Paul Collins is a power pop lifer. Fresh out of college, he moved to California and joined the Nerves with Peter Case (later of the Plimsouls) and Jack Lee. The Nerves only recorded one single during its career, but it was an influential one. You've definitely heard at least one track: "Hangin' On The Telephone," which Blondie covered on Parallel Lines.
After the Nerves, Collins moved down to LA and formed a new band, the Beat, whose self-titled debut is about as textbook an example of power pop as exists, brimming with catchy melodies, Beatlesque harmonies, irresistible riffs and deceptively insightful lyrics about cars, girls, and the drudgery of the 9-to-5 life. One minor name change later (to avoid confusion with the British ska band known here as the English Beat), and the Paul Collins Beat went on to record a series of fine but overlooked albums. If anyone deserves to call himself "King of Power Pop" -- the name of his most recent CD -- Paul Collins is certainly a contender.
The major-label record deal and dreams of Knack-like stardom have long faded, but Collins has never really stopped. He continues to record respectable new music. He's embraced the Internet and the DIY aesthetic in a big way, doing his own mail order and inviting his fans to join "the Beat Army" on Facebook.
At the moment, the Paul Collins Beat is at the tail end of a month-long tour that's hit everywhere from Seattle to Carbondale. Tonight, June 24, the band pulls into the Demo with support from local buzzsaw-pop duo Bruiser Queen and Nashville band Sherbert. The show starts at 8:00 p.m., and ticket are $10. Advance notice says that the band is in fine form. Don't miss.
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