Paul Coxon is a name that has been synonymous with Newcastle music for more than 20 years, and with an experience extending a stretch that long, anyone could be forgiven for thinking he might have his sights set on a jaded rock & roll retirement. But no, not this bloke, the stalwart is still writing and performing with an enthusiasm new kids on the block could only aspire to. Paul, Together with writing partner and guitarist Adam Taylor and drummer Stevo Alchin are The Wild Oats and you better believe they still got plenty to sew. I can assure you they have a work ethic second to none, a professionalism that can only be earned and learned through a years of dedication and hard work. We caught up with Paul and the lads last time they were in.
Paul you were in a band called Faceplant through the 90’s and it was a reasonably big deal. For those that might be unfamiliar, can you tell us a little bit about the band?
FACEplant were a pretty busy band in the 90's. We were constantly on tour headlining our own shows and supporting many national and international acts around Australia. The Cult, Whitesnake, Silverchair, The Angels, Divinyls, Front End Loader, The Screaming Jets and You Am I to name a few. It was never about the money or recognition (which was lucky because there was NEVER any money and very little recognition.) It was all about playing to as many people we could. We would often load up two car loads of Guitars, Amps and Drums and drive six hours to Canberra, set up, play our 45 minute set then drive straight back to Newy arriving at sun rise for the grand total of $50.00 (Thats for the entire band). We just loved playing and would do anything to play. We were so busy playing that we only had the one EP release "Upper case FACE" which we hated because it sounded nothing like we did live. The single from it "Rose coloured Glasses" was the number one requested song on listener run countdowns on both NEWFM and NXFM for 27 and 24 weeks respectively. We did do some more recording that turned out awesome, but no one got to hear it because we wouldn't sign a contract with the label that recorded it. We started our own venue at the Arts centre in Parry street and called it "The Black Box." It was an all ages gig that would pack out with hundreds of kids that would go absolutely wild. I still run into people today that say they were one of those kids 20 years ago in the mosh pit. Fun times!
Since Faceplant, what are some of the projects you’ve been involved with?
After FACEplant I joined a band called "Tractor" a rocking little three piece. (The next big thing apparently) More info to come in question #3. Since then Ive been in so many bands and my love for playing has grown and grown. I still play in a lot of different line ups but my true love is "The Wild Oats!" I do some solo and due gigs but I'm also in "Compadre Diablo," (Whiskey slinging', Gypsy Blues band) "The Monsters," (compiled with members of Rose Tattoo & The Screaming Jets) and I play with Angry Anderson (Rose Tattoo) from time to time.
You’d mentioned you had a publishing deal with Warner Chappel, at what point and how did that come about?
As mentioned before the publishing deal with Warner Chappel came whilst I was in "TRACTOR" We signed on the dotted line, they through us a stack of cash to do some recording which turned out to be F@#king awesome but the company hated it. So from then on in we were obligated to give them any song we wrote and they owned everything. Hind sight is a wonderful thing.
What are some of the projects Adam and Steve have been involved with over the years?
Stevo Alchin and I were in a band in the late 80's called the "Thunder Monkeys." Same sort of deal as "FACEplant" playing our assess off all over the country with only one release, the "F.F.F.F" Ep. Adam Taylor played in a few bands in Tazzie and I believe he played with Russell Morris for a while. I met Adam whilst working behind the bar at a club in Mayfield. We started talking music and influences and I really warmed to this guy. I went over to his house one afternoon with my acoustic guitar and started playing him and his girlfriend at the time some of my original songs. he started playing along with me and that was the beginning of our musical friendship.
You seem to have a very solid writing relationship with Adam. From the outside it seems as though you both know your roles and play them without ego. Is this something that you have worked on over time, or has the partnership been completely organic? Do you have a particular formula that you write with? Are you sitting down together with nothing on the canvas, or are you working on ideas individually then building on them together?
Adam and I work really well together. It's like he reads my mind sometimes. I might be thinking of a part for a song and he will play the exact thing I was thinking without mentioning it. Our song writing dose usually start off as an idea of either Adam or myself but neither of us are too precious and are open to each others input. We both know what each other likes I guess. We have so many songs that we have written together. We use to play gigs in one of our incarnations and do 3 x 45 minute sets of originals. Stevo has really added to our writing team. he calls a spade a spade and lets us know if we are becoming self indulgent and pulls us back into line.
Stevo is an intimidating sort of bloke. Is he as hard as he is solid behind the drums or is there a softer side he keeps for a close circle?
Ha!!! He wanted to answer this one but you wouldn't have been able to use it. He wanted to start by telling you (Ben) to Get F@#ked! Stevo is the most outspoken, opinionated, dedicated, passionate, reliable, solid drummer i have ever played with. I can see why people would think he is intimidating , but as you know Ben, once you get to know him that he is a top bloke. Number one, he is a family man. He is a Husband, Father and Grandfather. I have done more gigs with Stevo than anyone. He has not once ever cancelled a gig due to illness or anything else. he even turned up one night and played left footed because he had torn his calf muscle in half. He defiantly is a unique character and thats why I love him. He is a very generous bloke who looks after his mates and he has been covered in tattoos long before they became cool.
You rehearse harder than any band we’ve had through the place, what is in the next phase of The Wild Oats? Recording? Gigs? Tour?
We love rehearsing. We love the songs we have created. We are going into record about ten of our songs if we can play them good enough with minimum takes. (hence the rehearsing) We intend on giving these recordings away once recorded. We aren't out to make our fame or fortune from this. We are still stuck in the mind set of playing live rules!!!! Get our songs out there and maybe we can get more bodies to gigs. We are quite busy with other projects till the end of the year so the focus is on the completion of the recording. Once thats done, its GIG Fest. If anyone wants a support band or wants to share a bill, lets do it.
What do you like to do away from music?
Outside of music I have a raging motorcycle habit. Offload, road, enduro, long haul desert rides. "Don't get me started!" Stevo is big on photography at the moment and AT is getting all excited because the cricket season is about to start.
As seasoned veterans in this game, do you have any particular advice to offer those about to start playing and those that might be stuck jaded somewhere in the middle?
Play because you love to play. Music is not sport or a competition. Support live, local, original music and the venues that house them. Show appreciation and respect to other musicians and bands, not attitude .
Sage words mate. Sage words. For more information on where and how The Wild Oats are getting sewn chuck them a like on The Book.