Interviews & Transcripts

 

 

 

Here you'll find some interviews and transcripts of various kinds, all concerning King and/or Paul King - dating from 1985 up until May 2009.

Index of (interview) transcripts:

 

- Interview by this Fansite, 6 May 2009

- Interview for Dutch radio5 June 2008

- Paul King's contribution to the Dan Hartman site, October 2002.

- Single Luck - King: Love and Pride, 1999

- MTV's Most Wanted, Clean Our Souls, July 1996.

- Paul King talking about Marc Bolan, 1992

- BBC1 Midlands - This is King, April 1985

- Paul King on Whistle Test, March 1985

 

 

Interview by this Fansite, 6 May 2009:

 

Background questions

On the Italian fan site there is a story about you being adopted - something I haven’t read anywhere else - is it true?

Yes this is true, I was adopted by my family when I was a young child. It was an Irish catholic orphanage.

I have little information regarding my biological parents apart from a young Irish mother and Mediterranean father which is quite a large target area. In various interviews during King's promotional years depending on where we were or how affectionate I was feeling towards the country we were sitting in I have claimed a Spanish, Italian and if memory serves even a Greek father.

But in truth I have no real evidence of my biological parents' nationalities and having been raised in a happy and loving family who supplied all the affection and support a child requires I have never had any inclination to ever pursue further information.

 

Sometimes magazine articles are very confusing. In some it said that you moved to Coventry as a 3-month old, and some say as a 3-years old. Which is true?

3 Years.

 

At what age did you learn to play musical instruments? Did you get lessons or did you teach yourself? And what musical instruments do you play?

Self taught from around 15 years old, firstly piano and then synth technologies plus very basic rhythm guitar playing. Like a majority of today's musicians I tend to play a wide variety of instruments with the assistance of computer software and programming ha ha.

 

Questions about your musical career

How did you write your songs? Did the music come first or the lyrics? *)

As a music fan I've always been firstly attracted by melody and musical performance then turn my focus towards lyrics.

As a recording artist I tended to follow the same path however the more I operated as a song-writer the more I started to also collect lots of scribbled notes, titles and lyrical themes for tracks which occasionally instigated the songs.

But the only track that comes to mind where that was the case is 'I kissed the Spikey Fridge' from Steps in Time.

 

Which song (from your three albums) is your favourite one, lyrically and why? *)

I think probably the opening track in our recording career 'Fish' from Steps in Time. It was a song dealing with the mixed feelings of alienation and affection for our home town and its citizens ha ha. Looking back on it now with the distance of time and experience I can still drop into the shoes or DM's of that younger me and it's actually the words that do that for me, much more than the music or its recording.

 

Why did you quote Henri Matisse in your “Joy” album? *)

Apart from a wide love of his paintings it was after reading his biography and discovering that he always referred to himself as a craftsman and work-smith as opposed to an artist. I always felt uncomfortable with the 'artist' tag for my own creative output.

It's probably to do with the working class chip on my shoulder and the fact I didn't go to art school ha ha.

 

What do you think is King's legacy as to their musical influence up to this day?

That's a hard one for me to really identify because no matter how emotionally detached you try to be from such evaluations your ego does get involved. Due to working in music television on the other side of the fence so to speak I have been required to deal with acts and artists on a daily basis making judgement calls on their popularity and positions in pop's rich tapestry etc so I believe I've a realistic assessment on King's musical legacy.

 

King's recording career and output is/was very small so consequently easier to miss or overlook when faced with the billions of hours of alternative historical or contemporary music options. I believe there's a large affection for the group's recordings and performances from a generation who witnessed the band's short career first hand.

 

I guess legacy/influence is always dependent on the access/awareness of the new generations of both fans and musicians which is easier to achieve/maintain if the acts or artists are still active in either recording/performance/media terms.

King as you know ceased to operate in any of those arena's in 1986 so it was one of the reasons I decided to put the group's official web site together to actually help create a new and wider access to the band's story as well as King's music and performances.

 

Questions about your television career

How much fan-mail did you get as an MTV VJ and what did you do with it? Did you read all letters or just part of them?

Loads. I joined MTV Europe just as it exploded across the continent so at its peak I was presenting to 50 million homes a day.

I confess the mail usually ran through the channel's press department who would censor any unsavoury or weird correspondence before passing on letters to the presenters so in fact I never saw all my mail. I would try to respond where possible or practical but I never kept the letters once I'd read them and or replied.

 

What was your most memorable MTV show that you presented?

Gosh too many, MTV was an exciting place in the early 90's but if only one then probably the most memorable would be the '120 minutes' special from the Glastonbury Festival 1993. Great weather, fantastic people, some brilliant music and I got to meet the Velvet Underground.

 

Why did you so rarely show your own videos while you were an MTV VJ?

As a presenter I was far more into sharing passion and affection for the videos/music so I enjoyed showcasing new material and any great sounds that people maybe hadn't yet caught up with. I guess having already enjoyed success in my own right as a performer I was less interested in trying to be the star of the MTV screen and preferred to let the music take priority.

 

What did you like the most about being a VJ? And what the least?

The people I worked around and with during the early MTV story most definitely made the whole period a joy. Not really a lot I didn't like if I'm truthful but I guess one forgets how those blocks of day time shift recordings working around the play list could seem endless on occasions.

 

What was the reason you moved from MTV to VH1?

The opportunity to become a full time producer.

 

What was your most favourite show to present (either for MTV or VH1) and why?

For MTV I'd probably settle on the '120 Minutes' series as a favourite mainly down to the production team I was working with in combination with the acts/artists I got to meet and see.

For VH1 I'd say 'Sounds of the Cities' again for the people I was working with on the show. Also SOTC was a nice combination of all my experiences/skills coming together be that presenter, writer, producer and even composing/recording the show's theme music. I wore many hats at VH1 ha ha but great learning curves.

 

Which artists did you enjoy most to interview?

Really too many in this category but in the interest of supplying some kind of response I'll say meeting and working with David Bowie and Bryan Ferry, two of my key music influences as a teenager. Both proved charming, smart and open to work with - a real joy to be around.

 

How did you get from presenting into producing? Was it a natural career move?

Yes it was a natural career move but thanks mainly to MTV's open approach to television making in those days. I think more traditional TV production companies would not have offered the same opportunities to learn the job whilst doing the job but MTV was far more inclined towards the spirit and ideas behind their output as to opposed to necessarily supplying 'broadcast standard content'.

 

What is the most interesting part of your current job as an executive producer (i.e. what do you like most about your job)?

Same combination as some of my earlier answers regarding my television career and actually my experiences as both performer and recording artist. The best parts are seeing ideas or projects you're passionate about being developed and worked into full productions that hopefully go on to be appreciated by a wide audience. Then along with that process which can sometimes be months or even years in the making it's a pleasure when you also get to work with talented, bright and enthusiastic people all pulling in the same direction, aiming for the same goal.

 

Do you still present TV shows sometimes? If not, when was your last TV presentation and on what occasion?

I stopped presenting in 2005, I actually found I didn't have enough time to give this role its required commitment.

I enjoyed presenting when I could spend time thinking, listening, researching, writing and really getting inside the material I was working with.

The further I moved along the producer path moving onto responsibility for running teams, shows, series, channels I found myself turning up as presenter not properly prepared for the task. Even though I had gained enough experience to bluff my way through a presenter gig I would watch the work later and feel uncomfortable with the result. So for the time I felt it better to call a halt.

My last presenting role would have been VH1's Official Chart Show.

 

Other questions

What was your motivation for appearing in TV ads promoting CDs?

I liked the producer who made the job fun and it was a chance to work in Sweden where I had friends all of which made for an attractive incentive along with the wages of course ha ha.

But seriously it was complimentary to be approached for the project based on my knowledge and appreciation of music and kind of interesting to see yourself over dubbed into various international languages from Africa to Asia and beyond.

I confess I hadn't appreciated how omnipresent they would become or indeed for how long the adverts would keep on playing. I knew it was a three year option but I had naively expected the rotation levels to dip off in six months after initial sales instead the CD's just kept on selling so they took more rotations on the advert across more channels and more territories for what seemed like six years.

 

What role does music play in your life at the moment?

As large as ever. I'm currently back in the recording studio, this time as a producer working with an Electro dub-pop collective called Birdhouse.

Hopefully material will be completed and ready for a wider audience by start of 2010.

 

What music do you listen to nowadays? What bands of today do you like best?

Everything and everyone that comes under my radar really. I've been investing in a lot original Jamaican dub material from the 70's that I used to own and lost down the years so lots of Upsetters, King Tubby and production work from Joe Gibbs which has been inspiring to re-engage with.

As for new acts/tracks currently enjoying Calvin Harris, Lilly Allen, MGMT, Vampire Weekend, M.I.A, Fleet Foxes and still have last albums from LCD Sound System and Radiohead on high rotation.

 

Although I’m very reluctant to ask anything personal, I’ll try a subtle one. In what direction is your ring pointing?

The ring is facing inside. I've been very happily married for years with a family of three and a boxer dog called Ted who's completely spoilt but supplies hours of delight.

 

Do you still get recognised in the street by fans, and do you like it?

I do and it's usually always pleasant and fine.

 

What do you think of the current 80’s revival (with bands reforming, etc...)? *)

Totally fine, I'm looking forward to The Specials London shows and hoping to blag some tickets to catch Spandau Ballet come October.

The great thing about group reformations is the live shows are so celebratory from both audience and performer perspectives and you usually know every song that's played. Bonus.

 

What inspired you to finally have an official King website made?

I've spoken about it for years. I inherited the band's press and recording archives along with hours of performance tapes and photos.

The hold up has always been about having the time to sort through it properly and oversee the digitising into relevant media formats.

I realised that it's not really something you could just pass onto a third party and expect them to fully grasp the value in all the material, you kind of needed to be there to help put all the pieces together and understand when certain photos or performances were more important than others.

Anyway the time became available and I was surprised at how rewarding the process proved to be. It's been an education getting back in touch with this period of my life.

 

Do you ever read what people write about you on Internet and if yes, what is your opinion of the quality of information about yourself on the net?

I don't actively seek it out but friends occasionally direct me towards things they've seen.

As for quality of information, well for the most part it's close to correct.

 

And finally, do you have any suggestions to improve the fan site I dedicated to you?

None at all I think you've done a grand job.

 

 

 

Many thanks to Paul King for his time and effort!

All questions by Audrey except those marked by *) which are by Iris from France. So thanks to Iris for her contribution.

Also thanks to Jonathan (UK) for making this interview possible.

 

© 2009 www.paulking.nl

 

Interview for Dutch radio, 5 June 2008:

 

DJ = the radio dj

PK = Paul King

 

PK: Good afternoon.

 

DJ: "Love and Pride" was a number two hit in Holland and England. Do you still remember which song kept you off the number one spot that day?

 

PK: Let me have a guess. I can't remember exactly, but I can remember the [?? ] so I know we were kept off the charts in the UK at the time by 'I know him so well', which was a ballad from the musical 'Chess'.

 

DJ: Okay, we all remember that song by Elaine Page and Barbara Dickson, but it was another song that kept you off the number one spot here in Holland.

[A FRAGMENT OF NIGHTSHIFT BY THE COMMODORES IS PLAYED] This was it, the number one at the time in 1985, 'Nightshift' by The Commodores. What's your opinion of that song?

 

PK: Well, I love that song, I don't love it so much now I know it kept me off number one in the Netherlands.

 

DJ: It's a lot better than 'I know him so well'.

 

PK: Yeah, I feel less of a problem about being kept off the top of the charts by a tribute to Marvin Gaye. A wonderful song.

 

DJ: Yeah, that's right. But how did you come up with the idea for the 'Love and Pride' song?

 

PK: Well, originally, in sense of just writing it, sitting at a... I used to have an old piano and I... my parents were not very happy with me mashing this piano around in the house and making lots of noise, so I actually gave the piano to a friend of mine and I used to go round their house and make a lot of noise on their piano, and I remember it was a Tuesday afternoon, in Coventry, it was raining, and I came up with the chorus and I was looking for a song that was... you could call it an anthem for the band, you know, something which gave you an overall summary of what King were about and what we were trying to do, which was bright and colourful and looking for something that had emotion and passion about it and love and pride. So, it was perhaps one of the earliest songs we wrote for the band, I think I must have written it around 1983, and it was, you know, in our live-set for the group for a very long time, but, funnily enough, I think, because we wrote it so early, you tend to move on and write new songs, and people always get excited about new songs, we forgot about 'Love and Pride' for a long time and we had to be kind of persuaded back into recording it as a single.

 

DJ: You used to work in a factory, for me it seems like a shock to suddenly become a pop star.

 

PK: Well, it wasn't that quick, believe me. Yeah, I used to work at Rolls Royce, which is in Coventry, not making cars though, we were making the jet engines for the aeroplanes... so, no, I kind of, I left Rolls Royce in 1980 and signed, King signed to what was then CBS Records in 1983.

 

DJ: So it took you a couple of years to have the hit record.

 

PK: Yeah, I did. And the track obviously was 1985, so it's five years.

 

DJ: What do you think was the reason for the success of 'Love and Pride', was it just a good song or was it your image?

 

PK: Well, I think, for most people, the thing they hear first would be the song, because they have heard it on the radio before they ever saw us, and I think it is a very good song. I then think that the impact of the song was definitely enhanced by the image of King, you know, we were a very strong visual band, and we were all about performance and presentation, so I think that the two combined most definitely, I think, have locked it into people's memories.

 

DJ: Okay, thanks a lot for your time, Paul King.

 

PK: My pleasure.

Memories of Dan Hartman 

(October 2002)

 

When did you first meet Dan Hartman and how did your collaboration on your album 'Joy' come about?

 

I first met Dan in the late spring of 1986. At the time the band King, a British rock pop group, were looking to beef up our recorded sound. Having toured the USA we felt that American recordings no matter what style of live performing musician just sounded more raw and punchier than anything coming out of the UK at the time.

 

So we began a search for a stateside producer who understood both rock and dance music and that eventually led to my meeting with Dan at his hotel near Swiss Cottage.

 

What were your impressions of Dan when you met him?

 

Confident, charming, witty and very knowledgeable on the current UK pop scene, which surprised me a little. My interest in Dan as a producer was mainly based around his then recent work on the James Brown ‘Gravity’ Album. The band was not James’s group but players that Dan had put together and recorded. It had all the right funk power and rhythmic ingredients that we were seeking but I wanted to see if Dan shared my vision of taking that sound and throwing lots of noisy guitar over the top. Also to be honest I was checking to see if we could get some of those players from Gravity onto our album. We discussed his Edgar Winter years, the disco hits and his song writing credentials. I remember walking away from the evening very impressed.

 

'Joy' was recorded at Multilevel - can you tell us how long it took to do the recording and what was it like working with Dan in the studio?

 

Later that summer, following a Japanese tour with King I flew to Dan’s home to meet up with Charlie Midnight with the aim of collaborating on new material. The intention was that any songs created would be for Kings next album but apart from the dates in Japan by this time the band had pretty much fallen apart.

 

In truth this situation suited Dan better as now he was free to pull together the kind of players he felt more confident recording with. We taped 85% of what was to become the ‘Joy’ album at Multi level during late fall and winter of 1986-87. As well as being a talented musician, composer and producer, Dan was also an excellent recording engineer. He was responsible for all areas involved in running the sessions be that controlling the desk to microphone placements on drums and instruments. I remember when we had finished the sessions sitting in the control room in Multilevel with a friend who was a sound engineer listening back to the master tapes. As we sat raising the faders it was an incredible realisation that the tracks sounded as if they were already finished. Dan had recorded the songs so perfectly that very little fixing was required to create the impression of what was the final record.

 

Did you meet any other artists whilst at Multilevel?

 

Not so much at Multilevel. As I said the majority of the tracks were taped in Westport but this mainly involved the rhythm and percussion parts along with bass, guitars and keyboards. Other artists such as Nona Hendrix who was a good friend of Dan’s, Carlos Alomar the guitarist and the Uptown Horns whom Dan had used on the Gravity sessions with James Brown, we recorded in New York at Green Street Studios.

 

The one exception was the backing vocals session for the album at Multilevel with Aretha Franklin’s backing singers. I remember this as a wonderful day. Caroline Franklin, Aretha’s sister and composer of some Aretha’s best songs, was part of the group and it was a genuine ‘joy’ listening to them offer so much soul and beauty to the tracks we were creating.

 

How did you collaborate with Dan and Charlie Midnight when writing the songs for the album? How did the songs evolve?

 

I remember it all being very comfortable, relaxed and quick. Dan and Charlie had put some homework into myself as singer and performer. They’d listened to King material watched the concert footage and videos as well as reading some press interviews. They had a vision of what material they could bring to the table to develop the groups sound and direction. We had two days of writing, Charlie had some lyrical themes we agreed to work with, Dan had some tunes up his sleeve and so did I so it felt like a very easy creative atmosphere. In those two days we sketched out around 6 songs, in fact it was such a positive session and experience it became the deciding factor in my leaving the band.

 

Did you do any other work with Dan?

 

Yes we did. This would have been the late summer of 1987 after the album was released; Dan came to London and suggested we get together to work on some more tunes. We spent a couple of days writing in a Soho studio and recorded four songs.

 

What is your favourite Dan Hartman song and why?

 

‘I can dream about you’ I’ve always been a sucker for blue-eyed soul when it’s done well. It’s a beautifully crafted tune with a great vocal performance.

 

Can you tell us when you last saw Dan- how he was doing at the time-and any projects he was planning on working on in the future?

 

The last time I saw him was in a restaurant in Chelsea where he and a number of other writer producers were having dinner with Tina Turners manager pitching material for her next album. That must have been around 1988.

 

The last time I spoke to him would have been 1993; I was producing at VH1 and MTV had asked me for some ideas on names and contacts to approach for a special on Disco they were creating. I called Dan to see if he would be interested in being a contributor.

 

He wasn’t too well at that time but pleased to hear from me. I guessed because of his illness he didn’t want to be involved in the Disco show.

 

Can you share a few personal memories of Dan?

 

Lots really. Plenty of pasta cooking, Dan had found a company in Arizona who supplied different sorts of fresh pasta which was the mainstay of our diet during sessions at Westport. He liked sitting and talking in the evenings with a nice wine and good music. We played a lot of records in the evenings I recall him playing me Tom Robinson’s record that he really loved. Also I remember Dan taking me to Paradise Garage in New York a nightclub that has since taken on legendary status for the dance and house music fraternity. I thought the whole thing was amazing, the club, the people and the music; Dan was less impressed; he thought it was merely a poor versions of disco. We went a number of times as Dan knew most the DJ’s and we seriously discussed changing the whole approach on my album into the Paradise sound or what were calling a dance record but has since come to be known as house music. 

 

What do you miss most about Dan?

 

He was a huge talent and fun person. We only worked with each other for about a year and although I would not describe us as great friends I do think on Dan with fondness and affection. I learnt from him during what was a growing period in my career and life. I miss the fact that we no longer have the opportunities to hear music from a man who so obviously loved the thing that he did and did so well.

 

Published with permission of DanHartman.com - Copyright DanHartman.com© 1998-2008

 

Single Luck - King: Love and Pride - 1999

 

Interviews with Paul King, Mick Roberts and Perry Haines

 

This transcript can be found on a separate page.

 

 

MTV Most Wanted - Clean Our Souls

(July 1995)

 

Episode where Paul King destroys a tape of his album "Joy".

 

This transcript can be found on a separate page.

 

 

Paul King on Marc Bolan

from Marc Bolan - The Legendary Years (1992)

 

"I remember, you know, as a child, previous to that watching Top Of The Pops, ‘cause my sister was older (I started like ?) watching and (take?) music (in?) and stuff, that it was just for me the unique combination of the age I was at and the fact that suddenly there was this person that was completely alien to anything I’d ever seen before as a pop performer or as a pop star whatever, and it was just, the whole thing was right for me and the time, and suddenly I took on this whole world of pop music and Bolan was just an amazing star and performer and I managed to persuade my parents that I could purchase this record with a little bit of their help, ‘cause, again, it was a unique thing for me to say ‘I wanna buy a record’, it’s like, you know, ‘What do you want money for a record for?’ So I went off, I think it was 45 pence or something like that, (it was my?) first ever record. I remember going into Coventry city centre on a bus to Jill Hanson’s Record Shop, picking up “Hot Love” on Fly Records and sitting there on the way home in the bus and reading all the credits (?), it was like a whole thing for me. For the next two, two-three years, Bolan was the complete thing which I worshipped and watched and had a very big effect on my life, really."

 

BBC1 Midlands - Midlands today / This is King - April 1985: you can watch the video here.

 

P = Presenter

PK = Paul King

 

P          They had a sell-out national tour, collected two gold discs and tonight have their first half hour television show on BBC 1 Midlands. I caught up with the group leader Paul King during his busy schedule recently. [A part of a live performance of ‘Won’t you…’ is played]

P          With me now is Paul King. Paul, you’ve just finished your national tour, and really, it’s only in the last few months that you’ve achieved super-stardom. Does that worry you. How are you gonna stay at the top?

PK       I think you simply stay at the top. Well, I think you just have to follow your own direction, you have to believe in what you’re doing, put your hand on your heart and say ‘this is me, this is what I want to do’ and stick it out there, and hopefully people like it. I think the day you actually start playing towards an audience or a particular market, is the day you lost. I think you have to actually believe in what you’re doing.

P          What do you think is your appeal?

PK       Our appeal? I think with King it crosses two ways. We actually walk a middle line in the sense of… we’re a masculine, we’re a band who enjoy our masculinity, so in that sense we actually appeal to the ladies, shall we say, at the same time, with our music and the actual dancability of it and the content, we feel it’s quite progressive, it’s got something there for the guys to get into, something they can stamp their feet to and wave their wrists. And also the way we dress, it’s not in a sense too effeminate or outrageous. It’s actually something the guys could want to, sort of, get into themselves, with the boots and the hair, things like that.

P          What’s the price of this stardom, now? I mean, do you get mobbed in the street now?

PK       Yes!

P         Do you like it?

PK       Love it! No, well. I think that sort of… Personally, I on my own personal level grew out of the sort of thing of going into clubs and walking around shopping precincts a long time ago, so I don’t miss not being able to do that. I’m quite a private person. I like to go away to the sea-side, you know.

P          Where are you going now? What’s happening now?

PK       We’re moving into Europe to do some festivals, we’re starting our next LP throughout the summer months, so it’s a mixture of those two things, and maybe America, if the demand should take us there.

P          Well Paul, thank you very much, and good luck.

PK       Thank you very much. Bye bye.

Paul King on Whistle Test (BBC2), March 1985:

 

S = the presenter who seems to be called Simon

PK = Paul King

 

S          […] is for King a double success, two singles in the charts. Paul King, hi.

PK       Hello there.

S          Is it really King, is that your surname?

PK       Yes it is generally my surname indeed.

S          Now, you are gonna start getting a lot of bad press very shortly, you know that?

PK       Are we, Simon?

S          ‘Ruthless, go-getting, ambitious’. It hasn’t actually taken you a couple of weeks to make it, has it? I mentioned earlier on that you have been around for quite some time.

PK       Yeah, King have been together for two and a half years now, so I think, as far as press goes and bad press, we’ve already had a bit of that, so it doesn’t really worry me.

S          But now that you’re successful, it’s an odd thing, isn’t it? I mean, British rock press, and indeed “Whistle Test” is guilty of this, I think, quite often grab hold of an artist who’s made it and is successful…

PK       Yeah

S          … as they come on, and give you a certain sliding. Do you expect that? And do you actually find that negative?

PK       Well, I think about King as we actually totally side-stepped the music press, well the popular music press in this country, the way we actually did it was went out and did a return to the old-fashioned way, I suppose, the rock-and-roll way of going out and playing lots of gigs.

S          You’ve got gigs coming up as well, haven’t you?

PK       Yeah, we’re out on tour from April the 6th.

S          You’re gonna do a concept concert or you’re gonna do a straight concert?

PK       We’re gonna do a straight show, basically, the whole show’s emphasis will be on the people in it and what we do as entertainers.

S          And of course the video is part of what you’re doing, isn’t it?

PK       Oh yeah, totally. I mean I’m very pleased of the current video we’ve got, because it shows two sides of King.

S         Okay, let’s have a look at the two sides of King and let’s have a look at “Won’t you hold my hand now”. Here it is.

 

Copyright © 2008-2009 Audrey Scheres

Paul King Fansite