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Interview by TEO @Dog Eat Robot
Ciao Paul, first of all thanks a lot for the interview, we're very proud to interview you,
which you can certainly be considered as the first psychobilly band in USA. But your
availability is not a surprise, you're always very kind with fans and people, so... here we
go with the questions:
1) You have recently released a new self produced album, the 8th in your career, if we
don't count the "Live in Tokyo". "Planet Obscure" (Orrexx records) seems like a more
nostalgic album, with a sound rockabilly oriented and most of the songs have a big
introspective direction. Tell us how the album is born.


I like to make albums! Its a lot of fun for me. Im always making demos at home and
have lots of songs written. I don't always use them when they are written. Usually when
I make an album , I have some new songs and a lot of older ones that were unfinished
or not used.This has always been the situation. On Planet Obscure for example, the
song “this night” was a demo for the New Generation album that was not used.The song
“anti-social girl” was a song I wrote in high school. I updated the lyrics and changed
some things.
The album is defiantly more rockabilly. I thought that I needed to put some harder faster
songs on there but I just wasn't feeling it this time. After listening to psychobilly for so
long, its very difficult to come up with something that sounds new and fresh.


2) The song " Die Too Young" is dedicated to Dave Hoy, a person that walked next to
you for a significant part of your life and music career, it was recorded in London in
1988, tell us something about it and why it took so long to put it on an album?


The original of this song WAS recorded in November of 1988 a month after Dave died. It
was supposed to be for a solo record. It was never completed. I did not own the
publishing rights to that song. Finally I was able to get that song back. I re recorded it
and changed it a lot from the original but the chorus and lyrics are the same.

3) You always showed your love for some kind of 80's new-wave music, covering songs
like the Echo & The Bunnymen "Killing Moon" and Real Life hit "Send me an Angel",
plus recently Duran Duran's "Planet Earth", not easy for the Psychobilly audience, but
you always made it well, tell us more about it please...


In 1993 when we recorded a cover of Depeche mode’s “behind the wheel” we were
laughed at by people on the psychobilly scene.At home in Buffalo, New York, there
wasn’t any psychobilly or rockabilly scene. We played in punk and new wave clubs. We
used to cover those types of songs because a)we liked them b) the audience there
liked them and c) it was something different.
Now Im all done with that because everyone is doing it and its boring now... the last one
we did was Duran Duran’s “Planet Earth” and that was a one off for a compilation. I look
at what others are doing and I do something else. I hate the “herd mentality”. I have
stopped doing “routines” in our live show also. By routines I mean the part of every
‘abilly” show where someone stands on the bass while the other guy is doing back flips
and the drummer is lighting himself on fire :-) When did this music become a circus????
The trouble is that if you have three billy bands in a row, chances are good that the
other two bands already did their routine before yours.......and yes yes the audience still
applauds when you do those tricks but its gotten very predictable.Of course we (the
Quakes) have done all those routines and tricks, even stealing the two guys on the bass
routine from Restless. I found that we were working on those stupid tricks in the practice
room more than practicing our songs! :-) and remember....try and look natural and
unrehearsed:-)
When I go to see big bands of any genre, they just play their songs, and thats why
people are there, not to see the guitar player stand on the drums while playing the bass
etc. :-) Im not complaining here, Im just telling you how I feel about it as a fan. To each
his own.

4) The song "All about you" seems to have again an 80's influence, and Xuxa's song
"Festa do estica e puxa" is a song that is stuck into my brain for days... what's the
stories of these 2 songs?


I wrote “all about you” in 1990 but I didn't have the chorus. It has been sitting around
forever and then it came to me one day at work with my “shop guitar”.I was concerned
about putting that song on the album because it is so different but I thought it was good
and after all...Im paying for the whole project myself :-)
The story about the Xuxa cover is here on my web site
http://www.thequakes.com/quakesXuxa.html
Again with this song I thought it was taking a chance to put it on the record.As it turns
out a lot of people like it so Im glad I did it.

5) It's funny that the last track, an extra track, is a short keyboard instro called "March of
the Cloned Paul Romans", I'm pretty sure there is a sense on it, which reminds me a
kind of joke, c'mon Paul, reveal us the meaning of this song and why you did it!


Its just a silly ghost track. About 10 years ago when I worked in a piano rebuilding shop,
they had a bunch of synthesizers around and I used to play with them on my lunch
break. I started making recordings of them and this is one of them. The title is sort of an
inside joke with myself:-)

6) After some years, Juan Carlos (drums) and Kenny Hill (slap bass) left the Quakes for
personal reasons related to their own projects, tell us more about the new lineup I saw
in Pineda.


Well I will announce it to you first that Juan Carlos will be back on drums for the
upcoming European tour. Kevin O’Connor did a fantastic job playing drums for us and
you may see him in the future but he lives in St.Louis and we live in Phoenix. It was very
expensive to fly him here for practice and shows. We never got enough time to rehearse
as much as we wanted to. I need a lot of practice :-)
Kenny Hill has opened up a recording studio in San Diego and he is finishing up his solo
record.http://www.sparkrecordingstudios.com/
Wes Hinshaw is playing bass now and has been with us for a year now. Before that he
would practice with us regularly because Kenny lives in SD.
Most all of the bands on the psychobilly scene that have been around a long time have
had many line up changes for many different reasons.....its not always because Im an
difficult asshole! :-)
I ask some of these same people that ask me why so many line up changes-”how long
have you been able to be in a relationship with a girl”? Most of them cant even keep a
girlfriend for more than a few months:-)

7) In Pineda, we spoke about internet and social forums, and we have a pretty similar
approach and opinion about these media. I know you're a person who loves his own
privacy and don't like so much to be on the net with profiles on Facebook, Twitter and
similar. I do remember the times when there were the pen and the paper and no
mobile phones, there where more true social relations and maybe emotions where
more genuine than now, What's your point of view about it?


Again I have to say to each his own but facebook is not for me.I had to create an
account in order to administer The Quakes page but the account is not “Paul Roman”
Some people have found it and tried to add but I dont want to add. For reasons of
connivence to communicate with some people I have added some but everyone is on a
restricted list and they cant see anything. there is really nothing to see but I dont want
people looking at who my “friends” are either.
If someone wants to contact me they can on the Quakes facebook page
www.facebook.com/thequakes or at our website www.thequakes.com
I will answer them personally and promptly.
I want people to know me for the MUSIC I make and nothing else. I don't want to try and
create a profile that makes me look interesting. In my own experience, the image that I
had created in my head about a person was always far more interesting than the reality.
....what if Im just not that interesting? would you still like my music? :-)

8) You're a person always available for fans at the shows, you're more into them instead
of the "backstage parties", as well as your private life seems to be light-years far from
some "psychobilly attitudes", you have a job on restoring furnitures if I'm not wrong
and you like camping, fishing and... I better stop here, don't want to reveal too much
of Paul Roman's life, better you do it yourself... please tell us!


Well in Spain I had a blast talking to all the musicians back stage. As we are getting
older, I feel there is not such a sense of competition and there is more camaraderie
between the bands. I have been seeing these guys for over 25 years. After that I want to
meet the PEOPLE :-). There was people from all over the world and I love to meet them
and talk. Pineda is the most friendly festival I would say.
I do restore vintage furniture, thats what pays the rent :-) and I do like to be in the woods
camping etc. Out here in Arizona we have bears, wolves. mountain lions, elk, deer,
coyotes etc.There is nothing better than having a few beers around a campfire.

9) What about the scene in Arizona, and in the States these days? We met in L.A. 3
years ago and well, it was great, but we all know about the problems with promoters
there, tell us!


The scene in Phoenix is very good. We just did a sold out show in June with The Koffin
Kats and Calabrese. We have big crowds for bands like The Meteors,Mad Sin, Guana
batz etc. Overall in the USA I think its not as strong as it was.
The promoters come and go.Usually they fall into two categories,1) the promoter who is
a fan and wants to bring bands to town because no one else will and 2) a guy who
wants to be part of the scene but is not a musician...and maybe 3) a real ugly guy who
cant get girls and thinks that being a “big shot” will help :-)
99% of The Promoters that we have dealt with are very good and have honest motives.
There will always be one or two here or there that don't do a good job and the free
market will weed those guys out.

10) What’s on the horizon for the Quakes? We knows in fall 2012 you'll be in Tour
around Europe, and we'll probably meet in Berlin in October, ?


I don't really have a master plan. Im hoping that things will get better for the scene here
in the USA. I feel like Im on a surf board in the water waiting for the next big wave :-)
Hopefully some new young bands will pop up and get some exposure.

11) When there will be the Quakes in Italy again? Shall we force Fussl of Torpedo
Booking to let you come over here? Tell something to "Dog Eat Robot" fanzine
readers!


I will ask him! As of right now we are still planning the tour. I have never been to the
south in Italy. I wonder if there is a scene there?
To the Dog Eat Robot readers I would like to thank Teo for taking the time to ask some
great questions. Many times some magazines just assign someone who is not
interested to send the band a list of stock questions. Usually they just read the
biography and ask the same things over and over because they are lazy and un
interested.
Thank you for supporting The Quakes! Paul

 

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