Expect the unexpected. It’s a mantra most everyone should entertain at some point in their lives. For Paige Wood and Steven Dies of the Peach Kings, a Los Angeles-based duo set to perform this weekend in Boca Raton, nothing could be more true.
The pair is currently on the final leg of a tour with pop legend Cyndi Lauper, but the Peach Kings’ own sound is less new wave and much more pop-noir. Their music has a sinister quality that’s a cross between the Kills and Angus and Julia Stone. They’re like the opening scene of Kill Bill, featuring Nancy Sinatra’s cover of “Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down),” embodied in a band.
Ahead of their show at Mizner Park Amphitheatre, we discussed the Peach Kings’ unlikely, but very fortunate, role as Lauper’s opening act, as well as the other, perhaps bigger surprise of their career: falling in love and getting engaged.
New Times: The Peach Kings aren't exactly the first type of music one would associate with Cyndi Lauper. How did you end up touring with her?
Paige Wood: We were just lucky.
Steven Dies: She was looking for support. In this industry, you shoot for what you wish to happen; you don’t always expect it to happen. Cyndi Lauper has always been someone who we love. It may not come through in our music, but it’s within our souls. Paige grew up in a household that constantly had “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” on repeat. She’s got an older sister who’s a diehard Cyndi Lauper fan who turned Paige on to that. It’s been something we never would have expected for ourselves, but when the opportunity came, there was no way we were going to pass it up.
PW: She’s a style icon and a music icon. There’s a lot of things she’s done that people forget about.
SD: She was looking for an opening act with as few bells and whistles for stage setup and we said, "We can do whatever you want." [Laughs] Paige and I started off that way and it’s kind of like coming full circle, those roots where we play and sing as a duo, very exposed, very raw.
PW: Very vulnerable.
SD: Yeah, very vulnerable. There’s no hiding behind back tracks. It’s what you see is what you get. It’s terrifying and exciting — that’s the type of stuff she wanted from us.
Where does the band’s name come from?
SD: It actually comes from the first time we met; we shared a peach. That peach started becoming a metaphor for the stuff we share in general. Peach being a fruit and a perfect metaphor for something sweet, sexy, delicious, and all these things that we share; pretty interesting family histories that we share, musical tastes. It symbolizes our life together.
How did you two meet?
PW: I was living in a really cool warehouse in San Francisco and Steven’s brother was one of my roommates. The first time he heard me play music, he told me immediately that I needed to be in a band with his brother.
SD: He heard something in Paige that… he’s my brother, so he’s looking out for me. He wouldn’t set me up with someone I wouldn’t like, and he wouldn’t set Paige up with me if he didn’t think it was a good fit. He’s not the reason we’re playing music together, but he’s the reason we met.
So what came first, the music or the romance?
PW: Music. Music was long before the romance.
SD: We were just in it for music… It just so happened that our voices and our styles meshed seamlessly. It was sort of easy, and we didn’t want to even entertain any other notions of what our relationship was other than, you know, we were writing amazing songs together. Let’s just keep doing this. And then, after a couple of years together, we…
PW: We were pleasantly surprised.
SD: Where the relationship went.
PW: And the music got better for it.
All bands and all relationships have fights. Being both, how do you cope with disagreements that inevitably arise?
PW: I feel like it’s a good therapy session to, at the end of the day, go and have a rock show.
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SD: Kind of shake out things in front of a group of people. I think that it’s more, we’re able to take a step back from the music as a couple, but it’s really come down to you and me against the world. It sounds cliché, but it’s really a powerful thing to know that you have a partner in crime and a partner in life outside of the music.
PW: Surprisingly, we don’t really argue.
SD: We argue about which Starbucks to stop at. [Laughs]
The Peach Kings
With Cyndi Lauper. 7 p.m. Saturday, June 11, at Mizner Park Amphitheater in Boca Raton. Tickets cost $39.50 to $69.50 plus fees. Visit www.axs.com for ticketing options.