Paperplanes Continue to Fly With Country Rock for Everyone
Paperplanes creates hard-working rock that speaks of love, pain, the good times and the bad. The band’s music roars across southern landscapes like steam trains in a storm. They’re best heard loud and seen live someplace at night where the beer flows.
Micah Panzich plays guitar and sings for the band. I ask him how he would describe his music to someone who had never heard it before. “Our sound is like country and rock and roll. I try to describe it as early Rolling Stones with a country twang.”
Pete Tavera also sings vocals and plays guitar. His opinion is parallel with Panzich’s. “We’re primarily play rock with some country. We have songs that are more or less straight country, straight rock, or a mixture of both.”
Jon Husak sings and plays drums. Like many artists I know, being asked what box the music he makes should be placed in only prompts him to remark that his band isn’t merely just a list of descriptors.
“The music we play is not definable. We’re not rock-a-billy. But it’s not like we only play a certain type of music. We’re not going to say we don’t play pop or rock. We generally make the kind of music we’d want to hear.”
Panzich reminds me, though, that all labels aside they just really enjoy playing. “It’s great to play any type of music. Tex-mex, blues, bluegrass, etc.” When I ask them if they get a big response playing in the southern United States, he says, “Yes!”
“We had a great time the last time we were in the south.” Panzich says. “They just have a better understanding of the country side of our music.”
Husak adds, “There’s more of a familiarity with country rock over there. It’s a lot of fun for us. They’re very passionate. They just don’t look jaded.”
Their last album, Rhinestone Republic, got big reviews from all the magazines that know great music. With such an accomplishment in their rearview mirror, looking forward to their next album doesn’t seem to difficult for them. What’s the secret?
To Panzich, it’s knowing what you want listeners to hear. “You just have to be honest about your writing. Write with conviction and write the song that you feel. We’re too old to worry about impressing people, so we just work on making great records.”
“We started recording our new album in August of last year, but we had to get a new studio.” Tavera says. ”It has lot more rock. It’s a lot heavier. It sounds more ‘live’ and It’s a lot more raw.”
The band always aims for better sound quality while recording. The hardest part is capturing a sound that’s so much better live. Creating an album representative of what countless live performances has given the band can be difficult, given their limited budget.
“We’ve had a lot of recording lessons. Fine tuning the performance to fit the recording is what we’ve certainly improved on.” Panzich says. Tavera adds, “We’ve played a lot more, we’ve had a lot more experience.”
“We travel a little in our personal life and as a band, so of course that experience is going to go into the songs. We play a lot tighter. We have a lot confidence in our performance.”
For Husak, there’s a moment when their magic is ready, whether it’s for the studio or a live performance. “When we can rehearse a song over and over again and get to the point where we’re laughing and having a good time, we know we are doing it right.”