PAUL STRANGE (STRANGE KARMA) INTERVIEW:
June 10, 2011
Strange Karma recently made their stateside debut while promoting their self-titled FnA Records release by playing several gigs in Los Angeles and Las Vegas before heading back to Australia. The band definitely fits into that down-under hard rock sound with a dry heavy mix that brings to mind AC/DC and Jet. The band has also made an impression while they were gigging in Las Vegas, have over 96,000 friends on MySpace and are currently #19 on Reverbnation’s Rock Charts. They look forward to returning to the States in the near future.
Sally Steele of Vegas Rock Magazine says, “It is rare that every member in a band is at the top of their game and shines like a star in their own special way, but Strange Karma glows all the way in that respect. It is hard to believe these guys are not signed on a major label, but I do believe they are on their way.” Brad Hardisty caught up with Strange Karma guitarist Paul Strange via email to learn about their impressions of America and what is up with the band while they are back at home.
Sleaze Roxx: What town in Australia are you from?
Paul Strange: Sydney, Australia.
Sleaze Roxx: I know Big Day Out is one of the annual events in Australia — have you participated in that or other Aussie festivals?
Paul Strange: No, unfortunately the industry here hasn’t been the most supportive towards Strange Karma. We have played shows all over Sydney in the original scene, and also got the band super-tight by playing with cover bands, such as Dirty Deeds the AC/DC tribute band and Kissteria the KISS tribute show, all over New South Wales.
Sleaze Roxx: Has Strange Karma played any American festivals?
Paul Strange: We haven’t played any festivals in America yet but we were fortunate enough to play at some of the most famous venues in the U.S. such as the Whiskey a Go Go, Cat Club and the Roxy. We did an independent tour of Las Vegas and Los Angeles, playing over 25 shows, and being rebooked at almost every venue we played at.
Sleaze Roxx: How about Europe?
Paul Strange: Before we were known as Strange Karma my brother and I played in the UK a lot. Some of the highlights included playing at the Midsummer Buzz festival, the Brighton Beach festival and supporting Ten Years After in Manchester. We had played clubs from Wales to London and even Scotland.
We also recorded at the world famous Monnow Valley studios which catered to bands like Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Rush, etc. We recorded with the award winning producer Greg Haver (Manic Street Preachers, Wilder, The Earlybirds) who had expressed an interest in the band at the time, but we were not happy with the approach of the production and the recordings became demos.
Sleaze Roxx: What are some of the main influences in your song writing?
Paul Strange: Our influences vary a lot from Classic Rock bands that our parents used to play around the house to experiences we have faced while pursuing our dream.
Sleaze Roxx: Who are the main songwriters in the band?
Paul Strange: My brother Martin and I write the songs — he is the lyricist. All the songs on our debut album have been written at different stages of our career. Songs like “America” and “Time” were written closer to the recording of the record and other songs have been with us since our early acoustic days.
Sleaze Roxx: Who are your main influences on the guitar riffs?
Paul Strange: I have to say that my brother and my Dad jamming at home really made me want to learn how to play guitar. Then I discovered some old school albums from Jimi Hendrix and Led Zeppelin and the influences started from there. I can’t say that I have one particular influence — I like listening to lots of music.
Sleaze Roxx: What kind of guitar rig do you prefer?
Paul Strange: I play a Gibson Les Paul running through a Marshall JCM 800 head and a 1960TV Quad (4×12 Cab) box. Marty plays a Gibson Lucille running through a Fender Deville quad combo. He also plays a Maton acoustic.
Sleaze Roxx: Do you plan on coming back to the United States any time soon?
Paul Strange: We are working towards coming back out to the States as soon as we can — things are in the works.
Sleaze Roxx: Is there any new material in the pipeline since the debut?
Paul Strange: Yeah we have loads of material — if the debut album does well we will definitely be releasing another album.
Sleaze Roxx: When you were in the United States what was your favorite town?
Paul Strange: Las Vegas. We spent a good three months there, it has a great vibe.
Sleaze Roxx: What was your favorite venue?
Paul Strange: Cheyenne Saloon — that place has great character. And in L.A we loved the Whiskey.
Sleaze Roxx: Is there anybody you would like to tour with?
Paul Strange: Anyone that will have us.