Paul Chesne likes to describe the music he and his band makes as “Dr. Dre meets Johnny Cash.” While that might come off as a bit of an odd choice of musical artistic relations, especially since Chesne’s music seems more rooted to the blues rock, Americana, country side of things as opposed to gangsta rap, it’s actually very truthful. For nearly two decades, Paul has been working hard to hone his particular brand of country, blues rock and roll and one of the things he does so well, perhaps something he picked up from Dre, is to be as honest and truthful. Yet through it all, Chesne delivers a good time, even when he’s singing about the bad times, and his authenticity and character never waivers.
You released an album of new material, Heartache & Sin, in January. Can you tell us about it?
Yeah! I recorded that one in Nashville over a week in November of last year, finished it up and put it out earlier this year. It’s got all of the studio players who play on a lot of the pop that comes out of that area. If you turn your radio on there’s probably a 15 percent chance that at least one of them is playing on the song, if it’s pop country or alternative rock they’re like the Wrecking Crew of musicians down there right now. Johnny Cash’s bass player, Dave Roe, produced it and recruited the musicians, and I stayed at his studio and we knocked out that record.
How did it come about that you and Dave Roe would collaborate on a record?
He’s actually played on all of my records except for one, not on every song but maybe just background vocals and bass on a song or two. I met him when he was in Dwight Yoakam’s band and the drummer of that band also wanted to play with me too. So whenever I’d need a bass player and they were all in town they’d both show up and we’d jam it out in various dive bars, which was pretty cool.
“I think marijuana, whether it’s recreational or medicinal, is much less harmful than cigarettes or alcohol and should be legal. I don’t necessarily smoke it all the time, maybe every once in a while, but I used to smoke weed every day probably 20 years ago. But I think it should be legalized, regulated and taxed.”
Heartache & Sin had an even more pronounced country flare to it compared to your other records. Was that at all planned?
It wasn’t necessarily planned, because all of those guys play pretty much any kind of music. I think because I was going into the sessions by myself instead of with my band like I usually am and it was all on me, I was sort of intimidated and didn’t know what to expect.
CULTURE Magazine focuses on array of topics, but our main interest is medical cannabis. How do you feel about the growing push for cannabis legalization?
Well, I’m for the legalization of all substances basically. I think marijuana, whether it’s recreational or medicinal, is much less harmful than cigarettes or alcohol and should be legal. I don’t necessarily smoke it all the time, maybe every once in a while, but I used to smoke weed every day probably 20 years ago. But I think it should be legalized, regulated and taxed.
Are you looking forward to possibly being able to vote for cannabis legalization in California in November?
Yeah! I’ve actually never missed a vote whether it be for city council seats or presidential elections since I turned 18. I always encourage my friends and fans to sign up and register.
Besides your upcoming shows, do you and your band have any more projects or ambitions for 2016 or anything on the horizon for 2017?
I’m always working on a lot of stuff, all the time I’m writing songs. Basically, I try to write and record something professionally that can be released every year. In the post-summer months when we’re not so busy playing and traveling around, around Thanksgiving and Christmas, is usually when I try and get the band together for a stretch so we can record the next batch of songs.