THE PAUL ZAHL INTERVIEW
by Punk Globe
  

Punk Globe:  How did you feel when   you got kicked out of TUXEDOMOON?

PZ::::: I was pretty upset because I really loved playing with TM ...It was my first experience with REAL TALENTED ART GUYS....but  Steven got really angry when I was starting to play with SVT (or maybe it was still The Readymades...I cant really remember ) BUT TM was still playing in basements  that were full of water, and doing that whole "we are starving ARTISTS " And I MISSED a TM show because I fucked up my booking and My OTHER band was opening for The Ramones and their crew wouldn't let us soundcheck while they were eating their Pizza so I MISSED a TM SHOW by 35 minutes.....Steven was FURIOUS.....thing was..... I LOVED the music that I was making with TM but they didn't seem to really care about having me in the band. I was VERY into being as creative as I could be at the time. We were all living at 3645 Market St. at the time and I was having a gasser working with Tommy Tadlock on his 4 track  figuring out how to make drums sound like anything but drums. I loved that guy…….We would spend HOURS making a snare drum sound like a     Dolphin or a Whale song or goodness knows what….I loved working with Tommy. He was a genius. He taught me TONS of stuff you don't learn in music school.. But Steven DID not  want me walking around being a "Pop Star" So he made Blaine FIRE me and then they got Greg Langston to play the drums and in TRUE TM style THEN Steven made me come and show Greg how to play "No Tears" (Not that GREG couldn't pull it off himself, he was GREAT....It was just Steven's way of "Teaching me a lesson").

Punk Globe:  What about the end of SVT?

PZ::::Well , That was pretty heartbreaking. I loved Brian ,&  that band was just about the height of my life It seemed like we could move mountains...But a lot of people thought we sucked because we refused to PRETEND to be political....There was a lot of that "Oh the Clash isn't in it for the money so nether are we" Which more or less turned out to be bullshit……But anyway...I never wanted to be RICH.....I wanted to be HAPPY....And  be able to pull off GOOD SHOWS...That was about as far ahead as I looked......

 …When Brian died it was nearly the end for me…..He was my best friend and I had never lost anybody so close before…It was fucking terrible….I thought I was a goner. But I had a lot of good friends who helped to pull me through…They ALL helped me....and I survived, somehow….And I continued playing with the YANKS who some people seemed to think were the idea in the first place….But I'm not sure about that……The Yanks Eventually Tanked anyway…

I went to Europe with the Flamin' Groovies and Cyril   'n  George stiffed me for a bunch of cash…..Actually they stiffed EVERYBODY for a lot of cash by putting pillows in the hotel beds and leaving shirts in the closets & soap & shaving stuff   in the bathrooms and skipping town just like in the movies…It was pretty funny…except the guys that t hey stole the money from didn't think so…Cyril & George didn't bother telling ME they were leaving with the trunk full of cash…They were SO paranoid they were getting robbed they started collecting all the cash from the shows.....About 35 shows...Thats a lot of cash........I haven't spoken to  to Cyril since the night he shook my hand and said "SEE YOU AT THE BBC TOMORROW AT NOON" …..Have you heard my song "The Liar & the Thief"  It's not about them…But it  might as well be….

Punk Globe:  What do you think about the RE-RELEASE of "NO REGRETS" On RYKODISC??

PZ: It's TRAGIC…It took those people about 25 years to TOTALLY fuck up the only real SVT album we ever made. Brian's brother took it upon himself to re-release the album but didn't bother with any BAND MEMBERS…He didn't' ask ANYBODY from SVT to be involved in the remastering of the album and for some reason he thought  Johnny Colla should do it….Johnny Colla didn't know SQUAT about SVT other than going to 7th grade with Brian and somehow managed to blow a LOT of money  totally fucking up the record  (they made an ugly  stupid new cover too at great expense that they didn't ask US about)….I tried to stop them from putting it out…..But they told me to go fuck myself. We no longer talk ..Colla wrote a BUNCH of stupid 'Liner Notes' that have NOTHING to do with SVT…But have a LOT to do with Colla's Ego…..They even forgot to mention anybody who actually MADE the record in the first fuckin' place….some of whom are RIP's now…..Like for example Mark "Rooster" Richardson from Atlanta who produced the album in the FIRST PLACE!!!!

Punk Globe: So what are you gonna do NOW???

PZ: I am going to continue to make music in the SPIRIT of my best friend Brian Marnell, the best way I know how We have enough material for 3 or 4 albums recorded at this point, we hope to find an outlet for it SOON....…And I will continue to try to play kickass stuff until I run into Brian,, Britley & Dirk and we can all yell at each other about how the chorus should go……..

Punk Globe:.....SOOOO...What happened after the Groovies stranded you in London?

PZ: Well this is where the story starts to sound like total fiction. But it really happened like this.

By some totally bizarre cosmic coincidence while I was bombing around Europe with the Groovies the original Tuxedomoon line-up had people running around San Francisco frantically trying to find ME because they had an offer to do a BIG Re-Union Tour.  But it HAD to be the original guys for the DEAL to go through, which meant they needed ME.I called Steven Brown in Brussels from London and after I spent a half an hour convincing him IT WAS NOT A JOKE and it was really ME calling from London. It only took us 10 minutes to agree that I was "in" for the tour. The only catch was that the tour didn't start for 3 months and I was nearly penniless in London with 500 pounds of drums in flight cases and no place to stay.

So I came up with a totally ludicrous plan to get a nice British Chap to get a "Rent A wreck" van (with the last 50 pounds I had left) and DRIVE me and my drums to Brussels (which was in fact totally ILLEGAL, you aren't allowed to take rented trucks out of the country but I didn't know that) So our mission was to find Blaine's house in Brussels on a map or ever having BEEN in Brussels before.  We somehow managed to find his place at about 4 AM and we dumped my drums in his basement and I took up residence on Blaine & JJ's couch and proceeded to wait for the tour to start and watch "The Jerk" about 500 times.

Punk Globe: So what finally happened when the tour started?

PZ: Well we started rehearsing a set of old "Classic" Tuxedomoon stuff.  Nobody wanted to do any NEW material (except me of course) The tour was a smashing success and everybody was getting well  paid. At that time TM had a sort of "Band Apartment" that they kept for when unexpected visitors fell from the sky (like me) So I moved in and took over paying the rent and threw away my return ticket to San Francisco. I decided I didn't really have anything to go back to. I couldn't afford to live in North Beach everything was changing in S.F. (for the worse, music scene wise) And I was able to survive by playing MUSIC in Europe so I figured "Why Go Back????"

Punk Globe:  So how did you eventually end up with a wife and kids and a house and all that other "not very rock" stuff???

PZ: Well ,After the TM tour finished off in Japan I came back to Brussels and started taking gigs with anybody who wanted me to play with them. There was this band I had been hearing a lot about Called "Flesh & Fell" They were suppose to have a REALLY HOT and REALLY good girl singer. And one night at a Halloween party the Bassplayer from that band walked up to me wearing a Dracula costume and said "I hear you are supposed to be some hot shit American Drummer. You wanna play on our album?" I said "Sure, Why Not" ....After the third rehearsal the beautiful girl singer turned around and said "You Should marry me, You will never regret it and I will make you happy forever"......After I got up off of the FLOOR I said "well YEAH, that sounds good to me!!! She quit Flesh & Fell the next day (that'll teach the Bass player to go around hiring strange drummers..And then.(making a LONNNG story short)...A few years back we decided to re-finance our house because it was in need of a new roof. We asked the Family Banker (a big fan of Cathérine's singing) If perhaps he could pull a few strings and add enough extra money to the loan for me to convert the top floor of our house into a recording studio. He did. We spent about 8 months building it and now it's ours and we can record together to our hearts content......A real "fairytale ending" I am a very lucky man. Our first album is finished....and we are looking for someone to put it out......We are sorry to NOT be playing Dirk Fest....I'm sure Cat would have loved him.......

Photo credits:
Randy Seanor-Rosenberg (PZ at The Mab)
Pat Johnson (SVT)
Isabelle Corbisier (PZ @ Spectre Studio 2007)
And Cat Southard (PZ with Garlic & Les Paul Custom 2007)
 

 

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