1.Tell us something about your musical background and upbringing…
Hi, ‘24/7 Valencia’. First off, a big thanks for taking the time and interest to help keep the music scene alive in Valencia and Spain in general, nice one! This first one is quite a biggy. I was born in East London in Stepney Green. Yeah, Cockney boy, lol! My father was and still is a trad jazz slide trombonist in the style of Kid Ory from New Orleans. So, I was being dragged along as a baby to East End pubs and clubs, listening to jazz & blues from when I was born and obviously, it took its toll!
My father was obsessed that I play in his band to take on the Louis Armstrong part. Therefore, from the age of three or as early as I can remember, I was playing trumpet…at five years old I was playing in his band. At the time it was called the New Era Jazz Band with songs like “Tiger Rag”, “Basin Street Blues”, “St. James Infirmary”, “When the Saints Go Marching In” …and all that jazz. I think I was reading music at the same time. So that’s where it began. Then for me it got weird, I was put in the British Legion Boys marching band and had the uniform with all the trimmings. Err, no, not for me, thanks, because the blues had already burnt my soul.
2. How does playing and working as a musician in Valencia compare to London?
Before I started playing the London scene, I was a roadie for T34, a London-based rock band and we are still good friends. I remember when I was an apprentice litho printer, I printed up a load of posters for the Monsters of Rock festival organized by the Hells Angels in 1980, I think. I had a great laugh, wild parties, got smashed with Lemmy from Motörhead and partied with Saxon, Praying Mantis and Scorpions.
Also, having a punky background, I did a stint as security for the Damned’; I think it was a GLC benefit gig. What a laugh that was, throwing punks off the scaffolding…oh, those were the days, ha-ha!
Then the blues overtook me. Back in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, I started playing harp again with a few bands. The first one was the Blues Devils. Then I left and formed Madhouse Blues’n’ Boogie Band with my friend Barrie Midford-Millership, from the ‘60s band the Shamrocks. With Rick Kane on keyboards from Doc K’s Blues Band, we were unstoppable. Barrie has just written a great book all about the Fender bass and the blues scene called ‘The Mighty Hybrid and the Keeper of the Slabs’, check it out through our online shop at CBBlues.com.
Then I hit the R&B scene and joined up with former Iron Maiden guitarist Bob Sawyer in a band called Nitro Blues, playing Dr. Feelgood, the Doors, you know, rockin’ the hell outta everything… the guys are still going strong.
I stopped playing for 25 years due to work, kids and an ex-wife that hated me playing music (hence the ‘ex’, lol!). One time, whilst rehearsing in Chelmsford in Essex, there was a knock at the door, I opened it and in walks Suzi Quatro: “Hey, who’s on the harp?” she said. “Well, that’ll be me,” I said. “Wow, nice harp, man!” she said. I nearly fell through the floor! She was HOT! Tight leather pants, high-heels, yeah! Rock on Suzi! After that, I played a few gigs with her husband, guitarist Len Tuckey, quite a ride, really. I wouldn’t change many things in my life; it’s been a scream!
Since then, here in Valencia, I hooked up with the Costa Blanca Blues network and we run a ‘Crossroads Coffeehouse Morning’, plus a matinee concert once a month where I try to get different bands in from all over Spain. This network has also opened doors up and I’ve been honoured and lucky to play with top American blues players like Gene Taylor from Kim Wilson and the Fabulous Thunderbirds, Paul Orta & the Kingpins from Texas and have interviewed many great musicians for CBBlues and blues fans everywhere.
The difference I have found here in Valencia is that the musicians are all at such a high level it’s amazing. However, to try to keep a band together and have fun, the friendship, the comradeship, the closeness, the full rock ’n’ roll attitude of all for one and one for all is just not quite where it’s at here. It’s more like a whole library of session musicians. Having said that, I have found this missing part with my band. So, we play the blues, we jazz, we rock, we funk it up, we ska, we love it. We’re musicians and love all music across the whole spectrum. We are THE BAND for all occasions, ha-ha-ha, so go on book us for a gig, lol!
3. What is special about the blues for you?
Blues for me is a way of life. No, it’s not depressing, it’s a celebration of times that you have come through, if you are here to sing about it. If you can make light of a bad time in the past through blues music, then you’re on the way home, you know. It always changes depending on your mood, the solos, the lyrics, the feel. It’s as free as you allow yourself to be. I’m a bluesman at heart, but I step in to the realms of other styles, we’re in Valencia, and it’s a party capital, so PARTYYYY and blues on!
4. What was it like playing live twice with the legendary pop star Rick Astley recently in a local bar on the Valencia coast? Can you tell us what happened and how it came about?
Ah, the Rick Astley thing! Ha-ha-ha! I was in a pub on Playa Pobla de Farnals. A girl said he was staying in the hotel, 100 meters up the road, so I sent a message, “Hey Rick, fancy a jam? Come on down, lol”…and blow me, an hour later he walks in with the whole band. So I suppose we had to let him play! I’m not sure if he saw the message or it was a fluke but… we had a great night and the guys and girls were awesome. They had such a good time that afterward, we spoke and I arranged a special unannounced gig so they could come back. And they did. We rocked and we played all sorts with Rick and the band. Great guys, cool as hell and still in touch with them, laughing about the night.
It was a nice surprise to meet Rick and, just to let everyone know, Rick Astley is a great musician, an awesome singer and front man, down-to-earth and a wicked drummer and versatile as hell. We played everything, from his ‘80s hits like “Never Gonna Give You Up” to AC/ DC’s “Highway to Hell”, “Uptown Funk”, “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg”, “Sweet Home Alabama” and more.
Simon Taylor joined in, with his wicked saxophone, and we had one of the best nights we have ever had, so a big thanks for coming to play, awesome, anytime, and don’t forget Rick, if ya need a harp, let me know…
5. What are your plans ?
My plans for the future are to push Buddy Paul’s Blues Band, work to keep the blues alive through Karla Darocas, CBBlues.com and Crossroads Coffeehouse Mornings, Valencia Blues Society, Alicante Blues Society, Benicàssim Blues festival (thanks Jorge el Corb and Maquelle) and the La Hora del Blues website with Vicente Zumel. We’re producing a CD to be out soon and basically play live as much as I can. You can find us on CBBlues. com… sign up! Come and dance and blues on, my friends. Get to the ‘The Big Heart of Javea Event’ for 17th September 2017 with Food trucks, Harleys, classic Cars. This year’s event includes Buddy Paul’s Big Blues Band, Red Gold and Green from Valencia,The Hawks Rock ‘n’roll Band from Valencia and The Best ‘Elvis Presley live impressionist’, which is a fund raiser for Charity to help the firemen!
Interview by Owl
For gigs, weddings, parties, concerts, session work with harmonica & lessons…
Buddy Pauls Entertainment agency: supplying acts from duos to full orchestras. All styles for all occasions!
Facebook Paul Tidiman
Cheers ‘24/7 Valencia’, thanks for your time! Big love to you all from Buddy Paul & keep it real!
Photo of Buddy Paul dancing by Paul Cruse www.paulcrusedesign.com