The Lears 1999

The lineup of band might change, but The Lears stay true to their goal: creating music in the vein of rock's most creative time, the 60's. Like Lenny Kravitz, they champion a sound, without sounding retro. Based around core members and songwriters, Dennis Dalcin and Paul Mutchler, the band released their CD debut, The Lears…The Story So Far…, in 1997.

E.C.: The liner notes of your CD talks about the history of the Lears, that the band was formed in August 1990 by Dennis Dalcin and Paul Mutchler. Tell me more about the history of the band. Is it mainly you and Paul with backup musicians? Has the band played live? Does the band have any aspirations towards a live representation of its recordings?

Dennis: Well the band really was formed by Paul and I back in 1990. Paul had been playing guitar and singing in a great folk rock band in Orlando throughout most of the 80's called THE GREEN TODAY. They were very Byrds/REM sounding. I met them when they played a small club and they were fantastic!! They were very type of band I had been trying to get together here for years but unsuccessfully. At this time they were known as STUMBLE (after the REM song). They played there two nights, and on the 2nd night they asked me to come up on stage with them and play Eight Miles High by The Byrds. At one time I almost joined The Green Today. Shortly before this I had moved to Los Angeles to try to get into a band like Rain Parade or The Long Ryders. Unfortunately, that scene had already moved on and there was really nothing much happening. So I had just moved back to St. Pete about 2 months before meeting up with Paul & The Green Today. After this show I started to actively search for musicians for a band. I found another guitarist and bass player and we formed THE PETAL PUSHERS. We sounded like a garage version of Rain Parade meets Hawkwind!

Dennis: In 1989 we recorded 4 songs with Ken Chiodini, from The Green Today, on drums and Paul engineered the whole thing on a Teac 4-track machine in the living room of the other guitarist's house! In fact the song Electric Mushroom Voyage on The Lears CD is from that session! Both bands split up not too long after this, and Paul moved to Clearwater to be with his new girlfriend. Paul had told me he wanted to record an album of his own songs, but that he wanted to use a song or two of mine as well. So he and I started to get together and work up a few of my songs. From the first time we played together it just "clicked". We ended up working on Paul's and my songs and they sounded great! We found that when we sang together we just naturally sang in harmony. So Paul and I decided to get Ken Chiodini and another friend Steve Rybka to come over from Orlando to play drums and bass respectively on some demos we wanted to record in order to find a permanent drummer and bass player for our new band: THE LEARS. Those recordings are what make up the bulk of our The Story So Far... CD! We later went to Orlando and recorded a few more songs that also ended up on our CD.

Dennis: Then in 1996 Paul got transferred to Orlando for his job, and I moved over about 2 months later. Within weeks of moving to Orlando we had found the perfect drummer & bass player in Suzy Dozier & Mark Dewey respectively. This version of the band lasted for about a year before both Paul and I moved back to the St. Pete/Clearwater area again. During that year in Orlando The Lears played live around 20 times. We loved playing live, and had wanted to ever since we put the band together in 1990! We also recorded another 5 songs with this version of the band at King Snake Studios in Deland. This is a 24-track professional recording studio best known for blues recordings. These tracks are slated for our 2nd CD that we hope to have out sometime in 2000. In 1997 Paul & I got together with Dan Eggleston (drums) from a local power-pop band called Barely Pink to record 4 more songs at Hitmakers Studio in Tampa. Another professional 24-track recording studio, and these songs too will be on our next CD.

The Lears really are Paul and I with various friends helping us out in the studio! Paul was again transferred back to Orlando in late 1997 where he still lives today. I still live in St. Pete, which makes it VERY difficult to get together to practice, record and/or play live. We have been forced by circumstances to remain primarily a studio band.

E.C.: What is the band's musical approach? How did it lean towards 60's influenced rock, as opposed to say, grunge or alternative?

Dennis: We just play what we like. We are very influenced by the 60's! It was an incredible time of experimentation, innovation and joy, which sadly seems to be lacking from most of today's music! I'd say we've been influenced by not only the 60's folk/garage/psychedelic music, but also by the 70's punk and 80's neo-psych movements as well! We have never even considered doing grunge or alternative - it's just too boring!!

E.C.: How do you approach writing songs? Do you pick a riff first that sounds somewhat familiar? Have you ever received criticism that the band is not original?

Dennis: Well I can only speak for me, but I have no set way of writing songs. An idea can come almost anywhere: in the shower, driving my car or reading a book! Everything is an influence!! Yes, we have received some criticism (albeit very little) for being too 60's sounding. So what!! I couldn't care less if someone doesn't like the 60's and consequently doesn't like what we do...that's their problem! We play what we like, and if other people dig what we do - GREAT!! I must say most people DO seem to dig what we do, and we are very proud of that!!

E.C.: You mentioned that you and Paul and I live 2 hours away from each other. This must really ground the band as far as new recordings or live performances. Any plans for a tour (or mini-tour) after the new album?

Dennis: Probably not. It's just too difficult to put it all together at this point...but one never knows!

E.C.: You mentioned your influences being 60's-80's folk/garage/and psychedelic sounds, and in particular, bands like THE BYRDS, LOVE, THE WHO, THE MISUNDERSTOOD, THE BEATLES, THE LONG RYDERS, THE MOVE, THE ELECTRIC PRUNES, SYD'S PINK FLOYD, and PLASTICLAND. On first listen, I'd have to say that the biggest influence has to be the Byrds? Do you and Paul both play Rickenbackers?

Dennis: Yes The Byrds are a BIG influence, and since Paul plays a Rickenbacker 12-string it's hard not to sound like them. All of the other bands mentioned above are also a huge influence on our sound as well. You may not notice them right away because the Rickenbacker has such a signature sound that you hear it first.

E.C.: Its also amazing how much the voices sound like Roger McGuinn!

Dennis: Thanks!! I don't hear it in my voice, but I do in Paul's. I get compared to Ray Davies of The Kinks!

E.C.: Was "Someone Else's War" an attempt to write a "modern" protest song?

Dennis: It was my attempt to say to hell with war!! Fighting over oil or land is such a stupid thing to do! Freedom is the only thing worth dying for.

E.C.: The only song that seemed to stray from the Byrds formula was ELECTRIC MUSHROOM VOYAGE. That is definitely Syd Barret's Pink Floyd! Any other instrumentals planned?

Dennis: Thanks!! I love Syd's Pink Floyd!! What an amazing songwriter he was!! Actually, I had been listening to a lot of early Hawkwind when I came up with that. It just seemed to come together really well the day we were recording. It just flowed! We have another instrumental called Thee Iguana Theme that Paul wrote, and it will probably be on the next CD too. It's sort of like Link Wray!

E.C.: Speaking of your CD, THE STORY SO FAR... on Get Hip Recordings 1997 Was this mainly a sort of compilation? Reading the liner notes, it appears that the CD was comprised of at least 7 previous releases (either singles, EP's or compilations).

Dennis: Yes it is. We wanted to get them out sounding better than any of the singles or EP's had. So we remixed and remastered them in a digital studio in Tampa, and were quite pleased with the way they now sound.

E.C.: Also, the liner notes mention that it was recorded on a TASCAM 4-track recorder. Was this a conscious effort to emulate the sounds of 60's recordings? Or was it strictly cost restraints? I'm amazed by the sound of the CD, especially when it was recorded on a 4-track.

Dennis: Thanks again! No, we weren't consciously trying to sound "60's". It just kind of happened. It was definitely all down to cost!! We simply couldn't afford to go into a 16 or 24-track studio. So we did the best we could with what we had. I'm VERY pleased that people like it so much!! We like to think goodmusic is timeless!

E.C.: You mentioned that the Lears are scheduled to have a track called WORDS WEREN'T SAID on a comp CD with the next issue of BUCKETFULL OF BRAINS magazine (#55) in November. Also that you might have a track on the double-CD tribute to Gene Clark on Not Lame Records called FULL CIRCLE in January 2000. Are any of these songs going to be on the new album?

Dennis: Yes, both will appear on the 2nd CD, but with different mixes. So those versions will be unique to those releases.

E.C.: You said that the Lears have about 8 songs recorded for your 2nd CD which you hope to have completed next year sometime. Will it be on the same label? Will it also be recorded in the same manner (on a 4 track, in several different sessions)?

Dennis: Probably not on the same label. All of the new songs are 24-track recordings so sonically they will sound much better!! We will shop the CD around to different labels when we have it completed.

E.C.: You have a new side project band (no name yet) that you said, "sounds more like a jazzy-psychedelic-pop band!". What is the name of this band? Does it take priority over the Lears? Any music released or live performances?

Dennis: It's called ECHOES REMAIN. No, it's just a side project that doesn't interfere with The Lears. No music released nor any live shows so far. We have only been together about 2 months so far. Paul also has a side project band called THE FONDAS!! They are similar to what we were doing in The Lears!They haven't recorded or released anything yet either.


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PH: (412) 231-4766 x11 - 24-HOUR FAX: (412) 231-4777

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