Kool Kat of the Week: Adam McIntyre and The Pinx Rock Us Back to 1973 with a Hellacious Night of Blues-Tinged, MC5-eques Rock ‘n’ Roll at The Earl

Posted on: May 20th, 2016 By:

by Melanie CrewShowPoster
Managing Editor

Atlanta transplant, by way of the Heart of Dixie, Adam McIntyre of The Pinx promises to cure what ails you with a whole lotta sweat-drenched, heartfelt good ol’ American Rock ‘n’ Roll! McIntyre and his band of ready to rock comrades [Chance McColl (guitar); Jon Lee (bass); and Dwayne Jones (drums)] will be stirring up a little mischief, in the style of Detroit “garage godfathers” MC5, at The Earl this Tuesday, May 24! They’ll be firing up the stage and opening for surf rock guitar legend, Dick Dale & His Del-Tones, to boot (See our Retro Review here), doors at 7pm. The Pinx will also be promoting their newest LP FREEDOM, which lets loose to the masses May 27! Rock on back to the ‘70s and make your way to The Earl ‘cause this is gonna be one helluva show you won’t want to miss!

McIntyre, front man and producer of The Pinx was born into the world of Rock ‘n’ Roll, almost literally, being exposed to Led Zeppelin’s ZEPPELIN II the day he gulped his first breath. And as most of these tales go, it didn’t stop there. Back in Alabama, McIntyre shared the stage with Chess Records artists, setting his sights on becoming a blues guitarist at a young age. But The Pinx became his Rock ‘n Roll love child, taking him from town to town throughout the Southeast, tearing up the stage and raisin’ a ruckus! Although the band crumbled a time or two, The Pinx’ phoenix-like revival has them fired up and ready to deliver that good old ‘70s Rock ‘n’ Roll with a kick of swampy soul! With comparisons to the MC5, Cheap Trick, Muddy Waters, Tom Petty, Otis Redding, AC/DC and more, The Pinx are hell-bent on makin’ mischief and dishing out that psychedelic Rock ‘n’ Roll vibe!

(L-R) Chance McColl, Jon Lee, Dwayne Jones, Adam McIntyre

(L-R) Chance McColl, Jon Lee, Dwayne Jones, Adam McIntyre

ATLRetro caught up with Adam McIntyre for a quick interview about The Pinx, his take on good ‘ol Rock ‘n’ Roll, and the shenanigans he’s stirred up while on the road! While you’re gearing up for our little Q&A with McIntyre, get an earful of a few track from The Pinx’ new album FREEDOM here.

ATLRetro: “The Pinx” is perfect for a band described as “70s glam garage rockers” and “good old American rock ‘n’ roll.” Any funky stories about how you came up with such a rock ‘n’ roll name?

Adam McIntyre: Ooh, good question, bad answer. I guess because I’m pretty liberal, that’s where I got the commie pinko thing. Our early flyers were all Russian propaganda art, poking fun at ourselves. One day, Jim, our previous drummer stood up and erased the “ks” from the blackboard on stage at The Star Bar and replaced them with an “X”–he said, because he hadn’t had anything to do with coming up with the name. So Jim rebranded us as a thing that isn’t a color or a political thing but something else. The fact that it is so close to The Kinks makes it that much more of a bonus for me.

Any mischievous tales on how you gathered up the rest of The Pinx and became a band?

I’ve been in Atlanta for a decade now, and following the collapse of the Pinx 2.0 lineup, all I had to do was wait for some of my favorite musicians and people to be reasonably free. Dwayne and I were in Demonaut together, Jon and Dwayne are in Telestrion together, and I mixed a record for Chance that Dwayne played drums on. Dwayne has been waiting to be in The Pinx for about seven or eight years and these other fellas were perfect for the job before they knew the idea was brewing in my brain. Nothing cute or zany, just a guy who knew what he wanted and set a goal and got it.

What does “good old American rock ‘n’ roll” mean to you? And what draws you to that sound?

(L-R) Adam McIntyre, Dwayne Jones, Jon Lee, Chance McColl

(L-R) Adam McIntyre, Dwayne Jones, Jon Lee, Chance McColl

I’m not sure what it implies for you, but for me, Rock and Roll means Chuck Berry and Little Richard. Ike Turner and other badass originals that I can’t compete with. I’m like one of the British guys imitating them badly except I happen to be from Alabama right down the street from where Ike Zinnerman taught Robert Johnson how to play. African plus European music plus hardship equals American music, distilled and distorted to taste.

As a band drenched in the sleaze of the good ol’ Dirty Dirty, spending the good part of 2007-2012 on the road traveling back and forth across the Southeast, what venue would you say is your favorite, and why?

I’ll probably pick a place that ain’t there anymore… maybe the Corner Lounge in Knoxville where a pretty woman once challenged me to an onstage Guinness chugging contest and my smug ass lost by quite a bit. It was family run and they treated us like family. Or maybe the alive-and-well Egan’s in Tuscaloosa, where transvestites and frat boys, black and white mix for the common cause of a good time. Dan Elextro from The Woggles became our spirit animal with a request-nay-demand to perform The Who‘s “Heaven and Hell” there, and I turned around mid-solo to see a couple having sex in the stage-side bathroom with the door open. I thought, “Oh, we’re doing a Who cover we’ve never rehearsed while people have sex and people throw up their dollar clamatos in the trashcan in front of the stage. This is wild! This must be who we are now.” A lot of clubs have left their DNA on my heart. Too many to name.

AlbumHaving been on the road for so long, there’s got to be plenty of riotous road tales to tell. Care to share a few?

We once escorted a pregnant prostitute from a Waffle House parking lot back to her pimp. We took too many mushrooms in Macon and had to take a break fifteen minutes into the show to run backstage and gather our wits but then came back and did what our fans described as our best show. Our drummer broke his kick drum head and I thought the band was melting but apparently it was better than our usual set. There are many, many stories that sound entirely fabricated.

Any interesting stories to tell our readers about your musical upbringing, or when you became interested in playing music?

My first time on stage was in 1986 when I was eight sitting in with Chess Records artist Bobby Moore and The Rhythm Aces. They were very gracious and made sure I had a good time–and I did. I wanted to spend the rest of my life playing Rhythm and Blues on stage. I still approach Rock and Roll from the viewpoint of a blues guitarist– “Is this what Freddie King would do?” Some of the musicians in my town had played with James Brown and Wilson Pickett and they intimidated me but didn’t stop me from begging to get onstage with them as a kid. Always play with better musicians.

Can you tell our readers a little (without giving too much away) about your soon-to-be released LP FREEDOM, produced in your own recording studio, Killybegs Sound Recording, and how they can get their grubby little hands on it?

The songs started out as true stories that I tend to tell more often than others. Musically it is my happy place. I tried to tune in to my core, my inner child, and make music that I find incredibly fun. Everyone I invited to take part in the record was encouraged to have as much fun and be themselves as possible. That includes Brian Carter and Keith Brogdon, who are respectively responsible for mastering and the album art. Everyone had a blast as I invited them to add their soul to my musical happy place. Hopefully you can hear that.

What is it about the MC5 that so heavily influenced this new album?

The MC5 are my most important American rock and roll band. They’re a shot of adrenaline, a “Fuck you!” to the establishment, and a one-band party. The fire in their spirit cannot be contained by time and I can’t stop telling peopledick dale about them. They make me happy. They might make you feel the same.

We see that some of The Pinx’ other major influences are Cheap Trick, The Kinks, Howlin’ Wolf, The Who, Led Zeppelin and more! Which album would you say influenced you the most in your own musical upbringing and why?

My parents brought me home from being born and played LED ZEPPELIN II for me that day. A few years later my brother Patrick pointed at Jimmy Page and said, “You can never have long hair unless you play guitar like THAT.” “That” became a real goal. Even when I was a snooty blues purist I still kind of wanted to be Jimmy Page. He looked like he was having a blast, so, probably ZEPPELIN II.

Can you tell us a little about getting the chance to open for Surf Rock legend, Dick Dale? What do you look forward to the most?

About an hour after I made the announcement that The Pinx were back, I was contacted about us opening for Dick. I’m looking forward to the adrenaline rush of seeing him perform.

What can ATLRetro readers expect to experience at your rowdy rock ‘n’ roll bonanza at The Earl on May 24?

A band. I think you’ll see when we step on stage that it’s not me with some guys I found. These gentlemen make quite a ruckus because they know they’re trusted and encouraged to be themselves. I’ll be making a ruckus because I’m floored I get to drive this thing.

Adam McIntyre

Adam McIntyre

What’s next for Adam McIntyre and The Pinx?

The album will come out on May 27th on bandcamp and hopefully iTunes as well. We’ll do more shows in Atlanta and start playing nearby towns like Macon and Greenville. We’ll release more single songs, some originals and some Stax covers. We’ll write another album and play it live in a studio. We’ll be a rock and roll band!

Anything else you’d like to tell ATLRetro readers about you or the band?

Y’all come to the shows to forget about your lives for a minute and have a good time. Keep your phone in your pocket and pretend it’s 1973. Your problems will wait. We’re there for the sole purpose of having a good time and you’re invited to join in.

And last, but not least, what question do you wish somebody would ask you and what’s the answer?

What is the meaning of life? 42.

Photos provided by Adam McIntyre and The Pinx and used with permission.

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Kool Kat of the Week: Johnette Napolitano Serves Up a Rough Mix at Eddie’s Attic

Posted on: Jan 10th, 2015 By:
jn&star-photo by amber rogers

Johnette Napolitano and her horse Star. Photo credit: Amber Rogers

By Rose Riot
Contributing Writer

Johnette Napolitano, fiery solo artist and former lead singer of  Concrete Blonde, will be performing  an acoustic/spoken word show at Eddie’s Attic on Sun. Jan. 11. Johnette has been a musician and artist for most of her 57 years of life and worked with some of the greats such as Leon Russell, Danny Carry and members of Talking Heads, Wall of Voodoo and Cheap Trick to name just a few. Her music can be heard as part of the soundtrack for many movies and TV shows, too. And she’s also a flamenco dancer, writer, tattoo artist, seamstress and sculptress.

Johnette’s latest project is ROUGH MIX, a short book collecting sketches and stories about some of the songs that she has written over the last three decades.  For her longtime fans who have always wondered where she got the inspiration to lyrics of some of their favorite cuts, ROUGH MIX will satisfy their curiosity.

When I spoke to Johnette over the phone, I expressed to her my thought that fans of her music are generally people who like to read, given the strong narrative and characters in many of her lyrics. Her songs could easily be strung together into a novel. When I asked if she would ever write a novel, she quickly responded, “No” and claimed not to have the attention span for a long work. That is easy enough to believe given her wide range of interests.  She told me that when she was 12, her father (whom she tributes in the beginning of ROUGH MIX) gave her a guitar, and back then she would sit on her bed and write. Then as she laughingly put it, she “got caught up in all the rock and roll bullshit.” Yet first and foremost, she still considers herself a writer rather than a musician.

Johnette attended UCLA on a scholarship for art classes. There, she was able to try many different mediums of art. I asked her if there was any other art form she wanted to try and hadn’t. She took some time to answer this question and said, “I like to sew. I’d like to do more of that. I just don’t have enough time to do that. I’ve got my horse and my goat. I spend a lot of time with them. I tour one week out of the month. I don’t have a whole lot of goals left. I don’t know if that’s good thing or a bad thing.”

“I put work before relationships always before in my life,” Johnette added. “Now I think I want to focus on those. I want a satisfied personal life. I had a blast with a friend of mine yesterday at the Joshua Tree Saloon drinking coffee and Patron. I want to do more of that.” 

Johnette Napolitano. Photo credit: Amber Rogers

Johnette Napolitano. Photo credit: Amber Rogers

A common theme in Johnette’s work is the desert. She calls Joshua Tree, California home. She lives there with her dogs, rescue goat and horse also known as her  “f”anima’ly.”  I asked her what she thought about the desert, given the peril that exists in such a place,  made it seem so safe and powerful. “You don’t have a lot of crap around you and you can hear God,” she said. “You can hear your self think.”

Johnette then went on to tell me a story about a time that she was sitting on her front porch and wrote the song “Rosalie.” “I literally caught the song out of the wind,” she said. “That wouldn’t happen in the city.” She also told about having to wrangle a rattlesnake with a mic stand that came into her home (under her chair at her desk) and how she sort of had a dialogue with it about sticking to his own turf and not hers. She apologized profusely to the snake, but given the danger of it being in her home near her dogs and her own feet, it had to go.

Johnette Napolitano. Photo credit: Amber Rogers

Johnette Napolitano. Photo credit: Amber Rogers

I got the feeling talking to Johnette that she has found a certain peace that many artists struggle to find. She has managed to straddle not only the world of being painfully passionate but also with laughing and loving. Certainly her music provokes deep feelings in her fans. At times, many feel as if she is singing directly to each of them, a kind of soul listening. I told her about the time when I saw her do a small intimate performance at a record store in Nashville and how not only were my eyes filled with tears but so were those of the shop owner. I wondered how this type of response made her feel. She told me that she doesn’t pay attention. That what her fans feel isn’t really her business. At first, this seemed cold and not the answer I expected. But she went on to explain her process of performing in a way that almost seemed trancelike and made perfect sense in order to achieve her goal.  “I don’t look. I never look down,” she said. “There is a light above my head and I focus on that. What they do, isn’t my business. I am there to do my art. I can’t worry about what other people are doing.”

In other words, music for Johnette is like breathing. You don’t choose to breathe. You just breathe so that you can keep living.

Eddie’s Attic is a very small, personal venue. I imagine her huge charisma will fill every square inch of space in the room. To see such a powerful woman sing and read from her heart in such an intimate setting will be an experience to be treasured.

All photos are used with permission.

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