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padre is indie-rock in the classic sense; the music's delivered with the sort of reckless abandon that characterized Pavement and Guided By Voices, and each song is ripe with perfect pop hooks and infectious melodic harmony. The raw emotion evoked by Eli's vocals and clever lyrics, coupled with art-damaged guitar playing and driving rhythm, yields an entertaining and poignant listening experience - one that transcends the limits of pop, indie, and even punk, to make this four-piece one of the most exciting bands emerging from New York. - The Deli Magazine

"Artist of the Week - padre"

A couple of weeks ago I was in New York City and saw a group called padre perform. I had heard their album, Left In a Trade, dug the content, and wanted to check them out live. Their show was fantastic and immediately afterwards I linked up with the band’s lead singer, Eli Kaplan, to find out more about the group. padre consists of (from left to right in the picture) Ryan Bair on drums, Rob Weiss on lead guitar, Eli Kaplan on vocals and guitar and Jesse Schleger on bass. Kaplan, the self described “mouth” of the group, is originally from Detroit and his parents grew up in the same neighborhood as Marvin Gaye and Gladys Knight. He says his mother swears she used to ride Stevie Wonder around on her bike. Both of Kaplan’s parents are musicians and his sister Lisa is a professional pianist in the new music group Eighth Blackbird. Kaplan jokes “as of now, she’s the famous, and incredibly accomplished, sibling.” There soon may be a hotly contest battle for that title in the Kaplan household, however, as padre is garnering a nice following in their NYC stomping grounds. This week I sat down with Kaplan to talk about the group, their interesting lyrical content, and what’s up with his backwards t-shirts and socks pulled up high.

Adam Bernard: For starters, tell me why you chose the name Padre? As far as I know you aren’t a father and you aren’t from San Diego.
padre: The name thing is funny. In college a bunch of my friends called me Cool Papa after the Negro League Baseball player James “Cool Papa” Bell. And I like the fact that the word father can be a noun or a verb, and that it has some positive/nurturing connotations. Also, I knew I wanted to have a band name that’s one word, just like my favorite band of all-time, Pavement, and I wanted a somewhat ambiguous name that would sound good for a solo artist or a full band like some of my favorite groups; “Kind of Like Spitting” – Ben Barnett and “Pedro the Lion” – David Bazan. Oh, and there was no way I was having a “The” band. The Strokes, The Shakes, The Killers, The Raconteurs, The blah, blah, blah… Aren’t we supposed to be creative artists here? Can we make a band name without “The?” Okay, I’ll get off my high-horse now.

Adam Bernard: Your lyrics are extremely interesting and very different from what most people normally hear. When you were writing for Left In A Trade were there certain topics and themes you wanted to touch on or was the writing process more free flowing thought?
padre: For me, the lyrics are really important. All my favorite musicians have really interesting lyrics and messages; Bob Dylan, Jim Croce, Elliott Smith. They all have something important to say and it makes their music intriguing because their songs are about what they want to share from their hearts. With Left in a Trade almost all my songs are about my relationships; romantic, platonic, etc. and the ways in which people choose to treat one another, and themselves, as friends and/or lovers. Most of the songs come from an extremely personal place, but at the same time, everyone can relate to them unless they live by themselves, in isolation, on their own planet. Actually, the first four padre albums have already been written, and they each represent different themes, phases, and cycles of relationships. Currently I’m working on albums five, six and seven, but that’s a story for another day.

Adam Bernard: On Left In A Trade you have a waltz, this makes me think your influences range greatly. Who are some of the artists you feel have influenced you and how do you feel those influences are apparent in your work?
padre: I grew up hearing and listening to all kinds of music; country, classic rock, classical, folk, rock, pop, rap, soul. I love music ranging from the unrestrained rock of Led Zeppelin to the country lovin’ of Loggins & Messina to the blues of Blind Willie McTell to the angst of Bright Eyes. So my songs range in style and sound a lot. padre is pretty straight up indie-rock, but we also have some country, folk, pop, punk, to throw into the mix. One thing I especially love is when an artist refuses to limit themselves to a specific genre. Music is music, and good music is good music. I like to think padre is in the good music genre. There isn’t a “good music” section in the record store near you is there? Damn, me neither. We gotta work on changin’ that.

Adam Bernard: Very true. Now let's move from the stores to the stage and talk about your live performances. What do you enjoy most about performing live and how do you help to convey they enjoyment to the audience?
padre: I have a ton of fun playing shows. It’s great on so many levels. It’s fun to be able to play a show with my band-mates and to be reminded that there’s a good reward for all the hours of practice together, and it’s especially wonderful because I make music to communicate and entertain and a live show really gives you a prime opportunity to have instant gratification in both regards. It’s - Adam Bernard

"60 Second Review"

From the lyrical content of Padre’s Left In A Trade it’s obvious the group is a little different from your normal indie rock bands. Who else writes about the transgendered? The group opened Saturday’s show with a song, “Rumors of Recovery,” that included that very topic in its first line, and lead singer Eli Kaplan used his full range of facial expressions to both further illustrate the lyrics and play to the crowd. Kaplan made sure the group’s 45 minute set was full of good times for the entire audience, taking time between songs to speak with the crowd, and at other times to tell us “the floor right by the stage is lonely and wants someone to stand on it” as a way to get people off the wall in the sweaty Pianos performance space and up closer to the stage. It’s always great to see a talented artist having fun while performing and in Padre the audience had the pleasure of seeing just that. It was definitely a great way to spend a Saturday night. - adam bernard

""Left in a Trade" Review"

Sometimes an album opens with a lyric that just refuses to be ignored. Such is the case with Padre’s Left In A Trade, which opens with the line “somebody said they saw a girl from the trans-gendered club smoking on her lunch-break again / I was so confused it sounded like you, but you’re supposed to be getting better.” This is the opening line from “Rumors Of Recovery,” which is, of course, track one on Left In A Trade. The song sounds slightly influenced by The White Stripes, but with lyrics that are distinctly original and very poetic. At times during this, and other songs on the album, Padre’s delivery isn’t always decipherable, but that’s OK because not only does his unique delivery make him who he is, but the album comes with the lyrics, so those who’d like to read along with the poetic, and sometimes strange, verses can do just that.

As a whole, Left In A Trade is a collection of mostly slower songs with lyrics that are full of meaning and, at times, much like any good piece of poetry, completely open for personal interpretation. Along with “Rumors Of Recovery” another personal favorite is “At The Toystore With Monique,” which is a song about seeing all the women of the world, many of whom look perfect, or claim to be perfect, but the reality of it all is everyone has issues and baggage, or as Padre puts it, “we all comes parts included not sold separately.”

It’s difficult to place Padre into a specific genre of music. He has more of an edge than a lot of his contemporaries in terms of his lyrical content, and his delivery leaves it up to the listener to pay attention to what’s being said if they want the full Padre experience. The closest I could come to figuring out a category for him would be electro-acoustic rock. Who needs a genre, though? If you make good music you make good music and Padre has the kind of talent, especially in terms of song writing ability, that should garner people’s attention. – Adam Bernard - Beyond Race Magazine


2006 "Left In a Trade" (Shadowhead Records)
songs available for purchase at itunes and



Recently, Eli Kaplan got in big trouble with his sister Lisa, when he tried to steal her grammy, so he set out to make his own musical success in the form of the rock group padre. padre is a band that manages to communicate something about the human condition in a new and unique way. The arrangements are spectacular, the lyrics notable, honest, and clever. padre is a group that transcends the limits of rock, pop, indie, and punk, making this four-piece one of the most exciting bands to emerge.