Originally posted on November 19, 2014 as part of our ‘Backstage Pass’ series, our interview with Paul Baroli Jr. of the band Steal Your Face was our 9th most viewed post that we have published. You can view the rest of our ‘Backstage Pass’ interviews in our archives section here.
Backstage Pass…Paul Baroli Jr. of Steal Your Face
“If you get confused listen to the music play.” ~Robert Hunter
What would you say is your band’s (Steal Your Face) best quality?
“I think it sort of starts with our philosophy and then has to do with the energy we put behind it at our shows. We’ve always gone about things with the idea that we were always going to go for it. To try to make magic with every single note, with every single line, with every single phrase. To try to make as much magic as possible and really just get people off. And I think because we’re always trying to go for it, we get to places with the music and take our audiences places that a lot of bands don’t go. I’d like to think when people come to see us that they feel that from us and they know that we want them to have a great night; that for those few hours of their week, hopefully we can take him to a place of escape and forget about the rest of the things that you know can bog people down.”
What is your dream venue to play in?
“Oh there’s a few! I mean the Grateful Dead played at the steps of the Great Pyramids in Egypt in 1978 so if there’s a dream venue I guess that’s it. So many across the country: Red Rocks comes to mind first. I’d love to play Phil Lesh’s Terrapin Crossroads in Marin County, California. There’s some festivals I’d really like to play. I’ve gone to Darkstar Jubilee, which is a festival put on by Darkstar Orchestra, the world’s number one Grateful Dead tribute band, and I always thought it would be very cool for us to get a set sometime at that festival. Kind of like, you know, here’s the present and the future of Grateful Dead music.”
Do you feel you’d handle fame well?
“I actually don’t think I would handle it well. Maybe when I was a kid I thought about fame and fortune, doing those sorts of things. But there’s a line from a Stephen Marley song that says-” I’m not in it for the fame, I’m in it for the love” and that is so true for me. I love what I do and I love that what I do affects people in a positive way and that’s why I do it.
Having a successful band and fans is something that I’ve always wanted and we’ve had a little bit of success over the last few years and we certainly have a wonderful fan base, especially here locally. We’re so grateful and they’re so supportive. Our fans are the reason why we’re doing the things that we’re doing today and why you’re talking to me right now. But I’ve seen pressures already and some of that even on our level is textbook stuff that you read about bands that have success going through. There’s burdens and there’s taxes on you and your bandmates, on your families and your inner circle and I think it just takes a lot to learn to live with it all. We’re learning to do it now on the level that we are at and I would hope that if things continue to grow for us, we will continue to learn and deal with it better every day. It’s something that we want, but it definitely comes with a price.”
Is it difficult to find other musicians to play with that compliment your style?
“It was definitely a process and there were times where it felt difficult, but I would say now, Jah put the right people together. It’s not just the four people you may see onstage some nights, but the 8 to 10 guys that Curt and I are blessed to make music with year round as part of the Steal Your Face family of musicians.”
Is there, or has there ever been, a power struggle or egos between band mates?
“Oh God yes. Life is a thing when you learn, you grow…
I’m happy and proud to say that we don’t struggle with that now. You might want to ask the other guys about my ego, but we got a great group of guys who all believe in what we’re doing and believe in that common cause. We put that stuff aside for the right reasons and I can say with confidence, I think every one of us always tries to lead with love, and when you do that you can’t go wrong.
I always try to keep things positive, but you have to learn from your mistakes. I kind of want to bring up someone that we had in the band who wasn’t a positive influence on us. In fact, this guy was an egomaniac and really could’ve taken down the whole thing from the inside. Just one of those people who manipulated us and pulled the wool over our eyes and tried to take what we were doing and make it his without the best of intentions. I’m saying this now in the hopes that maybe someone reading this interview will see that coming before it happens to them because it was a hard thing for us to get over and quite honestly, something we had to deal with for far too long.”
Do you write your own music? Do you play that at your shows?
“Yes, I have notebooks and notebooks full of songs that I’ve written, some of which I would say are probably pretty good. We do play them rarely at our shows but for the most part we stick with our repertoire which is the music of the Grateful Dead mixed in with some Bob Marley and some other classic rock and artists like Bob Dylan, of course, which the Dead covered. The reason is because those are the things I want to be heard. I started Steal Your Face because I would go to shows and I would go to festivals and I would want to hear good Grateful Dead music. I know the world needs original music but that’s what I want to hear as a fan of THIS music. I do think there will come a time where you will hear us mixing in some original music and maybe focusing on it a little more, but for now we’re so content with what we’re doing and where this music is taking us.”
What do you find is the most difficult part of the writing process?
“For me the difficulty is what happens after the initial inspiration. The songs just come, I have no control over it. I feel like Jah gives me the songs and I get the inspiration and I write them down as much as I can translate at the time. Sometimes it’s words, sometimes it’s words and music, sometimes it’s a melody, and the difficulty for me is putting that all into a song with parts of the beginning, a middle and an end, and making that inspiration a full-fledged song.”
Steal Your Face are:
Paul Baroli Jr.- bass/vocals
Curt Eustace- lead guitar
Matt Ginsburg- drums/vocals
Dan Galvano- keyboards/vocals
Garry Engel- rhythm guitar/vocals