of four experienced musicians and songwriters of very different
influences who come together to write their own brand of music. We
feature an eclectic mix of instruments and styles and our music draws
heavily on the light-and-shade principles of song writing adopted by
many of the classic bands that influenced us in our formative years. The
most important thing for us is that our music sounds original and
interesting. We write and play what we ourselves would like to hear and
try not to fall into the current trend of borrowing and cloning of other
peoples material that so much modern music relies on. Its a journey of
discovery. We hope you come along for the ride.
A modest approach!! Were very much a rock/blues based band, punchy &
quite raw we think! Melodic, modern aggressive in yer face at times type
choones, we suppose!"
Glynn Porrino, lead guitar, backing
Colin Roberts, vocals, bass
Steve Jones, rhythm guitar, backing
vocals, acoustic guitar
Christine (my wife) and I caught up with Steve
(Pablo) Jones at the Skegness Rock and Blues Festival.
Alan: What did you
want to be when you were young Ė an artist or a musician?
Pablo: Definitely an
artist. The only thing I was ever good at in school was painting, I was
rubbish at everything else but always top of the class in the art. I
have this theory that if youíre good at something then you should stick
to it so I always knew Iíd have to try and do something with art.
Alan: Did you come
from an artistic or a musical family?
Pablo: My Gran and my
Dad both paint, also my sister, so yes, there is something there.
Alan: How did you
get started in painting as a career?
Pablo: My first job,
because I was so useless at everything else, was in a pottery in Wales
drawing birds and animals on the pottery and I used to have to engrave
the drawings on. At the time I was going through a stage of learning to
do scraper boards, which are a black background where you scratch the
ink off and it becomes white and the pottery was the same theory. You
werenít allowed to test the pottery and you used to have to engrave the
images in. So I knew even then that it was possible to make money out
Christine: Have you
always worked in Art as a career?
Pablo: When times have
been really bad you could probably name hundreds of ďproperĒ jobs that
Iíve done from labouring to selling fish to selling coal.
Alan: If art is
bringing you money, isnít a proper job??
Pablo: Well, itís
bringing me money but you canít say itís constant. The lads on the
construction sites were labouring from 7 to 7 and those are the guys
that I take my hat off too because they were so keen on the work and
they really enjoyed it. For me it was like being in a press gang. I
donít know if art sounds as a proper job because it's not consistent and
you donít get a proper wage. Youíre always living on your, well,
sometimes you do well and sometimes you donít. Itís a choice I made.
Alan: Who has
inspired you in your painting?
Pablo: All art inspires
me. Iíve been to the Tate, to the Louvre and recently I met a top
Spanish artist called Alberro ... thereís a painting by Renoir that sort
of got me going, there's something about his painting, but all arts
Alan: Tell me
about your non-musical art. Weíre used to seeing you at blues festivals
with your musical portfolio but I think you do a lot of other work too?
Pablo: There was a
Welsh artist called Caitlin Williams who did palette knife work. On the
face of it, it looks very very easy but when I tried to do it, I
couldnít. It took me a while but now Iíve got one knife I can use.
Itís a totally different technique and I do landscapes and seascapes but
with very very thick paint and a lot more colour. Thereís another type
of art that probably too difficult to explain without seeing it visually
and I havenít got many samples it, but lines go through the painting and
youíll see that some of my big paintings there are some lines that go
through some of the images. Itís too difficult to explain how that
happens but Iím working on that as well. so there are different types of
art I do as well.
Christine: How has
your art developed over the years?
Pablo: You develop as a
person and as an artist as you get older. They say that as you get
older you can leave stuff out, and the more you can leave out, the
better it is. I think you start finding your personality more. Now,
after all these years of drawing and painting, my work is just starting
to mature into something.
Alan: Where do you
have your studio?
Pablo: Itís in
Caernarvon, North Wales. Iíve two studios, one at home, one that I pay
for and share with another artist and also a music shop where I sell
music and musical gear.
Alan: Youíve got a
diverse artistic portfolio, how did you first get interested in painting
musicians, which is what most people know you for?
Pablo: I used to like
drawing people so it was a natural progression to start drawing
musicians. But thereís a friend of mine I owe it to, called Len Jones,
and he played Colne. Heíd seen the first one I did of BB King and he
said, ďTheyíd love this stuff in ColneĒ so I approached Colne and I
worked outside on the market; and thatís where I first worked, outside
on the market but somehow I must have made some contacts because the
next thing I knew I was actually inside the main hall. The blues thing,
well, I like blues and some of it I like a lot, but Iím not saying Iím
crazy about all blues. I find that no matter how well you do the blues
you know what is coming up next and I like some more obscure blues.
However, even though I just happened to fall into the blues scene Iíve
always found the blues musicians and the blues people really nice and
thereís a certain type of people who seem to appreciate art as much as
they do the music which is really nice.
Alan: Whatís been
your most satisfying painting or drawing that youíve done?
Pablo: One of them was
a pastel of John Lee Hooker when he was young which I sold in Exeter in
a festival and I sort of wish I hadnít sold it. Perhaps because art is
so diverse Iím not sure you are ever satisfied, thereís always
something. Sometime I look at it from the outside and I do like a piece
and want to keep it, but I donít keep many, canít afford to do that!
Christine: What do
you think of modern art today?
Pablo: I used to
pooh-pooh it when I was younger. My sister was slightly more of an
intellect than me and I think itís the intellectual people who see more
in modern art, but after meeting a modern artist in Spain recently, Iíve
come back with five sort of Picasso-ish type of modern works. Itís a
nice way to express and you can enjoy it a bit more, but itís not as
straightforward as youíd think. You have to somehow be at the top of
your game before you can go into modern art even though you think itís
easy because you have to almost drawn like a child but in a certain
way. Itís like a child but itís not like a child and itís a lot
cleverer than what youíd think, the concept and the approach. Itís a
very complicated thing. Picasso going through his various blue and
pink periods show him maturing and then I think he crossed the line into
something else. Now whether many artists get to cross that line is
another thing. I hope I can do it sometime.
Alan: Turning to
music, what were your first musical memories?
Pablo: My sister
playing Bob Dylan, and then I heard the Beatles and they had a
tremendous impact on me melody-wise and harmony-wise. Simple melodies
from a few chords. Iíve written songs since I was 16, even before I
could play guitar, I always wrote songs first. For me, music sort of
came second and itís the composition and creating the songs that
Alan: What kind of
material were you playing in the early days of being a musician?
Pablo: All my own
stuff. It shows how old I am but I actually went for an audition with
Opportunity Knocks with one of my own songs, which was quite brave when
you think about it. It was probably a terrible song but even then I
wrote my own stuff. People used to take the mickey out of me because my
knowledge of bands and music was, well, coming from Carnarvon and living
the life I did, I didnít know musicians, I never listened to them.
There was one band that I did buy an album of, and that was Jethro Tull
which was folky rock, there was something quirky.
Alan: Who are your
Pablo: I like Free,
Paul Rogers as a singer, I like anybody that sings well and writes good
songs. Paul Rogers, Jethro Tull, Led Zeppelin, AC/DC Ė I like good
Alan: Who has
influence you most in your music writing?
Pablo: I think just
rock in general has influenced me Ė rock, folk and melody. There isnít
anybody that Iíve thought, ďI want to write like themĒ, itís too much
like having your own signature. I couldnít name a band thatís really
inspired me but I like that wild heavy rock, some of the Stones, songs
like Angie, a couple of Free songs. I was very slow getting into rock.
It was only when I met this guitarist from home who was into electrical
guitar, because I was always into acoustic guitar. Like everything
else, I was just slow getting started.
Alan: Whatís your
favourite instrument that you play?
Pablo: At the moment
itís the bouzouki and Iíve got a mandolin. Iíve also gone back to my 12
string and I do stuff on that. I actually de-tuned my 12 string and
thatís opened a few doors.
Alan: Are there
any songs that have special meaning to you?
Pablo: Only once when
my first girlfriend broke my heart because she two-timed me and thatís
just an old song, you know, Ēda, da... but I guess thatís just the way
the story goes. Coz you.....Ē you know, that one!
Alan: Tell me
about Karac Ė when you first get together?
Pablo: Ah, Karak!
Karac's a very special band because the guitarist, Glynn Porrino, Iíd
been in a band off and on with for 25 years. We were in a band called
Harvest Moon and we won Battle of the Bands at Liverpool Empire and the
judges were Gary Moore (great great man), Graham Bonnet and Ian Gillan,
and a guy from 10CC and we won Best Band, Best Guitarist and Best Song Ė
we won everything. Those were absolutely great days. We went on to do
a live song on Granada Television, which you can watch on You Tube
(Harvest Moon - Tales of Wonder), you can see me with a Ďtash.
So heís still the
guitarist in Karac. I know it sounds strange but Glynn makes a band
sound like a proper band. I was a singer back in those days and you
always have to have your right hand man as your guitarist. If your
right hand man is not strong, then the singerís not strong. So Glynn
was right hand man, then we found Colin who plays bass and heís just got
a superb voice, so I started to step back from the singing and do the
harmonies. Itís the first time Iíve ever been involved with three
people who write together with different influences Ė youíve got my
folky rock blues, youíve got Glynnís Wishbone Ash, Led Zep rock and
Colinís sort of Rush and very musical bands like that. So, 3 people
getting together and writing songs together and it works. Iíve never
been in a band thatís worked like this before. Thatís what makes Karac
exciting. Where Karac isnít exciting is pushing ourselves and getting
things together. Weíve got two studios but trying to finish our album
.... itís ridiculous really but itís just because Glynn is from
Warrington and weíre in Wales. Even though itís not very far, that the
difficulty with Karac.
Alan: At Carlisle
Blues Festival we saw you do a solo slot for the very first time and
youíve just done a slot here at Skegness, tell me about the experience.
Pablo: I steered myself
into Carlisle because I was very impressed with a guy whoís got long
hair and a very nice manner and he played acoustic guitar, you probably
know his name.
Alan: Yes, Marcus
Pablo: I watched him,
and I thought, I could do that, and he sold two boxes of CDs. I donít
particularly like performing by myself but I thought itís a shame that I
write songs but I donít perform them, so I just occasionally get off my
arse and think, right Iím going to perform these songs and see if I can
enjoy the experience. Carlisle was my first one and as a gig to throw
myself into it was a good one. I did okay but I canít say I enjoyed the
experience. Even today, there was a part of me thinking, ďWhy am I
doing this. Am I supposed to be enjoying this?Ē But I think if you can
overcome that and relax on stage and enjoy the song that youíve created
and learn to put it over, then it might become more rewarding. But at
the moment itís hard to do that, to really relax and enjoy it.
Christine: But do
you relax when you are with the band?
Pablo: When youíre with
the band, the onus isnít just on you. Itís a shared thing, youíre there
for the boys and everybody has their part. All you have to do is
concentrate on your part and youíre not just there by yourself. Okay,
if one person lets you down you can probably still carry it. Perhaps
Iíve been doing that a bit too long but I think now that Iím older I
might be able to enjoy it on my own more.
Alan: So, weíre
likely to see you on stage more, solo?
Pablo: Yes, I think so,
as long as Iím getting good responses. I donít need to be there
because Iím happy with my painting but if people quite like the music I
write, then, yes. Depends what sort of impact I make.
Alan: From what I saw
and heard it went down very well at Carlisle.
Pablo: Did it? Iím not
sure - Nick is like a stone Ė if you ask him ďWhat did you think?Ē you
get, ďYeah, yeah, it was good, yeahĒ but you donít get a real idea.
Alan: So, what are
your artistic aspirations?
Pablo: Iíd like to
create some work which people can look at and immediately say, ďOh,
thatís a PabloĒ. Itíd be nice to create some work which will stand the
test of time and make a mark. I think everything wants to make a mark
and to leave something.
Alan: And what
about the musical side?
Pablo: I was thinking
about this in a sad way the other day. If I wasnít here anymore perhaps
my kids would put on some CDs and say, ďThatís my Dad and weíd like to
know more about himĒ. By listening to the songs you could understand my
character more. You do write about personal things in songs.
Alan: Particularly in
Pablo: As I said in
Carlisle, most of my blues songs are about breaking up with a woman. It
seems to me all you have to do is meet a woman, she breaks your heart
and you write a song about it.
Christine: If you
had to choose between art or music, which would you choose?
Pablo: Iíd choose art.
But then music is a form of art in a sense. Thereís a strange bit of
voice thatís been with me for as long as I can remember that, if I donít
paint, this little voice tells me, ďYouíve been lazy today. What have
you done today?Ē So I answer it, ďWell, Iíve painted all morningĒ but
the little voices says ďItís not good enough, youíve got to paint so
many hoursĒ. Thereís a voice that keeps nagging away; Iím not sure
whose voice it is. Sometimes, and this is going to sound a bit weird
now, but sometimes if Iím painting I feel as though I go into a
different zone and it almost feels like itís somebody else. Itís not
drugs or anything, itís just that voice that tells me to paint. It gets
on my nerves sometimes. Perhaps every man and woman might have that.
If you want to strive and achieve with what you do, do you hear that
Alan: Err, well no I
donít generally hear voices! Thanks very much Pablo. I really
appreciate that and wish you the best of luck with both your artistic
and playing careers.
Check out Pablo's latest solo album:
Available from Pablo on his art stand at a blues
festival near you