Interview By Ginger Coyote

Paul Collins
Playing in SF

Paul Collins is back playing in America after a few years of living and playing in Spain... Paul and the band will be playing a west coast tour with The Avengers and Pansy Division in September. We talk about the new tour and the old days in this interview. I hope you enjoy.
Punk Globe: Thanks so much for the Interview Paul. Can you tell the readers about yourself. Where were you born ? Where did you grew up.?
Paul Collins: Hi Ginger I am so happy to be talking to Punk Globe after all these years! I was born in New York City and I spent my first years in a town in New Jersey called Old Tappan then I moved to Long Island to a town called Manhasset. That’s where I started playing the drums and listening to rock n roll radio…WABC with Cousin Brucey!
Punk Globe: Tell us a bit about your musical background?
Paul Collins: I had a band in Leonia the town I lived in before I moved into NY, it was my first band and we played original songs, the band was called Home Grown and the only song I remember was “I Lost My Body” When I was 17 I went to California and joined The Nerves.
Punk Globe: Who was also in The Nerves? It seemed that you had some powerhouse members in the band.
Paul Collins: Jack Lee and Peter Case.
Punk Globe: What did you do after The Nerves folded?
Paul Collins: The Nerves broke up sometime in 1977 and then Peter and I had The Breakaways for awhile, indecently Alive Records is going to release The Breakaways in October a full length LP some 30 years later! Then I met Steve Huff through an add he had in The Recycler sometime in 1978 I think and that’s when we started working on the songs that would eventually become The Beat’s first album.
Punk Globe: It seems that you had some problems with the band name The Beat and you had to add Paul Collins to the band name. Am I right?
Paul Collins: Yes, the album came out in September 1979 as The Beat both in the US and in Europe, everywhere but in England, by the time London got around to releasing it The English Beat had come out so we had to change the name for Europe and then we decided to use it everywhere….It was strange that 2 bands playing completely different music would come up with the same name at the same time!
Punk Globe: Can you tell the readers about your releases?
Paul Collins: The Beat released 2 records (The Beat & The Kids Are The Same) both produced by Bruce Botnick (The Doors, MC5 and Buffalo Springfield) Then Steve and I moved to NY and recorded “To Beat Or Not To Beat” with Jimmy Ripp (Kid Creole & the Coconuts) and Jay Dee Daugherty (Patti Smith) originally for Passport Records then released in Europe on Dro & Virgin now available from Wounded Bird Records, then Steve and I moved to Paris and spent a few years living between Paris, Madrid and London where we recorded “Long Time Gone” (Wounded Bird) with Lucas Fox from Motor Head. In 1987 we moved back to California and we recorded “One Night” with David Hayes (band leader for Van Morrison) I hope to have that record released with Get Hip soon. That was pretty much the end of The Paul Collins Beat for the time being. I made one more record in California before moving back to NY in 1989 just called “Paul Collins” which featured everyone I knew in the Bay Area, Gregg Kihn, Chuck Prophet, Cyril Jordan, Chris Von Sneidern, Kenny Dale Johnston, The Stench Brothers, it was a lot of fun but the record only came out in Spain and in Italy but I hope to release it soon with Get Hip, my new US label who are trying to get my complete back catalogue out and in print, both on vinyl and CD. Look for them to release The Beat and The Kids Are The Same in the very near future! While I was living in NY I recorded “From Town To Town” with Rick Wagner(the db’s) Will Rigby (The db’s & Steve Earle) and Arty Lenin (The Flashcubes). That record is easily available as are most of my records through my web site www.thepaulcollinsbeat.com

After 9/11 I moved back to Madrid, Spain and in 2003 I recorded Flying High in my home, my first recording since From Town To Town which I recorded in 1993. That was like starting over for me as I had been off the scene for so many years, I started touring again and played all over Europe and came back to the US to play SXSW which was a big success for us and we played it 2 years in a row and it instrumental in getting the word out to my fans in the US that I was alive and well. In 2007 we went to Gothenburg Sweden and recorded “Ribbon of Gold” with Chips Kiesby (Helicopters, Nomads) Chips is a great producer and Ribbon of Gold is a real return to form and my fans have told me that there are songs that remind them of The Beat’s first record!
Punk Globe: The Beat was formed in LA . So why did you move to SF?
Paul Collins: The Beat was formed in LA with Steve Huff, Michael Ruiz(Milk & Cookies) and Larry Whitman(Needles and Pins) we got signed to CBS Records in LA but when Bill Graham became our manager we moved up to San Francisco to do our initial rehearsals and shows. For a few years we would bounce back and forth between SF and LA eventually moving back to LA before Steve and I moved to NY in 1982.
Punk Globe: You had quite alot of success.. Can you tell us about some of most memorable times?
Paul Collins: Well when we got signed in LA we had spent quite a bit of time scrounging around LA, getting thrown out of all the music stores so we had a real blast going to Guitar Center and making then haul out all their best amps and cranking them up to 10 and then leaving without buying anything! Also as anyone who lives in LA knows you can have a lot of fun being the toast of the town when you get signed so we did our fair share of partying at The Rainbow Room ect!
Punk Globe: Any cool tour tales?
Paul Collins: Well the first tours with The Beat where pretty great, we were on a major label with big time management so we felt like rock stars pretty much all the time, we did a great tour with Ian Gomm and then we did a tour with The Jam! After that we toured Europe and played shows with The Police, The Specials and too many other bands to remember but it was a blast! The show with The Police was one of my all time high lights, it was at The Palais du Sport in Paris and there whe3re about 6,000 kids there going nuts! We also played New Years at the Santa Monica Civic with Joe Jackson, he invited us on stage to play Sunday Papers with him!
Punk Globe: Can you tell us what made you decide to end the band when you did?
Paul Collins: We didn’t really end we just kind of drifted apart, Steve and I worked together for some 15 years but by the time the nineties hit no one wanted to hear this kind of music anymore so it became impossible to make any money or get any shows so it just fell apart, I pretty much stopped playing for a long time until I started doing solo acoustic shows in Europe where there was still a demand for this kind of music.
Punk Globe: After Paul Collins and The Beat ended. What did you do with yourself?
Paul Collins: I wound up living in San Francisco and having to work any kind of job I could get, I sold office supplies by over the phone and then I got a job being a messenger for the Bay Guardian newspaper, it was pretty depressing not to mention it sucked being broke again! Fortunately we still had a following in Europe and I started going back there to play, then I recorded the Paul Collins record and when I was done Chris Von Sniedern and I drove across country to NY and I spent most of the 90’s living there, doing some playing and a lot of crappy jobs!
Punk Globe: Did you stay in contact with other band members?
Paul Collins: Steve and I have always stayed in touch, but I lost touch with Michael Ruiz for awhile until I went back to LA to play the International Pop festival when we reconnected, there was even some talk about trying to get the original line up together with Larry and Steve but we couldn’t get it together, then Larry passed away a few years after that may he rest in peace.
Punk Globe: Tell us about living in Spain?
Paul Collins: I spent the last 7 years in Madrid before moving back to NYC. I have a great band there with my manager Juancho who plays bass, my drummer Chris Bongers who comes from Milwaukee and Manolo who is a kick ass lead guitar player, they have played the states with me when we went to Atlanta and Austin and a lot of my American fans know and love them already! They will be with me for the West Coast tour with the Avengers and Pansy Division. We have done tons of shows together all over Spain, France, England, Norway and Italy! The band is great and we play songs from my entire career from The Nerves to the present!
Punk Globe: So you will be working with the band you formed in Madrid?
Paul Collins: Well I had been playing as the Paul Collins Band or just Paul Collins but when I set the band up in Madrid and we started to learn all the old songs and we played them so authentically and all the promoters where telling me that it would be much better to announce the shows as Paul Collins Beat I said yeah why not we were doing all the old songs so I didn’t think it would be misleading in any way.
Punk Globe: Who is in this version of the band?
Paul Collins: Juancho Lopez bass, Chris Bongers drums, Manolo Cauchola lead guitar
Punk Globe: Is this a one time reunion or have you decided to get back into the action as a band?
Paul Collins: No we have been working for the last few years and I intend to keep working, it may be with a US band because now I live in NY. I did a tour last January with Gentlemen Jesse who are out of Atlanta where this is a very cool power pop scene happening. We met at SXSW 2 years ago and we became good friends, the tour we did was great, from Atlanta to Memphis, Bloomington, Milwaukee, Chicago, Cleveland, Toronto, Montreal, Boston New York! We had a blast and there where great turn outs everywhere!
Punk Globe: Is the Paul Collins and The Beat Fan Club re- grouping as well?
Paul Collins: Punk Globe: Is the Paul Collins and The Beat Fan Club re- grouping as well? Well kind of, now that the site has been up for awhile www.thepaulcollinsbeat.com and with all of my Myspace pages I have been able to get reconnected with all my old fans and it has also allowed me to keep in touch with all the new fans that are discovering my music for the first time! One person who was always very special to The Beat was Laura Lorda, she was our fan club president for many years and probably our very first fan. Her daughter Michelle even worked as a roadie for us for a while., I am still in touch with Michelle,who lives in the NY area. She just came to a show I just did with John Wickes at Kenny's Castaways in New York. She brought her 16 year old son... We hope that we will get a chance to see Laura when we play San Francisco on this trip.
Punk Globe: You have a tour planned with the band. Who else is on the tour?
Paul Collins: The Avengers and Pansy Division.
Punk Globe: Back in the day I can't ever remember seeing The Avengers and Paul Collins and The Beat play a show together. How did you get the bill together for this tour?
Paul Collins: Actually we did play together once at The Mabuhay Gardens! Then recently we played the Road to Ruins Festival in Rome a few years back. We started working with Bryan who we met through a mutual friend in Rome and he was booking The Avengers and Pansy Division tour of the West Coast at the same time we where planning to go so it just seemed like a great idea to put all the bands together….I think it will be a gas!
Punk Globe: Where will this tour start and where will it end? Can you give us the dates?
Paul Collins: We start in Seattle on September 11th at The Fun House and we end on September 20th at The Echo in LA!
SA 9.11.09 Seattle, WA The Funhouse
SA 9.12.09 Portland, OR Dante's
SU 9.13.09 Medford, OR @ Musichead
TU 9.15.09 Sacramento, CA @ Fireside
WE 9.16.09 Santa Cruz, CA @ The Blue Lagoon
TH 9.17.09 Oakland, CA @ The Uptown
FR 9.18.09 San Francisco, CA @ Bottom of the Hill
SA 9.19.09 Santa Ana, CA @ the Galaxy
SU 9.20.09 Echo Park, CA @ The Echo
Punk Globe: Have you got a Website or a My Space Profile address?
Punk Globe: Will you be releasing any product with the band? Has any of the old records been re-released in CD/DVD Format?
Paul Collins: Yes I will have The Nerves release’s on both vinyl and CD as well as all the new Paul Collins Beat records, Flying High and Ribbon of Gold, plus great tee shirts as well!
Punk Globe: Are you excited about the upcoming tour?
Paul Collins: Yes very! I have not toured the West Coast in I don’t know how long so I am very excited and I am hoping to see a lot of my old and new fans again!
Punk Globe: I wish you much luck with the tour and much success with the band.. Do you have any final words for Punk Globe readers?
Paul Collins: Yes I have known Ginger since way back when all this punk rock and new wave or whatever you want to call it rock n roll started and she was always a very beautiful and supportive person who always had good things to say about everyone and I am so happy that she is still out there doing it, in good health and with the same great rock n roll spirit that she always had! We love you Ginger….keep on rocking! See ya all at the show!
I would like to thank Paul for the great interview and hope that everyone living on the west coast will check out the show....