TBFM reporter Helen Bradley Owers caught up with guitarist Paul Guerin from the UK rock band The Quireboys at the start of their current world tour named after their new album ‘Beautiful Curse‘
What makes a man who’s only been married for three weeks pack his bags and take to the road? On the eve of a UK and European tour I asked Paul Guerin, guitarist with the Quireboys this very question. With his broad north-east accent emphasising the enthusiasm in his voice he responded, “I love it. Love it, love it, love it. I love being with the lads, I love playing, I love meeting the people, it’s where I want to be. Just doing it is the joy, walking on stage with them fellas is just beautiful.” And in that sentence is the essence of the man, after ten years Guerin is still the ‘new boy’ of the band but his joy and love of what he does is barely containable.
The two month tour kicked off in Bristol on the 6th October, but not for Guerin the jadedness of going on the road again, he can’t wait, “We don’t do the nightliner thing, it doesn’t work for us” he laughs, “we use hotels, we all have our own room so we have our own space. Every day we get together in a room writing new tunes, some are good some are not so good, but we’re ahead of the game.”
Suspecting I know the answer already I ask him if there’s anything he doesn’t enjoy, he doesn’t disappoint, “Nothing. I got married three weeks ago, it’s hard leaving the family and all that but time passes.”
So how did the boy who grew up on The Avenues in Blyth end up in a rock and roll band? “Slade was the first gig I ever went to and that was it, there was nae turning back. I knew what I wanted to do, I can totally remember it. I was 11 then but I got my first guitar when I was 12 because before that me mam couldn’t afford one. But god bless her heart she finally got us one, and off I went.” Since then he’s played with some of the great names, Tom Jones, Brian Johnson, Joe Walsh, Joe Elliot, Ricky Warwick and Steve Earle to name but a few and refreshingly he is still feels privileged to be doing it.
The new album ‘Beautiful Curse’, is it a return to the Quireboys roots? “To be honest I don’t think so, I feel it’s moved on massively since then. We’ve kept the heart and soul of what the Quireboys has been about but I personally think we’ve improved”. Guerin loves the blues and ‘Beautiful Curse’ has an essentially bluesy feel, he goes on to say “I learned me craft from the best and I think that’s what I bring to the party.”
It unashamedly makes a nod towards the glory days of the Stones and the Faces and Guerin seems pleased by the comparison “I love Rod Stewart, he’s the one for me. ‘Atlantic Crossing’ is the best album ever made, whatever I’m feeling there’s a song on it for me. Love it”.
In this day and age it seems every band has a preferred song writing process and the Quireboys are no exception “It’s not like the old days where we all live in the same house and we all do the dishes. I live in Harrogate, Spike lives in Wolverhampton, we all do our own thing and then we get together.” The ‘where’ they get together makes an interesting story, “Me, Spike and Guy go to Norway to write, we go and play some crazy bars with some very drunk Norwegian people, that’s the chance we get to spend together. We just spend all day and every day with just 2 acoustic and a little tape recorder and just thrash it out.”
Any reason for Norway in particular? “We get to do these small shows, we get to try out new stuff, a lot of people know who we are, we play some wild west places with some very drunk people, they like the old hooch out there but it gives us time to spend together, and it works for us.”
Bands being signed to good labels seem to be getting less and less the norm and in this internet age it occasionally feels that finding someone who hasn’t started an online record company would be the more simple task, so I ask Paul about the Quireboys being signed to relatively new label ‘Off Yer Rocker’, part of the Chic organisation responsible for festivals such as Hard Rock Hell.
“I have to say it couldn’t be better. The difference they’ve made, we’re still the same band but everything’s just got better. They are very keen, very hardworking people, that’s what attracted me to them, we didn’t sign up lightly. I’ve got so much faith in them. We’ve really, really got a great relationship, it’s all day every day, I can get them on the phone, I get up and think of things and before I’ve even text or emailed it’s taken care of. It’s very rare people actually have record company these days and I’m telling you I couldn’t be happier.”
I wonder where the inspiration for songs comes from as he doesn’t seem to be living the angst ridden life seemingly required for song writing. “Everywhere. It can be anything, the news, life the road.” “But” he says “It can get you into trouble.” I’m intrigued as he continues “I was on the internet researching wedding vows for ‘Beautiful Curse’. I went off to do something and my girlfriend came in and saw what I’d been looking at and she thought ‘Oh he’s going to propose to me’. So I guess that’s how I ended up getting married three weeks ago” he chuckles, clearly very pleased at the outcome.
Paul Guerin is that rare thing, a man who is clearly very happy with his lot in life at the moment!
Their latest album ‘Beautiful Curse’ is available from ‘Off Yer Rocker’ records
Left to Right Paul Guerin, Spike, Guy Griffin, Keith Weir