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The Case with Paul Case

Paul Case grew up in the resort town of Sylvan Beach N.Y. which featured a midway with tons of bars. And, for three months a year one could hear 5 bands a night at the Forest Hotel, Lakeshore Hotel and DiCastro’s. Paul Case worked in the midway at a mere 11 years old where he was always peeking through the windows to see. From the Brass Buttons, the Seven, Eric and the Chessman, Paul Revere and Raiders, Andy and The Classic’s and many national acts, he saw them all. His destiny was clear to him: Be in a band.

At 11, his Dad signed a loan for a guitar and Amp. At 12 he was playing out at the Copa Blue Teen Center. He went to school at Camden where, he says, “tons of musician’s came from. At classes I had all of mossback sitting all around me. And Danny Holmes was my best friend!”

Danny Holmes Steve Quinneville and Case played every High School dance and field Day in CNY. They were playing bars at 16 years old in their band called “Home.” And when they graduated they played every bar and college in the Northeast U.S. for two years.

Case recalls auditioning for a band in Utica under Tony Cee Management. “It was Slivers from Eric and the Chessmen fame. I got there and the bass player was Moose from Lou Reed’s band. I decided to start my own band and named it Driving Sideways.”

They went on to open for everybody – Muddy Waters, Jonn Lee Hooker, Sea Level, Dire Straits, George Thorogood, Allman Brothers and tons of other national acts. Tony Yoken from WOUR radio managed them into a deal to Capricorn Records. “We made one record but it was never released.” says Case. “When we disbanded, I was a hired gun working for John Lee Hooker, James Cotton, Lou Reed and the Winter Brothers – and also got a songwriting job for Budda Sutra Records.” he continues.

Once again Paul Case started the Paul Case Band. And after 27 members he ran away to the Florida Keys and started Case and Davidson and went on to recorded 14 CDs’ two DVDs. they toured Holland, England, Canada and most of the U.S.

Today he’s chatting with us.                                                                                                                                           

Chuck Schiele: How did you get started in music? How long have you been playing?

Paul Case: I grew up in Sylvan Beach seeing bands in every bar all summer. Sometimes we would have 8 bands playing at the same time. I saw all the fun and girls and said to myself  “that’s what I’m going to do“ my father signed for a guitar and I was playing in the midway the next year 1966 in the midway at a teen center.

CS: What influences you?

PC: I Am influenced by everything even if I do not care for it, I learn from everything . Seeing all the bands playing Beatles, Stones, Hendrix  then I got into soul and jazz as my talent grew.

CS: What instruments to you play?

PC:  I play two instruments­ – guitar and my brain! I Am a singer, guitarist, songwriter my main guitars are a 1969 Gold Top and a 1954 Stratocaster 25th Anniversary! And several Martin D 28’s.

CS: You’re a songwriter. Please elaborate on what songwriting means to you … How you go about it? …

PC: I consider myself a songwriter, first. I think it’s a gift of seeing souls and life. I have 5 CD’s and two movie soundtracks under my belt. All my songs come to me differently. A friend in Amsterdam Holland was talking about past relationships and he said “Love Hurts More Than You Can Drink.” Bam! – The song wrote itself!

CS: Tell us about the writers that you think are doing it right.

PC: My favorite songwriter’s are Bruce Cockburn, Randy Newman and Sting to mention a few.                

CS: Tell us about the series of tributes you’ve been organizing over the last couple of years.

PC: I honor my friend Gregg Allman at every show and Bruce Cockburn when possible . I have been involved in benefits for Shriner’s Hospitals for years.                                        

CS: Career highlights as a musician?

Case with Rundgren at Woodstock back in the day.

PC: I have had so many great experience’s from opening for Muddy Waters at eighteen years old to playing in the Lou Reed Band and Jame Cotton. I was playing at a tiki hut in Florida Keys when I felt a tap on my shoulder, I turned to see Clarence Clemons asking  “mind if I sit in? We played together for years until he passed. We also fly fished in the Florida Keys often. I have opened for about everyone from the Dixie Dregs to Asleep At the Wheel to Orleans with John Hall. Fifty-three years worth .                                                                                       

CS: Damn. Well, then you’re the right guy to answer my next question: What advice might you have for budding musicians?

PC: My advice for musician’s: work hard, don’t do it for the money, pay your taxes!

CS: What’s in your near future, musically speaking?

PC: I want to be playing in bars and clubs ‘til the end! I want to be always growing … always working! I live in Old Forge and we have 7 Bars that have bands regularly. I’m 65 and do not see much beyond the Mountains. I have a studio in my house for pre-production and work on chops and songs everyday.                     

CS: How do we keep track of you and your music?

PC: You can find me on You tube, Facebook.

CS: Thanks, for taking a little time with us, Paul.

PC: Thank you, Chuck.

Chuck Schiele
Chuck Schiele is a lifelong, award-winning musician, art director, producer, editorialist, artist, activist, member Quatrocollective.com and fan of the CNY music scene. To be considered for this column, please write chuck.schiele@gmail.com.