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Exclusive Premiere | The Paranoyds: Making American Punk Rock Great Again

[INTERVIEW] Fashion model-fronted buzz band talk about their new EP, the LA music scene and farm animals.

Patrick Greenby Patrick Green

The Paranoyds are a throwback band with a GFY attitude and DIY edge that would fit right in with the golden age of CBGB’s.

You can almost picture the Punk zine cover worthy four-piece (Staz Lindes, Lexi Funston, Laila Hashemi and David Ruiz) posing out in front of the legendary New York venue or huddled next to Debbie Harry in its piss-soaked bathroom putting on lipstick or throwing down on the dance floor with the Dead Boys. 

Born out of a Westside garage and bred in seedy venues across Los Angeles, the Paranoyds play something familiar, yet fresh. If you had to label it you could tag it post-punk, prog-rock, street rock. It’s nostalgic, but would scare your mom. Going down with a good  and done for pure pleasure, not “Likes” on YouTube. 

Also: Interview | Gavin Turek Just Wants to Dance, Dance, Dance

Crave is exclusively premiering “Pet Cemetery” off The Paranoyds’ upcoming EP, Eat Their Own (out Feb. 2nd). Lindes, was inspired to write the song after watching the Stephen King movie adaptation, “I liked the idea of a couple dying and then staying together forever. It’s so romantic.”

I had a chance to chat with three-fourths of The Paranoyds over the phone during a mid-week lunch break at their day jobs.

Crave: So what are your side-hustles? 

LEXI: I’m an accountant at an entertainment company. Laila who’s not here is at Slamdance. She’s a festival programmer.

DAVID (talking in-between bites of a taco): I do body work… It’s a fabrication job… (chewing)..

STAZ: I’m a freelance model. (She’s being modest. Lindes has walked the runway for Saint Laurent and been featured in Vogue.)

Every high schooler dreams about starting a band with their friends, what were the early days like.

Staz: We just always played together (the girls all went to Santa Monica High, David joined the band later). It happened naturally. There was never a band plan. We would play covers of No Doubt, Blondie, Wire. Things eventually all fell into place and keeps developing.

Lexi: The one thing we I did want to from the start was to sound different. LA is cool because there’s so many bands, but you have to be careful not to consciously or even subconsciously copy what you see every night. 

I hear a lot of nostalgic influences in your sound. It’s not what you would expect a young, girl-fronted band to be playing. 

Staz: We like playing what’s fun to play. We’ve always like that CBGB sound from the ‘70s. 

Lexi: Television’s “Marquee Moon” is my idea of a perfect album. 

So how do you take music from the past and modernize it for today’s audience that might only know CBGB’s from the T-shirt sold at Urban Outfitters?

Staz: It’s all about our live show. I think our energy makes up for our weirdness. 

Staz, your dad (Hal Lindes) was in Dire Straits, it’s such a different time for bands both starting out and established nowadays with social media, streaming, etc.

Staz: It’s an extremely different time for the arts in general. You can’t make a living the way you used to. Some people go straight into it with the idea of getting famous or getting someone to write the songs for them. We all have our day jobs as well as the band. The band is where our heart and passion is. You have to put a lot of free time, effort money and work on it before you expect anything in return or otherwise it’s a flimsy structure. The most important thing is getting out out there and connecting with people and if you’re not doing that when you play live than something is wrong. 

Talk about the making of your new EP, Eat Their Own. 

(Nom… Nom… Nom in the background).

David, are you there? 

David: Sorry. We recorded it with Kyle Mularky at his Topanga Canyon farm. We would wake up, eat breakfast. His kids would come in and out. It was like being at your friend’s house. One memory was the pigs. We hung out with them. Fed them pizza. We tried to sample the pigs into one of these songs. You’ll have to really listen to see if we used it. 

Did you stay long enough to eat the pig?

David: Oh, no they were our friends, not food. 

The Paranoyds have a record release show this Thursday, Feb. 2nd at the Echo and for more info on them go to their BANDCAMP