Back in January I posted the following on Facebook and prepared to buy myself a solo ticket.
“A few of you out there might remember the me of the early 80s. Yet others of you might be surprised/indifferent at the news that my first musical crush was a white bloke from Luton who went to no 1 in ’83 when he covered a Marvin Gaye song. I am writing this in case one of you might share my early fondness for Paul Young as he (yes he) is coming to play at the Ivy House ie my very fav venue just a walking distance from my home on 14th March. And he is bringing of all things his Tex Mex band Los Pacaminos.”
To my astonishment this sparked an immediate debate and, before the night was up, two separate friends had bought tickets to go (including one for me).
This alone should have been enough. But there is more excitement to come.
With two days to go before the big day, I would like to whet your appetite for the gig on Friday night with some of the most exciting stuff EVER. Especially to the me of 30 years ago.
I sent an email interview to the band and guess who answered the questions? That same bloke from Luton who I mentioned at the top. Read on.
HD: So what should we expect from a Los Pacaminos gig, apart from the stetsons of course?
PY: We sing, we dance, we love….we drink tequila. Only the good stuff these days!
HD: How did Los Pacaminos first come about? Was it a love of Mexican music or a love of drinking tequila?
PY: I first heard Ry Cooder’s hybrid version of Tex Mex, and I started to escape into a world of life down by the border, hot weather, good food and tequila! OK, I won’t mention tequila again… so we started back in ’92, and it was too much fun to stop. I think the others grew to love that music too, because of the lift you get when playing it. We’re all past wanting to play or listen to music that depresses…
HD: I gather that you guys have known each other and played together, in various different groups, for years? Do you think it is important when playing music together?
PY: It’s important to have good players, but also to have good people; we’ve all known each other for years: with that comes a great deal of mutual respect for each other. I have sacked people in past groups because they ‘upset the apple cart’; you need to dig in together to make things work, and be able to laugh when they don’t!
HD: I am a huge fan of Paul’s from the 80s, an impressionable time in my young life! Paul probably first introduced me to soul music with that brilliant Marvin Gaye cover (you know the one I mean) and the amazing voice. I also loved Streetband and The Q-Tips. Paul, do you have any particular favourite memories from that time? Was it a blessing or a curse to be so popular?
PY: My favourite memories are that I’ve been lucky enough to have had great people around in each band I’ve had. The Q-Tips don’t see each other that often, but when we do we remember times that no-one else can really share; same goes for the PY original line-up (some of whom are still with me in this band!). And it was a blessing and a curse in those days, being popular. Some are better equipped for it than others; I was a reluctant solo star, that’s why I’m back in a band like Los Pacaminos.
H: When I heard that Los Pacaminos were coming to play at the Ivy House (which is sold out), I got a bit over-excited and asked my friends on Facebook if anyone wanted to come with me (being quite prepared to go alone). I had a huge and immediate response. Do you get a rapturous reception wherever you go?
PY: Pacaminos fans are very loyal; they know they’re on to a good thing! It’s a little like a secret club at the moment, and I guess they like it that way, to be able to see us in intimate venues; and for us, we’re very comfortable in that environment. It’s very relaxed, and we can be ourselves, politically incorrect and stupid!
HD: Do you like playing in smaller venues like the Ivy House (London’s first co-operative pub), or would you like to bring your special sound to larger arenas again? (Oh the memories of being a teenager and being driven to Wembley by my reluctant mum to attend Paul Young concerts!).
PY: We’d be foolish if we didn’t want to get bigger; as Jamie says, “if we could earn a living from this band, I wouldn’t want to do anything else”. I’m just as proud of what we do as I am of the PY stuff, because it started as my project, and I’m proud of where it’s going. I just need to steer it every now and again, to keep it on track, but everybody’s input is important. I guess I’m lead sheepdog!
HD: And how was it to appear on TV again, for Splash?
PY: Much, much harder than I thought! My reasoning was that I think/worry less before I do something these days; but get on a 10 metre board and you can’t help yourself! I realised that any mistake would hurt me for much longer than it would have done in my 30’s or 40’s. And I really didn’t like being the oldest! All my life I’ve been the youngest band member, that was a wake up call for me! I couldn’t stop mentioning it. Oh, shut up Paul…!
HD: I notice that you ‘leak’ new songs on Twitter. How do you feel about social media today? Do you like having personal contact with your fans? Things must have changed a lot since the 80s.
PY: I use social media as best as I can, but I’m really not that good. I find it takes up way too much of my time. I can see, though, that having direct contact with your fans can be a good thing!
HD: I can guess some of them but I’d love to know who your musical influences are.
PY: I started with James Taylor, Free, Stevie Wonder, Otis Redding, went on to Joe Tex, Marvin Gaye, Junior Walker, Johnny Taylor, O’Jays, discovered Ry Cooder, Little Feat, Robert Palmer, through that found Bob Marley, Flaco Jimenez, Paco Di Lucia, mariachi music, conjunto music, Cuban… and still it goes on.
HD: Lastly, just a huge thanks for coming to my neighbourhood – South East London is so excited about it! I read that you sometimes invite audience members on stage for a glug of tequila? Looking forward to mine on 14th March. And an extra special thanks for answering a few questions.
As my dear friend Rosie said to me, the young me would be so proud of the older me!
I also hope my old school pal Sarita (my cohort aged 12 for all the trips to Wembley Arena) reads this and enjoys a few old memories.
It’s turning into a great week for the Ivy House. Today it has been named South East London Pub of the Year 2014 by CAMRA (you can see it in black and white on the board outside the pub, or if you are not local you can pretend you are by looking at the photo at the top of the post which I took today). You must pop in there if you haven’t been since it re-opened last year. The events really are worth checking out – try the web page here. On a rare and precious day you might even catch the local dj team the Dino Collective playing some popular songs to a packed dance floor 🙂
To find out more about Los Pacaminos, you can find them @lospacaminoscom or at their website.
If you don’t have a ticket for Friday night, don’t rush down there as it’s sold out. I will try and come back and tell you how it went. If you do have a ticket, see you there: doors at 7pm; first set at 8.45. I have my stetson at the ready and I promise not to pine for the PY songs of old.
One last big thanks to Paul Young for the interview, and for being one of my earliest musical influences. Can’t wait to see you and the rest of the band on that beautiful Ivy House stage.