Archive for February, 2010

We had a wonderful time playing at the 331 Club last night. I left the show all sweaty and with an overwhelming feeling of gratitude. I thought it would be fun to point out a few people who have done selfless things for us.

(In no particular order)
elli rader/paperlily – elli booked RPandTA for a good year and did an amazing job of it. She also takes great photos of us and designed our beautiful website. elli is single-handedly responsible for much of the early word of mouth praise of this band. We all have grown quite close to her. Thank you.

Lily Troia/Invisible Button Entertainment
– Lily and crew opted to take us under the powerful wing of Invisible Button. There is so much going on behind the scenes. Lily’s dedication to all of her bands is admirable (and seemingly impossible, but she pulls it off). Thank you.

Janey Winterbauer
– Janey has been a constant support for us. She sang on La Vita Nuova and rocked our CD Release show last summer. In addition, she has agreed to follow me on some wild tangents and even recorded a demo in my living room. She is a talented singer and musician. Thank you.

Matt Patrick
– Matt is working with us on our new EP. He has been a champion with meeting our schedule and budget. This EP is going to sound great! It’s an honor to be working with such an accomplished musician/engineer/producer. Thank you.

Adam Byer – Adam is almost finished with his degree in post production for film, but he continues to record tracks with me. The first, “Nothing Can Destroy”, appeared on La Vita Nuova. The second will appear on the Cute Souvenirs EP. He manages to squeeze these projects in with his own film projects and band. Thank you.

Jason Woolery/The 331 Club – I am not certain how it happens, but we always seem to have our best performances in that tiny club in NE Minneapolis. We’re indebted to the 331 for allowing us to come back over and over. I love that there is a venue in Minneapolis that provides free music and still treats it’s bands with enough class that we all want to keep playing there. Thank you.

Dena Alspach/Metro Magazine – Dena has had to have seen us play more than a handful of shows. She always seems to pop up when I am least expecting it. She also invited us to play the 2009 Metro 100 Party and plugs our shows when she isn’t too busy juggling the media world of Minneapolis. Thank you.

Sarah Sandusky/First Ave/7th St Entry – Sarah is a total sweetheart and continues to book us along with bands that we really enjoy. It is seriously not uncommon for me to tell her that I love something on the calendar and to have her try to find a way to get us involved in the show. She is consistently professional and rad at the same time. I imagine the two are tough to do concurrently. Thank you.

I’d also like to thank all of the bands who share bills with us. It is such a privilege to share the stage with such talent. I can’t list them all, but we are talking about Kid Dakota, Sam Roberts Band, Brad Senne, Brian Just, Eliza Blue, Breaksea Caravel, Rock Plaza Central, Luke Redfield, Backyard Tire Fire, John Swardson, Holly Newsom, Painted Saints, Al Church & State, Daredevil Christopher Wright, Solid Gold, the list goes on and on and on… Thank you.

Lastly, I would like to thank THE ARDENT for all of the hard work and sticking with me through all of this. It’s been a cool year and a half. You guys are some of the most talented players I know and am humbled to have you make my songs sound the way they do. Thank you.

Ryan Paul

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Photographer and designer elli rader tells about her first photo shoot with Ryan Paul. Many of these photos are used by the band to this day.

Please read the full posting and others here: http://www.paperlily.net/blog/2010/02/the-story-of-creepyhouse/

august 9th of 2008 was a beautiful day.  i set out with friend/musician ryan paul to do a photo shoot after having waited for the perfect time of day, when the light was exactly just the way i hoped it would be . . . the sun setting and making that super pretty gentle light sideways across a hill down the road from my house, at the end of which was a completely hideous and ghastly abandoned house.

i had passed the house hundreds of times and the plan for this day was to take photos on the porch of it–where there were no less than 3 stoves, many unidentifiable tools and several other large appliances carelessly stashed.  the house is located on a farm, and there is a fully functional regular house on the property.  it seemed appropriate at the time to ask permission to be wandering around taking photos, so we parked and i approached the front door.  couldn’t get to it.  the only way in was through the open garage, the backyard, and on the porch.  i cautiously went through the garage and out into the backyard and found several dozen diseased, dying, bleeding, crying and otherwise heartbreaking cats and kittens.  fighting back tears, i stepped through the terrible kitty yard and up onto the porch.  i was terrified as i pulled open the screen door and knocked on the kitchen door. after a few minutes the door swung open loudly and cigarette smoke billowed out in a huge cloud onto me.  the creepiest of creepy old dudes appeared through the smoke and stared at me until i started to stutter. . .

“uuuuum….i.   i am a photographer?  annnnnnd……wondering if.    could i?  the house over there.  the broken-y one?  i can take pictures on the porch for a few minutes, please?  friend.  band.  needs pictures.”

and his answer:  ”THAT HOUSE?!? that house ain’t mine.  that old guy in, well he lives in CHANhassen.  he don’ care. whatever.  grunt.”

so i ran!!! back through the bad kitty place and ran!!! out the garage and leaped into the car, breathing so fast, and looked at ryan with sheer terror, and said, “it’s ok.”  and he didn’t believe me.  and i said, “no.  it’s fine.  tell you later.  oh my god.”

so we went over to the house and started poking around on the porch, taking some shots.  i didn’t know ryan well enough yet to know he would do this, but he immediately went over to the garage attached to the back of the house and shimmied his skinny ass under the 1.5 foot opening and started climbing through the house.  i’m thinking, “NOPE.  unh-uh.  i am NOT going in there.  no way, not gonna happen.  gross!!  who IS this guy?”  but all that comes out of my mouth is, “um, are you okay?  what was that noise?”  and what i hear from inside is:

“OH MY GOD!! HOLY SHIT!”  …crash….thud….”DEAD ANIMAL! you HAVE to come in here! climb under the….the door, climb und—-” CRASH.

nope.  not gonna.  not climbing under that door and going in there.  i followed along the side of the house, taking pictures in through the window so i could see what was going on.  (window height is above my head.)  i heard him smashing through the house, swearing, and then finally appearing out on the front porch.  ”oh!  hey.  the front door was unlocked.”


needless to say, he convinced me to go inside and we spent a few awesome hours exploring the nasty house, taking photos, and admiring the sound of his new guitar in an abandoned house.

and there you have it, joseph.  the story of where your photo came from.

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I didn’t really take much of an opportunity to mention the most visible of changes to THE ARDENT. If you showed up to the February 4th show at the Turf Club, you probably noticed this:

Cory Eischen joins Ryan Paul & THE ARDENT by elli rader

On the synthesizer, we have Cory Eischen. Cory is an amazing player and friend. He currently plays with Mayda, ELnO, and a whole crapload of other bands in this city.

After a powerful year, I looked back on the accomplishments of RPTA and didn’t feel like I saw as much of myself in the reflection (musically) as I would like to. As mentioned in my interview with the Minneapolis AV Club, the Americana was more of a “hurdle” than it was an aspiration. I simply looked at the genre as something I had not done before. I feel like THE ARDENT and I tackled that genre well and are now finished with it.

It was a struggle as I wrote and wrote and wrote and only pulled 1/8 of the songs (easily translated to Americana) to use with the band. After months of deliberation with friends, band members and management, I feel like I reached a solution to my musical “identity crisis”. The answer to my obstacle was in a word that Invisible Button Entertainment uses to describe our band: “honest”.

I decided to drop back to the idea of playing whatever comes from my head and heart. The result was/is something that falls outside of the Americana frame.

THE ARDENT and I tossed ideas around and decided that it was time to hit the studio again. We also spoke about the lineup and decided that we needed something else to help implement the ideas that were flowing. We found Cory Eischen to fill in.

Cory is an excellent player with a style that I have been fond of for quite some time. He writes layers and parts that make the rest of the musicians in the room play better. Even in our first show, he challenged me to new ideas. We’re looking forward to future shows with him and also to have him on the new EP, “Cute Souvenirs” (More info on that to come).

Ryan Paul

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Just announced, Ryan Paul & THE ARDENT will be joining Backyard Tire Fire and John Swardson on Feb 18, 2010 at the Turf Club. Pre-sale tickets are available via the First Ave box office.

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Just a quick heads up about an event being held in March…

I’m not going to tell you about Jenn Barnett. Either you already know, or you can read the posting below. I will tell you that Jenn is a close personal friend and I am delighted that elli rader has put this together and asked @RPandTA to be a part of it. So mark your calendars!

*p.s. isn’t that a rad picture of Chris Morrissey? That was a cool show. Bill Mike CD Release at the Cedar. Lotsa lights. Lotsa notes.

Ryan Paul

From Minneapolis Metblogs: http://minneapolis.metblogs.com/2010/02/03/the-jennefit-for-jenn-barnett/

Image by jennbarnett

Speaking of photography Paperlily is hosting a benefit to help local photog Jenn Barnett replace some gear.

Elli writes,

jenn has done *so* much for local musicians and helping to promote them, both through creating amazing images of their bands and telling people about their music . . . surely some of them would rally to help her replace her camera. and they would! they are! the bands i approached immediately embraced the idea of donating their time to help.

so i contacted the turf club and got a date for a benefit, and i started contacting bands. as of yesterday, we have the final lineup – although i’m certain that any of the bands on the bill would be willing to work in a cameo if anyone else wanted to get in on this. i started calling it the Jennefit (because i’m hilarious) even though that’s basically painful in it’s dorkiness. it’s super fun to say! say it out loud. do it! jennefit.

here’s what we are going to do, and i TOTALLY need your help, if you are reading this. we are going to the turf club on march 26th and we are going to watch these kick ass bands play until they make us all go home:

the honeydogs
molly maher
erik koskinen
ryan paul & the ardent
the mad ripple
(jim walsh)

Sounds like a pretty great line up, for more great pics check out JENN BARNETT PHOTOS

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Ryan Paul sat down with The Onion to discuss some of what can be expected from the band in 2010… “Ryan Paul Switches It Up”

Ryan Paul Plewacki may be best known for his long stint in Minneapolis jam band God Johnson, but he’s since left to try out less patchouli-scented sounds. While Ryan Paul & The Ardent’s debut album, 2009’s La Vita Nuova, was pure neo-Americana, don’t expect a repeat performance on the follow-up. The group, which will take the stage at the Turf Club Feb. 4, is currently working on its yet-untitled sophomore album—and the new material sounds suspiciously like power-pop. The A.V. Club got in touch with Plewacki to talk about the shift in style, why it’s cool that his dad is in the band, and how the world’s biggest Cracker fan made his time in Buffalo, N.Y., a little more bearable.

The A.V. Club: What was the thought process behind your change in sound?

Ryan Paul Plewacki:
Americana was uncomfortable when I went at it. I had never done it before. For me, it was new territory. I was totally satisfied with it at the time and scared by it. When Jaim Zuber started playing steel guitar for us, I was floored and practically peeing my pants at the same time. I had never seen one of those that close before. But now I’m done with that. So I am pushing to go wherever this head goes. Every single time I sit down to play, I have no idea what is going to come out. I record it. If it’s trash, I file it away and possibly pull it out later because maybe it wasn’t trash. Maybe I wasn’t ready, but it has to be uncomfortable. It’s not possible for me to progress if I’m comfortable and I’m not spending time on a spinning planet while I’m sitting still.

AVC: Are your albums going to be all over the map like, say, Ween, or is this a more natural progression?

RP: As much as I love Ween, I can’t quite go that far out. I have no idea how Zappa sang songs like “Catholic Girls” with a straight face. There is obviously an element of humor in what Zappa did, and Dean and Gene do. I, on the other hand, am very serious about what I write. These songs are about relationships. These songs are about expectations. These songs are about struggles, triumphs, losses. I understand that Zappa’s “Why Does It Hurt When I Pee?” was very epic in its own right and is certainly a real-life issue that people deal with on a daily basis, but I am looking a little deeper.

AVC: How did your dad come to be in the band?

Well, The Ardent was just supposed to be one gig. I just had to get it out of my system. So I picked the best musicians I know. You know, like an end-of-the-world party. From a practical angle, Pops is one of my favorite guitar players. From a mushier angle, Pops is my hero. No matter how much I didn’t want to admit it, I always wanted to be just like him. He taught me how to play, off and on—I wasn’t the easiest student. We dropped off because of my life decisions. He couldn’t stand by and watch me doing what I was doing. I called Pops in the middle of the night from Buffalo, begging for a plane ticket back home. He not only flew me back, he flew me back first-class! When that kind of thing happens, there is a weird bond that solidifies and becomes nearly unbreakable.

AVC: You were in a lot of trouble with drugs, right?

Huge! I mean, it wasn’t really drugs as much as it was drinking. I was throwing up due to nerves before a gig at Five Corners, which is now The Nomad, and one of the other guys said, “You’re supposed to do that after.” When I explained I wasn’t drunk, he said, “You know, there are ways to calm that down.” It happened really, really quickly after that. I didn’t sit with the beer for very long, I went almost immediately to whiskey. It got to the point where I was drinking all day. I’d get to the venue to do sound-check, finish, go find another bar, drink myself stupid, and come back and pass out. The only thing that can wake you up from that is cocaine. It became “Well, this will wake me up [for the show], and then I can drink for even longer afterwards.” I went to rehab and I drank the day that I got out. Then I started running. New York was the bulk of it, which was awesome—hanging out on people’s couches until they started asking for rent, then I’d move on. The final place I ended up was Buffalo, New York. My idea was that I was going to go up there and dry out. All people do up there is dip food in bleu cheese dressing and drink. That’s it, there’s no industry, nothing. It was the absolute worst place for me. I couldn’t leave my apartment because there was, like, 45 feet of snow outside. I got to a point where I was going three weeks without a shower and not leaving the house to do anything.

AVC: Does Buffalo have any redeeming qualities?

There is only one thing I can think of: There is this bar called The Old Pink. That’s what people call it. It doesn’t have a name on the building. For whatever reason, you can totally smoke in there. There is a bartender named Drew. He will tell you anything you ever wanted to know about Cracker. I’m serious—anything. He will spin Cracker bootlegs his entire shift. It’s amazing! I’m a pretty mediocre Cracker fan, but I am a fountain of Cracker knowledge after bellying up to Drew’s bar.

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