Sweet Pain: Bringing Rock To The People


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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