Paul Pittman and Lucy Brain from Young and Sexy have known each other for a very long time. They began playing music together at Ms. T's Cabaret in the summer of 1998, and soon after scrounged up a band to back them. Before you ask, yes, they used to date. No, they don't think it's weird to play in a band together. Overall, Pittman and Brain seem more like old comrades than ex- lovers, egging each other on and finishing each other's sentences.
"We broke up 12 years ago," explains Pittman interviewed with Brain at a Yaletown cafe. "Not that I'm counting. Twelve long years."
Sitting across from him, Brain laughs. "You don't get jealous at all," she replies in a sarcastic tone. "I guess we're best friends now."
"It was a good marketing ploy for the first record," Pittman continues.
"But yeah, it seems to be the only thing the press latch on to, I guess we're not that interesting," says Brain with a sigh. "We just wanna make music, man!"
Unfortunately making music isn't the only thing Pittman and Brain do. Both have full-time jobs outside the music industry.
"I work at a video post-production house. I do close-captioning for the deaf. I sell shit to the deaf, things like mp3 players," chuckles Brain.
"For the deaf? Nice," replies Pittman, who works at City Hall. "I figure out parking issues, like street parking in residential areas. If you see a sign that says Residents Parking Only, I might have had something to do with that sign being there."
Pittman has left his mark in more ways than one, however. The Young and Sexy have been a presence in Vancouver since their debut album Stand Up For Your Mother-an interesting mix of epic, airy rock and melodic, '60s-inspired pop?-?was released in March 2002, four years after the band was formed.
"Why did it take us so long to get our shit together?" asks Brain.
"The Beatles took four or five years to release their first album," replies Pittman.
Since then, the Mint-label veterans have completed two more CDs: Life Through One Speaker, and their latest release, Panic When You Find It.
"Our goal for the new record was to sound more live off the floor. Like, stripped-down, less overdubs. But we were given so much time, you just pile on shit," explains Brain. "It still sounds like a Young and Sexy record, it doesn't sound like Neil Young Unplugged or anything."
The album was conceived in a rehearsal space on West 2nd Avenue, by the Clubhouse restaurant. "We share it with a Pilates studio," explains Brain. "You hear them doing their one hundreds and their yoga moves and shit. How relaxing can that be for them? There's shitty bands practising next door. We try to take it down a little bit when we hear them in there, do all the slow, soft, mellow songs first."
Though Vancouver is the band's hometown, Brain and Pittman both grew up elsewhere. Brain was born and raised in England, until she moved to B.C. Pittman, on the other hand, was a Prairie boy, growing up in Saskatoon, where he honed his badminton skills.
"He was a superstar," explains Brain. "He could have gone pro, man!"
"Well, there's no pro circuit in badminton," Brain replies, "but I played all right. Actually my big loss was out here in Vancouver. I came in second in nationals out here. I was seeded first and I lost the finals."
"You choked," taunts Brain.
"Yeah," Pittman responds, "That was back in '88. Ten years later I was back out here, starting a band with Lucy. How weird is that?"
Young and Sexy are embarking on a tour to promote Panic When You Find It, which has already won a favourable review in Spin magazine. The cross-country jaunt will kick off in Calgary, head east (including a stop in Saskatoon), then wind all the way back to Vancouver, ending at the Railway Club with shows on May 5 and 6. Afterward they plan on going right back to writing a new album.
"I've been big on jazz in the past year, but that doesn't influence the new record yet," says Pittman.
"Paul's getting jazzy," Brain interjects, "but yeah, anything to get away from new wave."
"Seriously," Pittman says, rolling his eyes.