in conversation with Phil Singleton
Phil: Now some time has passed since last summer's Pistols shows, looking back how do you think they went?
Paul: I think they went really well considering we hadn't seen each other for pretty much a year, and due to visa problems I turned up only 2 hours before the first show in Boston!
We had lots of problems with my visa due to security and the usual balls ups. We had no time to rehearse at all, but it all worked out ok. The first gigs were pretty chaotic though.
Any highlights, any favourite show?
I think the shows on the West Coast were the best, as time went on we got better and everyone seemed to be getting on fine.
I get the feeling the Pistols will continue to re-appear in the future. Do you see the band continuing in a live context? If so, maybe in the UK again?
You never say never with us. We get offered gigs every year. It's just a case of if anyone can be bothered or other commitments at the time.
Would you like to record any new Pistols songs?
I think if we did more live shows we would need to consider writing a couple more songs. We can't carry on playing the same old set forever! Well, we could, and we might! But who knows? I personally would like a couple of new numbers in the set myself.
It would be good to have some new Pistols products on the shelf, if not new songs, perhaps a DVD of the recent reunions. Are there any plans for any new merchandise?
No, there's not any plans for any new merchandise at the moment, but I believe there are some live tapes around of the last tour we did, but no plans to officially release anything.
I recently ran a poll asking fans if the Pistols ought to be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. A whopping 85% were in favour. What are your feelings on the Pistols being inducted?
I don't give a fuck about the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. They probably haven't asked us cuz they know we wouldn't be bothered to turn up. Anyway, they already have the Ramones and The Clash.
Turning the clock right back, The Professionals were a great band, and are fondly remembered by their many fans. How do you view the band's achievements?
I think we did ok. It was difficult being in a band following the Pistols, but we played a lot in the States and were doing alright for a while. Then we had that car crash which held the progress up for ages, and after our last tour there Steve just decided to stay in America and not come home, which ultimately broke the band up. I saw Ray McVeigh and Paul Myers recently, and they were in good form.
(Pictured: Paul Myers, Steve & Paul. 19th April '82, Vancouver)
You seemed to concentrate on breaking the States. Was this a deliberate decision?
Yeah, we did decide to concentrate on the States for a while because I think it was harder to prove ourselves in England after the Pistols. Also, we wanted to continue playing in the States after the Pistols split.
Have you got a favourite Professionals recording?
I like the Professionals album, but I think the first couple of singles summed up the band best, like Just Another Dream and 1,2,3 Baby.
In the mid-80s you emerged with the excellent Chiefs Of Relief, even appearing on TV shows The Tube & No. 73. There was a real buzz about the group. I was surprised you weren't more successful. How did you become involved?
I knew Matthew Ashman, the guitarist from the Chiefs, from his Bow Wow Wow days. I probably met him through Malcolm (McLaren). Matthew formed the Chiefs with Dave Barbarossa and Lee Gorman from Bow Wow Wow. They left eventually, and I got involved then with Lance Burman on bass and Duncan Greig on keyboards.
What are your best memories of being in the band?
I think the best memory was when we did a UK tour supporting B.A.D. (Mick Jones's band). We also did a couple of fun tours in the US.
The band seemed to just fade from view in the late 80s. What brought the band to an end? Matthew, of course, wasn't well during this period, and did unfortunately, later pass away.
Generally we got fed up of a lack of interest from record companies, although we did eventually release our album on Sire Records. I think the band were a bit ahead of their time really with all that rock/rap stuff, and the late 80s was a crap time for music.
Any Chiefs Of Relief recording that you feel best reflects the strength of the band?
I think Freedom To Rock and the actual song Chiefs of Relief, sum up the band.
You've dabbled a bit in acting, including a sketch on the Frank Skinner Show a couple of years ago. However, I've got to ask you about Edwyn Collins' West Heath Yard!! It was a brilliant piss take on the music industry. How did you become involved?
I got involved through Edwyn of course, who I've worked with on and off for the last 10 years, and I like the idea of taking the piss out of the music biz in general!
Would you like to do a bit more acting?
I don't mind doin' bits and pieces, as long as it's fun. Nothing too serious though.
Speaking of Edwyn, you've played with him many times over the years. Everytime there's a shampoo advert, your drumming can be heard! Are there any other projects lined up, with Edwyn or otherwise, that we might find you cropping up on?
Not at the moment, but I have been doing bits and pieces on and off with Edwyn. He's producing all sorts at the moment from the West Heath Yard studio. We keep in touch.
Finally, a couple of trainspotter questions from the old days, which I've never heard answered before, but which will help dispel a couple of myths! Firstly, Steve played guitar on My Way, but did either of you play on the tracks Something Else & C'mon Everybody?
Yes we certainly did! We played and produced everything on the tracks. We had to play along to the original song by Eddie Cochran, to get it right in the studio.
Did you ever lay down any tracks in the studio with Jimmy Pursey?
We did record a few tracks with Pursey, but it didn't work out with him. I'm not sure exactly what tracks they were, but I think we probably recorded them again as The Professionals with Steve singing.
I can't finish without asking about football. Are you still following Chelsea?
Yes I am! What more can I say?!
Thank you very much Paul, for taking time out to be interviewed. Good luck with any future plans you may have.
Rehearsal photographs © Phil Singleton 2002/4 / www.sex-pistols.net / www.cookandjones.co.uk
Vancouver Professionals photograph © Bev Davies 2004 / www.cookandjones.co.uk
All material ©Phil Singleton 2004 / www.sex-pistols.net / www.cookandjones.co.uk
All rights reserved. Not to be reproduced without permission.