Eight Questions With Pawnshop Roses

Philly’s Pawnshop Roses will be hitting the Rock & Roll Hotel this Friday, August 31st, bringing their Stonesy, Black Crowesy sound down to DC. They’re definitely an act I’m looking forward to seeing live, and I was able to get a few questions in with lead singer Paul Keen online.

1. Do you think living in Philadelphia area adds a certain flavor to your music?
Yes and no. I think the hard-edged sound comes from living in Philly. As much as I love Philadelphia, it definitely is a dirty town. Very blue-collar and pissed off. As far as the southern country-rock flavor...that comes from me growing up in a very rural area. (Kennett Sq., PA) My Dad always listened to country. I hated it at the time, but it reminds me of home. Even though I’m not from the South, country just “fits” with where I grew up.

2. Describe the Pawnshop Roses’ sound in three words using no adjectives.
Twang Rock Energy

3. So you won the online YouTube contest for “Best Live Performance” video (
here), and got a date with Diane Sawyer on Good Morning America. How was rocking out at 7:00 in the morning?
Well, we didn’t actually play. We were just given an award by Diane Sawyer along with 3 other bands. But yeah, it was tough getting up after hanging out in NYC the night before. The next morning Justin and I had to get up at 6am for a radio interview. It was all worth it of course.

4. Who are some of your biggest influences?
I’d have to say the Rolling Stones, the Faces, the Flying Burrito Bros and Oasis.

5. What are your favorite tracks off of your new album, Let It Roll? It’s OK - I won’t tell your songs you picked one over the other – I promise.
Ah, I don’t mind if you do tell! :>)
I really like how “It Gets So Hard” and “Everything That Blew Away” came out. “It Gets So Hard” was mostly recorded at home, but I love the energy. “Everything That Blew Away” is probably the best song I’ve written. IMO

6. Where do you get your lyrical inspiration from?
Just life in general. I started out as just writing songs for chicks, but I’ve branched out a bit since the beginning. I’ve written a couple of songs from someone else’s point of view, and I’d like to do that more.

7. Who are a few current bands/artists y’all are digging right now?
I really dig the new Bright Eyes album. I guess it all depends on what you consider current. Most of my favorites are career artists.
Ryan Adams, Marah, Matt Mays, Wilco, Gillian Welch (could go on and on). Some unsigned bands to check out would be Pepper’s Ghost, Jealousy Curve, Justin Jones, and Greenland.

8. What do you hope most people will take away from a live Pawnshop Roses show?
Just that they had a great time at the show, and keep wanting to come back for more.

MP3: Let It RollPawnshop Roses
MP3: Here We GoPawnshop Roses

Pawnshop Roses will be at the Rock & Roll Hotel in DC this Friday, August 31st.