Former Dirty Looks, and current Dangerous Toys / 99 Crimes guitarist Paul Lidel took time to talk with hairbandheaven.rocks about his band 99 Crimes new EP, the filming of their new video "Coming Down Like Rain" , shared some stories with us about Dirty Looks, Dangerous Toys and what the future holds for both Dangerous Toys and 99 Crimes.
HBH: Firstly, thank you Paul for your time today; I really appreciate it. Before we dive into talking about the new EP, for those that aren’t too familiar with 99 Crimes can you give us a brief history of the band and how it all came together?
Paul: In the past I played in a band with our drummer,Chris Jordan and when that band disolved in august of 2016 Chris and I got together with Jeff Lynn Whitehead our bass player and it was obvious that the three of us had a great chemestry going. We rehearsed for about 6 months before we played our first show. During that time we wrote many songs, some of which ended up on our EP, and we tightened up the live show. We played our first show in early 2017, so we're still a pretty new band. So far, we've played 23 different songs live, and we're continuing to write constantly.
HBH: The band has a great single/video out for the song “Coming Down Like Rain” can you talk a little bit about the new video?
Paul: The song "Coming Down Like Rain" is about a guy who is on death row for killing the man that he caught sleeping with his wife. Our video director Steve Miller of Austin Video Specialists, found the perfect location for the video shoot, an old jail that was active from the late 1800's til 1975. The jail, which was located in Gonzales Tx., was supposedly haunted by men that were put to death there. Talk about a heavy vibe! You could feel the anguish that the inmates must have felt, some of which spent many years there, and some that were serving life sentences. There was no ventalation and the summer heat was hard on us for just the few hours that we were there, I can only imagine what it must have been like for those who were doing hard time there. Many of the inmates had scratched there names into the walls. The video is one of my favorite videos that I've been in, I was really happy with the way it turned out.
HBH: Tell us about some of the other songs on the EP, and is there a full length album in the bands future?
Paul: Track one on the EP is "Coming Down Like Rain".
Track two is "Do It Over" which poses the question, would you change anything about your past if you had the chance?
Track three is "Nine Pound Hammer" which talks about how some women don't see themselves as other people do.
Track four "The Avenue" is Jeff's account of experiences
he had walking down an Avenue, the people he met ect.
Track five is "Never Say Forever". This one is often our set closer. It rocks pretty hard but it's a strange song that goes between several different time signatures. We are planning to go back in the studio soon, and to have a full length album out on Perris Records in early 2019.
HBH: Having been in and around touring bands since the 80’s do you still feel the same rush playing live, that say you did when starting out with Dirty Looks?
Paul: Yeah, I'm just as passionate about writing and performing music as I was back then! I do still get that same rush when I'm playing live, and it's still one of my favorite things to do. I feed off the energy of a crowd, and I still try to "leave it all on the stage" at every show!
HBH: As a guitarist who are some of the guitar players that influenced you growing up?
Paul: I started off as a drummer, and some of my main guitar influences early on were theguitarists in the bands that I played drums in. I would have them teach me guitar and I would practice for hours. Eventually the drums went away and I began to pour all my time and energy into the guitar. Right around this time, I say Randy Rhoads play with Ozzy, and my life changed. I went from practicing a couple hours a day, to playing 6 to 8hours a day. It became an obsession. Back then I would learn songs by Ozzy, Van Halen, Deep Purple, Triumph, Black Sabbath. So I guess it's not a coincidence that people say that 99 Crimes reminds them of some of those bands.
HBH: You’ve been involved with some great bands over the years from Dirty Looks, Dangerous Toys, Broken Teeth and now 99 Crimes . Can you give us a favorite memory from each band?
Paul: When I first joined Dirty Looks, I didn't know about Henrik's wry sense of humor. He told me that I needed to learn to spin my guitar up over my shoulder, so I practiced and several bruises later, learned to do it. When I did it at my first show with the band, Henrik laughed and said he was kidding! Another good memory was one time we were opening for Kiss, and Gene Simmons walked up to me and introduced himself. It was one of those surreal moments. He turned out to be a nice guy. Even before I joined Dangerous Toys, they were my favorite band. When Dirty Looks was on tour, we would go to see Dangerous Toys, and the guys in Dangerous Toys would often come to see us. We got to be friends, and when they heard that Dirty Looks had split up, each of the guys called and left me a message asking me to come to texas and join them. I'm now going on 25 years in Dangerous Toys, and I'm still the "new guy"! Believe it or not Broken Teeth started off as kind of a joke band. Tom Mathers, the president of Perris Records, asked me to write and record an album in the Dirty Looks style, and in return my band at the time 20 Lb. Buzz would record an album in their studio.Straight up rock was not at all in vougue in 1999, it was all grunge then, so we were just having fun with it, really not taking it very seriously and not planning for the band to play live. I'll never forget the very first Broken Teeth show, I was shocked at how well this "out of style" music went over. With 99 Crimes we're just having a blast writing songs, recording and playing shows. Most of the shows we play have other bands on the bill, so we've made lots of new friends and gotten to see lots of great bands that have shared bills with us. I will add that doing the video for 99 Crimes "Coming Down Like Rain" was one of the most memorable experiences of my career.
HBH: I gotta ask, are we ever gonna get a new studio album from Dangerous Toys?
Paul: Yes, as Jason announced at our show on the Monsters of Rock cruise this year, we have started writing for a new album! Everyone lives kind of far apart which makes it a slow process, but we have been getting together and so far it's going great.
HBH: You’ve started teaching guitar at Austin Guitar School in Austin, TX. in 1994, Is this something you still do?
Paul: In addition to playing music, I also love to teach people how to play. I started teaching at Austin Guitar School in 1994, shortly after I moved to Texas, and I'm still there. I teach guitar, piano, voice, and drums at the school. We have student concerts where the students get the chance to play live with a band. We also do a jam night each week that gives the students a low pressure environment to learn to jam in. It's really fun and gratifying to watch students grow and improve. Some of my students have been with me for many years.
HBH: What are the bands plans moving forward in 2018-19?
Paul: 99 Crimes is really picking up steam.We'll have our full lenth album out in early 2019. We are playing more and more shows, and are starting to get a fair amount of airplay and exposure on social media. We plan to do another video but we'll have to wait til after the new songs are recorded to decide which song it will be.
HBH: Is there anything else you would like to mention new projects,websites etc. anything you would like to promote ?
Paul: People can find 99 Crimes on facebook at facebook.com/99crimes and also at 99Crimes.com
99 Crimes EP is available at PerrisRecords.com and, for now, on youtube.
The video for "Coming Down Like Rain" is also on Youtube along with a live TV show that 99 Crimes did last weekend.
I have also started to film some instructional videos which will be on my soon to be created youtube channel. I've done several guitar DVD's in the past, and wrote a book called "The Pro Guitarists Handbook" which may still be available on Amazon.com. and I've decided to get back into creating instructional material.
HBH:On behalf of everyone here at Hairbandheaven.rocks congratulations on the release of the 99 Crimes EP. I’d like to wish you and the band all the best for the release and the year ahead.
Paul: Thank you Josh!