Prescribed Drugs Only: Mr. Paul K.

By William Brents

When I was invited to Tewligans for a Paul K and the Weathermen show, I went not only because the night was looking rather uneventful but, more importantly, to give Paul K. a chance at redemption. You see, the last time I saw Paul K. perform, (which was in 1989) he was visibly tattered and unconcerned with his music. The reason for that, he told me in a candid interview, was because of his excessive drug use.

"Please don't judge me on my past. I was a total wreck back then," he said.

That was blatantly clear when I compared that show with this one.

Paul wasn't expecting to play a solo acoustic set but, when the opening group, Pour Floyd Moore, unexpectedly disbanded, Paul agreed. In almost complete darkness the dapper and lanky singer-songwriter glued himself to a stool on stage and with a borrowed acoustic guitar he let his feelings be known:

"I'm going to play the most depressing songs you've ever heard."

And, true to his word, he dealt out many dark and brunting stories that specifically won my praise for the imagery alone.

Originally from Detroit, Paul received a scholarship from the University of Kentucky in Lexington; that is where he has mainly lived for the past ten years. However, he has also lived in New York on three different occasions. "My last stint in New York was very detrimental to my health, I worked in a slum as a building superintendent and when I got paid all I had to do was walk three blocks to pick up my dope. That's all that mattered. I didn't even care about playing."

The luckiest day in his life might have been when he was arrested in Cincinnati on drug charges. "For the law to intervene and give me an ultimatum was probably the only way I was going to stop."

Now that the 28-year-old musician has wisely dispensed of his bad habit, he can get down to the business of writing, playing and recording songs. Paul, along with his backing group the Weathermen, have recently recorded an LP entitled Patriots in a 24-track studio in Nashville that Paul described as having an immaculate sound. Paul said their manager is presently shopping around for a record deal.

And from what I heard from Paul K. and the Weathermen during their group set, any record label would be foolish not to sign this talented trio. The music is listener-friendly and cohesive. Paul sometimes experiments with his guitar's effects but nothing gimmicky or super weird. Just great rock music. No earplugs needed here -- just your undivided attention.