Max Pain and the Groovies

Max Pain and the Groovies is a band best experienced live.  Their psychedelic rock n’ roll enthralls you with an epic desire to jam out along with them.  Their crowds go crazy with every insane beat.  And would you believe off stage these guys are some of the most down to earth people I’ve met?  The band has been together since 2009 (their first show was a wild New Year’s Eve house party, the likes of which has yet to be outdone), and is made up of five guys: front man and pianist David, bassist Kallan, Drummer Tcoy, and guitarists Shane and Dallin (not shown).   They released their first EP cassette with Lolipop Records out of Echo Park, CA.

These guys have been friends for years, skateboarding all over the western US and falling into the music scene.  They’ve been on several tours in the US and were voted band of the year in City Weekly’s 2012 Music Awards.  They are currently working on second full length album that’s due to release soon.

If you want to experience Max Pain live be sure to check out Max Pain and the Spookies on Oct 31st at Urban Lounge in SLC.  And remember folks, stay Ugly.

For those who don’t know you, can you tell me the history of your band?

David:  Well, Tcoy and Dallin and Shane started jamming together and then they wanted me to come jam with them so we started playin together and we decided to start a band called Max Pain and the Groovies.  There was originally five of us, we’ve gone through a couple of bass players, and then Kallen, who we’ve known forever, stepped in on the bass.

Kallan:  It wasn’t hard to do because it all started around me in my house with these guys so it’s just like it was natural.

When did that start?

David:  It was 2009 I think?

Tcoy:  2010 I think

I think I read 2009 was you first show, is that right?

David:  Yeah, New Year’s Eve 2009/2010

Kallen:  In our house

David:  Yeah, we played at our house

Kallen: We had like 9 people living there and had a New Year’s show that was the most insane party.  We had naked dudes swinging from chandeliers

That’s awesome.  How would you describe your music?

David:  I think it’s kind of like rock n’ roll, garage, psychedelic, surf-y music.  What would you guys say?

Shane:  Yeah, I like all those genres

That’s what I always think of when I see you guys play, it just reminds me of California.

David:  Definitely influenced by California bands and a lot of other bands.

So you guys have done a US tour?  Or is it mostly just the Western states?

David:  We’ve done two US tours, the first one was with our old bass player, Jake, and Kallen actually came on that tour with us as the merch guy and then we played with another bass player, and then another who broke his wrist and then Kallen finally stepped in.

Kallan:  I had been played bass for about two months prior to this, so I learned the songs in four days and had blisters on all of my fingers and then went on a nine day tour and it just stuck.

David:  So we’ve done a couple national tours and a couple west coast, a couple Texas tours.  And a couple south east/south west region.

And did you play SXSW?

David:  Uh huh, we’ve been there three times.  We did our first official show case this year.  We played a couple shows down there.  We went on the Burger Records Caravan of Stars tour.

Shane:   Yeah, it was the Caravan of SXSW

David: We came back from that tour with Lolipop Records, kind of like a Burger/Lolipop thing and that was really fun, and we played with about 14 bands at each stop.

Shane:  It was really like a caravan, like a family caravan

Kallan:  Really good bands too

Tcoy:  Yeah it was rad

David:  It was kind of cool too, because you didn’t know when you were playing the next night or what your time slot was so you just kind found out each day what the schedule was so you’d always be on the alert like oh, we’re playing tomorrow at 2:30 in the afternoon?!  We gotta get the hell out of here right now so we can drive to the next city!

That’s crazy!

Kallan:  and everyone was in the same boat, so we would all get there and we would all be in it together.

Tcoy:  Yeah it was definitely a family vibe with all of the band.  Everyone had each other’s backs and it was good to get to know those people so well.

What’s the coolest thing that has happened to you guys on tour?

Shane:  Oh Ween!

Kallan:  Have you heard of the band Ween?  They’re a pretty iconic band for a lot of people, you’re called weeners if you like Ween.  We ended up seeing them in their home town in the bar they grew up playing in and we were all stoked to see them like “holy shit!  This is where Ween grew up!”   And low and behold Dean Ween was there and he ended up watching our entire set with the guy from the Meat Puppets, and we ended up playing with them and hour later for a while.  Everyone just came down to the basement and just watched.   He never plays with touring bands, he never gives a shit

Shane:  and it was on Kallan’s birthday!

David:  It was in some tiny town called New Hope, Pennsylvania right on the boarder of New Jersey, there’s just a river.

Kallan:  It’s where George Washington crossed the Delaware, you know that picture?  That’s like the town.

So what are your short term goals for your band?

David:  Right now we’re recording an album, so that’s the next goal.  We have like eight out of probably 10 songs, we gotta mix and master those eight then try to write maybe two more so we have a set of 10 songs.  So that’s the next step, getting that out and then we’ll probably start touring once that drops.

You guys are independent right now right?  Lolipop is an independent label, is that right?

David:  Yeah, they do cassettes, so they’ve done a few cassettes for us.

So are you making the album with them?

David:  We’re going to talk to them about it, it’s kind of in the early stages right now.

Do you guys want to stay independent, aren’t you self-managed right now?

David:  Yeah

So is that what you guys want or are you trying to “make it big”?

David:  I guess we’re open to every possibility, just take it on our own terms I guess.

Kallan:  Going to Europe, that’d be cool!

David:  We’ve worked with PR companies before

Tcoy:  We have a booking agent and having that record label definitely helps but it’s cool that everyone’s in the same environment of like call your own shots and they just support you as much as they can.  But I feel like we have the best idea of what we want so we want to leave it that way as long as we can.

Yeah that makes sense.  So what do you guys have coming up, other than an album?  You have a show coming up on Halloween right?

David:  yeah

Do you guys always do a show on Halloween?

David:  Yeah, Max Pain and the Spookies is what we call it

Do you release an album every time?

David: No, we’ve done one Halloween little demo, but just a spooky them Max Pain show

Shane:  Didn’t we release our last album on Halloween?

Tcoy:  We did the EP on Halloween

David: Oh yeah we did release the EP on Halloween, we played in Boise.

Tcoy:  And then the new one was on New Years.

So the Halloween show is at Urban right?

David:  Yeah.  Once our album is released we’re going to start playing a lot more shows.

So where do you get your influence to write music?

David:  We just all start playing in the garage and whatever comes out is what it is.  He [Shane] will usually play the music first and I’ll write the lyrics after.

Shane:  I think we all just like different styles and different music too that we can just play and we don’t constrict ourselves to one genre or style.  If we play something that sounds cool we just jam that for a little bit.  And we just evolve it from there.

And you all work full time jobs right?  Other than music what do you do in your spare time?

David:  Go to a lot of shows, usually I’m at Urban Lounge a couple times a week

Tcoy:  Skateboard

Kallan:  Tryin to balance out the creative and artistic outlet and tryin to be stable at the same time, it’s a lot of work.

Do you think that skateboarding has influenced your music?  Did that bring you guys together?

David:  Yeah, that’s how we all grew up.  We met each other through skateboarding when we were younger.  We’ve all been friends for like 10 years

Kallan:  Ultimately yeah, skateboarding brought us all together. 

And then the music came second?

MPATG:  Yeah

Kallan:  We used to travel together together and skateboard in surrounding state and do little weekend stints like that.  We just stuck together and the music just happened to be there.

Shane:  I feel like that’s why, we were like doing trips to California and Vegas when we were like 16 and then once we started playing music we were just like let’s tour and do the same thing

Tcoy:  Us being together in Bountiful, I feel like that just makes you tighter knit with your friends in that small town with a pretty weird environment.

Shane:  Yeah, she grew up in Bountiful too

Especially if you’re not LDS

Tcoy: Yeah, and you stick together with your skate crew and that’s what you do everyday

Kallan:  Til you decide to get the fuck out and you get the fuck out together

What’s your favorite place to play?

David:  In Salt Lake definitely the Urban Lounge

Shane: I really like LA, too.

Kallan:  LA’s really fun, we have a lot of friends down there so it’s always a good time.

David:  San Diego is always a fun time.  Austin is always fun, New York is always fun.  We have a lot of friends in New York

Shane:  Austin is really cool too because so many people are open to so many different types of music and live music and stuff.  One time we played at this Indian restaurant thing that was like half venue half nice Indian restaurant half mini mart thing, liquor store.

Tcoy:  It was so sick

Shane:  And we started playing all these people were sitting down to a nice meal and the kind of music we play..

Kallan:  It’s like wining and dining

David:  Yeah, it was kind of scary like we don’t wanna play this show this is going to be the weirdest thing ever.  And everyone was way into it

Shane:  Yeah everyone just turned around and was just jammin the whole time and just loved it.  So that was really cool and Austin is always like that.

That’s really cool!  So do you usually have the biggest crowds in Salt Lake?  Or do you find it’s pretty consistent everywhere you go?

David:  Salt Lake is definitely like our “gem”

Shane:  Most consistent in Salt Lake

David:  Every show is different out of state

David:  I mean festivals or if you’re just playing at a normal bar on a Wednesday, of course each show is going to vary.

Tcoy:  Yeah, I feel like we’ve been fortunate especially as of recently we’ve gotten some really good out of state shows.  So it’s definitely way inconsistent but we’re fortunate.

David:  A booking agent has definitely been helpful with that.

Listen to Max Pain and the Groovies on SoundCloud and iTunes.  Photos courtesy of Thomas Mabey.

MusicHeather Wardle