British rockers The Quireboys, not to be confused with Aussie one-hit wonders Choirboys, couldn’t have asked for a better group of musical buddies to kick off their career. Cutting their teeth alongside the likes of The Rolling Stones and Guns N’ Roses, the industry veterans have seen and participated in some of the most legendary myths of rock n’ roll.
With their debut Australian tour finally on the horizon, guitarist Paul Guerin took some time out to chat to us about his time in the group, revealing a surprising connection to Aussie rock in the process.
“When we were recording our new LP I was out making a cup of tea, and Guy (Griffin) who was laying down some tracks, he asked me to play some slide guitar” he recalls.
“Normally you would do it in an open tuning on guitar, but the guitar that I was playing on was in a standard tuning, and I thought ‘this sounds so Rose Tattoo‘, so I had to pay tribute to Pete Wells, and I hope I did him proud!”
Hearing Rose Tattoo lavishly praised by a guitarist from the UK’s version of Newcastle was a surprise, but as Paul revealed, the sounds achieved by Angry Anderson and co. had a far greater impact on musicians around the world than just Aussie pubs.
“It was do or die – but I wanted to gig so bad – I didn’t sleep for a week”.
“In 1987 when I first moved to London…it was like an apprenticeship to work your way up through the musical ranks…the guitarist who I replaced in my first band was an amazing slide player, so I had one week to learn how to do it. I had a week, it was do or die – but I wanted to gig so bad – I didn’t sleep for a week.”
“I listened to loads of the stuff that Wells did – he was a huge inspiration on my playing. I love doing the slide thing too, so that helps!”
Being a musician in the same circle as the likes of some of rock’s most legendary names has no doubt paid off for the group musically – their new record Amazing Disgrace combines the classic sounds of Cold Chisel with the danger and grit of Motley Crue in a blistering trip down memory lane.
However, Paul is adamant that being surrounded by contemporaries headlining football stadiums hasn’t made the band wish they were playing to more people.
“Nothing [in music] has changed in the last 100 years, it’s just what’s promoted the most, but the quality is still there.”
“I truly think that it’s all about the music. If you think about it, my kids listen to this horrific stuff, but at the same time they think it’s the only thing that’s happening. Everything is happening! If you love rockabilly, you’ll find a rockabilly scene. Nothing [in music] has changed in the last 100 years, it’s just what’s promoted the most, but the quality is still there.”
“I love flared trousers and if you wait long enough, it’ll come around again. Bands like Def Leppard and the Gunners will always be stadium bands, and so many people focus on the negative regarding how that doesn’t happen as much anymore – but it’s dead simple; the band plays, you go see them, otherwise the venue will close down.”
It’s a refreshing sentiment to hear, and one that has no doubt paid dividends to the group’s creative output.
“After all”, says Paul, “we do acoustic tours to 200-300 people, and it’s just as powerful as the full electric band, because it’s designed that way. That’s just as exciting as 3,000 people at The Forum in London.”
Despite their impressive output and commitment to staying present, Aussie fans can still expect to hear some Quireboys classics when they finally arrive this month.
“A lot of festivals we do we only have 60 minutes which isn’t enough for us, but if it’s our own show we play 90-100 minutes, and if we have longer than that we keep playing. We work backwards though – we have to play Hey You, we have to play There She Goes Again, because if we don’t then people just moan and groan.”
“We still chop and change all the time, and a healthy amount of the new record is in the set, but the classic tunes will still be there.”
While some of the pushback from purists no doubt annoys Paul, there’s no sense of jadedness from the guitarist when it comes to being on the road after so many years.
“These shows are gonna be just such a good musical reunion. I’ve got so many friends in Australia and New Zealand, and all the Kiwis have booked flights to come over and see the shows. Kylie Minogue’s managers are coming to the shows – it’s gonna be a brilliant rock n’ roll time.”
When pressed on the matter, Paul can’t promise that the band will crack out a cover of ‘Locomotion’ in homage to Kylie, but that doesn’t mean that The Quireboys are through with taking risks.
“We’re not nervous to tackle anything, we’re such a close band of friends. The relationship we have has lasted longer than any other relationship that we’ve had!”
For now though?
“I’m sitting with my feet on my chair, in front of my big TV, just the way I like it!”
QUIREBOYS AUSTRALIAN TOUR
Tickets available now
Thursday, 20th February
The Gov, Adelaide
Friday, 21st February
The Factory Theatre, Sydney
Saturday, 22nd February
The Prince Bandroom, Melbourne
Sunday, 23rd February
The Triffid, Brisbane