Sep 042008

RTH: What did the Flamin’ Groovies mean to you when you were a young rocker?

Paul Kopf: Saw The Groovies MANY times. Always my faves. Paticularly The Cyril/Chris Wilson era, though Roy Loney was cool too, but I saw The Groovies first in the mid- to late-1970s, when Roy was already out of the band. Used to go home and sing to their records, thinking I was doing Cyril’s parts but in fact I was doing Chris’! Cyril says that’s why we blend so well now, ’cause I was singing harmony with him all those years ago. It’s true I think, too.

RTH: How were they perceived as part of the San Francisco music scene? Were bands like the Groovies and The Beau Brummels swimming upstream, or were they just part of the fabric? From the East Coast, we saw the whole hippie-psych thing and then a handful of band who knew how to tune their guitars and play concise 3-minute rock ‘n roll songs.

Paul Kopf: Yeah ..Both of those bands were not really the norm in the hippie scene that’s for sure. Not liike The Dead, Airplane, Quicksilver, etc. They were more English to most. The Groovies have never really been that accepted in SF to this day…I mean Cyril tells me all the time that for The Groovies to get anywhere they had to always leave SF!! NYC for Teenage Head and London for Shake Some Action-era Groovies are examples. But now their legacy is just as big to some as those other bigger bands.

RTH: For you, as a fan, what do you consider the high points of each of the two phases of the Groovies?

Paul Kopf: Cyril and Chris-era Groovies is tops for me.

RTH: When Magic Christian plays live do you play Groovies songs, or even songs by The Plimsouls and Blondie?

Paul Kopf: No Plimsouls or Blondie tunes quite yet. One Groovies tune is allowed at this point.

RTH: Please note that this question is meant as a compliment, but how big are your balls? Do you ever catch yourself singing in with these guys and say, like David Byrne, “How did I get here?”

Paul Kopf: All the freakin’ time!!! Most be the photos I have on them that keeps them playing, or should I say allowing me to sing with them!!

RTH: What’s the best advice your bandmates have given you based on their extensive experiences on the road and in the studio?

Paul Kopf: Be ready for ANYTHING to happen! Also be careful who you allow into your realm and be less accessible, which is the complete opposite of my personality, if you know me at all. I’ve had that one bite me in the butt a couple times already.

RTH: Your bandmates must have some wild stories to tell. Who’s the best rock storyteller and dirt disher in the bunch?

Paul Kopf: They are all AMAZING storytellers… Cyril has some of the coolest most fascinating stories, as does Clem. Eddie’s are usually jokes or girl related. The guy is hilarious!!

RTH: Any choice stories you’d like to share in the Halls of Rock? You may include XTC stories from former Christian Prairie Prince. We’ll keep it under hat!

Paul Kopf: Cyril is The Walrus!!!

RTH: When’s the new Magic Christian album coming out? The tracks on your site sound great.

Paul Kopf: Thanks. Will be out in September. Hey…that means it’s ready NOW! See us about ordering, if interested.

RTH: Anything else you want the world to know about Magic Christian?

Paul Kopf: The Revolution’s here!! We think rock STILL lives! Come out to a show and rock with us!

At this point, Paul drank a glass of truth serum and agreed to sit down for some DUGOUT CHATTER!


  7 Responses to “The Rock Town Hall Interview: Paul Kopf of Magic Christian”

  1. sammymaudlin

    Cool! I haven’t heard of these guys. I love, love The Groovies and the songs the Magic Christian myspace page are pretty nifty.

    Where can I go to buy the album. I’ve got filthy lucre burning a hole in my pocket.

  2. 2000 Man

    Thanks for the swell interview. I’ve been keeping an eye on Magic Christian here from Cleveland, waiting for the album to come out. There’s some great clips of the band on YouTube, like this

    It’s cool to see Cyril still has that guitar. I like the way they sound, and it’s too bad Keith Richards got his ripped off, though I suppose he could have bought another one.

    It’s interesting that Paul likes the Chris era Groovies the most. He seems to sound a little more like Roy. Either way, I like them both and I think I’m gonna like this band a lot, too. 5 1/2 hours is as close as they seem to be getting to Cleveland, though. I don’t think I’ll be able to pull that one off, but you never know.

  3. Mr. Moderator

    2K, I’ve been thinking EXACTLY the same thing about Paul taking the Groovies back to their earlier sound. I think the best of the Groovies’ music from the Cyril-Chris era splits the difference between Brian-era Stones and mid-60s Beatles. Their cover of “Ups and Downs”, which I mentioned a while back after hearing the Paul Revere and the Raiders version on one of HVB’s Thrifty Music series not knowing was a cover, may be my favorite recording by them. I like it even better than their “hits” from either period. The Magic Christian stuff reminds me of that sound.

  4. Excellent interview, the Mod. I’ve been listening to their album a lot lately. It’s chock full of instantly classic sounding pop.

  5. Hmm, I waited to see MC for a long long time (two years after the classic “had tickets, blew it off” incident) and went about a year ago. Good stuff, lived up to my dreams, yadda yadda…but there was something weird: the singer was kinda vibing Eddie. Making (several) inside jokes that Eddie did not look like he appreciated (I forget the specifics). I dunno, I guess I’m surprised that Eddie is still in the mix here.

  6. Mr. Moderator

    cdm, how was the show? I was at a fundraiser ithat ran a lot later than expected. (Andyr, gotta tell you about the Flyboys in attendance!)

  7. Great! Really Great! Almost greater than Great, if that’s possible.

    Keep in mind that I have no ability to be objective about this. In fact, I had one of those out of body experiences that I’ve had a handful of times over the course of the years where I look down at myself during a rock show and am embarrassed to see such a fawning, starry-eyed fanboy.

    It was a high energy set that was tight, but ragged in all the right places. I don’t have a set list but aside from their own stuff, they played Anytime at All by the Beatles, Out in The Street by the Who, a blazing version of Anyway you Want It by the Dave Clark 5, and or course, Shake Some Action.

    It’s easy enough to fake your way through British Invasion style pop/rock and get satisfying results but to see people really nail it is another thing altogether. Maybe it has something to do with being there when it happened originally and then obsessing over it for 40 years.

    Cyril was playing that Dan Armstrong Lucite guitar through a 65 Twin reissue. (H said that he’s been talking to the Dan Armstrong folks about reissuing that guitar) He didn’t use a pick. He also had an SG with a psychedelic paint job exactly like that one that Clapton, Harrison, and, I think, Todd Rundgren played.

    He very well could be the nicest guy in rock and roll. Really friendly and full of entertaining stories (copping acid for Cream, getting the title for Teenage Head from Kim Fowley –go figure, Dave Edmund’s secret to proper mastering “lot and lots of compression… Pancake it”).

    Eddie was really solid on the bass. He was playing a Fender through an Ampeg SVT with one of those gigantic cabinets (8 12s?). He also played guitar for the entire set with the Parallax Project and did two Plimsouls songs and two songs that the Plimsouls used to cover. The only one I can remember right now is Everyday Things.

    And Clem Burke… Holy Crap! For years now I’ve been hearing how this guy is one of the best of his generation but to see it live and that close was stunning. He’s so quick and precise but at the same time so fluid. I’m not sure what I was expecting but he’s another really, really nice guy. Gracious and down to earth.

    Paul, the singer, is an excellent front man. Lots of energy and a fantastic Look. I think that he was looking forward to meeting you, Mr. Mod, because when I mentioned RTH he was pretty psyched. By the way, it’s a shame that Paul’s moose knuckle doesn’t receive any credit on the album because it really is like the 5th Magic Christian.

    Parallax Project and Berretta76 turned in really good sets and it felt like we played well (but I can never tell). All in all, a Great night. This one will keep me going for quite some time. GREAT!

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