The Lucky 13
The Los Angeles-based Paul Chesne Band is a regular at Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace. After playing there at the Campout with Camper Van Beethoven and Cracker in September, the Paul Chesne Band will return to Pappy’s for New Year’s Eve. For more information, visit www.facebook.com/paulchesneband or www.paulchesne.com; to make reservations for the Pappy’s New Year’s Eve bash, get details at pappyandharriets.com. Paul Chesne was kind enough to answer The Lucky 13.
What was the first concert you attended?
The Jacksons’ Victory Tour at Dodger Stadium, in December 1984. I was wearing the Thriller jacket and a sequined glove.
What was the first album you owned?
The first cassette I got was Air Supply’s Greatest Hits. My older sister made fun of me, but it was the only (tape) I had, so I listened to it over and over. I don’t think I’ve listened to it since. The first two CDs I got were Paul Simon’s Graceland and The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.
What bands are you listening to right now?
Black Sabbath, Kip Boardman, Nancy Sinatra, Ramsay Midwood, and First Aid Kit.
What artist, genre or musical trend does everyone love, but you don’t get?
The Foo Fighters. They are doing everything right. I love what I’ve seen of Sonic Highways; we had talked about doing something similar on a smaller scale among my circle of musicians, but Dave Grohl trumped us. I just don’t get their music. It’s rock ’n’ roll; it’s smart, and I should love it, but I just don’t.
What musical act, current or defunct, would you most like to see perform live?
I’d love to have seen Elvis in Vegas. That would’ve probably been righteously and offensively decadent. Plus, he had a killer band with James Burton, Jerry Scheff and the Sweet Inspirations. As a bonus, (I’d have loved) to have been invited to one of the legendary spontaneous late-night gospel sessions they had. I remember several years ago listening to some of that stuff when I had eaten some psychedelics, and feeling close to God or something.
What’s your favorite musical guilty pleasure?
What’s your favorite music venue?
I love Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, and I like the Greek Theatre (in Los Angeles).
What’s the one song lyric you can’t get out of your head?
Right now, I have this obscure country song by Linda Martell stuck in my head, “Color Him Father.”
What band or artist changed your life? How?
When Dwight Yoakam parted ways with his band a little more than 10 years ago, he hired a bunch of guys out of the local L.A. scene. Those guys, like Mitch Marine, Dave Roe and Josh Grange, ended up being a huge part of directly changing my musical career by helping me record my first real album, and have played live with me countless times. I have met tons of amazing people through them. I owe them a lot. Also: the rock ’n’ roll band The Vacation, which was signed to American Recordings by Rick Rubin for a while. I went to see them play probably at least 50 times. I learned a ton from watching their lead singer, Ben Tegel, taunt an audience. The rest of the band has been in my band at some point for a number of years. Many of my players have played with them.
You have one question to ask one musician. What’s the question, and who are you asking?
I’d ask Debbie Harry, in 1978: “Can we have sex?”
What song would you like played at your funeral?
“Dropkick Me Jesus,” by Bobby Bare.
Figurative gun to your head, what is your favorite album of all time?
James Brown, Live at the Apollo 1962.
What song should everyone listen to right now?
“Offshore Bank Accounts,” by Paul Chesne. (Scroll down to hear it.)