Johnny Payne’s new song means exactly what it says - he was ‘All Messed Up’ one night, and it made for a great story. Now he’s turned that experience into a single. We caught up with Johnny to find out more.
Bad suits and ties, and too many margaritas.
First up, tell us a bit about yourself - what first got you into music?
Grew up with it, I guess. I loved Disney movies and Singing in the Rain and whatever music my parents had on. Then it went to oldies radio. I had a long drive to school everyday and I could take in a lot of music in that time. I think you’re really a sponge for music as a kid if you have the fire for it. I learned to sing in that car. I would listen to The Beatles and sing all of John’s parts on the way to school and Paul’s parts on the way home. I learned harmony like that.
I grew up in the country so I didn’t really have much to do after school but play guitar. I was supposed be an actor, though, but somewhere along the line that changed.
**Were there any particular bands or artists you took inspiration from? **
Too many. There were different eras of inspiration. All the British invasion groups were big: Beatles, Kinks, Zombies etc. Then I got really into Girl Groups and soul. Smokey Robinson is still my favourite songwriter. Harry Nilsson is my favourite singer. This was all in the late 90s when I was a kid too! I’ve always been about 30 - 50 years behind… or ahead, depending on how you look at it.
Now there’s such a myriad of inspiration I draw from that I lost track of it all and it all feels original to me. Not sure if that’s good or bad. I think good.
How would you describe your style?
Lounge lizard crooner pop rock ‘n’ roll with a Caribbean (I’m half Cuban) edge. Bad suits and ties, and too many margaritas.
If you could collaborate with any living artist, who would you choose?
I’d say that I’d like to go out drinking with Harry Dean Stanton but he died so I’d either like Van Dyke Parks to do string arrangements for me or I’d like to act in a David Lynch film.
Tell us about your new single ‘All Messed Up’. What’s it about?
Just what it says, really. It’s a night on the town. A song about regret and a lack of regret and having those two feelings at the same time. The tight rope walk that is being drunk on your own in a world you don’t belong. It’s a song about moving toward something. It’s just a party jam really heh.
When did you write it, and where did you record it?
I wrote it the morning after the night in question, and I recorded it at China Cloud Studios in Vancouver with my friend Colin Cowan.
How does ‘All Messed Up’ represent your style?
Hehe. Well, I’d like to think it doesn’t really but the truth is it’s easy for my to get loose just like the song. I seek out the impulsive, high energy moments in life and it’s easy for them to take control. I crave the unexpected… like a 16-bar drum solo at the end of a bridge ;)
What are you hopes for ‘All Messed Up’?
No. 1 hit worldwide.
What other plans do you have for the rest of the year?
Just finished a new album. Should be out in the fall. Sounding real slick… Hopefully a tour then, too.
Finally, if you could wish for one thing to happen for you this year, what would it be?
A month long Las Vegas residency. Suite at the MGM Grand. Comped casino credit.
Watch the video for ‘All Messed Up’ on YouTube below. For news and tour dates go to johnnypayne.ca.