Thanks a heap for taking the time to do this
interview, Paul. Could you give the readers a bio of your early
Paul Collins: I traveled around a lot as a kid, my mom was an
artist ans she took me and my brother and my two sisters all
over the world.We went from Douglaston Long Island to Vietnam in
one jump and I never looked back! I got hooked on rock n roll
when I heard Big Girls Don't Cry in a Vietnamese taxi cab and I
knew I wanted to be in a rock band when I saw The Beatles fly
overhead when I was living in Greece!
Punk Globe: What about musical influences?
Paul Collins: My earliest influences were from my dad, Hank
Williams and Ray Charles then later it was WABC radio in NY.
Punk Globe: Can you tell us about your first band, The Nerves?
How did you all get together?
Paul Collins: I met Jack Lee on the 3rd day I was in San
Francisco, I had come to California to find a rock band. I went
into Don Wier's Music City on Columbus Street in North Beach and
there was a little 3X5 index card that said "Wanted drummer for
all original band ala The Beatles and The Stones" the rest as
they say is history!
Any fun tour stories from the early days?
Paul Collins: Millions but suffice it to say we had a blast
working our asses off! We would rehearse all day, we were flat
broke, always hungry, we knew nobody we would hang around the
streets with nothing to do, steal clothes out of the Good Will
Box and then sell them to second hand clothes stores to get
money to eat and do anything under the sun to get gigs which
were usually a disaster!
Punk Globe: What musical projects did you work on in between The
Nerves and The Beat?
Paul Collins: The Breakaways was the in between band that Peter
and I had before we went our separate ways. I am so very happy
and proud that some 30 years later the band gets its debut
release...can you believe it! It just goes to show you! Some
strange shit goes down in rock n roll...as Ginger will tell you!
Punk Globe: The Breakaways is an interesting band name. What
was the inspiration for this name?
Paul Collins: Well I think we were both pretty devastated about
the break up of The Nerves, for me it was a pretty big deal, I
really thought that that band was going to go all the way, I
just couldn't understand why we couldn't get any where, why no
record companies would sign us, we couldn't get a manager or
anything so The Breakaways was our way of maintaining our link
to The Nerves, it kept The Nerves in the picture in a weird way.
Punk Globe: Can you explain how The Breakaways segued into The
Beat? Was there any particular moment that separated one
project from the other?
Paul Collins: Well one day Peter said.."you know man I think I
wanna go and do my own thing now....and that was it...I was
pretty uptight about it, I didn't have a clue as to how I would
be able to continue on in LA with out knowing hardly anyone and
no good musicians to play with, it was after all a town without
pity, still is as far as I can see....
Punk Globe: I hear there were some pretty odd reactions from
venue holders when The Beat first started playing...Could you
Paul Collins: Not sure its the Beat you are referring to, when I
started The Beat with Steve Huff things went very fast compared
to the way they had been going, in about a years time we were
signed to Columbia Records the worlds biggest label and we were
managed by Bill Graham the biggest manager in America! As you
could imagine our heads were spinning!
Punk Globe: You have such a vast musical history, having
worked w/ so many different musicians. Can you fill the readers
in on all of your projects and releases?
Paul Collins: Libby that would take a lot of ink, fortunately
the readers can go to my web site and they can google me and get
more info on me then I even know, I will say that I have been
blessed with the good fortune to play music all my life and I am
still here and I am still rocking! In a nut shell my bands have
been The Nerves, The Breakaways, The Beat, The Paul Collins
Beat(had to change the name because of the English Beat) The
Paul Collins Band(the transitional years) then just Paul
Collins(me) and then last but not least back to basics with The
Paul Collins Beat doing what I do best power pop rock n roll!
Punk Globe: I understand you moved to Spain after 9-11...Was
there any particular reason for this?
Paul Collins: Yes I had a kid I was married to a Spanish woman
from Madrid and it was time to get out of dodge! For my kids
sake I am glad I did, I now live back in NY but I hear all kinds
of nightmare stories about people who got terrible lung problems
from breathing all that shit in. It was the heaviest day of my
life and I was glad in a strange way to have been here and
witnessed it, then I moved to Madrid and they bombed Atocha
Punk Globe: Can you tell the readers about your solo acoustic
years in Spain?
Paul Collins: They were great they used to call me the man with
2 guitars because I would get such a big sound going as I play
the shit out of my guitar, it was fun and I learned a lot about
Punk Globe: What made you decide to go acoustic?
Paul Collins: I was simple I didn't have a band and there was no
way I could get one, plus a good friend of mine in Spain said he
could get me a whole bunch of shows that would pay me good money
and it was easy as pie to do it!
Punk Globe: I have a lot of appreciation for "Flying
High"...Can you tell the readers a bit of the histories
surrounding this recording? Is there any song/songs you
consider to be a personal opus?
Paul Collins: This was a pivotal record for me, I had not made a
record for almost 12 years which in this business is an
eternity, I needed to prove to my fans and the world and myself
that I still had the goods. So instead of doing what we would
always do...try and get the big rock production sound which is
damn near impossible to get especially when you have no money, I
decided to record the record in my living room with a stripped
down simple sound letting the songs speak for themselves, just 4
guys who really love to play this music having fun while they do
it. And we got it, that record has some very beautiful magical
moments, it is light and airy and it makes its point in a very
nice way and it proved for me and my fans that Paul Collins was
not washed up...I am very proud of it!
Punk Globe: The last time you spoke w/ Punk Globe, you were
heading out on the West Coast 2009 tour w/ The Avengers and
Pansy Division...Could you tell us how that tour went?
Paul Collins: That was another pivotal moment as I had not
played the west coast in some 10 years and I really had no idea
of people would remember us or not! It was the perfect tour to
be on because The Avengers and Pansy Division were so sweet with
us and we all became such good friends on the tour that on the
last night in LA we were all practically in tears! Gregg from
the Avengers summed it up best when he said..."Shit man we are
just getting warmed up!"
Punk Globe: How was it playing w/ The Avengers? Any fun tour
and or stage stories?
Paul Collins: The tour was great, all the bands really bonded
together there was no rock bull shit Penelope is a gracious warm
woman who treats people with a lot of dignity...sure there was a
lot of high jinx especially with those rascals in the Pansy
Division...Chris a sweetheart and a real cut up and it was so
much fun to watch them go through their show every night! The
all time best was when we played Medford,Oregon and the opening
act from the night before in Portland called and said they would
be there in an hour and then they never showed up, our set was
fine as soon as Pansy Division hit the stage the power started
to go on and off so much so that it wrecked their show, then it
came back on for The Avengers and we all made something like
$70...Penelope said well at least we got gas money!
Punk Globe: I noticed you have some upcoming tour dates lined
up w/ The Peter Case Band...Are you stoked? How long has it
been since you shared a stage?
Paul Collins: Actually I played McCabes last year with my good
friend John Wicks and Peter did jump up for a few songs and it
was great, but this will be the second time since we were in The
Nerves that we will have played together! The Beat and The
Plimsouls only did one show together at The Country Club in Los
Angeles back in the 80's, so yes I am very happy we will be
sharing the stage again.
Punk Globe: Can you give the readers the haps on all upcoming
tour dates and venues?
Paul Collins: Wow yes! We have a ton of shows this summer! The
BEAT ARMY has proved to be the best way to put together shows. I
will give you the whole list of dates as it stands now but I am
sure by the time this comes out there will be even more. The
great thing about the BEAT ARMY tours is that we will be working
with local bands from all over, some that have been around for
awhile and some that are brand new, so it will always be
interesting and we will make a lot of new friends.
Punk Globe:What is the current line up looking like?
Paul Collins: The line up is a couple of different ones, for
example on the first tour we are doing in the South my guitarist
Eric Blakley and I will play with the bassist and drummer of
Thee HypnoticChickens, Paul Tucker the bass player for the
chickens set up the whole tour and it is going to be a blast, we
will be playing with Peter's new band which features DJ
Bonebreaker from X
Then my rhythm section from Madrid Juancho, bass and Chris drums
will come and join me and Eric for the rest of the tours. They
were with me on the last west coast tour last September so they
already have lots of friends here and Chris is from Milwaukee so
he will be happy to be playing his hometown!
Punk Globe: Can you tell the readers a bit about The King of
Paul Collins: Yes, again this was an important record for me,
after making Flying High, to show I still had what it take and
then Ribbon of Gold which was the perfect 1 2 punch with it s
big production and big rock sound it was time for the knock out
punch, the record that really nailed it and defined what the
Paul Collins sound really is, and thanks to the rock n roll gods
above and all the talented musicians I worked with on this
record we did it! That's why I call it the King of Power Pop,
and I feel the record lives up tot the title in every way and I
know that I am taking a big risk here but I am ready for it,
this record delivers and it also connects the dots for me from
the Nerves to the Beat to the Paul Collins Beat, this shows the
transition and it defines what I am all about as a musician, a
singer and a song writer and most importantly as a rocker!
Punk Globe: Seems like power pop has been making a resurgence
lately...Any thoughts on this?
Paul Collins: Yes that is why I made this record because power
pop has come back and I am a big part of it, I have been playing
this music now for 35 years!
Punk Globe: I have been hearing quite a bit about The Beat
Army...Can you fill the readers in on the history, how and why
The Beat Army got started?
Paul Collins: Well its funny, they say necessity is the mother
of invention, and in this case it's true! I was talking to my
record company who are dear friends of mine and I love them to
bits, but they were telling me how bad things were for this kind
of music and with down loads and lack of interest and very few
retail outlets for these kinds of records that I should not get
my hopes up as far as sales go, because as with every record I
have ever made since The Nerves 45 back in 74 my attitude is
always the same...hey man we are going to sell millions of
copies with this record! When I got off the phone I said to
myself, and excuse my French here, "Fuck this shit! There is no
way I am going to take this lying down!" And that's when I
started The BEAT ARMY and in 3 short months we have almost 2000
members and we have booked some 4 tours all across the country
and Canada and this is only the beginning! I found that there
are tons of people out there willing to support this kind of
music its just that no one has tried to organize them in this
way. Now we have a forum for fans, bands, clubs, online radio
stations, record stores and anything else that has to do with
this genre of music so people can cross pollinate and things can
happen. I am so proud of our tours, they are booked by bands
from the ares where we will be playing, we travel with them, we
stay with them and we share what we have with them, it is
fantastic and more then anything it is fun and it is supportive
and inclusive, its not about Me its about Us!
By the people for the people!
Punk Globe: Who all is involved in the Beat Army?
Every day more and more `people get involved and
anybody reading this is welcome to join, there is a place for
everyone in this army as long as you love power pop, punk pop,
garage rock, vintage rock & new wave you are welcome here, and
even if you haven't been exposed to this kind of music join us
and you will see how much fun it is! For now just put BEAT ARMY
in your Facebook search bar, click and voila you will be in the
Punk Globe: Do you have a Facebook profile for the Beat Army
and a website for your band?
Punk Globe: Do you have any upcoming releases or re releases?
Yes! King of Power Pop on Alive/Bomp Records out
August 24th! This will be my 13th release and I am very proud of
it. Produced by Jim Diamond in Detroit at his all analogue
studio Ghetto Recorders it features cameo appearances by Nikki
Corvette and Wally Palmar from The Romantics! Alive has re
released 2 Nerves records and The Breakaways you can get all of
them here myworld.ebay.com/2005pcollins
Punk Globe:I wish you great success w/ this upcoming tour, and
future work w/ the band...Will definitely be checking out the
SoCal shows. Any closing thoughts for the enthusiasts and maybe
some words of advice for new musicians just starting out?
Paul Collins: Yes, I am very happy that after all these years
playing music I can still go out and jump up on stage plug in my
guitar and rock out to an enthusiastic crowd of people bit young
and old, I didn't think it could be possible but I learned one
of the most beautiful things about playing music, the music that
you love is it keeps you young at heart...follow your dreams and
don't let anyone tell you not to!
See you all at the shows! Please join the BEAT ARMY and help us
keep power pop alive and well!