Paul Laine has taken his music around the world and fans in Canada will finally get their chance to see him at VIEX in Nanaimo August 15.
“I was living and commuting from the Parksville Qualicum Beach area to New York for over a decade and it was very interesting,” said Laine, who now lives in Parksville but often works in Vancouver and Nashville.
Laine is the frontman for a new country rock band called Darkhorse, which released its first single In The Country in January, followed by a full-length album Let it Ride on April 29.
Laine grew up in Qualicum Beach and always had an interest in music. In Grade 1 his teacher noticed he could sing and encouraged him to do so, a scenario that would repeat itself through his grade school years.
As a child who loved music, Laine couldn’t be happier about his neighbour next door.
“I grew up on Fern Road next door to Phil Dwyer,” he said. “So from the time I was five years old I lived next door to Mozart, that’s how I look at it. And he was my only friend and the only kid I played with,” he laughed.
A number of teachers encouraged him throughout school, including music teacher Bill Cave, and Laine said many well-known musicians were taught by those same teachers. That list includes David Foster and Diana Krall.
“We all had the same teachers and we’re from the same generation,” he said. “We all grew up knowing each other.”
Laine left home while in his early teens to make a go of it on his own. He moved to Dashwood, worked at the College Inn and played a lot of music.
At the age of 17 he formed a management company with local friend Les Horne and they raised $70,000 locally to record demos and to go to Los Angeles to hunt for record companies and music professionals.
It worked, they were picked up Elektra Records and Warner Bros. and Laine landed one of the most prominent producers of the time, Bruce Fairbairn.
“He had just done all the Bon Jovi and Arrowsmith records, he was hot property at the time and impossible to get but he liked my songs and agreed—I will never know why—agreed to produce an unknown kid, and that changed my life.”
He also secured manager Bruce Allen, who was also working with Bryan Adams at the time.
Laine produced his solo record Stick it in Your Ear and toured for a couple of years until he decided to part ways with his manager and was offered to join New York rock group Danger Danger as the lead singer. He recorded five albums with that group and toured the world for the next 12 years, he said, but never in Canada.
Laine said it always impressed him to see just how far from home his music had traveled.
“The most humbling part is, as time goes on, when you start playing music you never realize how far reaching it is until you’re standing on a stage, in you know, Russia and people can’t speak English but they’re singing every word of your song. And you wrote that in your bedroom in Qualicum Beach, as a teenage kid you don’t imagine that,” he said.
Laine formed Darkhorse after writing some country-style songs for other bands and really enjoying the genre. He started putting some songs aside and before he knew it he had a record, he said. He and guitarist Steve Ohe started writing songs together and then headed to Nashville to secure top-notch musicians for the album, including members of Keith Urban, Rascall Flatts, and Brad Paisley’s bands.
The album is personal for Laine, who said all of his songs surround his upbringing in this area. The lead single from the album, ‘In The Country’, was a collaborative effort by Laine and Ohes who both spent their formative years growing up in a small town.
The last time Laine performed at a concert in Canada was over 20 years ago, with Richard Marx and Joe Satriani, so he’s looking forward to playing in the area and sharing his live music with friends.
“It’s fun to finally get to play a show on home turf, once every 25 years is kind of a treat!” he laughed.
The next single will hit the radio the first week of September, Laine said, and he’ll be also be hitting the road for his second cross-country radio promo tour.
Let It Ride is available on iTunes and other digital retailers, CDs and vinyl copies are also available through the Darkhorse online store, Amazon and select retailers.
Tickets for the Darkhorse VIEX show in Nanaimo is included with the gate admission.
For more on Darkhorse visit www.darkhorseofficial.com and find Paul Laine on Facebook and Twitter.