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Interview with Paul Lidel

 

A Fireworks Rock & Metal Magazine Online Exclusive!

by

Lucy Hall


 

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Dangerous Toys and former Dirty Looks member Paul Lidel returns in a new and heavier vehicle, Scream Therapy. Paul could’ve hung up his guitar and microphone long ago, but while some bands dismember and fall by the wayside, Paul is a musician who continues to reinvent himself and successfully carries on. His latest band led by himself on guitar and vocals, features Joe Giordino on bass, Lee Young on guitar, and Frank Kriege on drums. Scream Therapy delivers a consistently sharp set of thirteen songs which are a perfect marriage of the dirty, gritty, in-your-face attitude of 1980s hard rock, the originality and raw energy of 1970s hard rock, and the dark and wounded themes of early 1990s grunge. Any fan regardless of your favorite subgenre of metal should be able to find appeal on this album.


Paul Lidel talks about his new album and new band, say hello to Scream Therapy:


Fireworks: Who is Scream Therapy? Tell us about the creation of the band and your members.


Paul Lidel: My previous band, 99 Crimes in which I was the lead singer and primary songwriter, disbanded during the pandemic. After the pandemic lifted, I started writing lots of songs very quickly. I hadn’t been feeling creative during the pandemic but after it, I felt like all these songs and emotions that I had pushed down into my subconscious came erupting out with a lot of force. It felt like the songs just wrote themselves, so I just allowed it to happen without trying to think about making the songs commercial or anything like that. The songs that came out were considerably darker and heavier than the songs I had written for my previous band. Next, I started doing demos with our drummer Frank Kriege, Frank is an amazing drummer, a close friend and we have played together in several bands over the course of the last twenty years. Frank and I recorded a demo version of the entire album plus some other songs. I decided which songs we should put on the album, which was difficult. We ended up putting twelve songs on the album whereas most of my previous albums have only ten songs. Frank recorded his drum tracks, and I recorded all the vocals and guitars. Right around this time, I got a message from Joe Giordino whom I had never met, saying that he has always admired my work and that if I ever need a bass player to call him. I checked around and everyone had great things to say about him, so I invited him to record some bass tracks and was totally blown away not only by how good he was but also by how well his playing fit perfectly with what I had in mind. We finished recording the album pretty quickly. There were many places on the album that had two different guitar parts, and I had received a very similar message to the one I got from Joe, from guitarist Lee Young. Lee really fills out the sound of the band, and because Joe and Lee are also strong singers, the four of us together live sound just like the album.


The songs that came out were considerably darker and heavier than the songs I had written for my previous band.

Fireworks: You have an outstanding aggressive vocal style, how have you been able to maintain those pipes over the years?


Paul Lidel: I’m always singing. I started singing lead vocals in bands at age fourteen singing Rush, Led Zeppelin, and other hard rock. I’ve been the lead vocalist in numerous cover and original bands over the years and have done lots of solo acoustic performances where I would sing originals and cover songs. I’ve also had several vocal coaches to help me develop proper technique, and I enjoy doing vocal exercises and workouts to keep my vocals strong.


Fireworks: I never realized I needed scream therapy until I listened to this album. It released some positive chemicals in my brain, some happy hormones. I thrashed around and screamed the lyrics. It helped me with stress. Was making this album therapeutic for you?


Paul Lidel: Yes, definitely. I didn’t realize what was going on in my subconscious until I just let it all out, it was amazing how therapeutic that was! Most of my songs on previous albums have had the song meanings buried in metaphors, but on this one, I felt myself just bleeding raw. I made an effort not to censor or hide things. The lyrics on this album are very vulnerable. I think that may be part of why people seem to like this album. The lyrics are also about subjects that most people can relate to as well. I think everyone has felt stressed out, angry, guilty about mistreating a loved one, being in the center of drama they didn’t create, or worried about the state of the world.



Fireworks: I hear a lot of 80s and 90s hard rock/metal on this album. It’s retro-sounding, but still fresh. Would that statement be accurate? Any direct influences concerning sound?


Paul Lidel: Yes, I think that would be accurate. I’ve had people tell me that they hear hints of several different '70s 80’s and 90’s bands in there, yet at the same time it very much sounds like its own thing. I don’t write with any particular sound or band (with the possible exception of early Aerosmith) in mind. I have recorded literally thousands of song ideas on my phone, and sometimes I’ll go through them and find an idea that catches my ear. Then I’ll lay a scat vocal track over it, not really singing words, mostly just sounds, although sometimes lyrics will pop out spontaneously. Then I listen to the track catch the vibe and write the lyrics based on that vibe. I’ll let the music suggest the lyrics. The music on this album came out kind of dark and heavy so the lyrics just followed that.


I don’t write with any particular sound or band (with the possible exception of early Aerosmith) in mind. I have recorded literally thousands of song ideas on my phone, and sometimes I’ll go through them and find an idea that catches my ear.

Fireworks: Tell me about what, to me, appears to be the pivotal moment of the album, “Wake Up Call”. It is a conceptual song and has a heavy industrial sound but is accompanied by sci-fi-based lyrics, distorted and robotic voices, elements common to progressive rock.


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Paul with his Scream Therapy bandmates.

Paul Lidel: “Wake Up Call” was one of my favorites to write. The music came out all at once, I just picked up my guitar one day and that’s what I played. It was different for me because of how heavy it was. The lyrics were a result of thinking about how robots with artificial intelligence can learn and eventually become self-aware, and that when these robots can build other robots, they could just take over. I sang through a four-foot-long cardboard tube to make my voice sound like a robot, I also used an app on my phone. For me, a high point on the entire album is the bridge of that song where there is a bass solo and a drum solo, both Frank and Joe just knocked that part out of the park!


Fireworks: Your wife, Suzette lent her voice to the intro track for that album, was it also her voice on “Wake Up Call”? Is this the first time you have worked together on a project?


Paul Lidel: Yes, that’s Suzette’s voice in the intro. She is so supportive of me and inspirational to me that I thought it would be cool if the first thing people heard on the album was her voice, saying “Mr Lidel, are you ready for today’s Scream Therapy session?” like she was the receptionist at a therapist’s office. That was her first recording experience, I thought she did great.


I was thinking about how bizarre it was to be required to wear a mask to the bank. I think just about everyone can relate to the feelings of boredom and isolation that we all experienced.

Fireworks: Two of my favourite tracks from the album are “Ghosts of Yesterday” and “Stir Crazy” Both have lyrics that suggest relationships gone sour and differ slightly from the other tracks in that regard. What are the stories behind those songs?


Paul Lidel: “Ghosts of Yesterday” is about having the guts to remove yourself from a bad situation whether it’s a relationship or other circumstance. It can be difficult to actually get yourself out of a toxic situation. So that song deals with the fear involved in getting out of a bad situation, the moment that you realize that you have no choice but to take action, and afterward being glad that you were able to overcome that fear. “Stir Crazy” is talking about the pandemic and was written a month or two after it began. I was thinking about how bizarre it was to be required to wear a mask to the bank. I think just about everyone can relate to the feelings of boredom and isolation that we all experienced. I personally found myself indulging in vices more than usual, leading to the line “I’ve been smoking like a fish and drinking three packs a day”. It was certainly a strange experience that we all went through.


Fireworks: Do you have any videos on YouTube? Where can people find your music or find out more about the band?


Paul Lidel: Yes, we have videos for “Scream Therapy”, “Rabbit Hole” and “Run!” on our YouTube channel along with some raw live show footage, and other stuff. We’re on Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok, and our website address is ScreamTherapyBand.com. You can find all of our links by clicking https://linktr.ee/screamtherapy


 

You can find the album on the following sites:

Perris Records:


WOWHD Overseas: perrisrecords.com/wowhd



Amazon:


 

Like this? We have plenty more great interviews in:



 

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