As appears in Rhythms Magazine (Australias premier roots music mag) by Nick Argyriou March 2011
When Paulie Bignell decided to have a little sabbatical from his decade plus role in stylish roots rockers, The Detonators and explore the more amalgamated musical terrain of rock ‘n’ roll, blues, rockabilly and country, he knew he wanted to record in St. Louis and have a certain someone provide the rhythm. A certain someone he had never actually met, but had admired from afar for countless years. “I’d never met Preston Hubbard”, claims Bignell. “I knew some people who knew him and dropped a few names to him so he didn’t think I was just some kook on the internet,” laughs the Blackburn sparkie/producer/muso.
Perhaps best know for his work in seminal ’70’s Texan blues unit, The Fabulous Thunderbirds and for having a lifelong heroin habit, the enigmatic bassist was all too pleased to work with Bignell on realising his solo opus. The vision for Bignell was clear. Find Hubbard. Fly to St. Louis and bang out the record. Then fly home. Red Eye Flight indeed. With Hubbard pulling in the services of drummer Joe Meyer (Jeremy Davenport, Thaddeus Richard, Sarah Bettens) to lay the foundation all was set. “When Preston said, ‘Get your arse over here’, I had three weeks to get the record together, book a studio over there and secure an engineer, but it all lined up and we did it!” he proudly informs.
Sending rough demos over to Hubbard before jetting over to Missouri, Bignell admits to being a little bit taken aback to discover both CDs were sitting on Hubbard’s coffee table, meaning he hadn’t given one to Meyer. “He told me that he kept forgetting to give one to Joe,” laughs Bignell. “He would say, ‘I keep forgetting Homes, I keep forgetting Homes’. He looked at me being a bit worried but reassured me by telling me that Joe was, ‘The Shit!’ so we were all alright after that,” he explains. With engineering duties falling to another Preston (Jones), Bignell says life in the heat of the studio occasionally became a little muddled. “We had to call one of them Preston and the other one Pres but once we got going things were okay.” Informing Bignell that he had been living the existence of a hermit over the past few years, Hubbard was forthright about his habits, but assured the Australian that this wouldn’t have a direct impact on their working relationship. “He takes it pretty easy these days and everyone knows who he is and what he can do…I mean, the guy is just the real deal and knows everyone from both side of the tracks…you talk about Dave Edmunds and then Preston starts talking about his mate Dave Edmunds. It could have been anyone, and he loved to ramble on about his relationships with them,” states Bignell.
Flying out to the US empty-handed by ways of gear, Bignell acquired a guitar and amp in St. Louis. He then hooked up with Hubbard for a day or two prior to recording to discuss the album and shoot the breeze at a big Louisiana-style BBQ. Three days of this, and two in the studio, Bignell jests that it felt like he was in the air for as long as he was on the ground. Talk about a whirlwind visit! But it runs with the theme of his Red Eye Flight oh so appositely. A genuine snatch and grab job that tackles Bignell’s ideology of conjuring a record that sounds like, as he states, “An old jukebox in your favourite bar, familiar, uplifting and rollicking”. Industrial riffs and rhythm coalescing with grungy and sizzling sonics that meld into Bignell’s rockabilly and blues-drenched vocal.
“We got in the studio and really went at it you know? Preston Hubbard took his shoes off and slid over the hardwood floor in his socks and told Joe to get on it, and hold it down. ‘I’m all over it Homes’, he’d say as we put out these dirty, greasy tunes.” With Hubbard providing Bignell with a droll running commentary throughout the recording, our boy Bigsy recalls some motivating nuggets of wisdom from the cloistered musical figure. “Preston was great, he’d go, ‘What we got here are songs to dance to, and songs to fuck to’. He’s just a huge personality and it oozes out of him and he played in behind me with that huge bottom hand driving the songs. It was such an experience,” admits Bignell.
With Bignell’s label Black Market Music positioning Red Eye Flight as, “Making the blues sound country, the country sound blues and a bit of Ramones attitude on top”, it sure as shit fits the sonic feel of the record. Big, bold and boisterous with’50s rock andd surf swing and country holler thrown through the wash, Bignell is set up for a colossal 2011. Feel it.
Red Eye Flight CD Review by Alan K – Blues Matters
Paulie Bignell is the man who formed that great bouncing and crashing Rock’n’Roll/ Rockabilly band The Detonators in Melbourne, Australia some twelve years ago. Now, with this, his debut solo album he has traveled to St.Louis to record together with ex-Fabulous Thunderbirds bass player Preston Hubbard; supplying the pummelling drums is Joe Meyer. Together they have created a solid, stonkin’ great rockin’ blaster in the tradition of The Fabulous Thunderbirds, Dave Edmunds, Rockpile, and The Blasters.
Recorded in two days at The Jupiter Studios; The emotive music captured there eloquently displays its raw passion and energy. Sounding like a cranked-up jukebox the numbers race and rage along, the ragged edges of Paulies’ earthy guitar scores into your brain and causes you to beat out a coarse rhythm on any surface near to you. His confident harmoniously raw vocals are a perfect match for his rich steely twanging. Preston and Joes’ spot-on rock solid rhythm section is utterly relentless and never flags once.
Knowledgeable mixing and matching of Blues, Country and Rockabilly has enabled the band to choose a great balance of original movers and somewhat slower groovers. The excellently played set includes such classics as; ‘Busted’, ‘Tiger By The Tail,’ ‘I’m A King Bee’ and ‘Send Me Some Lovin’. Paulie shows that these oldies are goldies and have plenty of life left in them, together the band infuse enthusiasm and love into each of the recordings. Of the fourteen numbers on this album there are seven Paulie originals.
This album will certainly have you dancing around your living room!
Red Eye Flight is the first solo CD by Paulie.
Paulie is the guitar player for The Detonators, a band that will be familiar to you all as a top blues-rock-rockabilly outfit out of Melbourne, backing up Rockbottom James. Paulie has taken on the vocal responsibilities for this CD and has done well.
The style of music is mainly rockabilly (big surprise). Its high energy guitar and vocal music with a great solid rhythm section. On the cover the music is described as “Its rock and roll, its blues and its kinda country but its all done Paulie style”. Of the 14 tracks Paulie has written or co-written 7. In addition there are some classics such as I’m a King Bee and Tiger by the Tail.
Paulie made the big effort with his debut album and travelled to St Louis, Missouri USA to have Preston Hubbard (ex Fabulous Thunderbirds) on bass and Joe Meyer on drums. This rhythm section is SOLID! The tracks were laid down in two days in St Louis and then mixed by Robert B Dillon, and mastered in Melbourne.
The production of this recording is excellent…the sound is great, and I loved Paulie’s treatment of King Bee, its an imaginative reworking of a much played classic.
I would listen to this CD in the car.
As appears in Rave Magazine
Monday, 01 August 2011
HEIDI LEIGH AXTON chats with PAULIE BIGNELL about his love for old time rock & roll and his new album Red Eye Flight.
Okay all you dudes and dudettes; listen up! If you’re a massive Grease fan and love all things vintage and collectable, then Greazefest is the festival for you. Comb those ducktails and pull on those flared skirts and bobby socks – ducktails if you’re a boy and flared skirts and bobby socks if you’re a girl obviously… but hey, to each his own I’m not telling you what to do – and cruise on down! Whilst there, check out Paulie Bignell performing tracks from his new album Red Eye Flight.
Bignell is the very picture of that old American country/rockabilly look and sound; a product of an upbringing rooted in early rock appreciation. “I guess I kind of grew up with my Mum’s records,” muses Bignell, “and my Dad listening to Chuck Berry and Dwayne Eddy and stuff like that. I liked watching Happy Days too … Of course you get into a few other things over the years, but in my early teens I was into that rock & roll and country music thing.” I have to agree with Bignell: Happy Days with the very correct Richie Cunningham; the dopy Potsey Webber, resident clown Ralph the Mouth and finger clicking lady-killer Fonzy, is definitely one of those ‘70s/’80s classics. “Yeah, I still watch it now.” Bignell enthuses.
Does he ever wish he could go back in time and see what it was really like? “I do but I guess if I lived in the ‘50s, I’d then want to play music from the ‘20s. That’s what I always think. Being the norm at the time … I mean, your grandma would be driving a 55 Cadillac or your dad, so you’d want to be doing something different. You’d be going back further.”
Unfortunately we’ll never know what a 1920s/’30s Bignell record would have sounded like, but Red Eye Flight, with its tracks like Tiger By the Tail and Stoned Cold And Drunk, will definitely make you feel like you’re standing in Arnolds drug store dancing to the Happy Days juke box. “It was just a total buzz,” says Bignell of his experience recording the album in St Louis, USA. “When I called the album Red Eye Flight; the whole thing was like that. I was only there for five days. I turned up with no guitar; no anything. I was probably in the air and travelling around airports as much as I was on the ground.”
Bignell had dreamed of Preston Hubbard playing bass for him ever since seeing him tour with The Fabulous Thunderbirds in the ‘80s. Reaching him once off the plane, however, proved a little more tricky than he expected. “I’d been 30 hours travelling and then had to learn how to drive on the wrong side of the road. I hit a gutter about 10 minutes into it, and blew a tire out. Finally got to Preston Hubbard’s house three hours late. He came barrelling down the stairs even though I was three hours late and said, ‘Give me a hug. Lets go have a beer’. That was pretty special.”
Cd Review by Ron. Rootstime Belgium www.rootstime.be
Paulie Bignell – RED EYE FLIGHT
I’m a fan of blues and roots music from Australia and one of the best bands, The Detonators, from Melbourne. Guitarist and lead singer of The Detonators, Paulie Bignell has now released his first solo CD, “Red Eye Flight” is her name and she appeared on the local Black Market Music Label.
With the help of Preston Hubbard, the famous Fabulous Thunderbirds bassist, he looked in two days time in this CD full of blues, rockabilly and some country. The typical Aussie-rock sound, that makes me like the Detonators, we also hear, possibly even a little purer.
The title refers to the long tiring journey “Homes”, so called because his pal Paulie Preston, there was about to Melbourne to St. Louis to fly there to do the recordings. Drummer Joe Meyer came the pair have joined and the result is an excellent rock album.
So straightforward roots-rock, sometimes with a little nod to the sound of people like Dave Edmunds and the Ramones, that’s what we hear.Pounding rhythms, the trademark of The Detonators and their large sample Fabulous Thunderbirds, we of course here also, especially in the hands of top bass player Preston Hubbard who made a steamy production.
Right up front, no frills, so it sounds like this kind of music should be. It seems you listen to a live performance, and it is in fact. Seven songs in one day, so little time for navel gazing. I even said, this is one of the pleasant effects of the crisis in the world record. The disappearance of the money wasteful lengthy mixes already have ruined many a good song is finally almost over. Long live the spontaneous music, back to basics … what a blessing!
It was also watch “Red Eye Flight”. This was far from innovative, not that, but again no doubt numerous music bars and festival grounds will put on its head. Mainly own work, plus some well chosen covers and placed, as Peter Green’s “Looking For Somebody” and “Send Me Some Loving” by Lloyd Price make this CD a must for those who love roots with balls.
DD, which is now almost a year down under, stay, let us know via skype happened today that they have at least a few months longer stays, as Melbourne is such a great city great, Dad! .. Who am I, after listening to this great music from one of its inhabitants, to contradict her?