When the Paladins named their latest record Million Mile Club
(4AD), there was not an ounce of bullshit involved. Averaging
200 live dates and 75,000 miles per year on the road, San Diego's
premiere roots band passed the million-mile marker years ago.
Which only made them hungry for more. Lucky for us.
Paladins guitarist Dave Gonzales started the band with high school
pal Thomas Yearsley, Paladins bassist until last year, nearly
two decades ago, bent on passing the music of past generations--namely
Gonzales' penchant for Link Wray, and a vast sampling of country
and blues--to the next. Round about five years ago, with thousands
of shows and a handful of brilliant, pure rockabilly albums under
their collective belt, the Paladins became a biyearly Dingo Bar
mainstay, pulling into town and pulling out all the stops at the
now defunct club. "We're playing at a new place, because,
unfortunately, the Dingo Bar isn't around anymore," said
Gonzales from his San Diego home. "Miguel (Corrigan), who
is a great guy, had us there many times and was a great friend
to the band, hung in there as long as he could. But (current Paladins
drummer and former Sultans member) Brian (Fahey) told us about
this great new place called the Launchpad, so that's where we're
at this time around."
Fahey, who had been in an earlier incarnation of the Paladins--the
one that recorded Let's Buzz for Alligator Records--rejoined
the group following the departure of Jeff Donovan after a recent
European tour. Shortly thereafter, Yearsley bowed out, making
room for young bassist Joey Jazdzewski, a veteran of the James
Harman Band. "It's a new line-up," said Gonzales. "Brian
made what's probably our most popular record to date and toured
with us for about three years before moving out to the 'Q.' Jeff
was with us for about five years. Right before he left, I had
just seen Brian, because we were playing the Dingo one night and
the Sultans were playing across the alley (at Brewster's Pub).
So I went over on my break to check them out, and Brian came over
on his to hear us and wound up sitting in. Afterwards, he said,
'You know if you ever need me, I'm ready,' so I called him up
after Jeff left, he came out to California, and we started working
out the sound."
With their membership in a state of flux recently, Gonzales says
he's more thankful than ever that the Paladins are still playing.
"It changes, you know," he said. "You can play
the same songs with new guys, and it sounds a little different.
But Brian's a way-back-in-the-pocket drummer and Joey's a way-back-in-the-pocket
bass player, and we just all clicked."
"It's taken about a year for Brian and I to really get locked
in, but it's really starting to feel good. A number of record
labels are interested in making the new record, so we've just
got a couple of weekends before it's rehearsal time and demo time.
Hopefully, by the end of the year we'll have a new disc recorded,"
The Paladins' sound, according to the Guild-slinging Gonzales,
is rockabilly in its purest form. "We stay pretty rootsy
about the songwriting thing. We're not big political or ballad
writers. We're honky-tonk, rockabilly with a little blues in there,"
he said. "We really like the vintage trip. That's what the
Paladins have always been about--Link Wray, Elvis Presley, the
Beatles, the Stones--that early sound."
Gonzales credits his mother for sparking his interest in music,
an interest that has yet to pass. "She was hip, you know.
She bought all the cool records when they came out and supported
our garage bands. I'm lucky that I got turned on to that music
and never shied away from it. I've always just really liked early
rock 'n' roll, rockabilly and blues."
And with the recent rockabilly revival still on the upswing, Gonzales
is more excited about the Paladins than ever. "It's great,
man. It's coming around again, and a lot of young people are coming
out to our shows to hear rockabilly," he said. "When
we were starting out in the early '80s, people didn't know what
By Michael Henningsen, Weekly Wire