A year ago, the name Madison Paige started to appear in e-mails and on some websites. RockUnited started getting their rather enthusiastic news letters, and finally a few weeks ago their first album was delivered to the RockUnited headquarters. And whaddaya know, they were actually as good as they claimed to be! Here's an interview with the lead singer Paul Caroul, who volunteered to answer our set of questions, this time even more weird than usual...
1. So...you kinda threw in the towel to start with, by calling your album "The Famous Last Words"? What's with that? :)
Yeah, it could have that connotation, couldn't it? Ha ha. Just as you mentioned your questions might be "tongue in cheek" I guess our album title is too! Album titles are such a pain in the ass to come up with, and even harder to get everyone to agree on. People make such a big deal over them. I don't care, really. I came up with the title as part of an inside joke, suggesting it would be a perfect name if Damon ever made a solo record... months later, one five minute conversation (the shortest MP debate ever) had us all agree it was a title capturing everything we wanted.. a dark side, light side, and.. a famous side! We seemed to get so much attention even before the album was ever finished. At the time, we were the "Most Famous Band You Never Ever Heard." Plus, it's campy to call your debut album "last," which I like.
2. How did you come up with the name of the band? I can't help but think that it could be a name of a Soap Opera character..."Tonight on The Restless And The Beautiful...The return of Madison Paige, the mysterious ex-wife"...also, were you aware of the Swedish 80'ies band Madison?
I have seen a "Madison Avenue" but I don't know the Swedish one. "Madison Paige" would be a cool Soap Opera character.. played by Lena Olin of ALIAS (the best show ever! I want to be on it!!). I know some people over at Young and the Restless... maybe I should play Madison.. as a guy's name on a soap I could get away with it... I love Madison Paige and people all over love the name and some even said they wished they thought of it for their band. I bet that question of its origin will be asked as often as Brian May gets asked about his homemade Red Special guitar. Unfortunately, the name is the world's most heavily guarded secret. Fort Knox security surrounds this Area 51 mystery. Rumor s have circulated... is it a lost love? Did she die? How? Is it a stripper Richie dated? Did Paul ever do Soap Operas? I heard Madison Paige was a killer that showed up to a Phil Collins concert and Phil sang "In The Air Tonight" looking right at her to let her know he knew, and she put both hands over her ears and went insane! I love the questions and the rumors... I'm just not telling. :)
3. The melodic rock scene seems to concentrated on Europe (the continent, not the band). How's the situation in USA?
The USA is actually concentrated on the band Europe! The butcher, the baker, the businessman... they're ALL still playing air keyboards to "The Final Countdown." Ok seriously... It's crap (like many cultural aspects of the USA). Melodic rock seems to be considered a "guilty pleasure." Hey there's an album title... bet someone nabbed it. :) Still, the great bands like BOSTON and JOURNEY fill the seats and you see people bringing their kids these days. I hope we satisfy both sides of the coin. We're young enough to appear in high school lockers (well magazine clippings of us anyway) and give those seasoned veteran parents of theirs a new young band to go to as well. I know there's a huge audience for it once the public can break free of what they are told to listen to. This weekend I was at the gym and my trainer and I thought the music was not good to work out to. Soon, BON JOVI's "Livin' On a Prayer" came on and I could sense a hush fall over everyone.. you could see it in their eyes.. they were like "Yeah!" and they got into it! They worked out a little harder... some even hummed along. We have heard "Why don't you play like Creed" or join whatever bandwagon. We could, but that market is saturated. It's like telling Mel Gibson... "you're perfect, but I want you to act like Anthony Hopkins." In the end, I think it is the ego that tries to second guess one's audience. Don't do that. Do what you love... it's infectious. Your audience will find you.
4. You have released the album on your own label. Did you decide to go for it on your own right from the start?
Pretty much. Collectively, we agreed not to go for Sony or EMI's jugular right off the bat. Our unofficial trademark is not skipping the grunt work. We wanted to develop a hardcore fan base and prove ourselves first. Many gro ups get suckered into horrendous record deals... The "Suits" you must be wary of... "Suits" not wearing suits are even more dangerous. Before I met the guys, back in NY I was offered two solo record deals. When you don't know better, they can be very tempting. Luckily I turned them both down... One deal, I actually saw the devil in paper form... or perhaps reflecting from evil eyes of it's presenter. sorry, I just thought of a Tim Meddows line from Saturday Night Live when he sings "Why did I sign a seven year contract.. that's such a long time."
5. Are you expecting to be signed when it's time for the album number two, or are you going to continue on your own label?
Album two, you mean "Guilty Pleasure"? We certainly plan to switch to a major label or independent label with "major label benefits" for our second album... whatever that title ends up being.
6. I compared your vocals to those of Pete Loran of Trixter. What do you think of that, should I apologize for comparing you to a "hair metal vocalist"? Am I completely off the mark?
As long as people like the voice they compare me to, I don't mind who it is nor am I concerned if I personally hear a similarity. I'd rather someone say they loved that I sounded like Britney Spears than hate that I sounded like Freddie Mercury, even though knowing me for five minutes would tell anyone which of the two I'd personally prefer. I've heard people say Jon Bon Jovi. Pete Loran of Trixter has a great voice so no apology needed. :) In general, 70's and 80's rock singers sang more melodic and higher songs than radio artists today which is why kareoke singers don't often attempt BOSTON's "More Than a Feeling"... they can't do it.. they stick to SMASHMOUTH. Comparisons are welcomed... perhaps someday it will be said " that new singer sounds a lot like Paul Caroul."
7. What are your personal favourite tracks on the album?
Next To You is my favorite. I think Restrained is quite good too.
8. What are your plans for the near future? Gigs, videos, revolution?
I would like to do some videos, but we will have to see which songs would work best based on their success. We are all writing some new songs and may test the waters with one or two in our upcoming setlists. We just finished one hell of a fun show at the famous ROXY in LA and a dangerously fun party afterwards... We are playing in concert on June 11th at the Gig in Hollywood, CA and I believe it is the last show around LA for a while... we want to spread out the circle and play every "San" California has to offer... Diego, Francisco, Pedro, and of course, "ta Barbara." We are looking into doing concerts in Las Vegas and Phoenix, AZ too. We are in talks about doing a spot on MTV and VH1 to promote "Famous Last Words" and hopefully have some summer fun too.
9. What about the band, do you think your sound is going to change and if so, to which direction?
Now that our lineup is complete, I think naturally our sound will change just from having different and additional songwriters within the band. To which direction, I don't know. I like not knowing. Otherwise there would be that danger of second guessing what people want. Like Dionysus, the creative process is irrational and spontaneous, and moves in non linear, non fastidious patterns. It's completely unpredictable. I do love power ballads however and hope to have a few hits with some I'm writing for the next album.
10. Where could one get your album, especially here in Europe? Is it available via some web retailers?
Europeans for the moment would have one hell of a commute to come see us play or buy our album in the shops. As for live dates, we do plan to get to Europe when we can, but in the mean time another iron in the fire I have thought of was a live worldwide webcast of one of our concerts. We have had such supportive fans, and I'd love to "bring the concert to them" for those that can't travel to see us yet. I am checking into the logistics of it all, but to make fans ready for a potential internet concert, lets make sure they have the album first... Our website (www.madisonpaige.net) has links to online vendors, but "Famous Last Words" is available now at www.Towerrecords.com, www.Amazon.com, and www.CDBaby.com for starters. Buy it. For best results, consume "Famous Last Words" before taking in a MP concert, then shake vigorously.
11. Now...what are your famous last words for this interview?
I like that this interview goes up to 11 [RU: It's one louder that way!]... Also, while we are on the movies/television topic... MGM, listen up. I need you to release a COMPLETE original and uncut "Tom and Jerry" DVD collection... the Fred Quimby Years, Gene Deitch, Chuck Jones Years 63-67, I want it all. Do it. MTV's The State, and The Electric Company... you too. I'll be watching. Finally, to the fans, you have been great, and we love you.
by Kimmo Toivonen,