8:30 - 11:30 every Wednesday
The Coach & Horses, 391 Leyton High Rd. E10 5NA
Admission: £1 for jammers / £2 for audience
 Blues Jam Profiles
Paul Booth
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Paul Booth
Singer and (Multi-Instru) mentalist
Are you local?

Depends what you mean by local. If 10 years of being an oxygen thief in East London means I'm now an adopted local, well I guess I am - although I guess I've become a bit of a Leytonstone ex-pat since I upped sticks to Canning Town.

Where are you from, originally?

I'm a Yorkshireman and bloody proud of it. (Cue comments from Carvell about whippets, flat caps, pigeons, pints with heads on them etc. etc.)

What's your tipple?

A decent ale if I'm being sociable; single malt if I'm drinking to forget. If I simply fancy getting completely trousered, it's "Figo" - a very potent tipple hailing from the south coast of Portugal, made from (obviously) figs.

What's your earliest memory?

Ruining Mum and Dad's sofa (and Mum's knitting needles) pretending to be Ian Paice.

What was the first record you ever bought with your own money?

That's a good one. The first single was "Alright, Alright, Alright" by Mungo Jerry (on Dawn records, DNS 634, pink label and proprietary sleeve for all you record anoraks out there) and the first long playing gramophone record I remember buying myself - although it was a few years ago so it might be an involuntary fib - was "Relics" by Pink Floyd (on Starline of course).

...and do you still have it?

Indeed I do! In fact, "Alright, Alright, Alright" gets regular outings on the Booth Royal Headquarters Victrola and "Relics" is, as everyone knows, the second best Pink Floyd album AFTER "Piper At The Gates Of Dawn".

Any hobbies/interests?

Brewing shockingly strong wine and (yawn) gardening.

Do you remember the very first gig you went to? What was it like?

Ian Dury And The Blockheads at The 100 Club about 1977. Went with my brother, who smuggled me in under his Royal Navy overcoat. How was it? Like being clanged around the head with a 10lb lump hammer. Certainly cooler than the fucking cubs. And thereby started the decline of an unpromising academic career (I cudda bin a contender etc. etc.)

Worst job you've ever had?

Being taken for an idiot, working for a certain bookstore chain that will remain anonymous. (However, I am pleased to report that they have since gone bust. Ha!)

What's your claim to fame (not necessarily musical)?

Picking up Larry Wallis at Notting Hill Gate Station whilst driving my train.

If you could invite 6 people (past, present or fictional) to dinner, Who would you choose?

Hmmm... Johnny Vegas, Robert Wyatt, Steve Reich, Sid James, Maati Peloppona and Tamsin Greig.

Been playing/performing long?

Too bloody long.

Been in any bands?

More than I care to remember.

What first got you interested in the Blues?

The sound of it: it made me realise you can play a half convincing guitar solo knowing five notes or fewer.

What other types of music do you like to listen to/play?

Jazz, funk, country, punk, Krautrock, orchestral music... I eat everything that has a taste.

Favourite Blues artists?

My old pal Neil Dalton, Johnny Guitar Watson, Otis Rush, Graham Bond.... The list is endless.

Favourite artists (any other genre) ?

This is where what protons of respectability I had fly out the window. I would say that the artists I keep looking to for both comfort listening (as opposed to comfort eating) and also for stealing cool ideas from would be Can, Faust, Soft Machine, King Crimson and Deep Purple. There are, of course millions more I could put down, but that would be tedious for me to type - and for you too, dear reader.

Ever been lucky enough to meet or share a stage with one of your musical heroes?

I was at some scummy festival in the early nineties when Nik Turner (he of the honking sax of Hawkwind and Inner City Unit) came bumbling through the expanse of human detritus that composed the audience looking for a stand-in drummer (the regular incumbent having had an elongated date with some heinous chemical). I volunteered, clattered my way through the musical anarchy that was Nik Turner's All Stars' set, went back to their van and don't remember much else after that.

Favourite instruments and/or equipment?

The Mellotron Mk II through Ray Bartrip's home built Destroyer. (Actually two Sharma rotating speaker cabinets ganged together to produce around about 200 watts of death. There are a few people at this jam who've had first hand experience of this beast. They'll all tell you it was awesome!)

If you had to sum up your relationship with the Blues using just one word, what would it be?

Ease.

Who would you pick (past or present) for your dream band?
  • Drums - John Marshall and Billy Cobham (with Ian Paice on standby)
  • Bass - Lee Sklar or John Wetton (I really can't decide between the two)
  • Guitar - Me sharing duties with Tommy Bolin and Robert Fripp
  • Keyboards - Mike Ratledge, George Duke and Dave Stewart (the good one)
  • Horns - Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Harry Beckett, Evan Parker, Lol Coxhill, Miles Davis and George Chisholm
  • Vocals - Janis Joplin, Captain Beefheart, Sarah Vaughan and Malcolm Mooney

Oh yeah, and Eric Clapped-out on triangle (unamplified, natch) 'cos that's all he's good for. (You never know, he might learn not to be such a smug, self-satisfied, beastly little oik.)

Most embarrassing moment?

Every day contains so many...

Proudest moment!

Writing out horn parts and hearing the chords come out right as opposed to roasted.

What do you most enjoy about the Blues Jam?

The fact that it's more like a social club and I feel no pressure to be something I'm not. Also, the fact that I've met so many musicians of such a high calibre over the years, many of whom I am now very proud to call close friends.

If you could travel back in time to be present at one moment/event in musical history, what would it be?

Seeing Pink Floyd with Syd Barrett and Soft Machine with Kevin Ayers and Daevid Allen at UFO.

Who would they cast to play you in the movie of your life?

Johnny Vegas

Marmite: - Yes or No?

NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO A THOUSAND TIMES NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

If you were invited on "Desert Island Discs", which 8 records would you choose?
  1. Steve Reich - Variations for Woodwind, Brass and Strings
  2. Soft Machine - Hazard Profile Pt. 1
  3. Can - Halleluhwah
  4. The Pink Floyd - Interstellar Overdrive
  5. The Graham Bond Organisation - What'd I Say?
  6. Deep Purple - No One Came
  7. King Crimson - Lark's Tongues In Aspic Pt. 2
  8. XTC - Jason And The Argonauts

(It's just taken me about an hour of soul searching and re-editing to come to that list. By the time you read this it will probably have changed.)

...and what would be your luxury item?

A transit van fitted with a solar-powered humidor packed to the gills with grade A+ Special Reserve Montecristo full corona cigars and Lagavulin whisky.

What is the most important lesson life has taught you?

You can do anything you want to as long as you don't piss on anyone else's chips/bonfire/through anyone's letterbox. (Conservative Clubs and the town halls of Newham, Tower Hamlets, Waltham Forest and other such rotten boroughs are excepted from this restriction).

Go on - tell us a secret!

An impossibility: if I did, it would cease to be a secret...