Pow Magazine

Discography Biography #4: Paul Kopf

It’s time for Discography Biography, POW’s monthly look into the mind, and the record collection of a various musician. For those who aren’t familiar with how it works, here’s a quick rundown:

As any music lover knows, there’s a huge difference between “desert island discs”, favorite records, most influential records, etc. The ones that interest me the most are the ones that are the most personal- the albums that define who you are, the ones that could be called the soundtrack of your life. Every month here on POW, I’ll be talking to a different musician about the top 3 albums that make up what I’ve affectionately titled their “Discography Biography”.

This month, I talked to Paul Kopf, who took over for Sky Saxxon as singer for legendary garage band The Seeds, and also heads the band Strangers in A Strange Land.

Lets jump right into this! So, tell me your first pick and when you first discovered it.

The Who’s Meaty, Beaty Big And Bouncy

“Meaty Beaty Big and Bouncy by The Who.. That record was the soundtrack of my youth..I first discovered it I believe around 7th or 8th grade. I know it’s a greatest hots lp and all .. a selection of their British released early singles.. but it really was the one that knocked me on my arse first! Used to cut school and go over to one of my friends house .. during school hours.. .. This was my one friend whose house was like a party pad to our neighborhood … Our version of The Monkees pad / clubhouse from the TV show really..as his parents worked extremely long hours. They seemed to never be around the house especially during the day hours till like 10:00pm at night! .. made for interesting times growing up in San Francisco in the 70s!! Ha ha ha! We were BAD boys! Ha ha ha! We would Pretend to go to school and then go back to this friend’s house and listen to Records all day & night.. .. especially MBBB . The track .. “Anyway Anyhow Anywhere ” was maybe the first song I ever sang! And now for me it’s run full circle as the AMAZING Shel Talmy Who produced some of those gems on that record.. I now have the GREAT honor and pleasure to be working with ! He is producing my new record coming up in the summer with Alec Palao In fact I just talked to him the other day and we at Alec’s .. 80 years old and still on top of things! .. Going to be seeing him soon as strangers in a strange land sessions continue… MMB&B is The Who to me at their FINEST! SO many GREAT tracks! The Who growing up were really my band.. I could’ve also picked “Who Sell Out “ But I picked this because of the Shel connection..”

Oh wow that sounds like a wild time in your youth! And that’s so amazing to have those connections now to some of your biggest idols! So what do you think it is about that record in particular that means so much to you? Is it the music itself, the lyrics, the time in your life that you found it, etc? Also, have your feelings about it changed at all over time or is it still just as powerful as ever?

“Yeah pretty much everything about it I love! And as a lead singer I would say I very much relate to the lyrical content of the songs quite a . “ I Can See For Miles “ Comes to mind for the lyric.. Roger sings with SO much HEART and Soul on that one… I do have I guess feelings of nostalgia towards that period my life.. so yeah something there.. you know like they say when you’re a kid you don’t have to worry a worry in the world like you will when you are “ grown up” .. so I think you’re right there is some of that .. when I listen to the record.. It does bring me back to that time . Also just looking at the album cover gives me chills! LOVE that cover! Them looking out the window at their youth.. WONDERFUL!..”

It is a really great cover, I’ve actually been listening to the album as we’ve been doing this in preparation. So this is probably a silly question, but is there anything about the album you’d change?

“Hmm… maybe a different track other then “ Legal Matter” .. to be honest I usually skip that one. But the rest is cool! It represents them well .. at least that early to mid period IMO…”

Right on, I appreciate the honesty haha It’s really hard for anyone, even a band as talented as The Who to make a totally perfect album I suppose. Alright, lets move on to pick #2. What is it, when did you discover it, and what does it mean to you?

The Kinks’ Lola vs Powerman and The Moneyground

“Number 2 .. The Kinks.. and NOT early period either .. 1970. .. Lola Versus The Powerman .. I feel very lucky to have grown up in San Francisco in the time I did. Winterland shows the Fillmore so many memories. As I got older it seemed that was always going to concerts or at least as much as my allowance would allow it I didn’t spend on dime bags.. on Haight Street.. When I got to high school the kinks seemed to be always be passing through town doing a concert no shit! I mean they were making up for lost time as they were banned from coming to America in the late 60s so when the 70s came upon us it seemed they were constantly playing a concert in San Francisco! I must’ve seen them double digit times! I know I saw him four straight nights at the San Francisco civic in like ‘ 78. But the first tour I remember seeing them at I think Winterland was the Lola tour.. My sister had the record And until that day it was hers but from that day forward that record was never too far away for me. It is an INCREDIBLE record to me! I LOVE every track record ! I do not skip track and play it entirety pretty much every day.. “ Get Back In The Line” might be my FAVORITE track by any artist…that track SLAYS me still..”

You really cant go wrong with The Kinks, and their later stuff is SO good, my boyfriend has been obsessed with Give The People What They Want recently. Have you heard the rumor that Dave and Ray may be setting aside their differences and doing one more tour? How amazing would that be?!

Another cool album cover too! Used to MESMERIZE me !

How was that show? Were they just completely killing it at that time?

“Yep! Saw them on the give the people they want tour! Ha ha ha! Yeah they were always around! Yeah I’ve been hearing the rumors and of course Alec is friends with Ray but he tells me Ray is not doing so well these days now so hopefully he’ll get better.. And Dave is a friend. Jonathan Lea who used to play at Dave’s band is playing guitar in strangers now. So he keeps in touch with Dave as well. Got my fingers crossed! And I’m not really allowed to talk about it yet but we got something in the kinks related coming down the pipe on the next strangers record. Let’s just say from the faults of shel and Dave is a friend. Jonathan Lea who used to play in Dave’s band is playing guitar in strangers now. So he keeps in touch with Dave as well. Got my fingers crossed! They were always good in concert as long as Ray didn’t drink too much! Ha ha ha!! And Dave is so good live!”And I’m not really allowed to talk about it yet but we got something in the kinks related coming down the pipe on the next strangers record. Let’s just say from the faults of Shel Talmy .. a nugget has been unearthed!! But you’ll be hearing about that soon in the coming months when the record comes out. I’ll save the surprise till then but you’re going to freak! I know I am!

Oh my godddddd how amazing that you can call Dave Davies a friend, you really are the coolest. Killer that you guys have his old guitar player too, thats one hell of a lineup!

“Underrated on guitar! Shel raves about him!”

Really looking forward to that kinks-related surprise too! Maybe you can give POW a special premiere privilege when it gets closer to release!

“Yeah.. Alec and I lucked out.. Also Clem Burke Of Blondie on drums .. you should see him and Clem talk all day and night about Keith moon! CRAZY! Shel talked and Clem just stands there and listens! SO cool ! And absolutely, I’m a big fan of Pow ! Dennis and you RULE!”

Clem is one of the best drummers! And he produced an album by my favorite band Material Issue back in the mid 90s. I saw him with one of his newer bands Split Squad a few years back, he’s still SO good. Alright alright, lets move on to the last of your top 3. Again, what is it, when did you discover it, and what does it mean to you?

Lenny Kaye’s Nuggets Compilaton

“Number 3. Ha ha ha! NUGGETS . Various artists.. compiled by Lenny Kaye ., 1972 … I believe on Arista.. I can see the record now on my friends living room floor. “What is this?” “Dude.. check it out!” It is here where I first discovered “Too Much To Dream Last Night”..”Dirty Water”…”PUSHIN’ TOO Hard”!! Enough said! My gateway drug… Where my Seeds connection goes back to. Life changing record.. would probably not have met Alec .. Garage Rock 101..”

It is absolutely the holy grail of garage rock!Any particular favorite tracks?

“Favorites? .. The ones I mentioned. “Night time” “Stop Get a Ticket” … “Follow Me”. “Romeo and Juliet”.. like a bunch on there!”

You definitely gotta make it up here for Portland’s annual Nuggets Night. Its my favorite music night of the whole year!

“I want to go up there so bad you have no idea the last time I was there I couldn’t do anything but run to the bathroom! I love Portland!”

Aww well hopefully the next time you’re here you’ll be feeling much better! Okay, lets get back on track. So, now that we know your 3 picks, how have those 3 albums affected you musically? How about personally?

“Musically I I have been EXTREMELY influenced by the sounds that put in record which my ears absorbed every drop obviously .. with both the seeds and strangers in a strange land I am continuing to follow in this Rock music genre of music these artists I picked Have provided a pass for but I am doing it .. in a time that this music I love is not what is popular music to today’s youth . I do it for love of the music and for continuing to expose the youth and uninitiated of today of the beauty of rock ‘n’ roll. Long Live Rock ! ..”

Paul keeping rock n roll very much alive on stage with The Seeds

We’re SO glad that you’re out there keeping real rock n roll alive!

“Hope that makes sense.. basically I’m poisoned by ROCK! In my veins. Live it daily! Glad you are listening Sheena! Means a lot!”

Right on! And do you think there’s any of your 3 choices that people might be surprised by? Personally I think those 3 make a lot of sense for you

“I also got to say please mention my love for soul music of the 60s and 70s. The first Diana Ross record ain’t no mountain high enough I love it so much! Marvin Gaye Al Green I also got to say please mention my love for soul music of the 60s and 70s. The first Diana Ross record ain’t no mountain high enough I love it so much! Marvin Gaye Al Green LOVE them too! . Love my Beatles and the stones to and Lou Reed rock ‘n’ roll animal as well as Bee Gees Live.. that is Paul in a soundtrack .. those records..”

Oh for sure, while we’re at it do you want to mention any other runner-ups you may have had? I know its nearly impossible to narrow it down to 3 picks

“Lou Reed Rock N Roll Animal… the soul artists above.. Best social I ever saw was Al Green at the circle star theater in San Carlos.. girls were fainting! He was UNREAL! “

Hahahaha whoa making the girls faint is a real accomplishment, I have yet to see that at a show!

UFO “ Only You Can Rock Me”.. Montrose! I like some Hard Rock and early metal.. Zep. deep purple..Al Green was .. I can’t put into words how good he was”

Oh nice, my dad really loves Montrose and Deep Purple too! Okay one last question before we wrap up- if someone didn’t know you but they were told what your top 3 picks were, do you think they’d have a pretty good insight into who you are? What do you think your 3 album choices say about you?

“Check out on you tube .. Sha La La( I Love You) on Soul train.. it will be give you an idea. He was SO charismatic.. BEST stage presence ever! SO flawless”

Will do!

“Yeah I think they would get an idea about me. I like high energy and I’m told the lot I’m a very high-energy person and I’m out going. I kind a let you know how I feel right away and I guess the urgency in the music matches right? The only thing people might be surprised by would be my love of Soul music at least that’s what I’ve been told.I mean I have a 60s garage music Brit pop loving rep I have been told . but deep inside I really have a soft spot for the SOUL music of the 60’s & 70’s. I go to bed at night to sweet soul.. it is part of me too .. so spread the news.. I like to ROCK but SOUL is in me too Sheena ! ..Over and out..”

I think that’s a great answer, and a great insight into who you are! I think that about wraps it up! Thank you SO much for taking the time to do this, and for making things easier for me by doing it over messenger. This was a great interview and I learned a bunch of cool new things about you that I didnt know! It also made me really excited about all the stuff you having coming up soon musically, you know Im a big fan. I’ll get everything all typed up and edited and the post itself will go live on the 1st, ill make sure to tag you and share the links with you and all that. I hope you and your doggy have a great rest of the night and that your other interviews go well too! You’re the best Paul, thanks so much!

“AWESOME Sheena! You ROCK! Was FUN ! And it was pretty cool reflecting on everything! Thanks for give me the opportunity to do this and for helping spread the word I will definitely keep you in the loop on all things seeds and strangers. I think you’re going to be excited to hear and the new record I know is the best stuff I’ve ever done no question about it. Wish I could share with you now but I’m under orders to not share tell completed by Mr. Talmy so I better listen! But I will Make sure you are one of the first to hear about it. Let’s keep in touch you have a wonderful weekend. “

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Sheena Moore was raised in a rock n roll household- almost everything cool that she knows she learned from her dad. She spent some time playing organ and bass in bands, but stopped to pursue a career in fashion, both as a model and a designer. Sheena has always been extremely passionate about both music and fashion, particularly from the 60s era. Her enthusiasm for music as well as her connections to music scenes all over the west coast led her to joining the POW team in 2016, writing record reviews and covering shows such as Portland’s Nuggets Night. She currently splits her time between her day job at a bra company, working as a model, and writing for POW. Sheena resides in Portland, OR but she’s constantly traveling all over the west coast, and tries to find record stores, vintage shops and hip live shows wherever she goes.