The Hippo


Nov 21, 2019








People Skills. Courtesy photo.

An Evening With People Skills

When: Saturday, Jan. 14, 9 p.m.
Where: Penuche’s Ale House, Bicentennial Square, Concord

Riffy jam pop
People Skills return to Concord

By Michael Witthaus

 Replacing a bass player is hard for any band, even more so a trio and especially when the remaining members are sister and brother. But when People Skills lost its bassist of five years in late 2015, their list of candidates was short and sweet. 

“There was one name on it: Eric Reingold,”  guitarist, singer and band leader Chelsea Paolini said in a recent Skype interview of the search she and Andrew Paolini made for a third member. “We couldn’t think of another person.”
Reingold is a rhythm anchor, with a resume that’s a who’s who of  New Hampshire’s music scene. JamAntics, Greenlights and Cold Engines are a few of the bands he’s worked with over the years. Fortunately, Reingold was already a big People Skills fan. 
“I never thought I’d be the bass player,” he said. “I just loved the songs.”
His shakedown cruise was really a trip around the harbor. He knew their groovy, loping song “Lucy” note for note, and slipstreamed easily into the rest of a catalog built over five years. 
“The transition was not human, in a good way,” Chelsea Paolini said. “Eric learned so quick, and it’s only gotten better.”
Chelsea and Andrew Paolini first played out together in a high school ska band, but the siblings made music long before then. 
“We’ve been playing together forever,” Chelsea Paolini said. “I was jealous because even though I’m two years older, anything I could play Andrew could learn and play better. We grew up both playing piano and guitar but then he started playing drums — he said, ‘Everyone needs a drummer.’ It turns out he was really good at that too.”
The band’s chemistry was chronicled by filmmaker Jared Parisi in his documentary, A Long Way From Home: 11 Days on the Road with People Skills, released in November. Parisi followed the group on an ambitious summer tour that began in Albany, New York, circled down into the Deep South then back up to Brooklyn, New York, and ended in front of a hometown crowd at Portsmouth’s Press Room.
From the highs of radio interviews and fans eager to enjoy their genre-bending sound — Chelsea Paolini calls  it “riffy jam pop” — to playing in an empty small-town Kentucky bar on a Monday night, Parisi’s film tracks the highs and lows of scraping by in the modern music business. The Paolinis and Reingold stay exuberant throughout.
“We love the traveling aspect, even if we don’t make any money,” Chelsea Paolini said. “If you live modestly as I do, it’s enough to get by with some shifts at a couple of sh***y jobs. As for other rewards, if people tell you they love you and your music, that’s really cool — it’s something we created.”
As Reingold begins his second year with People Skills, the band is preparing its third album, Distractions, for summer release. It’s actually the second time they’ve recorded it; personal and professional differences caused them to scrap sessions from spring 2016.
After a quiet December, the three are looking forward to a busy 2017. When the new record  comes out, they’ll head out on tour again. In the interim, there are several local shows scheduled, including one on Jan. 14 at Penuche’s Ale House in Concord. They’ve been a solid draw in the Capitol City for a few years now.
“What happened first is we played True Brew, opening for Amorphous Band,” Chelsea Paolini said. “Chris O’Neill from that band is someone we know from the Seacoast area.  Then we played Granite State Music Festival. A lot of people saw us there, and that really kind of got us into the scene. It also introduced us to just how awesome Concord is.” 

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