Photo | Rebecca Pugh
Former members of Pain, including vocalist Dan Lord, guitarist Adam Guthrie and horn player Stuart McNair, have reunited under the name Salvo to record a new album due out in May. For more information visit facebook.com/salvotheband/ or to contribute, visit “Salvo’s new album” on GoFundMe.
With deep roots in Mobile and Tuscaloosa, local fans of Pain had a deep appreciation for the band’s always lighthearted, sometimes humorous take on punk rock, with the addition of horns. This ragtag group of high-energy rockers eventually parted ways, leaving fans to dream of a reunion — and now the band Salvo is granting their wish.
Elusive front man Dan Lord has graced fans with an exclusive look into the group’s reincarnation and what to expect from Salvo’s upcoming album, “Off the Charts,” which will be released in May.
Stephen Centanni: For years, your fans have hoped and prayed Pain would reunite. For them, it wasn’t a matter of if you guys would do it or not. It was just a matter of when. What do you think it is about the music and Pain that gave your fans such a permanent mark?
Dan Lord: I think the best answer that I could give is that based on the various notes, emails, messages and stuff that I’ve gotten over the years, have been words of gratitude from people. Inevitably, it has always been “Thank you for the music, because it made me so happy and got me through tough times and dark times.” I think that’s it. To put it into one stupid word, I think the music was just happy. It was positive, and it made people tap their toes and laugh a little bit and dance in spite of themselves and all the dark stuff in life. They could listen to Pain, and it made them feel better.
Centanni: How did this reunion happen?
Lord: I myself never entirely left the music and art world. I’ve been doing more quiet stuff for years — just more underground and in the background, I should say. In recent times, all these song ideas were starting to occur to me. I didn’t know what to do with them. I would listen to them and say, “That’s a Pain song.”
There’s nothing I could do with it except it be a Pain song. I got around to contacting Mark [“Pose” Milewicz] and Adam [Guthrie]. I started mainly talking to Adam, guitarist for Pain. We agreed that we ought to do something.
There comes a time, especially when it comes to art, where you’ve got to do it. You have a responsibility. More than a responsibility, it’s like, “I have get these out.” It’s not right to keep them locked up in a basement, in your mind or on your little home recording thing. You have to get them out. That’s how I feel about it. We said, “We’ve just got to do this. People would love that, and it would be great to get this stuff out there where it needs to be.”
Centanni: What made you want to use the name Salvo instead of Pain?
Lord: When I approached Mark about it, I asked him if he was interested in it. Ultimately, after we went back and forth a little bit, he had to decline and turn it down. He has this whole life that he’s in now, and he just couldn’t do it. It’s not for him anymore. So, of course, that was cool with me, and I totally respect that.
Adam and I still wanted to put this stuff out there, but it wouldn’t have been right to call it Pain without Mark. He’s one of the cofounders of Pain. We just decided to come up with another name and let the Pain fans know that, more or less, these are new Pain songs done by different members of Pain.
Centanni: So, what’s the current lineup?
Lord: It’s me and Adam Guthrie, the guitarist. We have a lot of the horn players like Jason Reid, Christopher Johnson and Stuart McNair. In addition to horns, he does a lot of piano playing and accordion playing and so on. We also have Demondrae Thurman.
We have Niamh Tuohy Fields, who played violin for us, especially on “Midgets with Guns.” There was a song called “One-Legged Girl” that had a rocket-speed violin piece on it that she played. She’s back doing more violin stuff for the new album.
George Kennedy will be doing drum tracks for the new album. That’s all the veteran members. We’ve also picked up some newer members and vocalists.
Centanni: What’s it been like getting back in the studio?
Lord: Aw, man! I’ve always loved recording in the studio. It’s unbelievably fun. It’s intense but in a good way. You know that you’re in the middle of something that’s really cool and powerful, and good things are happening, and it takes all your focus to keep moving it along. So, I love it. It’s been great for everybody.
Centanni: I know you don’t have any tracks yet, but what kind of preview can you give me? How would Salvo compare to classic Pain?
Lord: I would say that there are some subtle differences. You’ll hear all the stuff that Pain always did, like being real heavy on the melodies and horn parts and being upbeat. That’s all part of it.
I guess just because a lot of us are super-old people now, it’s a little more mature. It has a maturity to it in the lyrics and even in the way we arrange the songs. There definitely has been a development there. When Adam and I knew that we were going to do this and were calling all the old members to create this project, we knew that we didn’t want to just make a bunch of Pain songs and say, “OK, let’s do what we did then.” We knew we wanted to try some new things. We wanted this album to feel fresh and do new and different things.
My hope is that longtime Pain fans will be like, “Man! This is a great Pain album, but they didn’t get lazy and do a bunch of stuff the way they used to do. They’re trying new things!” I want it to sound fresh like that to people.
Centanni: You have asked your fans to put their money where their mouths are with a crowdfunding campaign for the album. With all the talk over the years of wanting a reunion, I think it’s appropriate. How has that been going?
Lord: I’m flabbergasted, to tell you the truth. Everybody has been so unbelievably supportive and encouraging. Everybody was happy to chip in a little bit. I was stunned at the avalanche of individuals who came forward and said, “Yes! This is a great idea. Here’s $5” or “Here’s $10.” Some people gave a lot more. It was so cool to watch that happen. The album is happening because of them. It’s a very, very cool thing to reach out to everybody and get that kind of love and support.