Sometimes not having any deep themes behind your music is a good thing.
The Brandon Paris Band nabbed a best new group nomination at the 2007 Canadian Radio Music Awards on the strength of a first album called On My Own, which was largely influenced by the painful past of lead singer Brandon Paris.
Paris said he was molested between the ages of four and eight by a neighbour — one of those seemingly friendly guys who opens his home to kids.
“I knew it was weird, I felt it was wrong,” he recalled, “I don’t know why I never told anybody.”
After the neighbour moved back to his native Australia, that kind of abuse ended. But Brandon, who performs with his band in Red Deer on July 9, said he was still smacked around throughout his teenage years by his father, who was a strict army man.
The singer doesn’t like dwelling on this, largely because things are now good between he and his dad, who is remorseful for hitting him. But these bad childhood experiences were the basis of songs, such as Abuse, Dying Inside and Suicide to My Mind.
When a more conventional love song from the group’s first album, Rewind and Start Again, climbed into the Top 20 in 2006, the Winnipegger, who’s now based in Vancouver, was gaining the success he’s always dreamed of.
Yet at each concert, Paris said he still had to put himself into a “depressing” mindset to sing songs influenced by painful episodes in his past, such as his adolescent suicide attempts.
While all the rehashing was probably as good as therapy at the time, Paris feels he’s with done with that now.
His band’s latest album, Pocket Full of Holes, is more light-hearted and upbeat, although it still contains the kind of aggressive rock that’s invited comparisons with The Red Hot Chili Peppers.
“We made it more fun, more mainstream, than our last album. More happy.”
Already, MuchMusic is playing a video of the Internet hit Say Goodbye and radio stations are picking up a new single called Can’t Hate You. Paris considers this quite an accomplishment for an independent band that dabbles in reggae, which is not considered as “radio friendly” as straight rock.
But then, he’s been meeting steep milestones from the moment he quit a job at his dad’s video production company to become a singer.
Paris recalled his first goal was saving every penny to record an album, “I sold my car . . . I ate tuna and oatmeal every day until I could pay $80,000 for recording.”
Using innovative thinking, he recruited online fans to form “street teams,” in order to spread the word about his music in centres across Canada. Paris also endeavoured to introduce himself to staff at each radio station whenever he toured through a new town.
But probably the biggest turning point in his career was meeting Da Griff, his group’s other lead singer.
The Jamaican-born rap and reggae artist had been recording a solo album at the same studio as Paris. The two kept crossing paths and eventually began collaborating at each other’s gigs. “I grew up listening to reggae,” said Paris, whose parents immigrated to Canada from Trinidad and Tobago, and he thought Da Griff’s contributions were “kind of cool.”
Da Griff eventually agreed to join the band, which also includes keyboardist Marc Gladstone, drummer Chris Murray, guitarist Bryan Jasper and bassist Brian Sanheim.
Paris believes the chemistry between them adds a rare quality that sets the Brandon Paris Band apart from other groups. “When we’re together, the energy is really good.”
The Brandon Paris Band performs at Cheers North in Red Deer on Thursday. The opening bands are Oldbury and Night at the Chelsea. Admission is $7 at the door.