in conversation with
7th June 2017
|What In The World, the much anticipated second Professionals
album, was announced
via Pledge Music this week and achieved its pledge target in a matter
of hours. Following successful shows in Hamburg and
Camden, the band's forthcoming Rebellion Festival debut will bring The
Professionals' exciting new music to even more fans. It's time to get
the latest from the only bassist in rock 'n' roll who looks good in a cravat, Paul Myers.
Phil: It's two years since you reformed, and now it's developed into a
Paul: It's really odd Phil. Although we reformed it
felt like 'what have we reformed for?' The idea was great, but we
stagnated in a way. We weren't really playing or doing a lot, and a
group really needs to be dynamic. Suddenly this year it's gone from an
extreme of not doing much to getting really busy, which is fantastic.
You became a three
piece late last year when Ray McVeigh departed. How did that affect the
There is a really strong bond between Paul (Cook), Tom (Spencer) and
myself. We've gone into the studio with loads of energy and worked
really hard, no messing about. We came out feeling rejuvenated. After a
hard day's work, I'll go down the studio to rehearse and it sounds
brilliant. We've all gelled together, there's a positivity. But we knew
realistically we had to get someone else in, we needed
It was fine for the Vintage TV show
(December 16), but we winged it. It wouldn't have worked live. There
was no intention of us ever going on as a three piece.
McCormack has come in and he's done a really good job. He's a lovely
guy and fits in perfectly. He's put so much work into learning the
songs, and also organising the Camden Festival. I like that 'cos I had
to work bloody hard to get up to speed playing with really good
musicians. He's been totally enthusiastic. The proof of the pudding was
the Hamburg and Camden gigs which went so well.
(Pictured: Hamburg 26th May 2017)
After all this time, do you finally consider yourself a bona fide
I'm really proud of myself. I've learnt new
numbers and I'm really quite solid playing live these days. I started
this off as an exercise to see if I could really do it, and I'm good
enough! I wouldn't consider myself a musician though. Here's a funny
story, the other day we were rehearsing and talking about if anyone
made a mistake. Tom said 'I'll look at you Paul and I'll show you the
chord'. I told Tom I don't know bloody chords! What a waste of time, I
don't know one from another! How great is that?! A non-musician. It's
even better! I have to work hard all the time just to have the ability
to do these numbers, but I'm doing it! I'm so proud that I can actually
get up there and play with these really great musicians.
A part of what you do is underpin the songs with your bass.
Absolutely, and I'm reliable, I'm really
confident now. The last two gigs at Hamburg and Camden I went on stage
with no nerves, I just knew that with all the work I'd put in, I'd be
fine. You just don't know what you are capable of until you try. Never
write yourself off.
You must feel more accomplished now than you did back with Subway Sect
in the 70's and Professionals in early 80's.
I've thought about this a lot. I would say I
agree I'm more accomplished in my dotage than when I was younger.
You look the part as well, in the Edwardian gent / cravat get-up.
I've always been quite dapper Phil. When I
stroll into work people say things, 'are you going to court Paul?' I've
always liked a bit of clothing. I'm a dapper old bugger and used to be
a dapper young bugger! That's why I was so appalled at that picture
recently taken of the four of us that was used for the Camden publicity
(stood in front of red garage doors). We learnt a lesson not to say
'yeah alright' when asked to have our picture taken 'cos these days it
can go all over the place! Let's get the worst picture we can find and
use it all the bloody time! I said to Cookie, 'that picture is bloody
appalling', and he said 'you're right!'
Which of the new Professionals songs do you enjoy playing the most from
your own, bass playing point of view? I remember you saying how fast
and difficult Join The Professionals was to play!
As for Join The Professionals, it's got a lot easier, but it's still a
hard song physically. Paul Cook's been going to the gym again, 'cos
it's a tough song! It's exhausting for him! Paul's totally consistent,
and he has to put the work in as well; he has to be physically fit to
drum, it's not an easy set.
Some of the new ones are just great. We've brought two new numbers into
the set, Good Man Down and Take Me Now, both from the new album.
They're not particularly slow, just great. I love playing them and Paul
does as well, he's got a new lease of life. Although we
love the old ones, we just want to move on. At the album launch,
probably half the songs will be new. They are all really catchy with
great melody lines, all foot tappers. I can't wait to play more of
them, they really stand-up. I think people will be impressed with the
How are you keeping fit? Have you been keeping your swimming going?
Swimming is the back bone to my life. It keeps
me fit and puts me in a good mental frame of mind. I do a little bit of
dancing and I play a bit of golf. And I know it isn't very rock and
roll, but I used to go fishing when I was a kid. Unfortunately, Amazon
online is like an addiction. Six weeks ago I went on Amazon to get a
10lb bag of bait, then thought while I'm on here I may as well get a
rod, then I thought I've always wanted a bench chair, then I thought
the tent I'd already got wasn't big enough so I bought a bigger tent.
After about 24 hours of ordering, £800 had gone! I couldn't stop, it
was as though the addiction had hit me. My whole place is kitted out
with fishing gear. The thing is, when I just had my old rod and reel I
caught fish. Since I've got all the proper gear I haven't caught any!
Just goes to show, you can get addicted to anything.
A bit like me and my website...
It's good though, you enjoy it. I think your
website is just fantastic! I've learnt so much about the band I'm in
from your website! It's true! I sometimes sit here thinking I wonder
what's going on, so I go on your site and find out! It's a love, a
passion, there's nothing wrong with that. It's healthy. Sometimes I
rewind the time and think of the state of me in the 80's and early 90's
and think, you know what, buying a bit of fishing equipment is not that
(Pictured: Camden Rocks 3rd June 2017)
How does it compare being back in the studio now compared to working on
I Didn't See It Coming in the 80's?
With Steve and I it wasn't good in the studio
due to drugs. The album wasn't pleasant for Steve or for me. It was
also more stressful back then, 'cos if you messed up you had to start
again, but with the technology these days, if you want to change
anything you can be dropped in to do one particular bit.
To be honest,
I've always hated the studio 'cos I'm a bit hyper anyway so being
dumped in a room has always been quite difficult for me. Me and Steve
always had other things on our minds, i.e. drugs and going to get some,
rather than the album. If either of us went outside, we'd just leave,
just up and go. It was ridiculous, it would get people's backs up. Now
all that nonsense has gone, I've been through all that. It is a lot
easier now; it's a totally different mind set now in the studio and
it's made for a much better experience this time. These days you can
concentrate your mind on what you are doing, so it's a joy.
Do you construct the songs the same way in the studio?
In the old days, the bass and drums would be
put down, then the guitar part, then the vocal. So roughly the same. I
was with Tom about six weeks ago, and I put another bass track down
over some of the numbers. It was just me playing. The track was there
and I just went along with my Precision and put the bass on, just
sitting in the studio with the engineer and Tom. It's quite easy these
days, for example Paul sent over tracks to Steve Jones and he just
played over the top. Steve could pop down to a studio in LA on a Sunday
and put guitar over it. We would never have been able to get all those
guest guitarists into a studio.
It's great to have Steve guesting on the album
for the continuity.
Absolutely. Just for the history. Steve
was into it, he wanted to be on it which is great. Steve has his
radio show, it's his job, he loves that radio show. He doesn't want to
come over here. The radio show to Steve is like my job is to me. The band is great and it's really important for me
and my well being, but my job gives me a purpose and a reason to get up
in the morning. We both have consistency, we both turn up for our jobs
everyday and that's important.
Talking about Steve, I've said to Tom sometimes he doesn't realise what
a fantastic job he's done stepping into some big shoes. Steve can't be
replaced - you can't compare Tom to Steve - as an individual Steve is a
one-off, but I do say to Tom 'you've done a great job'. He had to put
up with all those comments on social media, 'it's not the same without
Steve Jones', well it's not going to be, it's just a different group.
It was a scary thing for Tom. I remember when we played the 100 Club
there were people saying they weren't going 'cos there was no Steve,
but interestingly enough there are not as many comments as there were.
Tom has stopped all the criticism happening. His confidence has been
building, and he's great on stage and he's been contributing lots and
lots to the band. If Tom didn't work, The Professionals wouldn't be
I've talked about the work I've had to put in learning the songs, but
we've all given it everything. Paul's put loads of effort in, he's
written the songs with Tom. So much work has gone into this album,
everyone has given 100%.
(Pictured: Camden Rocks 3rd June 2017)
The LP reached its Pledge Music target within a few hours. It shows
there's a healthy demand for The Professionals.
So I heard, yeah. In the bad old days last
year we cancelled some shows, it wasn't good. Going to Hamburg and then
playing Camden last week has been a fantastic springboard. The fans
were amazing in Hamburg, I absolutely loved it. We played a great show
there, and to come from there in a week to do the Camden show which
also went amazingly well, I think a lot of people
looked on thinking this band is going places. Those two gigs have
You're playing Rebellion in August...
They spoke to Chris McCormack. The other
benefit about Chris is that he knows a lot of people. They asked would
we consider doing it, we thought about it, and decided yes, let's keep the
momentum going. It's come at a perfect time.
For a group consisting of people of a 'mature age', you've all kept
your shape pretty well. It's good to see a band from the punk era get
on stage looking quite slim!
That's true! We're all pretty slim. It's our
raw food diet and mindfulness (laughing). You've not seen my pectorals!
I can move my pectorals in time to 'My Old Man's A Dustman' - if you
can do that at my age it's pretty good!
Special thanks to Paul Myers for the
Text by Phil Singleton.
Hamburg picture by Ting Ling.
Camden Rocks pictures by www.flickofthefinger.co.uk
The Professionals In Hamburg 26th May 2017 >
discusses The Professionals' first year back together and early development of the new album >
Singleton / cookandjones.co.uk / www.sex-pistols.net 2017
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reproduced without permission.
The Sex Pistols / Kick Down The Doors ©Phil Singleton /
cookandjones.co.uk / www.sex-pistols.net 2017