Paul Young’s hope is that the downscaling of Paul Young meets the upscaling of Los Pacaminos somewhere in the middle – and that he can actually make money from both.
But in the meantime, things are certainly moving in the right direction with his Tex-Mex band. He’s ready to take them to the next level.
His point is that their current album is just so good it would be wasted if it didn’t reach a wider audience.
In the meantime, they are playing the Empire Hall, Graffham on Saturday, October 17 (doors and bar open 7.30pm; performance 8pm; tickets £17 from www.rootsaroundtheworld.com).
Los Pacaminos have been going 23 years, coinciding with Paul’s chart days: “Senza la Donna was a hit around about that time. But really I just wanted something to do when I was not doing the Paul Young stuff. Tex-Mex was something I got into through Ry Cooder. He used Mexican musicians on a couple of albums. It was an interesting sound. It had a soulful vibe, and it was not really that big a departure. I just carried on.
“I was just buying the records and listening. It was the same with soul and r’n’b. You don’t have to go to America to hear it, and this was the same thing. I just wanted to explore the genre. But since I started the band, I have actually dipped into Mexico a couple of times by vehicle. It can be a challenging place if you go to the wrong places!”
The problem with Los Pacaminos, though, is the scale: “There are too many of us, and we are operating on a very small budget. I have just come back from Australia where it was £2,000 a ticket and then you have to pay a ridiculous amount to get a working visa. I was out there doing Paul Young stuff. I would love to get Los Pacaminos into America, but it is the cost.”
And so, Paul remains both. At the time of speaking he was contemplating a six and a half hour drive to Cornwall to appear as Paul Young – followed the next day by a five hour drive to The Brook at Southampton (Saturday, October 3) to appear with Los Pacaminos.
And just to confuse everyone, he’s also been booked with Los Pacaminos at an 80s festival.
“But actually I do behave very differently when I am each. At the Paul Young shows, people come along to hear certain songs and they are expecting certain things when I am on stage, but when I am with Los Pacaminos, I am much more relaxed and informal. There is a lot of chat between the songs. My sidekick is a terrible influence on me. It is all a lot more off the cuff. All the time we are watching each other because we might change a song at any given moment or do a longer solo or whatever. We just give each other the nod. There is a lot more freedom.”
And the two attract largely different sets of fans: “Some Paul Young fans don’t like Los Pacaminos at all. One nasty guy on Facebook said I should stick to soul music, but I never really thought I did soul music at all. It was very much more pop music. But really I have always liked to explore different types of music. The first music I bought was Free and James Taylor and Stevie Wonder and The Doors.”
Paul never hoped Los Pacaminos would become massive, but now he’s hoping to take them to the next level: “The current album is just so good. It would be wasted if it was heard by just a few people. We need to get a manager and a proper agent and to start looking around a bit more. In an ideal world, if the down-scaling of Paul Young and the up-scaling of Los Pacaminos could meet in the middle, that would be great. I would like to earn money from both sides. At the moment it is just really beer money with Los Pacaminos.
“My heyday was in the 80s. Nobody would say that it is now. But I am at a level where it is OK doing Paul Young shows. I do the theatres. But I would love it if Los Pacaminos came up alongside them a little bit more.”
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