Paul Nelson Band
Johnny Winter All-Star Band
Paul Nelson has got to be one of the busiest guys in the music business these days. He won a grammy as a producer for Johnny Winter’s Step Back and his phone has been ringing off the wall ever since. He has had many offers from other artists to produce albums. When he isn’t busy with that, he also plays in the Johnny Winter All Star Band. He also released his first album as the Paul Nelson Band. Paul was able to recently squeeze fifteen minutes out of his busy schedule to give us an exclusive interview. Sit back and enjoy.
Rock Show Critique: We last talked to you a year ago. It appears you have been extremely busy recording, writing and producing.
Paul Nelson: It’s been nuts (laughs) to say the least.
RSC: Give us a rundown on all the stuff you’ve been working on.
PN: Well my album is finally finished. I signed with Sony. It’s called the Paul Nelson Band Badass Generation. After Johnny (Winter) passed I had to keep on going. I’ve known these musicians from the road. The singer Morten Fredheim I had produced and he had done some shows opening for Johnny so I knew I wanted to work with him. Chris Redden on drums from Papa Chubby a great touring drummer. Chris Alexander who plays with Samantha Fish and tons of others. We all got together, the singer was number two on the Voice in Europe. So he came over from Norway, we started recording and we came out with this album. We’re really happy, it’s getting a lot of airplay. We’re going to start touring in May after I get done doing the Johnny Winter All-Star thing. The movie Down and Dirty just came out a few days ago.
So that’s two things, there’s much more. I just produced Joe Louis Walker’s album which just received a BMA nod. Right now it’s touring and the new CD.
RSC: The title Badass Generation, how did you come up with it?
PN: Well you go out among society and you hear people describe things oh that’s badass, that’s badass. Everything that happens is now badass. I’m like what is this some kind of badass generation? The light went off and I said wait a minute we’re gonna give a nod from this generation to that generation. I said let’s put a cassette. Something that resembles and is iconic of that period. So we put that in, its kind of a play on words. It’s this generation celebrating music of that generation. Because of the way music is right now, I think we came in at a good time because there are so many nods to that style of music. It allows an artist to put a wide variety of songs on the recordings now rather than sticking with one category. Because I produced it was my job to put it all together to make it cohesive. We were big fans of Boston, Aerosmith and Zeppelin, Van Halen, ZZ Top and Allman Brothers and also jam and southern rock. So we got in that mindset but wrote all our own stuff. So when your surrounded with great musicians it just starts happening.
RSC: How do you find it producing your own album as opposed to someone else’s? Do you go about it differently or do you treat it the same?
PN: Well in this case you put a different hat on for the style of music. So I knew I wanted to tip my hat to the production of the past recording techniques but still have more punch to it. The facilities that are available now that they didn’t have then. But it’s your baby so you do cradle it a little more. Every project I do I’m very analytical anyway. I always sink my teeth into everything I do. It’s also the amount of time you have. If you have your own project you may have a little more time. Usually I go into projects with good budgets. Everybody is asking me to produce lately so it’s pretty cool.
RSC: Do you have a wish list of some people you’d like to produce someday?
PN: It’s more about styles. I like producing rock guys, blues guys, any kind of musicians. People with talent that need musical direction so they can create what they need to create without all the hassles of worrying about anything else. You’re an overseer like a movie director and your getting out of them what they want and more. You’re in charge of everything. Scheduling, the arrangements of the songs, the orders, the keys, the editing, the mixing, it’s all inclusive.
RSC: How long did it take to produce Badass Generation?
PN: We worked on it about a month. They came over here and it was lockdown. I was writing, we were recording, writing, recording it was nonstop. We had the songs very quickly then it was just a question of piecing together lyrics in song form and getting the right sounds and then editing and mixing. We added Danny Louis from Government Mule he put some keyboard parts on. We added some other guests as well.
RSC: What tracks would you recommend?
PN: Everybody’s got their favorite. I like them all because I’m part of them but even the record label when they listened to it said this is my favorite. Then they listened to the next song and said no this is my favorite. It’s really strange. I like them all and that’s what I wanted the fans to do. No throwaway songs. The first song, the middle song the fifth song and the last song are just as strong. We really gave it our all on this one. I think we have a writing style of what we wanna hear and what our fans wanna hear. I could have went the Johnny route which everyone thought I might do, try and sound like Johnny and that kind of thing. But I said no. Johnny was Johnny and I was with him long enough to know how he played and what he played. It wouldn’t have done him or myself justice. He once said “Paul I know you could play a lot of different stuff, even stuff I can’t even play, but I’m so glad you play blues with me.” That was a real high compliment.
RSC: How did you come to meeting Lance Lopez?
PN: Lance was an opening act for us in Germany. We friended him and he asked me to work with him and I did that and a studio album as well. He’s doing great, a great player.
RSC: What’s on tap after touring? Is there a new album in the works already?
PN: I started to work on that already, absolutely. Again with the Johnny Winter All Star Project. The concept behind it is to keep Johnny’s legacy going like the Hendrix Experience Tour. Now there’s a BB King All Star Band which is the original members, it’s not a tribute it’s the real guys. We went to Jamaica with Warren Haynes and Sonny Landreth. We’ve had Edgar (Winter) sit in, Earl Slick, Joe Louis Walker. We’re just gonna keep it going. Now with the movie Down And Dirty out we are going to tour that for a couple of months on the heel of the release.
More producing yes. I’m working on a Junior Wells project. I just had the whole Blues Brothers horns here you know the guys from Letterman, “Bones” Malone and “Blue Lou”. A lot of stuff in the works.
For more on Paul check out the following:
Facebook: Paul Nelson Band