TVD Radar: The Podcast with Evan Toth, Episode 5: Paul Collins, Part 1

Paul Collins was in what he calls, “the greatest band that never was.” As an integral member of California’s first power-pop trio, The Nerves, Collins was an early architect of a sound that wasn’t quite punk or new wave, it was power pop, but it was more: it was 24 carat rock and roll. Their music was so tight, well crafted and full of youthful energy and spunk that Blondie chose to cover The Nerves song, “Hanging on the Telephone” on their massively successful Parallel Lines album; in fact, it was the lead-off track. Today, Parallel Lines has sold somewhere in the neighborhood of 20 million copies; anyone who ever put a needle down on side one of that record had to hear a Nerves song first.

Today, music historians view The Nerves as a major rock and roll influence on modern music, but the band had challenges pushing through to the mainstream during their own time. Post-Nerves, Paul Collins wasted no time scrounging up the gumption for his second attack on worldwide success by creating another extremely influential rock band, The Beat (aka Paul Collins Beat). This time, Collins stepped from behind the drumset, wrote a barrel full of infectiously pure rock and roll and—with the help of Eddie Money, a record deal from CBS and management from Bill Graham—set out to take over the world.

Well, his career didn’t quite go the way he planned. In fact, most things didn’t and that’s what makes Mr. Collins’ new book I Don’t Fit In such a hypnotic read. It’s a rock and roll showbusiness story full of backstage realities, near misses, one-way plane tickets, addresses written on napkins, and smiles in the spotlight. But it’s also a tale of commitment and one man’s dogged pursuit of the light at the end of the tunnel.

Paul Collins and I discuss all of these things, and boy did we discuss: in-fact, we discussed so much that this will be a Radar two-parter, the first coming to you at the beginning of the Memorial Day weekend holiday, and the conclusion will find you when we see you again on the other side, in September.

Evan Toth is a songwriter, professional musician, educator, radio host, avid record collector and hi-fi aficionado. Toth hosts and produces The Sharp Notes each Saturday evening at 6pm and TVD Radar on Sundays at 5AM on WFDU, 89.1 FM. Follow him at the usual social media places and visit his website.

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