Once Upon A Time in Hollywood: An Interview with The Paranoyds
“All of us are very close,” says Lexi Funston, guitarist/vocalist of The Paranoyds. “We all met in high school, where we all became best friends.” The band is completed by Staz Lindes (bass/vocals), Laila Hashemi (keyboards/vocals) and David Ruiz (drums/vocals). The Paranoyds dynamic 2019 album, Carnage Bargain, is a straight up California record—if you drill down even further it’s a blood-and-guts L.A. sound. Their songs pleasantly reek of the L.A. streets that are part Funhouse and another part destruction. The Paranoyds are a reinvented, twisted version of L.A.’s wasted youth.
“We find inspiration at different parts of town. Every little town has its own thing going on: westside, eastside, more specifically [these] neighborhoods. Everybody doing their own thing,” says Funston. “We get a lot of flack for not being a walking city, but we make up for it by driving. I just feel like we go everywhere in L.A. between the four of us.” The track “Egg Salad” off of Carnage Bargain calls out places in Hollywood: “Walk down Cherokee / Looking for a treat / Found some loose change / Mom was acting strange / Swear I think she’s on to me / C’mon ma, I was just looking 4 sum change 2 take 2 coinstar.”
“I just feel like we go everywhere in L.A. between the four of us.”
The Paranoyds live act is kinetic and explosive. The best way to describe it would be to compare them to flame throwers in a Quentin Tarantino movie. The Paranoyds can play to any address: from 1000 Vin Scully Ave. (Dodger Stadium), to the back of the arena at 1111 S. Figueroa St. (Staples Center), to a performance for the ghosts at The Cherokee Building at 6646 Hollywood Blvd. The Paranoyds have now taken their sound nationwide, bringing their version of California to other audiences and other addresses. “There is so much action going on when you’re on the road that it is kinda just fun,” Funston says about touring. “[It’s] fun to get away for a couple of weeks. Getting to do what we love and hang out with friends.” One track that stands out at their live shows is the song ‘“Bear,” a guitar-grinding thriller that plays out like an amusement park ride. “That song is the final sendoff. We love playing it.” Says Funston. “All our energy, all our everything go into that song. Whether we are playing to a couple people or a sold out venue, it’s always the most fun to play.”
The Paranoyds’ sound is a complicated creative stew. “We love Devo. We’ve seen them at Desert Daze. It was one of their last times playing together. They were a fine, fine well-tuned machine. It was awesome,” Funston says about some of the band’s influences. “Also: X, Television, Wire—early ’70s proto-punk sound.” The Paranoyds wear their influences perfectly, but they also display their own unique and original sound. “Staz or myself will come up with intro/verse/chorus, and then we will bring it to the band for structure and filling in the parts, kind of workshop it. It’s very involved,” Funston says. “Everybody comes up with their own parts. It’s nice. It’s a collaborative experience.”
“The Paranoyds are a reinvented, twisted version of L.A.’s wasted youth.”
“We don’t have a manager,” Funston explains regarding the band’s DIY approach. “We do as much as we can ourselves.” This “Do It Yourself” ethos comes with a twist—Staz Lindes comes from a crazy industry family. Her father, Hal Lindes, is a famous session player and at one time played in Dire Straits. “It’s nice that Staz can always ask her dad. It’s helpful when we have someone with that background and knowledge,” Funston says. “Staz also has a modeling career. She has been modeling since she was 16. She has been doing that longer than the band. Things overlap—the modeling and the music industry. It’s nice she is able to check things that don’t feel right. She knows the way things should be done, which is great.”
As for what’s next, Funston says that, “We plan to release a single in the next couple of months, and then ideally [would] love to have something out next year. Probably an E.P. We are still figuring out the timing with everything right now.” The Paranoyds will be playing 748 S. Kilby Court on Valentine’s Day (Feb 14). “I’m really looking forward to it,” Funston says about the band’s return to Kilby Court. “We are really looking forward to catching some winter. We loved Kilby. We loved playing on the floor. Everything feels more intimate. The live act feeds off of what the crowd is up to. I think people are looking forward to go out and have fun and kind of like sweat and move around a little bit. I guess we would be a good band for that.” Go see this band live—you will not be disappointed. A little Carnage Bargain is good for every soul.