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Paul Carroll - piano guitar composer producer arranger
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Paul Carroll's Curriculum Vitae (of sorts)
From the beginning... Born in Chester in 1957 and lived there until he was 7. Went to St Werburg's Primary School. Moved to Congleton, Cheshire in 1964 and went to St Mary's Primary School where he had the dubious honour of having his father as headmaster.
Started messing about on the piano. His friend Mick Watson had a plastic guitar with one string on it. Learnt to play the theme to Robinson Crusoe.
Attended St Joseph's in Stoke on Trent in 1968. Did seven years. Best forgotten about. During that time, taught himself classical guitar and A level music. Played local concerts and regularly on Radio Stoke.
1973, passed two grade 8's in one sitting: piano and classical guitar.
Got into the London College of Music studying classical guitar from 1975 to 1978. Came out with a graduate diploma GLCM, an LLCM teaching diploma and an FLCM. You forget what all the letters mean.
From 1976 to 1980, went upto Edinburgh Fringe every year, booking a space and putting on a different show each time. They were usually poetry set to music: The Jumblies, The Owl and The Pussy Cat, Michael and All Angels, The Snow Queen, Orfeo, A Game of Chess and others. The ensemble at the time consisted of Anne Lloyd on violin and flute, Iain Dall on 'cello, Peter van de Bospoort on bass guitar, Paul Carroll on guitar and David Henshall narrator and usually the author. I vaguely recall being on Brian Mathew's Nightride on Radio 2.
In 1979, skint, moved back to Congleton and started teaching classical guitar at home and round Cheshire schools. Wednesday was Poynton County High. I had no car so cycled 17 miles there and 17 miles home every week. Tuesday was a school near Rugely, 70 mile round trip. Yes, I was knackered all the time. I only did that one for a term.
Memories of 1979- 80 are a bit hazy, but I remember getting into bands and starting to play round the local working mens clubs. There was a band called Sundance, FocalPoint and a comedy showgroup called Shilling, stories about which will have to remain for another time!
About this time, I played in Chris Fox's avant garde band based in York playing Stockhausen to Reich and Cage.
In 1981, formed the Paul Gerard Trio which was a 'pro' band and entertained at caravan sites and most notably a summer season at Butlins in Ayr. I bought an old transit van painted all over as a union jack. What a sight. PGO170E was the reg. Lo and behold, I'd learnt to drive. The bike was duly given away. Free.
1982, I joined a band in Great Yarmouth, the only things I can remember with them is sleeping in a phone box one night in Colchester and backing comedian Mike Reid.
However, later in about the September of 1982, I joined a Mecca band in Leicester which played four nights a week at the Leicester Palais. During this period, I had osmosed (is that the right word?) into a keyboard player. I'd bougtht a Fender Rhodes (complete with back ache), a mauling PA and other keyboard items.
Come the summer of 1983, I got an offer to do Les Dawsons summer tour featuring the Roly Polys and a Dutch chap with an exploding violin. So I did that. Blackpool one night. Poole the next. Great Yarmouth the next... Whoever worked it out hadn't had a look at a map of Great Britain. Consequently my GBP200 car blew up and I had to hire a van to finish it off. Les was great.
August the 23rd 1983, I started playing at the Manchester Ritz. I stayed there until March 4th 2000, other than a summer season in Scarborough and a tour round the British Forces camps in Germany in 1984. This regular gig helped me get my life together abit. A regular source of income. I bought a 3 storey terraced house in Whitworth, Lancs, and converted the bottom floor into a recording studio.
Spiralmusic came into being there in 1986 and I did my first album: Twelve Pieces For Reiki with Robert Cook on keyboards. I proceeded to record another 40 or so albums there, 8 of which were my own. I won a Granada prize for the best show, playing my own music, at the Buxton Fringe Festival.. Go to the Discography page to get an idea of what I was doing then.
As I slowly converted the bottom floor of the house, I learnt alot about building and wiring. I quite enjoyed this side of things and felt after a while I fancied buying a derelict barn and doing it up over a period of time. I started looking for somewhere seriously in about 1994 but it was 1997 before I found a place suitable and affordable. The idea was to work round Manchester and in my own studio over the weekend and then come upto Cumbria in the week to work on the barn. It worked great for a year or so until I fell off a ladder and broke my shoulder. That was me laid up for six months and even when it was better, I couldn't move my arm enough to play bass, which I had been doing up until then. That was in August 1999. In the March of 2000 I finished at the Ritz and moved upto the barn and lived in a caravan. Sold the house in Whitworth and started afresh in the North East.
I joined a blues band called Blues Unlimited in 2002 which later reformed as the Blues Hounds - one of the most pleasurable and enjoyable bands I've been involved with but now sadly split up. In 2003, I formed Jazz-Upp, a jazz piano trio, playing my own original material.
However, in 2005 my partner and I decided to have a break (not from each other) and moved to Austria for 15 months. I didn't do much playing there but I soaked up the vibes and wrote alot of material. No language except for a book and a CD. We learnt alot very quickly. On arriving home again in 2006 I joined the Hounds again but they split up shortly after. I bought a push bike again and heave myself up and down the local hills on a regular basis. Last year saw us do a scenic cycle tour of Britain. 1200 miles over 32 days, starting at Land's End and finishing at John O' Groats.
My lastest efforts have been put into learning the bass pedals, whilst playing the piano; and have recently aquired an 34/72 accordion which I'm slowly getting to grips with!
It's been 5 years since I last updated this page - most of that time has been spent building a modern bungalow in South Ayrshire. The idea was to do everything between the two of us - from the planning permission and design and building warrant through to building the drive, foundations, slab, timber frame, roof, slating, heating, electrics, drains, water etc.everything. We have just completed. Hoo bloody ray! There's a photo in the Gallery. But every weekend I've been playing accordion with Trio Gitan and then upright bass with the Andy Lawrenson trio doing a Stephan Grappelli tribute, travelling up and down the country playing village halls, festivals and such like. Good fun.
Next is a dream come true. I've always wanted a room where I could bash away to my hearts content without anyone hearing me or me disturbing anybody. So, autumn 2017, I built a new soundproofed studio at the bottom of the field (garden). And to top it all I got a brand new SK5 Shigeru Kawai grand piano. It's superb. I can't drag myself away. Unfortunately I have to do other things like mow the lawn.
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