Rock n’ Roll Lives on With a Defining Beat: A Conversation With Paul Collins
Paul Collins (the Nerves, the Beat) has just released a solid new album Feel The Noise and is back on tour. The Paul Collins Beat is due to visit Ireland, The U.K. and mainland Europe with a string of dates starting in April and going through May. Before he embarks on this adventure, Heatwave got the chance to chat with Collins about Feel The Noise, the current state of rock n’ roll and the infamous and successful Garageland tour in the States.
Heatwave: I’ve checked out your new album Feel The Noise, gotta say I love it. It sounds so steeped in the original sensibilities of rock n’ roll and comes across with so much energy. What inspired the making of Feel The Noise?
Collins: I needed to make another record that proved the point about the kind of music I make; short powerful rock n’ roll songs that have good melodies and punch, straight to the point, rocking, but with class and above all, great melodies. We have no money to speak of when we make these records and the only good thing about that is you have to have your shit together when you get to the studio. There just isn’t enough money to fuck around in the studio.
Heatwave: What is the title track “Feel The Noise” about?
Collins: It’s about the fact that people have been telling me rock n’ roll is dead for some 40 years now! I go to myself…really? I don’t think so…go FFF yourself!
Heatwave: What is “I need my rock n’ roll” about?
Collins: It’s about my little history with rock n roll, how as a kid I used to listen to the radio every night and then later how I would see all this stuff in magazines or whatever, implying that it was about rock n roll but I knew that it wasn’t… You know when you hear some famous rapper go, “let’s rock,” I go really? …That ain’t rock!
Heatwave: You’ve been blasting rock n’ roll for some time now, with the Nerves, the Breakaways and the Beat and you never seem to slow down. What gets you going about playing rock n’ roll?
Collins: Very simple… I love it. Rock n’ roll is so much fun and for me. It’s still challenging to play it and make sincerely is my biggest desire.
Heatwave: Do you find that rock n’ roll holds the same relevancy now as it did during the music/cultural revolutions of the 70’s and 80’s?
Collins: Yes and NO. We all know that nothing stays the same, but a lot of the same meanings still apply. Kids still want to bust loose, they still want to have fun and jump up and down and let themselves go wild. They also love to sing and dance and we all want to fall in love and be in love and have love in our lives… Rock n’ roll can still save you. You just have to look harder for it now. Most of the good rock n’ roll isn’t on the radio anymore, its underground so you got to go underground. I am totally underground in a way all my shows are at clubs on the front lines. Ten bucks or less down and dirty, where you can still taste the sweat of rock n roll it ain’t fancy, but it is real.
Heatwave: You’re about to play Wienermania, how did you get involved with that festival?
Collins: I have been friends with Sean and Lee of Burger [Records] for some years now. I wasn’t going to go to SXSW for all the obvious reasons (it’s a cluster fuck and there are so many bands, who cares), but when I got the chance to do that show, which is going to be nuts and its right in keeping with what I do, by the kids and for the kids, I decided to go. I am also going to play at Hotel Vegas’s opening ceremonies the day before, which is also going to be crazy. Then I’m leaving… In and out!
Heatwave: How was the Garageland tour?
Collins: It was great, I worked really hard to make that tour happen and overall it was a big success. Bringing stores and venues together was extremely cool and everyone seemed to love it.
Heatwave: The Garageland Tour seems to have a philosophy behind about connecting bands, fans, record stores, clubs and promoters. How did you get involved with this idea?
Collins: I came up with this idea in an attempt to try and make the shows more like an event. To involve the entire rock n roll loving community, which involves a lot of people who love rock n roll records, so the stores were a natural place to start. Having the stores involved amplified the reach for the shows and combining the record fair with a happy hour and DJ made the whole thing happen in a beautiful way. All of a sudden the music at the shows was ten times better and more appropriate and it was so wonderful to see the kids flipping through the bins checking out all the cool vintage rock records. It was like a history class on rock n’ roll!
Heatwave: Do you think it was successful?
Collins: Yes in most every place it was and now. It’s kind of my model for touring. We will try to do it for the show in London!
Heatwave: What was it like playing with the Rich Hands?
Collins: I love touring with one band. It’s great especially if it’s a band like the Rich Hands. We became really good friends and in the end we [became] like family I love those guys and we had a lot of fun. I will do it again for sure! It’s also great because you really get a chance to get into the band. If you do one show with a band it’s hard to get their whole thing off one show, but when you get to see them work over and over you get into what they are about! I was impressed at the style they played it was very organic. It’s not what I expected from three young men from San Antonio!
Heatwave: What was your favorite place you played on the tour and why?
Collins: Denver was a big surprise. I wasn’t expecting a good turn out and it was a really good show. Portland too, it pretty much sold out which was very rewarding… L.A. was hands down the best show, the Smell is all ages and it was packed with kids. When we did “Many Roads to Follow” it felt like we were on a movies set. All the kids were singing with us and they were passing beach balls through the air. It was amazing. I remember looking out and going to myself wow this is cool!
Heatwave: I read a quote on your website about the contrast between “real” and “virtual” interactions. In the quote you emphasise going to record shops and going to gigs. If you could expand on that idea, what would you suggest to readers wishing engage and wanting to belong to a community?
Collins: Get involved, go to shows support your local bands and the out of town bands that play with them. Nowadays every touring band plays with local support, help create a scene where all these bands have something to do with each other. Let the clubs know that if they book like-minded bands it will be a better experience for everyone. Go to your local record shop and hang out. Those people really love music and they love to turn people onto good music. Read the fanzines, they talk to bands while they are still forming, it’s about discovering things… There is life outside of the Internet, the Web is cool, but don’t let it be a substitute for real life!
Heatwave: Do you have any other material in the works?
Collins: Yes!!!! But I need more and I am working on it!
Heatwave: When can readers look forward to your return?
Collins: Very soon. I start a pretty big tour April 2nd in Ireland. I will be in the U.K. from April 8 to 11!
April 2 IRL Galway, Róisín Dubh
April 3 IRL Derry– Sandino’s
April 5 IRL Dublin– Bello Bar
April 6 IRL Limerick TBC
April 7 UK Glasgow– Nice’n’Sleazy
April 8 UK Manchester– The Castle Hotel
April 9 UK Brighton/Liverpool TBC
April 10 UK Nottingham–The Chameleon Arts Cafe
April 11 UK London– Rhythm Factory
April 12 UK London – Flashback Records (Shoreditch)
April 14th NL Amsterdam– Paradiso
April 15th NL Groningen– Vera
April 16th Fr Paris– Petits Bains
April 17th Fr Clermont Ferrand– Bombshell
April 18th Fr Bordeaux– Bootleg
April 19th Fr Montpellier– Secret Place
April 20th Fr St Etienne– L’Assommoir
April 22nd Fr Brest– Espace Leo Ferret
April 23th Fr Rouen– 3 Pièces Musik Club
April 25th Fr Montbéliard– L’Atelier des Môles
April 26th Fr Nice– Le Volume
April 27th It Imperia– Arci Camalli
April 28th It La Spezia– Skaletta
April 29th It Milano– Ligera
April 30th It Piacenza– Soundbonico
May 1st It Festa del Primo Maggio in Castiglione delle Stiviere
May 2nd It Ravenna– Bocca Barranca
May 3rd It Turin –Blah Blah
May 4th FR Perpignan– BBC
May 5 SP Renteria– Centro Cultural Niessen
May 6 SP Bilbao–Kafe Antxoki
May 7 SP Zaragoza – Casa del Loco
May 8 SP Valencia– Loco Club –
May 9 SP Madrid– El Sol –
May 10 SP Caceres – Sala Barroco
Check out more news and updates from Paul Collins by visiting his website www.thepaulcollinsbeat.com or checking out his Facebook Paul Collins Beat or see him at one of the dates above.