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PAUL VERNER: THE HEART OF ROCK'N'ROLL

Paul Verner Died October 1991


It wouldn't surprise me to learn that Paul Verner was a secret poet. I can easily imagine there's a stack of his brilliant manuscripts stashed someplace just waiting to blind the world. In short, Paul Verner had it. Those lucky enough to have known him well will agree that he embodied the primal spirit of the black leather-jacketed muse. He was not just of Rock ' n ' Roll. Paul was Rock ' n ' Roll.

He was one person who didn't need a lyric sheet. The facts are easy to recite. Having begun by helping out local bands as a kid on holidays in Skerries, Paul committed himself to the embryonic Thin Lizzy.

Phil Lynott confessed to me one night in the mid-'70s that one of the reasons he was happy Horslips were doing well in Britain was because Paul was working with the band. "It really upset me that we couldn't afford to bring him to London with us," he said. Paul moved to London when the Lipsos jacked it in. While he worked with an astonishing array of bands, including stints with U2 and The Rats, Paul settled with The Pogues. But, as many young Irish bands will testify, he was always on hand to help the beginners, the mavericks, the outsiders and the genuine rockers. I find it impossible to distill his career in a few clumsy paragraphs, but there are a few things which should be said. Paul's innate understanding and appreciation of the fine art of popular culture both delighted and dazzled me. His good taste and enthusiasm were not just legendary. They were inspirational. It says it all that his favourite record was Gene Vincent's Be-Bop-A-Lula! Despite having hung out together for years, there's no way I can convey the man's great warmth, affection and good nature. Over the months since his death I've sifted through countless wonderful memories for one anecdote which might best sum up this unpretentious, talented Dubliner. Recalling the very first time I met Paul. something struck me. It was on South Anne Street one Saturday afternoon over twenty years ago. A few of us went into the Coffee Inn. I couldn't be sure if it was Brian, Phil or Eric from Lizzy or Paul Scully, Brush and Gary from Skid Row who were with us. But, of course. that's just the point. I'd forgotten the others but I couldn't forget Paul. Even then the zeal with which he'd bought into the dream of a viable Irish rock scene was truly heartening. At a recent belated wake in London hundreds of friends turned up to pay their respects. Bob Geldof, Shane MacGowan, Ted Carroll and Kirsty MacColl were just a few of those who paid tribute to P.V.


From here on, when I'm listening to records I'm going to turn them up just a little bit louder as my personal mark of respect to an absent friend who contributed so much to the development of Rock ' n ' Roll in Ireland. (Eamon Carr, Hot Press Yearbook 1992)



     



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