VACAVILLE — “Blessed” is one of Aaron Pauley’s favorite words these days.
The 2006 Vacaville High School graduate is about to hit the road with Of Mice and Men. The band’s new CD, “Restoring Force,” produced by Dave Bendeth, drops Jan. 28. Bendeth has also produced for Vacaville’s Papa Roach, Paramore and Jeff Beck.
Working with the noted producer was blending two visions into one, Pauley said.
“There was a lot of back and forth,” he said while sitting in the living room of his fiancee’s childhood home.
The 11-track CD was written in about 2½ months. It was recorded in about 2 months.
Of Mice and Men entered the studio with about 20 songs, which were cut to 13, then the final number.
“You’re Not Alone,” was the first single. The tune won Revolver magazine’s song of the year reader’s poll for 2013. “Bones Exposed,” another tune, was released around Christmas.
Pauley picked up his first guitar, a plastic toy one, when he was 3. A real one followed about five years later.
“I loved it,” Pauley said. His father, Randy Pauley, taught him a song with three chords that Aaron Pauley said he played over and over.
He belonged to a variety of local bands, the first being Menace to Society when he was about 13. He spent four years with Jamie’s Elsewhere, a Sacramento-based band that released two albums.
Pauley hooked up with Of Mice and Men in 2012 during the Warped Tour. The chemistry kicked in immediately. As did a bit of physics.
The title for “Restoring Force” was born from the concept that a variable force gives rise to an equilibrium in a physical system.
Of Mice and Men were looking for that balance.
“It had been a pretty turbulent two years (for the band), being on the road ,” Pauley said.
The title surfaced after the album was done.
“It was a serendipitous finding,” Pauley said.
Pauley and his fiancee, Amanda Bouffard, now call Huntington Beach home. Of Mice and Men has its roots in Southern California, forming in 2009. Guitarist Alan Ashby hails from San Jose.
Their tour kicks off Feb. 1. The band only has one Northern California stop, March 21 at San Francisco’s Warfield.
There will be plenty of stops to meet the fans and make new ones.
“They mean as much to us as our band does to them,” Pauley said of fans. He and Ashby were supposed to play for an hour at the Vacaville Tilly’s store on Black Friday. They stayed for three hours, so they could meet the fans, some of whom gave up their Thanksgiving Day to wait in line.
It’s getting more difficult for Pauley to blend into the scenery. At Christmas, he was shopping in Solano Town Center mall with his future mother-in-law, Kathleen McIntyre, and was recognized. He and Bouffard are Disney fans and can’t make a trip to the Southern California park without being asked for pictures and/or autograph.
Success hasn’t changed him, say those who know him best.
“He’s the same Aaron,” said Bouffard, who has been with Pauley since she was 16.
His parents agree. Randy Pauley often wears an Of Mice and Men T-shirt. Mom Kelly Pauley counts herself as on his Top 10 fans.
“I always told myself I was going to do it,” Aaron Pauley said of a career in rock ’n’ roll. “There are more days than not that I wonder, ‘How did I bamboozled my way into doing this?’ ”
Pauley is often asked how to make it in music. He said he doesn’t have the answer but is glad to be on the journey.
“I’m blessed to be where I’m at,” he said.
Vacaville is still home because that’s where his parents live. The more he travels, the concept of home becomes more clear.
“Nothing is as important as family,” he said. His younger brother is also in the area.
The band’s website is www.ofmiceandmenofficial.com.
Reach Amy Maginnis-Honey at 427-6957 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/amaginnisdr.