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Sweet Pain: Bringing Rock To The People

 

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By Johnny Griffith

Growing up in the 80’s for me was a great time. There are much worse things than having no responsibilities other than school, hanging out with my friends, and of course, listening to 80’s metal. My days and nights during middle and high school replay in my mind to a soundtrack of Motley Crue, Bon Jovi, Van Halen, Def Leppard, and many others. These songs always take me back to specific memories of events and people that usually always make me smile. One of the few local bands that have embraced this genre and consistently encourage audiences to bang their heads is Sweet Pain.

Based in the Tyler area, Sweet Pain has been rocking the stage with the sweet sounds of slick guitar solos and power ballads for several years now. A regular at local clubs and festivals, SP has been helmed by Sonia and Kindra Tiner for over a decade and after many changes in the roster of the band over the years, the lineup has solidified in recent years and is poised for bigger and better things.

I recently sat down with Sonia to get to know Sweet Pain better:

Johnny: Give me the current rundown of who is in the band and a little of their background.

Sonia: I was born in St. Charles, MO and moved to Tyler with my mother in 1981. I went to high school at Chapel Hill and graduated from TJC with a degree in Radiology Technology. I took piano lessons at age 11, and I’m a self-taught guitarist. I currently work in the I.T. Department for Gregg County, and in my spare time, I like riding my 2004 Harley Fat Boy, playing Playstation 4, and shooting guns.

Kindra Tiner was born in Athens, Texas graduated from Trinidad High School, and currently, lives in Tyler. Kindra lost her mother to brain cancer in 1989. She is a self-taught musician and has played lead guitar in several country bands since the age of 14. She decided to learn how to play bass guitar for Sweet Pain in 2007. She works at Skeeter Bass Boats in Kilgore and enjoys riding her 2005 Harley Deuce in her spare time and fishing.

Richard Callahan is originally from Houston and studied computer systems and technology at MTI College of Business and Technology in San Jacinto, Texas. He has taught and performed music in Tyler for more than 15 years. His other projects include guitarist for Church in the Barn and Senor Gringo. Richard teaches at Guitar Center in Tyler while writing and recording his own music in his spare time.

Last, but not least, Derold Miller, originally from Redwood City, CA, learned how to play drums at age 11, on his uncle’s set. He also served in the U.S. Navy for 4 ½ yrs. Derold has played in several rock and metal bands in the California and Seattle areas. Although his days of playing in multiple bands are over, he enjoys playing a round of golf and Playstation 4. He is currently the I.T. director for Gregg County.

Johnny: So what is the significance of the name of the band “Sweet Pain?”

Sonia: Well, pain can be bittersweet in many cases. We were sitting around talking about how you do something you love, even if it hurts you physically or mentally. So “Sweet Pain” came to life.

Johnny: SP has been doing this for over a decade now, so what do you attribute your continued success?

Sonia: Our genre of music is something people from all ages and backgrounds can relate to. We try to play songs that take you back in time and songs people can rock out to.

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Johnny: Speaking of those songs, what guided you towards that specific genre?

Sonia: When we started building our set list we wanted to bring back the 80’s hair band songs that just weren’t being played anymore. Especially, bands like Heart, Journey, and Guns n Roses just to name a few. We also wanted to play songs that younger and older generations both would recognize and go, “Oh yeah, I love that song!” or “I remember jamming to that song back in high school!” It is definitely a by-product of the music we grew up listening to.

Johnny: Does Sweet Pain stick to covers, or do you work some originals in?

Sonia: Between Richard and myself, we have several originals. We just finished recording “Queen of Misery,” which is about domestic violence that I wrote back in 2007 based on my personal experience. We are now working on “Dark Side,” “Reflections”, “Madness,” “My Heart Bleeds,” and “Rag Doll.” Our goal is to incorporate two or three originals in each set. This gets our stuff out there while we still rock out the popular cover tunes.

Johnny: How many shows on average do you guys play?

Sonia: We typically average three shows a month although we tried to cut back to two a month because we played every weekend for eight years, and I was worn out! Many people have reached out to us for benefits and other venues, so we have a busy schedule in September. Very Busy!

Johnny: What has the summer been like for Sweet Pain?

Sonia: We have been off since July 4th. This summer I had to have surgery on my right foot so we haven’t played any shows since July 3rd. We will be back to a full schedule starting August 18th.

Johnny: How far do you typically travel to gig? Is it primarily local, or do you get regional/statewide coverage?

Sonia: We have played at The Horseshoe Casino in Bossier several times, along with many Motorcycle Rallies like Thunder in the Pines, Rally in the Crater, Hot Fun Summer Run, 3-Day Thaw, Bugs-n-Blues, Hawg Wild Rally, Porchfest, and Tomato Fest. Other areas include Nacogdoches, Palestine, Dallas, Mt. Pleasant, Mt. Selman, Tyler, Longview, etc. We typically play close to home but are looking to branch out of the area in the future. It would be great to play something like Rocklahoma or Ozzfest!

Johnny: What have been some of the challenges you’ve had maintaining the band for more than 10 years?

Sonia: Wow! Finding the right mix of talent and personalities has probably been our biggest challenge. We’ve been through a handful of lead guitar players until Richard Callahan said he wanted to play with us permanently. He’s been with this band a little over a year now. Derold “Big D” Miller has been our drummer for a little over three years. Kindra and I are the only two original members. Now that we have the right people in place, everything is going right for us!

Johnny: On the thought of things going right for you guys, Sweet Pain has been nominated for some awards recently, haven’t you?
Sonia: This year we are nominated in several categories at the Ark-La-TX music awards on November 4th. “Queen of Misery” is up for song of the year, while the band is nominated for Entertainer of the year. Kindra is nominated for Bassist of the year, Derold is nominated for Drummer of the year, Richard is nominated for Guitarist of the Year, and I’ve been nominated for Songwriter, Guitarist, and Female Vocalist of the Year. We are very thankful to all of the fans, friends, and family members who nominated and voted for us.

Johnny: What does the rest of 2017 look like for Sweet Pain?

Sonia: The rest of this year we are focusing on completing our cd and adding more cover songs to our set list. We are going to keep raising the bar higher and higher, and we will keep live music alive!

Be sure to check out Sweet Pain on stage this month:

  • September 1st – The Back Porch, Kilgore
  • September 9th – XLN, Tyler
  • September 16th – Fundraiser for Judson Road Volunteer Fire Department, Longview
  • September 17th – Benefit For Krystina, City Park in Kilgore
  • September 23rd – Hawg Wild Rally, Chireno, Texas
  • September 29th – Lonestar Icehouse, Longview

Also be sure to check out Sweet Pain on the web:

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Around East Texas

April 21st: Mouse and the Traps and Bowling for Soup

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Upcoming Concerts

April 21st (8pm) – Mouse & The Traps – After more than 50 years together, Mouse & the Traps continue to be one of the best examples of “Texas Rock & Roll.” Formed in Tyler, Texas in 1965, Mouse, Nardo, Dave & Larry continue to give the public just what they want – great rock and roll. Whether you remember “Public Execution,” “Hit the Bricks,” or not, Mouse & The Traps has something for everyone. Tickets are $20-$25.

April 21st – Bowling For Soup at Clicks Live (8pm) – American pop-punk band Bowling For Soup emerged in Wichita Falls, Texas in 1994, but have since relocated to Denton Texas. Tickets are on sale at the door for $19, and may be purchased in advance online for $15 at etix.com.

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Bands

Blind Pursuit: Chasing Dreams

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By Johnny Griffith

In science, there is a phenomenon known as the Butterfly Effect which states, that in a complex system, small changes in one place can have a larger effect elsewhere. This is best illustrated in the hypothetical example of a butterfly flapping its wings in Mexico and causing a hurricane in China.

A more practical example of this would be the formation of the band Blind Pursuit, based out of Palestine, Texas. An amalgamation of sound and styles brought to the table by each individual member, Blind Pursuit is the end result of five people from different backgrounds and geographical origins ending up in a small town in East Texas and magic happening.

Hailing from Southeast Louisiana, Maine, Cayuga, and Harmony, the odds of these five people interacting were astronomical, but small changes had large effects and Blind Pursuit has been a staple in the east Texas music scene for three years now. We recently tracked them down to get to know them just a little better.

Johnny: Blind Pursuit has been playing gigs around East Texas since 2015. What was the genesis of the band and what is the current line up?

Blind Pursuit: Our first show was February 28th, 2015 opening for our good friends Blacktop Mojo at Click’s Live in Tyler.

Our current lineup includes Marc Mitchell on drums, Craig Jones on bass guitar, John Reed on lead guitar, Katie Reed with lead vocals, and Michael Jones on lead vocals and acoustic guitar.

Craig and Katie hail from Cayuga, Texas. John was raised right down the road in the Harmony Community just outside of Palestine. Marc migrated from the great state of Maine; and Mike spent most of his time about 45 minutes southwest of New Orleans, Louisiana. He has been in Texas since 1998 and spends his time filling in behind the bar at Pint & Barrel Drafthouse in Palestine, and working construction. He met John and Katie again in 2013. John and Katie own Reed Construction where John builds custom homes and Katie does interior design. Craig owns Oak Floor Supply in Tyler, Texas and Marc is in marketing and communications and sometimes moonlights at the Appleton Coffee House.

Johnny: How about the name – there’s a lot to be said in that name. What does it mean to the band and where did the idea come from?

Blind Pursuit: The name Blind Pursuit stems from the belief that we are all pursuing something, whether it be chasing dreams, running after love, or following your passions; at some point, it takes a blind leap of faith to achieve something truly great. In all actuality, we started with the word ‘Pursuit’ and since we had no idea of how or where we were going or how to get there, ‘Blind’ seemed like the obvious choice.

Johnny: Blind Pursuit has a pretty eclectic mix of sounds in your catalog but how would you describe ‘your’ sound?

Blind Pursuit: Wow! That’s a great question, one that we’ve been asking for quite some time. We play what we love. We are a varied group of musicians with different musical backgrounds and tastes, and we play what we would like to hear if we were sitting in the audience. Our own sound stems from songwriting, which is mainly done by our lead singer Michael, and so it definitely has a soulful, emotional style to it, and has a layered Indie rock feel. You can hear a little bit of our southern influences layered in as well as the obvious differences of having two lead vocalists. So if you wanted to pigeonhole us into a specific genre, I would say we fall into the Indie Rock genre, just because it encompasses such a wide variety of sounds and musical stylings.

Johnny: How much of your show is covers versus originals these days?

Blind Pursuit: After the release of our debut album “Offramp,” we do about ¾ covers and the rest originals. New material is constantly being added and we hope to shift the number of originals to a larger segment of the show.

Johnny: About how many shows does the band try to play a month?

Blind Pursuit: We’re currently averaging five shows a month but we are always looking to add to that.

Johnny: Are most of the gigs in the east Texas area or do you travel out of the area?

Blind Pursuit: The majority of our shows are in East Texas. We do travel to north and central Texas on occasion and we are hoping to broaden our travel radius this year.

Johnny: What are you most proud of as a band?

Blind Pursuit: Our album, without a doubt. We feel like it is such an outpouring of who we are and our evolution over the past couple years. It’s like we have given birth to our own child. So much love, nurturing and hard work has gone into this project. Our resources and time have been singularly focused towards this and we could not be prouder of how it has turned out. We worked with so many great musicians and our Producer, Phillip Moseley was a great asset. They have been invaluable in helping us birth this album.

Johnny: What has been your favorite moment, on stage or off, as a group so far?

Blind Pursuit: I think it has been a thousand small moments of connection with our fans. We’ve heard stories where our songs touched someone going through a divorce, or something we sang really resonated with someone going through a tough time, and you just stop for a second after the mad rush and adrenaline goes away, and you think about how you’re affecting people and the connections you’re making. When we see people singing along with our songs, grabbing their person and dancing, when you see an emotional reaction – that’s the good stuff, the reason we do what we do.

Johnny: What is in the works for the year?

Blind Pursuit: We’ve got another handful of songs and hopefully, that will translate into a new project as well. Whether the next step is an EP or a full-length album is yet to be determined.

Johnny: What’s in the water down in Palestine, between Blind Pursuit, Blacktop Mojo, Kolby Cooper, and others… seems like Palestine has become a serious music town. What’s your take on it?

Blind Pursuit: Every once in awhile, “magic” happens in the most unlikely of places. If you’ve seen the documentary on Muscle Shoals and the music that came out of that small studio in Alabama, then you kind of have insight into the madness behind the magic.

All these acts from Palestine are backed by the most awesome community of people who rally behind us and get the word out, grassroots style. The people here truly love music and they believe in us, or we wouldn’t be able to do what we love. We have a connection, not only through the town we’re from but through our producer and the studio we’ve all recorded at, Audioworx.

Johnny: What experience do you hope first timers will have at a Blind Pursuit show?

Blind Pursuit: Someone recently left a review on our Facebook page that sums it up perfectly: “Bet you will leave their concert feeling like your soul is a little more free than when you walked in.” We hope that everyone will leave feeling a little lighter and a little more connected to their fellow man. In a world where we are bombarded with distractions, we hope people can come and reconnect and feel more human than when they came in. We hope the love and passion that we have for life and music can be felt and translates well to concert goers.

Blind Pursuit can be found at facebook.com/Blindpursuit and blindpursuit.com.

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