We don't even speak the same musical language as our contemporaries. We have real melodies, song structures, sometimes simple, sometimes complex, elaborate solos. But we also have the warm, "analogue"sound on record. It's a total "TIMEWARP" experience.
How are you multiplying the ways your music is being heard?
Using every contemporary tool available to us, social media and streaming platforms, YouTube, online radio, getting reviewed in as many blogs and 'zines as possible.
Why is it so important for you to continue to make new music that matters?
Maybe because no one else is doing it at the moment. It's truly a forgotten artform. And there's plenty of people out there with a real thirst for what we're doing. 45-50 years ago, we'd be faced with a stiff competition, but today we've got our own market cornered, live anyway. And on record, I'd like to think of Painter as virtual competitors to notable reissues/remasters of classics by Heep, Purple, Nazareth, Quo, Sweet, Mott, Slade, Humble Pie, etc.
What does your latest music say about you?
We are Mad Painter. We're bold and in your face, flash and brazen. Age doesn't matter, so long as we stay young at heart. Our bassist, Kenne Highland, has a song called Be More Flamboyant. I couldn't think of a better motto for us as a group.
What is the message you are trying to convey for your fans?
When you're at our show, you're in for a treat. Life's too short to waste on mediocrity. When it comes to your entertainment, you deserve the best.
Keeping up with you is always fun, where can our audience listen to you NEXT?
Online Radio Stations "Lonely Oak" and "This Is Only Rock" play us non-stop, for which we're eternally grateful. On Spotify the new single is up, called "Illusion", to be followed soon by "Samurai" and the "Splashed" album. On YouTube there are two promotional videos and one lyric video, respectively, the aforementioned "Illusion", "Samurai" and "Let Him Go". And live engagements for next year – to be announced!
Leave us with a meaningful story that connects to your latest music that is the ultimate takeaway for your fans?
In the mid-90s I was in a band of my dreams, or so I thought, called Silver Star. And then it just ended abruptly and my world came crashing down. I was depressed for a while, then I picked up the pieces and went to a studio in Boston, on Newbury St., a tiny place called Le Studio, to record my new songs, just in case, if nothing else, preserving them for posterity. Or maybe to take them to my next band. The demos were basic – just keyboards and vocals, an occasional acoustic guitar, that was it. 24 years later (!!!) I dusted them off and brought them back to life. I guess deep inside I always believed their time would come. And with the help of today's Mad Painter line-up, it did. And what a delight and a joy that feeling is! I guess the moral of the story is, never give up. It may take a while, but eventually it will happen.