Thursday, December 3, 2020

DJ Interviews: Paul Laskey

Hey there guys DJ Dizzy here & I had the pleasure of interviewing a singer named Paul Laskey who had so much to say on his musical begnnings. 

How'd you get started in music?
I am an only child and I think that this meant that the music my parents and older relatives listened to was a big influence on me.
My dad was a big Blues fan and was playing old Blues players, Ray Charles and Aretha Franklin all the time.
My mum was a big Rolling Stones fan, so I heard a lot of old Stones stuff too. Consequently, Keith Richards is one of my guitar heroes, with that huge Chuck Berry influence.
The key moment was when an older cousin sat me down and played Jimi Hendrix to me and, like many others, my reaction was " I want to do that". I pestered my parents to buy me a guitar and I started playing when I was about ten or eleven years old.
I had some basic books to start learning but essentially learnt through playing along to records and then through experience and learning from others (and still do) as I started playing in bands.
My first band was at the age of about 14, which I formed with some school friends and then went on to play in various bands. I started writing songs during the late eighties and some of those are actually the roots of tracks on the first Cloverhill album "7 Of One, 2 1/2 Of The Other", that was released in 2017.

Who are your inspirations or influences?
I have already mentioned the influence of my parents musical tastes and the effect of first hearing Jimi Hendrix.
So, Hendrix is still a big influence and is still "The Man" to me as far as guitar playing goes.
We are fortunate to be followed by Neal Schon and Ron "Bumblefoot" Thal and even those guys still hold Hendrix in that regard.
Classic Rock in general is the library of influences on the music of Cloverhill. The Hendrix "revelation" led me to listen to Cream, then Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, Free, Bad Co, Thin Lizzy, Status Quo...., all of which people have said they see influences of in Cloverhill.
Then along came The Allman Brothers, Little Feat, Lynyrd Skynyrd and a variety of  Southern Rock / American influences, which developed into influences from people like The Black Crowes and , more latterly, Magpie Salute and the fantastic Blackberry Smoke.
There is also an element of 80s / American rock in there, with Van Halen, Aerosmith, Whitesnake, Def Leopard, Journey, Mr. Big etc, plus a bit of metal, like Judas Priest, Metallica...
A lot of newer bands have also reminded us of our direction, with people like Massive Wagons and Those Damn Crows rejuvenating the Classic Rock genre, plus some of the "super groups" have put our some inspirational stuff, like Chickenfoot and Sons Of Apollo.
Lots of references there, I know, but they all kind of manifest themselves at times in Cloverhill songs, which is why our second album "All Done With Dreaming" sounds a bit more eclectic, as I went back to Blues (and a bit of Funk) roots on a few tracks.

What advice would offer aspiring performers?
Don't set out to be a worldwide superstar from day one - 'cos it ain't gonna happen in today's musical world.
These days, if you can make enough to pay the bills by doing what you love be satisfied.
Make music that you like and would buy and, hopefully, there will be a lot of other people that like it too.
However, it is all about the quality of the product, so be ruthless with yourself, even though the songs are your babies. Work with and take advice from people that have the experience and, most importantly, have your best interests at heart, i.e. if you are successful and happy so will they be. There are so many people around these days that will take money (I was going to say scam) from aspiring artists on the promise of success, so thoroughly check out anybody that you are approached by / thinking of working with.
If you are independent, you probably need to put at least as much work into researching radio and using promotional channels, including social media, as you do into your music. Sometimes, I find that I haven't really picked up a guitar for a few days because that side of it demands so much attention.
Above all, be yourselves and enjoy it. Don't be afraid to adapt / change with the times but don't lose sight of your roots. Beware the money seekers.

How do you set yourselves apart from other bands or singers?
That's a good one.
I think that I have to go back to it's all about the quality of the product. We would not release anything that we do not feel is up to the right quality. Also, we try not to be "formulaic" in our approach and are quite hard on ourselves in that respect.
It may sound strange but we're not that bothered about "having an image". Our approach is that we are just a bunch of ordinary blokes that make a lot of noise (hopefully a nice noise) and maybe surprise people when they see our picture and then hear the sounds we make.
There are two sides to Cloverhill. The Studio side, where we can layer stuff more and really use the recording as a canvas, and the live side, where we go out as a three piece with stripped down versions of the songs and do actually make a lot of noise.
For me, I feel very lucky to have the modern day equivalent of Ginger Baker on drums, with Jon (Hollins), and Marcio (Couto), our Brazilian bro' on bass, is Lemmy one minute, Flea the next and everything in between. So they keep me on my toes and we have a good time anyway.

Any new gigs or albums in the future?
We have a new single, "Leaves A Scar" out on 14th November. It is a new song and we are very lucky to have as our special guest, on Hammond B3 and Piano, Derek Sherinian, who people will know from his work with Sons Of Apollo, Black Country Communion and Dream Theater etc. He also has new album out called "The Phoenix", which has just about every top guitarist in the world on it.

We are working to create a live stream to support the single launch, which is planned for Friday 13th November, from one of our local venues, The Gallery At Creative Arts Burnley, but with lockdown now being imposed due to covid, we are still working to try to make that happen, even if it goes ahead without an audience.
We are also preparing to go live with special edition tee shirts and double CDs.
We have just created a website ( and will set up a shop on that.
The tee shirt has the "Leaves A Scar" design on the front and the band logo on the back.
The double CD has the album "All Done With Dreaming" on disc one, with disc two having "Leaves A Scar", plus a live recording of "Another Think Coming" (Live in Burnley), which is a song from the first Cloverhill album.
Looking forward, the gig scene is, for obvious reasons, a bit sparse at the moment.
We are due to appear at the New Wave Of Classic Rock Festival at the O2 in Leicester on the 23rd / 24th January 2021 and at the Wildfire Festival in Scotland in Summer 2021, so we will have to see what the authorities permit around those and other potential gigs.
We will also be working to create more live streams.
We are working on the third album and already have the songs underway, either in the studio or demo form.
We will be releasing some tracks as they become ready, so that people can have fresh content, and will probably have the full album ready sometime in Spring 2021. 

Special thanks to him for doing this interview & lots of luck in his music. So until then I'll catch you on The Flipside stay awesome & rock n roll!

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