The Pinx has shared the stage with The Sonics, Blue Oyster Cult, Dead Confederate, Dead Boys’ Cheetah Chrome and many more – quite an impressive resume, but its there hard hitting stormy sound that proves this Atlanta band can fly like fellow Georgians The Black Crowes once did and Drive by Truckers triumph today. The band’s new record Freedom comes out May 20th and Adam McIntrye, the front-man and producer knows he has a winner on his hands.
It holds hints of The Pinx’s previous and well-established influences Led Zeppelin and The Who in it, but the Pinx engine has been supercharged by the likes of The MC5 and Motorhead. “Yeah, I actually yell ‘Give all your money to The MC5’ on this record,” McIntyre says after the mood shifts back to work. “I finally figured out what this band is—it’s my happy place. I’ve done a lot of work to make sure that’s exactly what this album is.”
More rock and roll tunes come spilling out of the studio monitors, eight of the ten being uptempo and crackling with smoldering volcanic energy. Two of them, southern psychedelia oozing with swampy soul. Most of them sound more like potential singles than anything from previous albums. “These songs are all true stories,” says McIntyre, “I tried to write concise, simple little rock and roll songs. This is the set I want to play live.” The album, Freedom, is aptly named—each song centers around the idea of trying to find freedom while simultaneously delivering three and a half minutes of it.
Glide is premiering the track “Blue Dream” off Freedom (below), a track of unpolished reflection that stenches of a Stonesesque irritated kick. The story aint one of elated joy that created the track, but then again creativity is usually born from some adversity, as McIntyre explains…
“As I was getting divorced a few years ago, and my ex and I were still trying to live together in a house with our kid, we made an agreement to not fight, especially not in front of him. That plan held for about fifteen minutes. She could not stop herself from fighting with me so I grabbed my metal resonator guitar and a slide, a few articles of clothing and headed to my friend’s house and bought a bag of some medicinal herb–a strain known as Blue Dream. Then I got a room at the Highland Inn in Atlanta and told everyone I knew to drop by, day or night. I stayed there for a week, through my birthday. I could have felt very sorry for myself the whole time, but the truth was that I felt more free than I ever had. I felt the support of my community of musician friends, especially the guys in StoneRider, who came by and brought their friends.”
“I had just produced and/or mixed four records at the same time and let the steam off of what was becoming a nervous breakdown by having a low-key party for a week,” McIntyre continues. “Near the end of my stay, a tornado passed the inn. Nobody else was with me at the time and the gravity of my situation sank in as the wind howled and the halls of the inn became a wind tunnel–I needed to stop being a man-child and evolve if I was going to deal with the shit-storm my life had become. It was lousy but I also had a sense of peace that I was going to be okay. On my birthday, the bake shop next to the inn sent over a birthday cupcake from my girlfriend. I ate the cupcake and went back home and started literally cleaning up the mess that was left in my house. Ruby Velle lent her backing vocals to this song, and she sounds great. That’s also Noah Pine from StoneRider on keys. He added so much that I couldn’t.”
From 2007 til 2012, The Pinx toured the Southeastern U.S. incessantly, from Virginia to New Orleans, their shows spilling into the streets where they often set off fireworks for fans, sometimes between songs. They braved crowds of drunk zombies in Savannah, broke up a street fight in New Orleans, and cheered on a couple having sex during their set in Tuscaloosa. They brought their rowdy bar mentality to larger stages like the Cox Capitol Theater in Macon and Atlanta’s Variety Playhouse. They opened for Ben Harper and Relentless7 at the request of Ben himself. You may have even heard The Pinx during ESPN and Fox Sports highlights. The band surged forward, getting bigger offers.
Then it stopped for a while. “Jim [O’Kane, drums] needed a break and Joe [Giddings, bass and vocals] moved to California,” says McIntyre, “but I never stopped writing songs and thinking about my next move.” After producing several records for artists around the Southeast, Adam joined up with likeminded Atlanta rockers StoneRider. “A few days after I joined, a series of events happened and suddenly I was getting ready for a big tour of Europe… opening for Europe, the band, in front of 2,000 people a night!” They shared stages with Blackberry Smoke (McIntyre joined them on lead guitar for a rousing version of The Rolling Stones’ “Can’t You Hear Me Knocking”), Living Colour, Graveyard, Warren Haynes, and a slew of others. “It was an amazing, invigorating vacation from The Pinx with some of the best humans in the world, and then it was time to come back home.”
McIntyre came back home to The Pinx with a massive collection of four-track demos, riffs, and lyric ideas written on the road and several new influences to add to the Pinx mix. “It’s not entirely an ode to guitar riffs” says McIntyre, “a lot of the stuff I learned about songwriting during my decade in Nashville came back. Not the formulaic bro-country aspect, but folks like Todd Snider and Dan Baird. Smart, funny guys who write songs that reflect themselves well. I wanted some of that to come through. It all has to mix with the Rock and Roll and the blues and soul and everything, and I put together a band tailor-made to do just that.”
Longtime fans will blink their eyes in disbelief to see a second guitarist on stage in The Pinx—Chance McColl (a Southern Gentleman if there ever was one) shifts effortlessly between Jimmy Page licks and Danny Gatton’s virtuosic country stylings. Bassist Jon Lee hails from Tennessee but has been thriving in some of what McIntyre calls “the best bands in Atlanta” for years. Drummer Dwayne Jones (Thee Crucials & Order of the Owl) should take much credit for the return of The Pinx, as he offered his services “aggressively” and plays on most of the new album. The new lineup allows McIntyre to become more of a singer live than the original power trio format had, and lends itself to some fun Thin Lizzy-styled guitar harmonies.
When asked about the band’s goals, McIntyre replies, “It’s time to get back out there and play some goddamned Rock and Roll.”