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 1977, recruiting members of various rock bands including Steven Huff, Larry Whitman, Dennis Conway 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 played with many bands, including 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. This album was released by Caroline Records and featured a country rock sound similar to The Byrds.
A new version of the band Paul Collins’ Beat surfaced more recently and resulted in an album of new material entitled Flying High. Considered to be their best to date, Flying High is a solid record, done half acoustic and half electric. The album gets back to the classic sound of The Beat, while combining the raw energy of Collins’ solo works. In 2004 Collins recorded Ribbon of Gold with Chips Kiesby (Helicopters & Nomads) using the Spanish band (Vinck, Lopez & Cabanes). In 2008 Collins moved back to his native New York and recorded King of Power Pop and Feel The Noise with Jim Diamond (White Stripes) in Detroit, followed by the self-produced Out of My Head in 2018, all released on Alive Naturalsound Records.
Another World:Best of The Archives is the latest release, September 2020 on Alive Naturalsound Records.
(1979 C.B.S. Records)
American culture has had no stronger influence and ally during the past twenty years than rock 'n roll. The music thrives on social conflict, making its impact in the face of turmoil - or in spite of it. The popular ascent of black-rooted rhythm & blues and its marriage to white rockabilly in the 1950's - the marriage that formed rock 'n roll - was in part a reaction to the complacency of that decade. In much the same way, rock would graduate to an environment of communal activism and unrest in the 1960's.
What about the 1970's? Ask Paul Collins, rhythm guitarist, singer and songwriter of The Beat, whose music springs from his feelings of dissatisfaction with the last five years in popular music - a time of confusion, "dinosaur" bands, groups that seem uncomfortably out-of-place and out-of-touch with the reality of a society that doesn't know where its next dollar's worth of unleaded is coming from.
So the 1980's loom ahead in less than a hundred days. Rock has returned to the streets, to the basements and garages that are a far cry from the ivory tower penthouses that have dominated the scene during the last few years. The new rock has punched radio in the gut; it's the result of several years of slow, patient acclimatizing. The new rock is simpler, anti-pretentious, wary of studio gimmickry, and to the point. In the eye of rock's hurricane is the beat. At the heart of the beat is THE BEAT, the album and the band.
The Beat is four very determined young men - Steve Huff (bass), Mike Ruiz (drums), Larry Whitman (guitar), with Paul Collins fronting the stage. "We're just four guys playing music," says Paul, "no trickery, no bullshit, just rock 'n roll. It's a whole new ball game now. All of a sudden, people who had their fingers on the pulse of what was going on - no longer do. All of a sudden, groups that were the definition of the times - no longer are... It's a big toss-up. What we're doing is no big deal to us, we're doing what comes to us naturally, the difference is that we're not trying to be the stuff that's going on now. We think we are what should be now."
Their first album for Columbia was produced by Bruce Botnick, of Doors, Rolling Stones, and Buffalo Springfield renown; who has also produced Dave Mason and Eddie Money. The Beat's recording sessions were fast (not hurried), efficient, five days for basic tracks and out. Rehearsals were carried out in advance, no time to be wasted inside the studio. Whitman; himself an L.A. veteran at the ripe old age of 23, is proud of the fact that four tunes on THE BEAT album are first takes.
About Paul Collins: Born in Manhattan, he lived near Army bases in Greece, Vietnam, and around Europe, his father being a civilian attached to the service. At 14, he was back in Manhattan, eventually landing at Juilliard Music School as a composition major involved in modern and avant-garde music - which had nothing to do with anything, he testifies.
He went to the Fillmore East a lot, and claims WABC radio as his biggest musical influence, circa 1968-69. At one point he wound up living in England, moved back to New York briefly, and then headed west to satisfy his curiosities, musical and otherwise.
Settling in San Francisco, he joined with songwriter Jack Lee and formed The Nerves in 1974, an original new rock band whose repertoire included "Hanging On the Telephone," later a successful single for Blondie. The song was included on The Nerves' 1976, 4-song EP, a successful record in its own right. It sold 10,000 copies in the U.S. and gave the band the momentum they needed to carry out a profit-making coast-to-coatst tour of underground and alternative rock venues.
They shared the stage with The Ramones, Mink DeVille, the Shadows of Knight in Chicago, and most importantly Eddie Money at the Longbranch in San Francisco. Eddie became an early supporter of The Nerves; and a close friend of Paul Collins, even after the group moved from San Francisco to Los Angeles in 1977· A year later The Nerves split up, and Paul met Steve Huff through the Musicians Personal section of The Recycler, southern California's newspaper of free classified advertisements.
Huff is described as "Mr. Bass Player" (or "Mr. Mellow"), from Redding, Cal., quiet, reserved, wears horn-rimmed glasses, and is a truly gifted bass player. He has a healthy dose of rock 'n roll sensibilities, and the right attitude to pull it off. He and Paul spent long hours in his living room, at first just formulating mental song ideas, later translating them onto a couple of TEAC tape decks for demo purposes.
In mid-April, 1979, the Bill Graham Organization added The Beat onto Eddie Money's soldout night at San Francisco's Kabuki Theater. It was a resounding success, though unadvertised,and unexpected, and won The Beat a management contract with Mr. Graham. Now, THE BEAT album represents only the second act to appear on Columbia through Graham's Wolfgang Productions, the other being Eddie Money. The Collins-Money relationship also continues to thrive - they collaborated on Eddie's newest single, "Get a Move On," from the Americathon soundtrack LP on Columbia; and one track on THE BEAT album, "Let Me Into Your Life."
"To become successful is hard," Paul says, "but to maintain being successful is harder than anything." The band is keenly aware of who they are, what they are, and what their music is about.
Now… What is it that everyone likes about rock 'n roll? it's THE BEAT!