Palaye Royale have rock’n’roll in their blood. The three Canadian brothers – vocalist Remington Leith, guitarist Sebastian Danzig and drummer Emerson Barrett – grew up on a healthy diet of the Rolling Stones, The Who and Led Zeppelin, thanks to their mother who was an 80s rock photographer.
Palaye Royale have blended that love for thundering 70s music with bombastic electro rock, gluing it together with sticky New York Dolls swagger and the romantic flair and pomp of My Chemical Romance. Their recent album The Bastards is a consideration of life’s grittier experience, told through an explosion of glitter and glam.
Paul Weller basically kick-started their career.
True story. Without the Modfather there might never have been Palaye Royale. During her music photographer days, the band’s mother struck up a “lifelong friendship” with Weller, which led to a life-changing encounter.
“We went to a concert in LA and we got to meet him backstage,” Remington recalls. “He said to my mom: ‘If you’re serious about the boys having a career in music, you’ll let them drop out of school and figure it out.’ After that my mom was like: ‘It’s your life. You do what you want’.”
They’re proof that vision and balls are all you really need.
When they packed in education to pursue music, Sebastian was 16, Remington 14, and Emerson just 12, and Remington admits they had no plan whatsoever. “I never had an aspiration to be anything else other than just to play music forever,” he says. “It was the world’s biggest risk, but somehow we made it out okay. We’ve always been inspired by that punk mentality of the Sex Pistols and even The Libertines. By that ‘Fuck it, I’ll do it my way and if you don’t like it, fuck you too.’”
They honed their craft in the City Of Sin.
The brothers spent their formative years under the neon lights of decadent Las Vegas, an upbringing that Remington acknowledges was unusual, but it sculpted them into the flamboyant, “fashion-art rock” band they are today. “I was constantly around drunk, crazy people my entire childhood,” he says. “Everything is so over-the-top in Vegas. Just being around the theatrics of it all bled into our sound and our look.”
Their live shows have earned them quite a reputation.
Anyone who has witnessed a Palaye Royale show will be accustomed to seeing Remington’s Iggy Pop-like bare-chested frame dangling, Cirque du Soleil-style, from the rafters and diving off balconies. But his adrenaline-rush shenanigans don’t always go down well with venues. “We’d be at sound-check, the shows would be sold out, and they’d say: ‘No, we’re cancelling the show,’” he says.
On the band’s UK tour back in February, in the end only three out of five gigs went ahead. The band are unimpressed. “I get safety first, but at the end of the day I’m trying to put on a good show!” Remington protests. “They didn’t believe me. Probably for good reasons, because I don’t think I would have listened. I was like: ‘Is this not the birth of the Sex Pistols and fucking punk rock?”
There’s a darkness behind the glitz.
Third and latest album The Bastards is their most personal record by far, touching on mental health issues, gun control and grief. “The themes were a little darker for this last record,” says Remington. “It was the first time we were really honest. As kids we were all physically and mentally abused a lot. Coping with that into your adulthood still has a pull on you. We wanted to write honest songs that help people.”
They’ve learned how to handle hostile audiences.
Palaye Royale’s 2019 tour with post-hardcore innovators Enter Shikari was a baptism of fire that they won’t repeat in a hurry. They were greeted by apathetic, jeering audiences every night, and when one audience member made his feelings known during their gig in Southend it led to a well-publicised band/punter confrontation.
“Enter Shikari fans aren’t used to some dude coming out in latex pants and make-up. They didn’t gravitate towards it,” Remington says with a shrug. “You can be the ripest peach in the world, but some people just fucking hate peaches.”