#ASCAPProud: Paul Masvidal

Paul Masvidal 

Paul Masvidal is a guitarist, singer & songwriter. He is a founding member of the band Cynic and previously led the alternative rock band Æon Spoke. He also played guitar in the seminal metal band Death.

Q. Where or when do you feel most authentically yourself?
A. When I'm in an environment that feels open, loving and non-judgmental. What that usually means, is being around or in a community that honors humanity in all forms. Sometimes I'm reminded of my authenticity even more when I'm in a less tolerant environment and it pushes the queer punk in me out even further. We've certainly come a long way as a community and mustn't forget our bold brothers and sisters who paved the way before us. This goes back to radical writers Oscar Wilde and James Baldwin, the drag community around the Stonewall riots, and the entire generation we lost to AIDS. They were truly on the frontlines fighting for the rights we have today.

Q. How does creating music fit into your identity?
A. It's all interconnected at this point. Queer identity is about authenticity, and so is writing songs for me. I'm interested in telling the truth when I write a song, and accessing deeper levels of honesty is hard work. It's about peeling off the layers of protection and fear I may have developed without even realizing it. It's about having the courage to speak from the heart which at its core, goes far beyond identity, it's who are are as human beings.

Q. What would be the elements of your fantasy pride celebration? The sky is the limit, NO RULES.
A. Well.... Let's see here .... How about "PRIDE IN THE PLANETARIUM" - I'm envisioning a world akin to a Syd Mead painting (who is also queer and lives in LA), where we're in a futuristic landscape with amazing architecture and technology combined with cocktails that give you a buzz but are also healthy, and floating food UFOs where you can access all kinds of delicious and nutritious meals. We can include unique "mini-environments" that celebrate our diversity. So some rooms might have rock music, others dark sexy electronic, and an intimate space for singer-songwriters... and how about a "silence-meditation zone" for those looking to have a more internal Pride experience? I'm not opposed to the traditional dance party space as well, but let's change the playlist up a bit, and go beyond the disposable pop culture and superficial dance music normally associated with pride. PRIDE IN THE PLANETARIUM would truly cover the rainbow spectrum of colors that we are.

syd mead concept art
Painting by Syd Mead

Q. What is your wish for the next generation of queer creators?
A. Complete and absolute freedom to express oneself without fear. Envelope pushing artists and songwriters that break the rules and bring something new to the table.

Q. What’s been your proudest moment so far? (could be as a music creator, as a human being, or some other thing)
A. When the Los Angeles Times did a cover story on my coming out. I didn't realize the response that would follow. I received countless emails and messages from mostly outsiders in the gay community thanking me. It was then that I realized the words of Harvey Milk:

“Every gay person must come out. As difficult as it is, you must tell your immediate family. You must tell your relatives. You must tell your friends if indeed they are your friends. You must tell the people you work with. You must tell the people in the stores you shop in. Once they realize that we are indeed their children, that we are indeed everywhere, every myth, every lie, every innuendo will be destroyed once and all. And once you do, you will feel so much better”

Paul Masvidal & his music on the web
Read the Billboard article on Paul's new Mythical EP
Website: M A S V I D A L I E N
Instagram: @paulmasvidal

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