Paul K. “Hollywood”

By Geordie Pleathur (SugarBuzz USA)

“There is only one party in the United States, the Property Party…and it has two right wings: Republican and Democrat. Republicans are a bit stupider, more rigid, more doctrinaire in their laissez-faire capitalism than the Democrats, who are cuter, prettier, a bit more corrupt—until recently… and more willing than the Republicans to make small adjustments when the poor, the black, the anti-imperialists get out of hand. But, essentially, there is no difference between the two parties” (— Gore Vidal)
Paul K. is the best songwriter in the whole world and I’ll stand on Steve Earle’s coffee table in my cowboy boots and say that. He’s had a heart wrenching series of tragedies and tribulations befall him in recent years. He’s watched as fakes and frauds have been celebrated by mainstream music-industry weasels for merely covering, or poorly copying, the unforgettable songs of his substantial song-book. He’s seen his indie labels come and go, but he continues to rise above the poseurs and trends and lies and bullshit, writing and releasing his own masterful albums at an astonishingly steady clip, to an intensely devoted cult of faithful fans from all over the world. It still startles me that so many educated, former contributors to “Creem Magazine”, and “Spin” willingly hype all this plastic techno phoniness, while neglecting to promote artists of Paul K.’s obvious creative stature. His work has ascended to the level of a Leonard Cohen, Arthur Lee, Patti Smith, or Joe Strummer. Lou Reed and Paul Westerberg have seldom delivered anything as important as Paul K. has, in the past ten, or twenty years. In another era in time, or make-believe better world, PAUL K. would be playing stadiums, and outdoor festivals, like Neil Young, while major labels hired guys like Jim Jarmusch, or Alex Cox to make videos to accompany his richly cinematic songs. He’s been called the punk rock Jackson Browne, and the American Ian Hunter. His distinctive guitar playing reminds one of Television, Sonic Youth, and all the dissonant, downtown, art school, navel gazers from the no wave eighties. His lyrics are like hard boiled noir, or true crime novels. Americana? Paul K. embodies it. Name off your top-five favorite songwriters. Paul K. can hold his own with any of them, frequently eclipsing even his own influences. It’s absurd that serious adults are still debating, or discussing the likes of Lady Gaga, Wilco, or Jay-Z, when Paul K. walks the planet. Each new Paul K. release reminds me of the first time I really fully heard Jim Carroll’s “Catholic Boy”. It was blizzarding outside, and we were cozy in our apartment with good company and many bottles. Remember when the Replacements first really changed your life? I can still recall the first time I heard Paul K’s music, too, but I ain’t gonna talk about it here. ‘You ever get the chance to order some Paul K. c.d.’s, it’ll be you, who testifies about their greatness.

Sometimes, his diverse music strays into unexpected places-tin pan alley pop, Brill Building, Motown, or seventies glam. A significant portion of his prolific output is dark, informed by real life experience, empathy, hard knocks, magic and loss. Like the Hangmen covering John Prine. Or Willie Nelson performing John Lennon’s “Sometime In New York City” L.P. Darker than goth, as pained as Joy Division, as demonic as Diamanda Galas, as haunted as Peter Laughner, as socially aware as Phil Ochs, or Manic St. Preachers, as gentle and spiritual as Brian Wilson, GeorgeHarrison, or Bob Marley. If you like gutsy, soulful, romantic songwriting, like when Mick Taylor was in the Stones…Find yourself some of Paul K.’s c.d.’s, and be prepared to be impacted by some unvarnished truth. The kind you will never, ever see on TV. Pure poetry. Courage. Heart. Believe me, I’ve known a lot of writers, and rockers, and songwriters, but Paul K. is the best.

Bob Dylan is the richman’s Paul K.!
 The rock’n'roll people wish to congratulate Mr. Kopasz on his upcoming nuptials. He deserves the best of everything this bleak planet still has to offer. May Love and Peace and Light and Mercy reign o’er his House, always and forever. Long Live Paul K.!
 The Wire: