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I've lost count of the amount of times people have said to me "what a great story, you should write a book about them all!".

Well, that project may well be underway sometime soon, for there's much to tell. Meanwhile, my website is attempt to address this in a small way before they're forgotten, and also to provide a chronological journey of my life as a bassist in some of the craziest and most influential bands of the last 25 years. There's much more to tell, and I will regularly be adding to the stories and pics as and when I recall another event. Scurrilous, scandalous, perhaps unbelievable - they're all true. This is the just a start...



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***EXCLUSIVE!!***

Click here for an exclusive mp3 download of "The Spider and the Fly".

This is a 4 track home demo written in 1997-all instruments and, yes, vocals by yours truly - that was written with The Damned in mind, but for obvious reasons never got heard. So what the hell, I'm feeling generous. Its yours.

Music & Lyrics by Paul Gray, Copyright Control
© Paul Gray 1997

In 1998 I had a tough decisionion to make. Some years earlier I had developed tinnitus, which I tried my best to ignore. Against good advice I continued to tour, which, unsurprisingly, made it much worse. To add to the problem I was tutoring music workshops between tours, and eventually it got so bad I couldn't sleep. Its hard giving up something you love doing, especially if it's also your life, but it had to be done, and believe me I tried everything - earplugs, maskers, alternative therapies, gin, the lot! At least I've got it thru' music - most of the poor sods at the tinnitus clinics had ruined their hearing by working in mines or steel mills all their lives.

After forming Mischief as a studio and songwriting project. I resumed teaching the bass guitar privately, and I took on a variety of projects for Community Music Wales, principally in South Wales where I live, but also taking me to Ottawa and Amsterdam.

I'm also working as a Mentor for CMW on the New Deal for Musicians scheme for 18-25 year olds. They get to record in a professional studio, help with gigs, get CD's pressed up, learn about all aspects of the music industry and last but not least the benefit of my priceless advice! Some great bands have gained exposure including
Tetra Splendour (now signed to EMI), Comic Book Heroes, Mombomb, Trip and newcomers Jarcrew.
I get to travel about, visit studios, work with some great bands on many levels, and help aspiring musicians as much as I can. It is a logical extension of many post-gig chats with punters in bands - hey Paul, do I need a manager, how do you get a CD heard, how can I best market my band, what does a publisher do, why are there so many dodgy drummers etc. The biggest band I've worked with to date have been the fab Lost Prophets who signed a megabucks deal with Sony. Check 'em out!

Indirectly this has also involved mentoring for the
Princes Trust and the Musicians Union who have shed their old beardo image and have some excellent resources online. I've also joined the MMF, a professional body of international music managers, and attend their excellent monthly seminars in London.

After developing and co-managing Noisecandy, at the beginning of 2004 I was offered the position of Training Development Co-ordinator for Complete Control Music. Essentially I A&R bands and artists who register with us, and aqssisst them in any areas of the music industry they need advice in. We've a load of cool singles coming out this year - we've just gotta get the very crap website sorted pronto!

In 1999 I got together with Alan Lee Shaw, another ex - Damned-ite. We hit it off, retired to my attic studio with much beer and emerged a while later with some pretty damn good tunes.
I roped in my old mate Jim Simpson (from UFO) with me and checked into Paul Durant's funky Grassroots Audio Zone to record. Suddenly it was fun again! And now you can buy it you lucky lucky people!!

"HUBBLE BUBBLE" now available from www.ndnrecords.com

email neatdn@aol.com

 


Music Links

FF Vinyl
My jolly good friends Martin, Tony and Adam's excellent and innovative indie label. Take a look, buy a record, and make 'em happy! They work in the industry and, gasp, they're nice people!!

Noisecandy
The band I would want to be in if I were 18 again! All the info and clips of my wonderfully produced tracks, wot more could you want?

The Limit Club
Steve Seitz's fab unofficial site, including an interview with yours truly

Neat Damned Noise
Buy the Mischief album and more excellent stuff here!

Official Damned
Mark Orbit's megasite

The Damned
Aussie Damned fan site

Gabi's Official Hotrods Site
A labour of love and everything you need to know

Nick's Hotrods Site
New fansite, lotsa good stuff

Strangers In The Night

Irreverent UFO site

UFO
Dave Woods' UFO pages

Misty Green and Blue

Mike Pincher's UFO site

MC5
Excellent resource, great links, with html I've been trying to rip off for ages...

Yukiko Akagawa's MC5 website
Download Jap font pack for best results!

Johnny Thunders Cyberlounge
Masses of info and links on JT and the New York Dolls

Cheap Trick
Groovy site from one of my fave bands, check out the 8 string bass!

Motorhead
The Official site

Paul Chapman
My old UFO muckers site with plenty of excellent Q +A's, plus loads of history

Other Links

Annoyances.org
Excellent resource for getting rid of those Windows annoyances, especially XP.

The Who
Say no more...

 

Diary Updates

February 13
Well, with the patter of tiny bass players on the way - never say never - things have been busy in the Gray household. The company converting my attic into did'nt warn me that an exciting bonus would be the old lathe and plaster ceilings collapsing into the floor below, thereby doing more damage to my guitars and studio gear than I managed to do in decades. Hey ho.
Also busy with my new job developing bands at Complete Control Music. Upcoming singles for rock / pop band Nikolai and a sensational acoustic singer / songwriter called Jack Harries forthcoming. Also promoting My Red Cell for 7 Welsh dates. Watch this space for more.

Sept 24
Three more fab tracks completed in the studio courtesy af myself and Rob Reed with the Noisecandy chaps and bloody fine they are too! I daresay clips will soon be uploaded to their website, and check the gigs page too as I've just finished booking a bunch more shows around the UK for the next few months in London, Wales, Liverpool, Bath, Birmingham and Dunstable.

August 30
Just got back from Luxor in Egypt . Bloody hot. Bloody amazing.

July 26
Just been sent an email from Mark Orbit to say Eddie & the Hot Rods are on TOTP2 this tuesday 29 July at 6.20pm!
Heres the link:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/totp2/lineup/show1artist6.shtml
If my memory serves me right it was our first ever Top of the Pops appearance, playing "Get Out of Denver", altho' I expect some smart bugger will email me to tell me it was in fact our second appearance or something.
Anyway, it's well worth catching, I was about 16 at the time - I have it on video somewhere and its amazing to think it was 27 years ago. Bloody 'ell!

Also, an interview I did for the good folks on the Damned message board has just gone up - here's the link for that:
http://homepage.ntlworld.com/stevenrobert.griffiths/PaulgraysQuestions2

Oh, and today got a message od here from Moose to say hello after reading the above interview. Take a look at his website - some very funny stuff on there, and some more telling tales from his period with The Damned!

Plus - busy day here at Gray Towers - a marvy new pic added to the Damned page from some dodgy 80's mag!

July 18


All it took was 3 stellas and a little gentle prodding from Captain and Pinch. And I'm suffering from it today - I blame the last post-gig glug from the Jack Daniels bottle...

I figured 6 years was long enough to let the dust settle so ventured up to the Muni in Pontypridd last night for The Damned. And I'm glad I did too. Within minutes of seeing Captain we were lounging within the depths of the tour bus, quaffing beer and swapping sories about Barrie Masters and Lemmy...anyway, I ended up onstage for the last 2 songs, Curtain Call and Neat Neat Neat. Old habits die hard however, and barely a minute into the set i'd skidded across the stage and hit the decks, only to be joined by the grinning face of Mr Sensible. Then the bloody bass amp went tits up...mr V must have been thanking the day Patricia joined the band...anyway, a good old time was had by all, everyone was very friendly, the punters gave me a good old cheer and it was certainly the most relaxed atmosphere I can remember around the band. Great crowd too. Its a strange feeling to suddenly play songs in front of a packed audience you haven't played since 1997! And a big up to Mr & Mrs Vanian for not being precious and letting me jump up. Now, who was it who said "never again"?...

June 4
Caught a couple of cool bands down at the Cardiff Barfly last night - blimey, sounds like I live down there! - the wonderfully trashy Sludgefeast who have no songs over a minute in length, have a brilliant stage rap and MC5 riffola a gogo, and Ten Benson who remind me of AC/DC meets Zodiac Mindwarp, make a wonderful racket and have a great stage image. Met their guitarist Paul up at The Amersham Arms in South London last week DJ'ing under the excellent moniker of "Unemployable Welsh Scum"! Even played a Johnny Thunders track in my honour, bless him. They're both out on tour right now and well worth catching.

April 6
To the Cardiff Barfly last night to see The Star Spangles, a pure NY Dolls / Ramones inspired bunch of rockers from New York City. And they were damn good too - check out "Which one of the 2 of us is gonna burn this house down", a terrific 3 minute energy blast with a great chorus. But best of all was the chance to link up with their manager - Howard Thompson, the former A&R whizzkidd who signed the Hot Rods to Island way back in 1976. Instantly recognised each other too despite the fact that the last time we met was 25 years ago!! Signed to Parlophone here and Capitol in the UK, he's managing both sides of the pond and taking care of everything himself. With an upcoming US tour with The Datsuns they're gonna do well - "I'm 50 this year and they make me feel 18 again" he said, and I kinda know how he feels - I get a similar buzz from working with Noisecandy. He still did the famous" Howard Dance", a curios left-leg-pump and head jerk movement that used to be such a familiar sight at Hot Rods gigs. The band were a great bunch of guys too - Howard had told them I was gonna be there and we had a great old chinwag over several beers after the gig, making me promise that next time they were in Cardiff I'd jump up and play bass on a Rods song with them! Support band were cool too, another bunch of yanks called The Go. Could this be the start of the New New Wave...?

Blimey Small World Ain't It Guv'nor Corner: Also met up with veteran producer John Anthony - Queen, Roxy Music and The Tubes count among his many stellar productions - who just happens to be one of Howard's oldest friends, also along to check out the show. He'd had a copy of the Noisecandy demos and is coming to see them when they play the Barfly on May 3. A true rock 'n' roll character, dressed in black from head to toe with a shock of white hair..."lets make hit records!" quoth he, before disappearing into the night...

 









January 23

Yours truly in the very wonderful Briarbank Studios, Penarth, last December, bailing out another Noisecandy track with my immaculate 12 string guitar playing (only joking lads...!)

 

January 14
Anyone around in Bath, Oxford, Cheltenham or London over the next few weeks go to the Noisecandy site to your left right now! I may well be at some or all of these jigs and not only will you have the pleasure of seeing a truly great new band but will have the opportunity of buying me a foaming pint of local ale too! What could be a better way of spending and evening eh?

December 23
Blimey, Joe too. He really was a diamond geezer, and he always really cared. I don't think he ever really changed. We used to do a lot of gigs together back in '76 when he had the 101ers, mostly at the good old Nashville Rooms. He always used to turn up with a dog on a rope and a plentiful supply of cannibles raisins if I remember correctly, and he always played a blinder.
Better make my will sharpish...God Bless ya Joe.

December 22
Had an email from the lovely Batttttty and thought I'd share it with you...

A scientific expedition disembarks from its plane at the final outpost of civilization in the deepest Amazon rain forest. They immediately notice the ceaseless thrumming of native drums. As they venture further into the bush, the drums never stop, day or night, for weeks.
The lead scientist asks one of the natives about this, and the native's only reply is
"Drums good. Drums never stop. Very bad if drums stop."

The drumming continues, night and day, until one night, six weeks into the trip, when the jungle is suddenly silent. Immediately the natives run screaming from their huts, covering their ears.

The scientists grab one boy and demand "What is it? The drums have stopped!"

The terror-stricken youth replies "Yes! Drums stop! Very bad!"

The scientists ask "Why? Why? What will happen?"
Wide-eyed, the boy responds, " . . . BASS SOLO!!!"

December 17
Sorry for no recent updates due to close family bereavement. Just don't ever get sick in Southend Hospital.
However, if anybody would like to buy me a drink I'll be in Bath Moles club this thursday for Noisecandy and at the Winter Wonderland Festival outside Cardiff City Hall the next night where Noisecandy are doing a lengthy live set for BBC Radio. See ya there!

November 13
Marvellous marvellous marvellous....just finished recording two ace new tracks - the best yet! - with Noisecandy at Danny Chang's excellent studio in sunny Penarth. Rob Reed at the mixing desk as usual and tinkling the old ivories, he's a great guy to work with- hey, we both love classic pop songs! The band also recorded a video for HTV's "Shotgun Slideshow" a few days back for the track "Made for the Weekend" - the crew complained they couldn't get the song out of their heads! Noisecandy managed to persuade the very lovely Miss Wales to be in the vid too...spent all day in the freezing weather with her, lucky buggers...

October 17
Sorry for anyone attempting to access mischief-music.com. Firstly, since going broadband I have had numerous problems with wonderful NTL - not content with losing my email account for 10 days I was then unable to update this site. Now i can't acces the Mischief site. Bear with me cos I'm well busy at the mo too...


October 12

Due to the wonderfuly inept NTL manageing to loose both my email and webspace since going broadband no updates have been possible for a while. However its now all sorted...meantime I've been busy studio wise with Noisecandy, formerly Free Preace Sweet. A couple of cracking new songs completed, again with Rob Reed in Da Studios, Penarth. Since then I floated the idea of a small UK tour - hey, they have to learn what its like sometime! - and have linked up with my mate Martin at ffvinyl to book some dates with The Scooters. I've also been in touch with another old mate Paul Durant, who worked on the Mischief album with me and is now producer for Tetra Splendour and runs the marvellous Monnow Valley Studios, where once upon a time, in a different incarnation, I used to, ahem, rehearse with The Damned. We're gonna be booked in for 3 days in November to crack another couple of tracks.


August 26
Got emailed a cool Us mag review for the MISCHIEF album today. Might convince a few more of you buggers to go out and buy it!


"...Smartly fashioned rockers like "Something So Simple" and the opener, "Horse-whipped", prove that rock 'n' roll continues to flow through each member's veins. Each track leverages the band's heriences and love for the music that has dominated their lives for the past 30 years. "Burning Soul" references everything from classic '77-flavored pefty past playing expunk to bits of The Who and T. Rex, creating a retro-fitted romp with a decisively contemporary sound. "I Hear You Moan" settles the score with ragged guitar riffs and an accompanying blazing solo that'll charm the staunchest critic. Shaw may be singing about sex, or he may be con- fessing to his latest killing spree, but he leaves you to decide the true meaning of his lyrics, as he peppers his words with double entendres.

From the start of Mischief, the guitar grabs center stage and refuses to let go, sandwiching you between amp-induced distortion and the gruff-yet-catchy choruses that are an absolute requirement for a good rock 'n' roll album..."-- Andrew Magilow, Splendid Magazine, USA
Mmmm...nice

August 19
With Free Peace Sweet winning the BBC Big Buzz "Band of the Year" competition and supporting Hear'say in Cardiff, and having given the idea much thought whilst in Zanzibar, I have now taken on a greater role with the band.
We've just finished mixing the first 2 tracks, "Last Summer" and "Up On Time", and they sound bloody marvellous. I really believe this band this band have huge potential. The band have also asked Lynne Bartlett, who has worked for EMI, Capitol and Island amongst others, to take care of the media and record label liason side of things when ready. The band will also be undergoing a name change shortly together with a new website launch. More news to follow.

July 25
Excellent tracks laid down with Free Peace Sweet last week with my co - producer Rob Reed. Mixing to be done when I get back from holiday - Hayley and I are off on the big silver bird tonight to Zanzibar, aka Spice Island for a few weeks. Expect some interesting music related news upon my return!

July 14
Had a long, happy ,rambling message from Paul Chapman on my ansaphone today - I suspect he had been at the old sauce over in Florida - informing me to take a look at his website as it was officially Paul Gray month! Theres a rather fetching photo of us all outside the Airport at Athens, prior to our return back to blighty.
Also check out Strangers In the Night, a bizzare UFO site run by the aptly named Batttttty, who sent me reams of questions collected from the UFO newsgroup to answer. They take up 2 whole pages and there's some really interesting ones there so take a look! Plus its worth seeing her "Uggerly Wall", and it'll get her hits up , bless her.

July 3
Well what a gig last night at The Riverside in Newport. The new revamped Free Peace Sweet played an absolute blinder - it they ain't stars in the making I'll eat my hat if I had one. New singer Ash is a find in a million. It's not often you see so many grinning faces and an empty bar area cos everyone was too into watching the band - yep folks, they were that good! Reminded me of the Hot Rods vibe when we started playing pubs in '76!
WATCH THIS SPACE!!!

Plus a "Single of the Month" review today too for the Mombomb / Comic Book Heroes split single I helped organise - two excellent grunge / punk bands. I have to admit to an extra interest here as I produced the CBH trax. They're up in Londinium to guest on Malcome Dome's TotalRock radio prog on monday 8 June at 9pm - take a listen and check out their website - eets crazee!!

June 30
After using a '73 Precision bass on my last lot of home demos for The Damned that I foolishly sold, I've been on the lookout for a replacement, and I've just found one. My mate Craig (who also gets a namecheck below) and who knows everything there is to know about basses has found me a slab body '79 P bass. Origionally Olympic white, its now faded to what I can only describe as a lovely nicotine stain yellow! Rosewood neck as well - never really gone for maple. Most importantly its got that lovely growl that certain old P basses have. And now its mine!
Talking of demos, I have some tracks recorded on my portastudio from 1993 - 1997 that have never seen the light of day. Most were recorded with The Damned in mind, but obviously never got round to being used. I may try to upload one as an mp3 or something in the future...you lucky people you...

June 30
Pino Palladino stepping into The Ox's shoes for the US tour eh? Sheesh...to me that ain't The Who...this from alt.binaries.who newsnet sums it up for me:
Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend were in a minor car accident
today in Las Vegas. Both suffered very minor injuries yet will not be able
to tour. But
an announcement
from the Who Spokesman at Trinifold Ltd. said the Who tour would go on as
scheduled without them.
Also Rosemary Clooneys' tour is going on as planned.

June 28
Well, what can I possibly say apart from that I'm absolutely shocked...my bassmeister mate Craig Addeccott called me early this morning to impart the news about John Entwistle's death - the greatest bass player in the world, ever, period. If it wasn't for John, you wouldn't be reading this website, and I wouldn't have had the career I've had. Go and get "Live at Leeds" play it loud, and marvel. You ain't never gonna hear the likes of those basslines ever again.
God bless.

April 19
A few Hoegarden's at Le Pub in Newport last night to see new drum 'n' bass matal band TRIP. I'm mentoring bassist Jason in the wonderful workings of the music industry. They were just great and if there's any justice in the world they'll be on the front cover of Kerrang! this time next year. Check out their own label website www.tripwirerecords.co.uk for some fab mp3 downloads!

March 4

To The Point last night to see Mountain. What a band, and one of the best gigs I've ever seen - Felix Pappalardi (RIP) was a bassist of huge influence on me - take a listen to "Dreams of Milk and Honey" from Flowers Of Evil, guitar, drum and bass interactions don't come any better. When I played the Knebworth Fayre with UFO in 1985 they were on the same bill and were great then, but last night just knocked me out. Corky Laing is probably the best rock drummer alive today, and guitarist Leslie West was just awesome , as our friends across the pond say. Thoroughly recommended, witrh the old tinnitus it takes a lot to keep me at a gig for 3 hours I tell ya!

January 9
Mr Gray is about to become a DJ! Well I haven't quite decided yet but last night, down at The Barfly in Cardiff to see Drivedog I was asked if i wanted to do a DJ set of the records that influenced me for a Punk Week type thing. After a few pints of Stella it sounded like a great idea but when I woke up this morning I realised there was probably more to it than bunging a record on the turntable. Watch this space...

January 24
A razzy night down at the lovely Coal Exchange again to see the Lost Prophets. Seriously good, and any band who had hordes of screaming teenies moshing upfront has to get my vote. Guitarist Lee Gaze, who I was mentoring last year, spotted me at the side of the stage, grinned, and did some weird hand signal at me. I dunno, kids today, when I were a lad it was the good old V sign and nowt else...supporting was Jarcrew who are coming along something lovely...

January 5
Just got back from spending the New Year in Prague. Wonderful place. Seeing Mozart's "Requiem" in the Baroque Smetana Hall was a highlight. They've obviously never heard of heath & safety rules, on New Years Eve the central square was jammed with 1000's of people chucking bangers at each other and firing off rockets in their hand. The air was raining down with debris, bloody mad the lot of 'em! Bloody freezing too, and tried to keep warm by imbibing a steady stream of Gluwien from the Xmas stalls. I can also thoroughly recommend the local beer called Gambrinus! The Hotel Waldstein can be well recommended too - a 16th century marvel nestling under the castle walls.

December 18
Spent the day with tech wizard Rob Reed in his studio mastering the MISCHIEF album. I've gotta say it sounds great - we've got the levels up by 20% so be prepared for some serious speaker pumping!!

December 7/8
Hangover from the previous nights notwithstanding, up to Loco Studios near Usk for two days helping out New Deal starters Free Peace Sweet. They just won the Smirnoff - sponsored Battle of the Bands competition over 75 others - can't be bad! A band to develop over the coming months, and subsequently one to watch.

December 6/7 2001

Two nights of partying down at the first Welsh Music Awards at the Coal Exchange in Cardiff Bay. First night was rock & pop, and despite being a great idea that was very well supported guest and industry wise, it was a shame more of the award winners didn't show or even send a delegate on their behalf. So it was hats off to Tetra Splendour and especially the Lost Prophets for both turning up and playing absolutely blinding sets, and not forgetting those who gave tham a hand on the way up.
On the Dance Music night every single winner except Paul Oakenfold turned up, and even he managed to send a video thank-you to the voters. It was a more united, friendly and less cliquey atmosphere than the bnand night, with a real sense of occasion - a lesson to be learnt methinks

October 17 2001
Appeared on a panel at a seminar for the Radio 2 Live in Cardiff thing, called "Is there life for musicians over 30", with the very nice Janice Long and Tommy Hingley from The Inspiral Carpets. Time was when I thought over 20 was pushing it! We had a good old waffle to the assembled, er, masses and decided as we'd all managed to stay alive after 30 there very much was. "Its a bit like fish fingers" quoth I. "Just because Findus has been making them for donkeys years doesn't mean to say they've got to give up and let someone else have a go!" which went down very well. We all agreed, however, that if Phil Collins stepped down the world would be a much better place, which went down even better. Discussed selling CD's online thereby avoiding ludicrously low record company royalties and it looks like I'll be putting the MISCHIEF cd out this way very soon.