A UK based sleaze Rock band from the 90s have picked up the baton and began treading the boards again. After a recent return to the stage at Camdens Dublin Castle Paradise Alley are back in the ring taking another swing so we thought it was about time we got comfortable with frontman Stevie Vincent and found out who the hell is Paradise Alley and where do they fit in in 2019.
Can you remember the point when you realised you wanted to be in a band?
I remember when I was a little kid being obsessed with Elvis and Glam Rock. My Uncle gave me his old Elvis signature guitar which was as big as me and I would thrash away on it singing Elvis and Sweet songs so the spark probably started there, lol. Consciously though it was probably when I was around twelve and my friends and I started to talk about having a band, it just seemed to make you really cool and I was never one of the cool kids, hahaha.
How did you find your music as a kid?
To begin with, it was just through watching Top Of The Pops every week which when you were a kid in the 70s was the law, you had to watch it. Even your parents watched it just so they could moan about these new-fangled bands making a racket. Then I became friends with this other kid who was a year older and was totally obsessed with music, regardless of the type of music, he was into it so through that friendship I just started trawling record shops for hours every weekend and being exposed to lots of different types of music and bands.Was it tough putting a band together when you first started out compared to now in 2019?
I would say easier back then than now. You could just meet people when you were out at the pub or in record or music stores which was really organic. Plus you had lots of ways to advertise for musicians, local music stores were everywhere and had notice boards and you had Sounds, Melody Maker and Kerrang classifieds so it seemed easier to network then. Strange when you think about social media now but so many “musicians” now seem purely driven by how much money are they going to get paid or when you ask for influences they just blurt out what they like and then say I want a band like that – there isn’t a band that sounds like Guns N Roses mixed with Slayer and Perry Como as far as I know, hahahaha. I mean, I like a lot of diverse stuff, but when it comes to the music I play, all of us in the band know where we are coming from musically.When or what was the spark that made you want to resurrect the band?
Never say never eh? I was actually in Helsinki at the time and was with my friends from Plastic Tears, Miqu and Edu and we started talking a bit about our shared history and stuff and it cam up about how we had never actually managed to tour together which was something we had mentioned in the past. Anyway, by the end of the night I had contacted Taj and asked him if he fancied us putting the band back together and carrying on the legacy.Did you reach out to the other past members or don’t they do Rock and Roll anymore?
Other than Taj, no. We had tried that before back in 2013 and that did not work out at all. People’s heads were in different places, old habits that had caused problems in the past were still there and it just became hard work to be around. In the end we were doing it for fun and certain individuals were making it anything but so we played our last show with a rag tag line-up in June 2015 and just walked away.You recently returned to the stage. How was it?
It felt really good, we had some fire back in the belly and the audience reaction was just like the old days. It was a bit rough round the edges but that’s rock’n’roll and as we play more shows, etc things will smooth out more.You have finally got all the pieces of the band together tell us about the band in 2019? who what and where did you find them?
Well, we are still drummerless actually and relying on session drummers to do the shows at the moment so that’s not ideal. We have a couple of really good guys helping us out on drums but it would be good to have the role filled permanently. Sadly everyone who contacts us either assumes we are signed to Universal Music and expects a massive salary, or just does not get what we are doing musically, so the search continues.
Taj has been in the band since 1998 and been a friend even longer (since about ’89 or ’90), I always say he is my Nasty Suicide. We work together well and we both have a shared love of Hanoi Rocks.
Ben Webster, the other guitarist we actually found through Facebook. We had been looking for ages and his name kept cropping up and in the end, his mate put him forward for it. We met up and just sat around, had a few drinks, jammed and it gelled right away. He had the right attitude and was under no illusions that we were about to get signed for 10 million dollars or any of that crap. He has definitely helped put the fire back in the belly. Ben Alexander on bass was actually a fan of the band and again we were linked through social media. We knew he played bass so when we started putting the band back together we asked him if he was up for this That was pretty much it.The music climate has changed massively since the 90s what are the biggest changes you’ve noticed?
How people consume music. I mean, there does seem to be a bit of a shift back to CD and vinyl and actually listening to albums rather than just random tracks which is a good thing, but also, we don’t have the whole tribe culture that was there when we were growing up. There are punks, rockers, mods new romantics, goths in the way that there used to be. I think that is really sad. No one nails their colours to the post anymore and you don’t see people having the same passion for music or bands. Mind you, how could anyone be passionate about Ed Sheeran or bloody Jess Glynne? hahahahahaha
what about new music? Have you picked up a guitar and written any material?
We are right in the middle of doing that now. When we tried back in 2013, that had been one of my hopes but no one showed any real interest. When I first spoke to Taj in 2017 about doing this, I said I wanted to move forward and not just play the same ten songs forever or I would knock it on the head. So, we are looking to release something very, very soon as a bit of a taster and then work towards a full new album sometime next year. So, we ARE writing new songs, we are demoing too and something will be coming VERY soon.You spent time in NYC and LA have you been recently? They were always great Rock and roll towns but it seems the world is heading to hell in a handcart and not holding a bottle of jack but wearing loafers and no socks with a lovely smelling beard? Do you think sleazy Rock and Roll will ever come full circle?
I think it will always be there as long as there are people out there showing interest. It is very niche but then, I guess it always was. Even when GnR went massive, there were a lot of confused Mums and Das and “normal” people at the live shows because it wasn’t all sweetness and light, hahaha. Look at events like HRH sleaze, there is an audience and a younger audience too. I love seeing another generation coming through wearing cool clothes again and embracing the rock’n’roll world, without that music just becomes gentrified like all our cities and towns. I mean, look at the crap we are force-fed by the mass media, it’s Starbucks /identikit bland rubbish designed not to offend or make you think. I want music that makes you go “holy fuck!”, I want the musicians to look like they landed from another planet, not like they are here to fix a leaky tap.
Haven’t been back to LA or NYC recently although I know they are both shadows of their former selves. There are plans to visit both from a band point of view, but I’m not saying more than that just yet, don’t want anyone else stealing my plans.What new music have you been listening to? (If any)
Does the Michael Monroe band count? hahahaha. I try and listen to new stuff but most of it just leaves me cold and even when I say I have listened to something new, it usually turns out to be from the late 90s or early 2000s. I do like The Struts. Got into them when the first album came out and no one here had a clue who they were. Sadly, I can see the rough edges getting chipped away and they are becoming slicker and slicker. I hope they resist it and keep that little British edginess, but I reckon the mighty dollar will win in the end. Can’t blame em, they are there to make money, but I like my artists to have a little bit of integrity.Will there be any other live shows? who would you like to tour with?
Of course, there will, we are back and live is where we shine. We’re back in London at The Big Red on August 10 then off to Y Lew Coch in Mach as part of the Rock’n’Roll Circus weekend on August 25. There are other dates confirmed but we’ll be announcing those soon enough. We will tour with anyone we can. I don’t want to get stuck in the nostalgia circuit though which is very easy to do. It’s lazy on the part of some sections of the industry to just lump you in with certain bands but we seem to attract all types of music fans and we aren’t out to just live in the past.If you were to explain what your band is all about how would you best describe your sound (we all love a pigeon hole)
oooooh, that’s sneaky, hahaha. We’re just a rock’n’roll band that takes influences from all over the place and it comes out sounding like Paradise Alley. If you wanted to narrow it down I guess I would say Aerosmith meets the Ramones….that sound like a good pigeonhole to you Dom?If you have anything else you’d like to say nows your chance –
Just that we are glad to be back and to be moving forward, if you love rock’n’roll in all it’s forms, check us out, listen on Spotify or Amazon or one of the other streaming platforms. We are here to entertain and make rock’n’roll glamorous and fun again. The world needs a little bit of escapism right now