Painted Doll (Q&A)




PAINTED DOLL is the new band formed by heavy metal legend Chris Reifert (Autopsy, Death) and comedian/guitar shredder Dave Hill (Valley Lodge, Cobra Verde).

‘Poppy psych with a serious sixties vibe’.

Please meet Dave and Chris.




What was the biggest fun during the making of the last album?


On one of those days, I weirdly had horrible allergies where I had a runny nose and was sneezing nonstop. And I was recording with our friend Tom Beaujour’s prized 1963 Gibson SG, so it was fun watching him try to conceal how horrified he was at that the whole time even though I felt really bad about it. I don’t know how he got that thing clean when I was done. It must have taken a team of specialists in a lab somewhere. Also, Chris’ mom made me cookies, which were awesome! Thank you again, Mrs. Reifert!


If the budget was unlimited, how would you record the next record?


Chris and I would both dress in historically accurate Viking costumes and record the album live only we’d each be on a different mountain top the whole time. Also, there would be a build-your-own burrito bar and a guy who would make a fresh guacamole and stuff whenever we wanted. And every fifteen minutes or so, some smoking hot naked chick would ride by on horseback for no apparent reason whatsoever. Oh, and we’d do everything analog.


Is recording a record easier than getting it heard nowadays?


Totally. But fortunately, there are enough music freaks just like us out there willing to hunt down what they like.


The meaning of ‘success’ has changed over the years. When will the new record be a success?


The fact that we made the record is a success to me. That’s what matters to me- doing stuff. I don’t worry too much about what happens after that. Then again, if a dude in an El Camino rolled up next to me at an intersection while cranking our record and then after I look over at him, he just blew the red light and sped off down the road while giving me the finger, that would be pretty cool too. That’s the sort of scenario I like to envision when making a record.





Every family birthday, same story. Again, you have to explain what kind of band you are in. What’s the story this time for aunt Jenny and uncle Clive?


I tell them I have a band with my friend Chris, who also plays in a death metal band called Autopsy. It takes me about 45 minutes to explain what that means. When that’s finally over, I tell them Chris and I have a band called Painted Doll where we like to write catchy rock songs to glorify our lord Satan and then sometimes we get pizza or something afterward.












What was the biggest fun during the making of the last album?

The short answer would be jamming and recording with Dave. That would be accurate, but there’s other stuff too like the actual hanging out part, which is how this thing started to begin with. Eating lots of cheap (but good!) pizza, going to the bar down the street from the studio after recording, even though I don’t remember all of it. Haha! Little things like that. Tom Beaujour, who recorded the album was awesome to work with. He’s a great dude who knows his shit and had a ridiculous amount of cool instruments and gear at the ready. He also knows more about Cheap Trick than just about anyone else, so points for that. Overall, watching and hearing our crazy idea of a band actually come to life was pretty damn cool. Sometimes in life you find yourself in Hoboken, NJ recording the debut Painted Doll album and you think “Whoa! This totally fucking rules!”

At what point, during writing, rehearsing, recording, did you knew you were on to something special?

For me, before we even figured out what we were going to be or sound like, I knew it would be special. We’re both pretty busy and live on opposite coasts of the country to top it off, so the fact that we decided to go for it despite those obstacles confirmed in my mind that something definitely needed to happen and that it would be awesome.

The whole inception and creative process have felt pretty fuckin’ magical to me, from the crude home demos we traded to the few rehearsals we could squeeze in, to making the album and doing the live shows. It’s all been a blast and I can’t wait to see what we end up doing this year.

If the budget was unlimited, how would you record the next record?I think we’d do it the same way. Maybe with a little more time just to not be in too much of a rush, but not too much more as that can be a trap if you’re not careful. You can overthink, get lost in gear possibilities, lose momentum, overproduce, any number of things. It’s better to go for it while the iron’s hot and see it through. As much as I hate trying to beat the clock in the studio, it also adds a healthy sense of urgency that comes through in the listening. Sometimes you can hear a record and tell the band took 700 takes or whatever to get it down JUST right and that can be a vibe killer, ya know? We wanted our album to be tight, but it also needed some rock swagger to it.

Is recording a record easier than getting it heard nowadays?

That’s putting it mildly. Anyone can make a record these days with all the technology and whatnot that’s available, even at home, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to be a good record. Or you can make the best record in the world in the best studio in the world and it’s possible that no one will ever hear it. The biggest challenge is cutting through the glut of the monolithic everything that’s out there. It’s a big ocean of noise and with this internet thing, it can all be heard any time all the time. If I think about it too much it’ll freak me out so I just keep my brain to the grindstone and power forward with everything I got.

Every family birthday, same story. Again, you have to explain what kind of band you are in. What’s the story this time for aunt Jenny and uncle Clive?

The story goes as follows:

Aunt Jenny and Uncle Clive (somehow in unison): Sooooo, what kind of music does your band play?

Me: Well now, I just so happen to have a copy of the Painted Doll album right here on the dining table. I’m surprised you didn’t notice it sooner. Shall we have a listen? I’d love to enlighten you.

Aunt Jenny: That sounds lovely! I’m in the mood for something zippy!

Uncle Clive: Sure, let’s get nuts! And can you please pass the potatoes?

Me: Alrighty, let’s just make sure the volume is up as far as it will go and…….

(Just over 30 minutes later….)

Aunt Jenny: I need to get a clean soup bowl. It appears my face has melted off into mine.

Uncle Clive: Drools and mumbles incoherently, just like the end of every other birthday dinner.





RONNY TIBBS – Lone Fry (Q&A)

The 2019 standard for Indie Pop has been set. By Ronny Tibbs. ‘Lone Fry’ is HUGE!




Looks like you were able to turn 10 ‘good reasons’ into 10 great songs. Does that make sense?

Yeah, if by that you mean each song is really its own thing, its own entity – then yes I did. I worried a little about the continuity of using songs that spanned years of writing, and a few different genres of music. However, at the end of the day, I wanted to put my best foot forward and deliver the best possible songs that I felt I had to share – which is Lone Fry. Also, I realized that the one constant throughout all of them is in the time and space in which I recorded them. It didn’t really matter if one song was written 6 years before another, the fact that they were performed in the same month on the recording gave it the constant thread that makes up the record.




You go all over the place (please, take that as a compliment). Everything was allowed?

Nothing should be off limits. If the song has a hook, conveys a feeling, sparks something for someone, then it is fair game. The reaction so far has been really positive and I love hearing which track people enjoy the most – it says something about them to me. Picture of Us is this Midwestern country tune in some respects, and Sunlight is a total 360 – it has this sort of droning Blade Runner (original) feeling to it, so it’s cool to hear which track people resonate with initially. And then I hope some of those other tracks start to bleed into their playlists/heads as well. All it takes is a hook!

The outro of Watching Annie Over is a thing of beauty in itself. How?

I’m guessing you mean the intro? The beginning of that song itself is so powerful that I wanted to build a little bit of tension before it takes off. When we were previewing it beforehand, the song prior would barely be ending, and Annie would kick in while you were still singing the song before. So, I did some searching and found some mid-50’s teaching tutorial videos and pulled a sample from that. When I cut it into the opening it made when the actual song kicks in even more jarring – which was perfect.

Can you elaborate a bit on how the record came together?

It started with 30-Year-Old Boy, I recorded that song with my great friend and producer, Ryan Castle in LA. We had worked together on other projects in the past, but this was the first set of songs we’ve done together solely us. We spent 2 months or so recording all the parts on weekends. From there I started digging back into songs, new and old, literally hundreds of demos – many of them in a crude voice-memo form, and just pulled out hooks and favorites and started re-working them. Some were obvious, and some were shelved again. From there I picked the best 15 or so, tracked all the drums, then got to work filling in all of the instruments and cut it to 10 tracks. Every week I’d send Ryan some updates in LA while I tracked here in Detroit. The album came together across the country one emailed track at a time.

Now it’s out in the big wide world. Scary?

Not scary, no. More like a relief. As a songwriter, it can be really frustrating trying to put out content without any type of support – and I’m not just talking about financial support. You need a team to design your cover, shoot promo pictures, email venues, and writers, edit, mix, master, pick colors and fonts, the concept a music vid, shoot the music vid, find an outlet to release it, upload to all of the streaming platforms, etc… At the end of it all, writing the damn song was the easiest part – and the most fun. But you do it for the challenge, I want to leave this piece of art that 100 people might like, or hell a million. It doesn’t really matter to me, it exists now and forever, and nobody can take that away.

How many questions about Justin Timberlake do you expect?

Expect or get? I usually get it once a day, and it’s been that way since the 90’s so it’s all good. And I’ll say, in the bleach-blonde N’SYNC days I was a little worried, not really into the comparisons at all. But he’s really turned out to be a pretty lovable dude, whether you like his music or not, so keep up the good work JT! Let’s grab a beer next time you play LCA and confuse some people.

Writing, recording … is one thing, getting it heard is not that easy nowadays. Is your marketing machine fired up?

Marketing machine, I suppose so. It feels like it’s the last leg of the race and you really need to kick yourself in the ass and finish strong, which I’ve been trying to do, but I’m sure you can see how it can feel overwhelming. Writing a song (let alone a good one) is probably 20% of the whole process for most artists right now – and that’s the best part! But hey, Detroit wasn’t built in a day, right?


MOTHBOXER – Open Sky (Q&A)

Sixth full length album from Mothboxer, the follow up to 2017’s Secret Art Of Saying Nothing. Open Sky contains 12 tracks written and recorded on and off over 12 months, expanding on the power pop sound of the previous releases and venturing into a new, progressive pop/rock sound. 

“An album steeped in clever songcraft, Open Sky is a keeper, maybe Mothboxer’s best” – Alan Haber, Pure Pop Radio

Sweet Sweet Music talked to Dave Ody.

The music industry has changed a lot (or so they say). What did it bring you? And what not?



The industry has changed a great deal over the last 10-20 years. With the advent of the internet, for the consumer, music has become “on-demand”. It brings new opportunities for DIY musicians in terms of the technology to create music and the platforms to promote it. The challenge is to get your music noticed now that music creation is essentially accessible to everyone!





Which is the song you wish you had written every time you hear it? And why?



There are many, but if I had to pick one it would probably be Good Vibrations. For me, it is a beautifully structured piece of music as an art form. It’s “poppy” enough for everyone to love it but it is profoundly clever and is still way ahead of its time.




Can you still recall the moment music became important to you? What happened?



Vividly. I was 6 years old and played my parent’s copy of The Beatles Revolver. I think the penny dropped during Tomorrow Never Knows which totally blew my mind! I’m still in awe of the production on that track and is probably the reason I love the production side of music creation more than the performance aspect.




If the budget was unlimited, how would you record the next record?



I would still use the same software I use today (Logic Pro) but I would use some different spaces to record and probably spend a lot on new instruments and microphones as well as a fully stocked beer cooler 🙂




What’s up for the rest of the year?



2019 is looking to be a busy year. As well as promoting the new Mothboxer Open Sky album I’ve recently re-issued the back catalog so will be pushing that. Also, donning the producer hat and continuing to work with UK artist, Finchey who has just released his second album Rum & Chess to great acclaim. Also, I’ve been producing a new UK artist Patrick Martyn so looking to get his debut album out early this year too.

GLEESON – The Years Have It (Q&A)

Indie Music writes:

Austin-based rock band/collective Gleeson returns with The Years Have It – a dynamic collection of classicist guitar-pop-etc that by turns celebrates and defies convention, gives and doesn’t give a fuck.  

This dichotomy is perfectly illustrated by the album’s bookends: “Holding On” opens with the jagged charm of Twin/Tone-era Replacements; while the closer, a somber cover of “God Only Knows”, strips the original’s orchestration for gentle strings and lonely piano – transforming the Beach Boys classic into a heartbreaking ballad. 

In between you’ll find Superdrag’s heavy melodicism, AM-era WilcoBig Star’s gritty jangle, Jayhawks-ian twang, Peanuts-tinged jazz, a kaleidoscopic instrumental, and a choice Kinks cover. The resulting stew is a wild rock and roll trip – and quintessentially Gleeson.




The music industry has changed a lot (or so they say). What did it bring you? And what not?


We exist 100% outside of the industry. Not a single instinct we possess has ever lined up with the tastes of the average listener, so I doubt Gleeson will ever have an industry relationship of any kind.




The meaning of ‘success’ has changed over the years. When will the new record be a success?


Success for us begins and ends in the studio. Our goal is to make a great record, and if people like it that’s icing on the cake.


Which is the song you wish you’d written every time you hear it and why?


There are many, but “Tom Traubert’s Blues” by Tom Waits, “Born to Run”, and “Ambulance Blues” by Neil Young come to mind. They capture the energy, emotion, and passion without the typical modern-day pretense. They’re songs you can tell come from a real place, and lyrically, they’re off the charts. I’ve always been envious of that because lyrics are extremely difficult for me. I’ve never written a great lyrical song.


If you could tour the world with 2 other bands, who would you ask to join?


If we lived in a bizarre dimension within which worldwide demand for Gleeson existed, I would ask Prescott Curlywolf and Grand Champeen and try not to get blown off the stage every night.


If the budget was unlimited, how would you record the next record?


Probably the same way we usually do, ourselves, but we’d all quit our jobs forever.

BELLE ADAIR – Tuscumbia (Q&A)

The breezy jangle of “Get Away,” the opening track off Belle Adair’s striking new album, Tuscumbia, might not be the first thing you’d expect to hear from an Alabama band named after a John Steinbeck reference. Combining mellow, atmospheric rock and swirling, retro power-pop, it’s more Big Star than Swampers, but it’s an ideal gateway into the blissed-out world of Belle Adair, a group that manages to make even worry and isolation sound inviting. Recorded at Muscle Shoals’ legendary FAME Studios with Wilco producer/engineer Tom Schick, Tuscumbia calls to mind everything from The Byrds to Teenage Fanclub as frontman Matthew Green’s meditative lyrics navigate a slew of major life changes, contemplate the meaning of home, and grapple with the realities of life on the road.





What was the biggest fun during the making of the last album?


Mixing the record with Tom Schick at the Wilco Loft and working in a space that has birthed so much music we love. To work in a space that is set up to be 100% conducive to creativity is inspiring. Plus, Tom and Mark Greenberg (studio manager) are awesome people.





She tells you she will decide on a 5-song-mixtape if there is going to be a second date. Which 5 would you put on?


Well, it would have to be songs based around the idea of two, second, double, etc. so…


  1. “Two of Us” – The Beatles
  2. “Waltz #2” – Elliott Smith
  3. “Double Dare” – Yo La Tengo
  4. “Double Life” – The Cars
  5. “She Actin’ Single (I’m Drinking Double)” – Gary Stewart






Every family birthday, same story. Again, you have to explain what kind of band you are in. What’s the story this time for aunt Jenny and uncle Clive?


I always go with rock ‘n’ roll. It makes us sound a little more badass and interesting than we actually are.


Which is the song you wish you had written every time you hear it? And why?


There are so many, but right now, I’d have to say “Powderfinger” by Neil Young. It’s been on repeat for the last few months. It’s a story song, which is hard to keep simple and direct while at the same time complex and mysterious. Which details to you leave out? Which do you emphasize? How much is too much? “Powderfinger” is a masterclass of that form and restraint to me. It’s like a Hemingway short story or a Joan Didion memoir.


If you could tour the world with 2 other bands, who would you ask to join? 


Oasis and Blur. Who wouldn’t have fun with that?


The John Sally Ride – Nothing Doing (Q&A)

The recording of Nothing Doing, the new The John Sally Ride record, was a pleasant affair. Resulting in 12 great songs! John Dunbar explains.







At what point, during writing, rehearsing, recording, did you know you were on to something special?


I hope our new album, Nothing Doing, is indeed something special. There’s this effortless magic that happens when playing with Sal Nunziato ( drums)  and Sal Maida ( bass). We don’t really discuss much about a song before we first play it. We just give it an initial run through then glance at each other with a look that says “ This sounds pretty great, huh?”.


Once we start breaking down the song, the ideas start flowing and I’m constantly astounded by the parts they come up with.  When we started recording the album with Len Monachello at Soundtronics, it truly did start seeming like something special. He informed us that he had a new process for recording and mixing he developed since we worked with him on our debut album, A New Set Of Downs.  We certainly reaped the benefits. The first thing we hear when people listen to the record is how blown away they are by the production and the mix.






The meaning of ‘success’ has changed over the years. When will the new record be a success?




Success is such a subjective thing nowadays. There’s a song on the new album called I Won’t Let Failure Go To My Head, so as you may have guessed, I’m more than familiar with the art of failing.


Although, I can happily report that Nothing Doing just made it onto John Borack’s best albums of 2018 list in Goldmine Magazine. He is a music critic I hold in very high esteem so that type of accolade makes the album already a success in my eyes.


I’m very easy to please, but also very easy to discourage. Hearing positive comments from listeners around the world goes a very long way in my book and makes it all worthwhile.



Which is the song you wish you had written every time you hear it? And why?



There are way too many of those. Pretty much everything written by Ray Davies or Ron Mael. I’ll just single out one now. Days by The Kinks. It says so much in such a simple yet beautiful way. Each time I listen to it I never fail to choke up. Whenever I lose someone from my life I put in on, have a long cry, and try to move on ( the key word there is “try”).




So what about putting your ultimate band together? No restrictions. No limitations. If you want David Bowie on backing vocals and Prince on guitar, go ahead. What would the band look like? And what is the song you will start jamming on?



I have a lot of favorite musicians, of course, but I would still choose Sal Nunziato and Sal Maida over any of them. I feel so fortunate to play music with those two. Not only are they the finest musicians I ever played with, but they are also both intimidating musicologists. Sal Nunziato writes one of the best music blogs out there called Burning Wood. Sal Maida wrote a critically acclaimed book last year called Four Strings, Phony Proof and 300 45s that is not only a fascinating memoir of his incredible career but also contains mini-dissertations on his 300 favorite songs.


Their knowledge and passion for music add so much to the songs I bring them. Sal Nunziato is pretty much in charge of which songs become John Sally Ride songs. He hears everything I write and gives the thumbs up or down. I respect his taste so much, I don’t question any of his decisions.


I handle all the guitar playing on the records, but I would like to get another, more accomplished player into the band at some point. One of my favorite guitar players out there is a guy named Joe Pampel. We used to play together in A Confederacy Of Dunces. We recently got back in touch after Nothing Doing was recorded. If that happened a few months earlier, I would’ve pleaded with him to play on this record. Let’s see how convincing I can be for the next one.



What’s up for the rest of the year?



Nothing Doing just came out on December 8th, so I hope we can spread the word and get it heard everywhere in 2019. We hope to play some shows as well. Tour? That would be nice.  I have given myself a few self-imposed songwriting assignments for the new year.  That kind of homework usually leads to new John Sally Ride material; that’s if they receive the approval of the Sals. That could be the name of the future box set:  The Approval Of The Sals.


Nick Eng (Q&A)

Nick Eng comes out of nowhere –Reno, Nevada, actually – to give us a seriously good debut album appropriately titled Nick Eng. The cover photo may have consciously attempted to channel the early John Lennon look – also appropriate. The songs contained within have a distinctively 60’s vibe to them. Most importantly, the requisite pop hooks are present and accounted for.’, wrote PowerPopNews.


All true! Sweet Sweet Music talked to Nick Eng about “All I Want To Say”, The Beatles and girls.






At what point, during writing, rehearsing, recording, did you knew you were on to something special?



Probably when I was writing “All I Want To Say.” That one doesn’t get as much attention or plays as “The One For You Is Me” or “Reminiscing”, but I think it’s one of the best things I’ve written. I wrote it about someone who meant a lot to me, and it was a painless and natural song to write. I’m proud of my more popular songs, of course, but that one carries a weight that’s really impacted my way of writing.





The music industry has changed a lot (or so they say). What did it bring you? And what not?


It’s great that the industry is now an open playing field. Anybody can record a professional album and it has the potential of getting super popular without any big label backing it. But it’s a double-edged sword. Every independent artist and band got the memo, so there’s a lot of competition for fans, venues, and internet space. I’m happy to say that it’s been working out for me though. And there’s still a lot to be said for honest, hard-working musicians who put out quality content and know how to play live. You still need major chops in this field.




Can you still recall the moment music became important to you? What happened?


I can’t recall a single moment, but I know that the Beatles, girls, and money all had an influence! The Beatles were the ones who really turned me on to playing and writing music, so I have them to thank for that. Then as I got older, I realized that playing music gets you attention from girls, which is a plus. And then people actually started paying me for what I do, and I decided to just go all in professionally. I was never a star athlete or a stellar student, but I had two good ears and a voice, so I think it was a good choice.


If you could tour the world with 2 other bands, who would you ask to join?


Definitely Dr. Dog and Cake. Rayland Baxter too, but that’s three and I don’t want to cheat!


What’s up for the rest of the year?


We’re planning a spring and summer West Coast tour of the U.S. and a brand-new album is dropping right before that. We’ve also got some new music videos in the making. Other than that, eating and sleeping would be nice.