Taze Kozak shoots from the hip (and the heart) with his darkly compelling new single and video Painted Pistols — showcasing today on Tinnitist.
The latest single from the B.C. folk-rocker’s EP Paper Airplanes, Painted Pistols ushers you at gunpoint into a darkly surreal, Tom Waitsian netherworld — a landscape populated by warring L.A. gangsters, jealous country boys who quote Hoyt Axton, and men who soak in clawfoot bathtubs, climb mountains just to jump off the side, feed the remains of their enemies to alligators and like to mix pinot noir with codeine.
If it feels chaotic, disjointed, schizophrenic and more than a little disturbing, no wonder: When he wrote the song, Kozak was facing a crippling slate of issues. His mother was addicted, depressed and suicidal. He had grown up with a father paralyzed from a motorcycle accident. And his own back problems — from years of working in forestry — had prompted him to turn to painkillers and booze, making him wonder if his own young children might be forced to care for him as his family’s tragic cycle repeated itself.
“It was a beautiful and hard time in my life, a reoccurring theme which spirals in and out,” Kozak reveals. “Things have been lost, things have been gained, things continue to move and colour themselves as they please.”
To cope, Kozak went out every day to the motorhome in his backyard — his makeshift recording studio — to record songs off the cuff, without even writing most of them down. It was art, escape and therapy. Eventually, he collected it all into Painted Pistols & Lo-Fi Poetry, where the title track originally appeared. He recently followed up with the six-song EP Paper Airplanes, which contains a new acoustic version of the song.
Like its predessor, Paper Airplanes is a work that takes you inside Kozak’s world — musically, lyrically, emotionally and at times literally. Kettle Of Fish, a narrative about his grandfather’s old moonshine still, features the sound of rain hitting the motorhome; at other times, you can hear a helicopter overhead, squeaks from the old chair Kozak was sitting on, and the melodic chirping of birds.