We met lead guitarist Paul DiGiovanni right before he went on stage with his band Boys Like Girls at the Bambaoozle Road Show at the Nassau Coliseum in June.
How did you think of the name Boys Like Girls?
We were already a band and we’ve written a few songs, we had shows coming up. Right way back at the beginning we just thought it would be funny, catchy and kind of — just kind of a stupid fun name that people would remember.
When and where did you guys first meet?
The other three guys in the band they’ve know each other for years. We all just played in different bands around Massachusetts and happened to meet each in shows here and there. It kind of came about like that. They were starting up Boys Like Girls and they needed a guitar player, and I knew Bryan and John, and they called me and asked me to go and rehearse and audition and it just worked out great. That was it really.
What inspired you to start a band?
I started playing guitar when I was about 9 and I loved it. I was always very serious about it, but it’s tough to find a lot of kids when you’re that young. I always wanted to be in a band. And knowing when you’re that young and as quite as serious as you are, and that’s how we all felt growing up, and then once we found each other we knew it was what we always wanted to do, it just felt right. We just kind of took off from there and never really looked back.
Did your parents support your risky decision to be in the music industry?
Yeah, in the beginning I told my dad, “Hey dad, I’m going to have to leave high school early because I have tours coming up and I’m going to do this for real.” He was a little bit like, you know let’s talk about this and figure it out. He came to a practice and talked to the other guys and their families and everything. And he just, at that point, you could go to college anytime you want in the future if you need to. Just go for it and have fun. Luckily, I think it was the right decision.
Did you have to give anything up in order to play in a band?
I guess in terms of going on tour I had to give up having a home, seeing my friends all the time and having a steady life.
How was working with Taylor Swift?
It was awesome. We’ve known her for awhile and went over there a bunch. And we finished “Two Is Better Than One” in the studio and it was all just Martin’s vocal, there was no guest person at all, we listened to it, we loved the song, but we felt like it needed something else extra. We thought maybe the girl, since it’s kind of a love song, a girl vocal would be good. She was the first person that came to mind and she recorded it on her bus, she was on tour, and she just emailed over the vocal tracks to us. And then we played a show with her, the Jingle Ball actually, right at Madison Square Garden, we played with her and she came out and performed it with us in front of 20,000 plus people and it was just the coolest. It was the first time we actually performed it live together and it was a really, really cool experience. She’s great.
Did joining the band effect your grades?
Yeah. Unfortunately. I was always a good student in high school, but unfortunately I kind of had to make a decision where I wanted to go full force with this thing and I would leave school at 2:30, drive an hour north in northern Massachusetts, rehearse all overnight and then drive back down and go to school. By the end of my senior year it was pretty bad. I just knew this is what I was going to do at that point and I had some people in my school that worked with me and let me leave early and I still graduated, which was important to me. So, yeah, a little bit, but I made it work.
Do you have any techniques to writing new songs?
Everything happens in a different way. Sometimes Martin will bring something to the table acoustics. Sometimes he’ll have a full song done and we’ll make it electric, sometimes one of us will start jamming on something. Just wherever we feel like something’s cool, we’ll just go for it and see what happens. It’s always different.
What is your favorite thing about being in the band?
Just being able to travel. Being in a new place every day and the most rewarding thing is just being in a new place, waking up, hanging out all day, and then playing a show and having the kids no matter where you are to sing along and go crazy and just have the time of their lives is the best feeling ever.
Do your band members ever seriously fight?
No, we don’t ever. We have arguments sometimes, but I think we’re like the closest friends in a band that I’ve ever seen and a lot of people even say that, like, I can’t believe how close you guys all are and I think it’s really important. It’s easy to be in a band and have a record and then most people just start not liking each other and get egos and the whole thing falls apart. It’s really important to have strong friendships definitely.
Do you know what you would be doing in you weren’t in a band right now?
I would definitely be trying to be in a band. I probably would have went to music school, or try to do something like that. Because that would definitely be the best bet.
What is your favorite song to perform?
It changes all the time. I think through time “The Greatest Escape” has kind of proved to be one of the best moments because it’s usually the last song we play and everybody just let’s go and goes absolutely crazy. It’s a big rewarding feeling after the show.
If you could tour with anyone else, who would it be?
I don’t know. I think it would be cool to tour with one of the greats like Aerosmith or someone like that. This tour’s been incredible it’s been a lot of incredible bands involved with like Third Eye Blind. It would be really cool to tour with them.
Which was your favorite music video to shoot?
Music videos are not very fun to shoot. They seem like they would be but it’s a lot of waiting around and sitting around, stressful, rushing and this and that. It’s a real long day and it’s pretty stressful, but in the end it’s totally worth it, but I think in the beginning "The Great Escape," the "Thunder" video, we did two-day shoots for those and they were really, really intricate and really, really fun and I love the way those turned out.
Did you ever want to go back to living a normal life?
To me this is a normal life now. If I had to go home tomorrow and just mind like a regular job I would probably freak out. I want to do this as long as possible, then hopefully branch off into something else when I get older in the music industry.