Rock icon and cult favorite Paul Collins got his start with Peter Case and Jack Lee in 1974. Their band The Nerves toured with The Ramones and recorded a song called “Hanging On The Telephone.” The song would later become a hit when covered by Deborah Harry and Blondie on the Parallel Lines album.
Paul Collins formed The Beat in 1979, recruiting members of various rock bands including Steven Huff, Larry Whitman and Michael Ruiz. The result was The Beat, a high energy rock group in the style of The Ramones, Blondie and The Dictators. As the story goes, Collins was awarded a record deal with CBS thanks to his friend Eddie Money and Bill Graham Management. The Beat toured extensively with top acts like The Jam, Pere Ubu, The Police, Eddie Money, The Plimsouls and Huey Lewis. The Beat became Paul Collins’ Beat when a ska band from UK began using The Beat as their moniker.
Paul Collins’ Beat continued to tour and record albums throughout the ’80s, with The Kids Are The Same, Beat Or Not To Beat, Long Time Gone, Live At Universal and their final album One Night, released in 1989. Paul Collins set out on a solo career, recording the self-titled Paul Collins album in 1992. This country/rock album included special guests such as Greg Kihn, Cyril Jordan (from Flamin Groovies), Jeff Trott (Sheryl Crow), Chuck Prophet, Dave Immergluck (Counting Crows) and key members of Chris Isaak’s band.
1993 brought the sophomore release by Paul Collins Band, entitled From Town To Town. The album was recorded with Arty Lenin of The Flashcubes, Rick Wagner and Will Rigby of The db’s and Billy Fica of Television. This album was released by Caroline Records and featured a country rock sound similar to The Byrds.
After a ten year hiatus The Paul Collins’ Beat resurfaced and released a string of new records. Flying High 2004, Ribbon of Gold 2007 and the latest King of Power Pop recorded with the legendary Jim Diamond in Detroit. Considered to be his best to date, the album gets back to the classic sound of The Beat, while combining the raw energy of Collins’ solo works.
“For me this is the record that connects the dots, from The Nerves to The Breakaways to The Beat to today… this is the record that puts it all together!”- Paul Collins
With the release of King of Power Pop, Paul set up The Beat Army an online Facebook community of people connected by their love of power pop, melodic guitar driven rock n roll. Now some 3000 members strong, Paul books shows all over the United States, Canada and Europe. “This is a model for the new DIY,” says Paul, “I am touring all over the world with new bands that feature the sound I helped to invent.”
I’m not always excited to go see reunited bands play live, there have just been too many disappointments over the years. But here’s an example of a band who’s first three records I just love to death and now I’m thinking I might have to make this trek out the Parkside on May 28th.