Reviews

UNITED STATES OF BEING

Author: Cameron Matthews
05/23/2012 | Spinner.com | www.spinner.com | Feature
Daniel Pujol digs through his pockets in vain. A lighter, he knows, is somewhere on his person. With an unfiltered cigarette dangling from his lips, the guitarist searches frantically for what made us all human in the first place.

"And it looks like every f---in' pocket in the known universe is devoid of fire, Cameron!" he yells across a thousand miles of telephone wire.

This madman of rock 'n' roll speaks like a young philosopher king. He stops and starts his sentences with a bluesy drawl, swinging in halftime through intelligent pauses and Southern charm, all while scanning the cup holders and floorboards of his van for flint and steel.

"I got a lighter," he says, relieved. "My Chakra is aligned."

We talk about Nashville. Pujol isn't from there originally. He moved a few years back from Tullahoma, Tenn. -- one of those "middle of nowhere" towns. I ask him if it's difficult to thrive in Nashville, a town that is run by the country music industry.

"A lot of the people here [in the scene] have grown up here and a lot of their parents are involved in the country music industry," he says. "It's not necessarily like the punks vs. the country music industry. It's just that there's a good infrastructure for making and playing music here. It's fairly shared. There's not really antagonism. The facilities and the resources are here and people play in 'em."

Over the last few years, Nashville has become a hotbed of sweaty garage rock. From Jeff the Brotherhood to D. Watusi, the town that's most known for its Opry is welcoming a new kind of loud. Pujol rooted himself in Nashville because he could grow alongside local heroes in an environment based on sharing.

"I moved here from the middle of nowhere because people didn't want to share," he says. "And not because they didn't want to, but that they probably didn't know how to. I got lucky coming here and meeting people that wanted to figure out how to share ideas with enough dignity to have this conversation."

"Providence," Pujol's latest single of heavenly drama, rocks so hard from the first note that you'll be singing it all day. It's a knack he's had from the start of his career, churning out distortion-heavy tunes full of grit and Route 40 asphalt while exhibiting an intelligence that simply isn't found in rock music today.

"Stupidness in rock 'n' roll is dumb," Pujol says of the genre's current most-popular trait. "Stupidness in rock 'n' roll sells T-shirts, and the last time I checked, rock n' roll wasn't about selling f---in' t-shirts."

"There is something wrong with limiting the discussion [of rock music] to the experience of being hammered in the front row [at a show]," he adds. "Being hammered and being in the front row is not about getting tagged in a f---in' Facebook photo. You were there by choice and you were there to experience something and possibly and hopefully broaden yourself. It's not a passive spectator's sport. It's not like watching something on f---in' Netflix and sitting around doing nothing. We're alive, man! We can do cool things while being alive."

Pujol's first full-length album, United States of Being, comes out June 5 via Saddle Creek.
UNITED STATES OF BEING

UNITED STATES OF BEING

LP / CD / MP3




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