Making a Scene Presents an Interview with Aris Paul!
You’d be hard-pressed to find another band that embodies Pittsburgh Rock and Southside Blues like APB…Aris, Aaron, and Matt refer to what they do as “red-eyed, road rock” – and that’s accurate. It’s a culmination of fierce guitar, moving bass lines, and remarkably technical drumming that evoke bands of yesteryear while throwing in some jam-ish nuances. Their music has the gypsy soul of the Allman Bros., the blues swagger of Freddie King, the rowdy rock ‘n’ roll of the Stones, and the heavy metal roar of Hendrix and Sabbath. Spanning funk to country, hard rock to blues, APB puts on a rock show that has opened them up to the national spotlight and allowed them to tour the country and work alongside the likes of the Way-Down Wanderers, Joanna Shaw Taylor, Eric Sommers, Joshua Davis, Ally Venable, Raelyn Nelson (Willie Nelson’s granddaughter), and many, many more.
Why the Southside?
People often say it’s hard to resist music when you’re born into a musical family. Aris is no exception. His father, Paul Pantelas was a lifelong musician and touring guitarist throughout the 1970s and 1980s. In 1988, Paul and his brother, George Pantelas opened one of Pittsburgh’s hottest blues bars. Just over a decade later in a house full of dusty, old road cases, Aris picked up his first guitar – he hasn’t put it down since. Growing up in a blues bar, you develop an affinity for certain things. Bourbon, the smell of stale cigarettes and smoke, the warm neon glow. Some of these naturally take time to develop but the sour bending of a Stratocaster on a Saturday night is something that’s with you from day one. Growing up in a revolving room of blues and punk rock greats, Aris dedicating his life to being a musician is as predictable as the sun coming up tomorrow…
It’s taken years, several albums, and a never-ending roster of musicians but Aris seems to have finally found his dream team in Matt and Aaron:
“You won’t find two better musicians in Pittsburgh…they are the real deal. With those boys, we all play on a separate but connected plane. Like three chemists running around a laboratory, there’s a beautiful chaos to it…and there’s nothing better than a rock show…”
And while the band has turned their efforts toward touring, Aris remains adamant about reviving Pittsburgh’s live music scene as well as remaining a part of it:
“My dad and uncle were such an integral part of the Pittsburgh scene and it was right here on Carson at Excuses – Bill Toms & Hard Rain, Warren King, Billy Price, Don Hollowood, Norman Nardini, Koko Taylor, Joffo Simmons, Phillip Walker…even Junior Wells and Bruce Willis played harp in here. That is the Southside that people forget…”
Influenced by blues, funk, soul, folk, alt. country, and hard rock, APB’s music is hard to pin down. But then again, that’s nothing new these days. Every band claims to be genre-spanning…but there’s a textural quality missing. Something that makes that artist, an artist. The Aris Paul Band doesn’t have that problem. They sound like the Aris Paul Band. A musician’s band that pours every ounce of energy into their rock show and leaves your ears ringing for days. Then they load up their 1996 Econoline Van and do it again a few towns over. That’s “red-eyed, road rock” and that’s APB…
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