I am not very academic, I’m mildly dyslexic, and I think, received a poor education. I learned more, and was encouraged by the Scouts than mainstream education.
Mom and Dad bought me a guitar one Christmas in the early seventies, I would have been about 10 years old. I must have asked for it I guess, I don’t know why, I never really liked music that much but I remember it being very exciting.
Mr Green, a teacher from school, was to give me lessons. After some six months of lessons, in a group of half dozen kids, I had learned D and D7. Pretty much the same as everyone else in the group. Mr Green turned to me, he calmly said “Paul, give up now, you’ll never play any kind of instrument in your life”. Well, my music career was dashed with those few words! I took his advice. This also summed up how I felt about school.
Music was never played in our house as I was growing up. My parents never learned to play anything, they never listened to any music either. So my home life was a musical drought. Music in school was all classical, it never spoke to me, possibly because of my experience, and how I felt about school generally.
Moving to 1977, I’m 13 years old. All my friends are talking about Top of the Pops, the top 20, and the more progressive ones Status Quo, Led Zeppelin, and other rock music. It was time for me to start listening to DLT on National Radio 1. Well, I did, and didn’t like any of it to start with.
I remember reading a article in the News of the World around this time about some disgusting music called ‘punk rock’. I’m certainly not going to like that I thought. I had already started to develop an interest in politics, I was door stuffing from the age of 11, and saw myself mainly in the conservative camp.
I stuck to listening to radio 1, it wasn’t that good, but at least I knew what my friends were talking about, and it was better than BRMB that mom would have on.
Eventually music started to drip through that I liked. It was fast and exciting. I’d hear names like Sham 69, The Buzzcocks, The Boomtown Rats, The Members. They turned out to be these ‘disgusting’ punk bands I’d read about in the paper. I needed to look into it further.
I started to buy the Record Mirror, it was still in a newspaper style then, not the glossy mag it went on to be. I wanted to know about this punk rock thing. What is it all about? Well, I read everything, and this it what it is -
1 doing things for yourself, not relying on others
2 deregulation, and no or little government
3 great music
So there you have it, it could be a conservative party manifesto. I’m in!
I bought the records, I saw the bands. Then came the time to start our own band. I saw these bands as small businesses, although I did realise that at the time. I learned my 3 chords everyone told me I needed to know, it’s actually a few more than that, and D7 isn’t one of them, and on we went. I can probably play 6 or 7 now ;).
As the years went by, bands came and went. A move to Ilfracombe in 1985 bought big changes. I recorded local Ilfracombe bands like The Spectors, Cut & Run and Simon & Guffunkle on my recording studio.
Then I started my record shop in Church Street. Anyone remember that? Later I bought out Trev’s Music, and sold instruments too. I even did a little teaching back then. Does anyone remember the mini bus trips to Bristol to see bands like King Kurt, The Cramps & The Soup Dragons?
For many years now I have worked full time as a self employed musician/teacher. Everyday I’m out and about in North Devon, driving Thunderbird 6 to teach adults and kids, privately and in schools, how to become a rock’n’roll star.
Thank you punk rock, I owe you my life!