A Mexican musical adventure

    Eighties solo artist Paul Young who enjoyed hits with Everytime You Go Away and Come Back and Stay is performing at The Forum with his musical side project Los Pacaminos on December 10. Eileen Leahy talks to the singer about what audiences can expect from his Tex-Mex inspired big band.

    Tell us a little bit about the history of Los Pacaminos

    We started in 1992 as a bit of a side project playing Mexican inspired music. I got together with a bunch of my friends as I wanted to have a band where I could play the guitar again, sing backing vocals and be in the background for a bit. It also gave me the opportunity to write lyrics for a particular musical genre and to also do instrumental pieces which I couldn’t do as Paul Young because people probably wouldn’t like it. When I chose to do this I had no idea how much fun it would be or how long it would last. Next year we celebrate our 25th anniversary.

    How did you get into Tex-Mex music in the first place?

    I’ve always loved Ry Cooder and there was a period in the late seventies where he had a band where he employed R n B vocalists but then he introduced some Mexican ones and it totally changed the style of the music. I listen to anything and everything but Tex-Mex music seemed achievable in a short space of time. I thought I’d go back to being just a solo artist after doing it but here we are almost 25 years later.

    How will you celebrate your quarter of a century in Los Pacaminos?

    We’ll definitely do something and create some special merchandise and we may also go on tour. It would be fun to bring in some Mariachi trumpet players along for the ride.

    How did you get the name?

    We threw around a few ideas but eventually decided on Los Pacaminos as it simply means ‘pack ‘em in’. I quite liked that and thought it was quite interesting that it also means street kids, according to an Argentinian friend of mine.

    How often do you tour?

    All the time really. I’m off to do a Paul Young show in Liverpool tonight then driving cross cross country to meet the Los Pacaminos in Skegness. I run the two acts in tandem, it’s a bit all over the place but it’s most certainly good fun.

    Do you have a preference for performing solo or with the band?

    I love being on stage in general but I think I probably love the Los Pacaminos just a little bit more because the pressure isn’t on me – unlike when I do the solo shows. I share the responsibilities with the band, can step back and watch someone else play and I really relish that.

    Are there any famous musicians in Los Pacaminos?

    We’ve had various people perform with us over the years. Midge Ure was with us in the early days, and Paul Stewart, the drummer from The Feeling, has been a Pacamino as well.

    So do Pacamino musicians come and go then or are you a core unit?

    It’s a bit of both really. Twenty five years is a long time to stay with a band that doesn’t really make any money so occasionally some will go off and do other things and we’ll get someone else to stand in but we’ve still got quite a few of the original members playing with us.

    Where do you tour?

    Mainly in the UK as we’re a seven piece band and financially it’s very difficult to get us to go anywhere but we’ve just employed an agent to try and get us some festivals in Europe next. We played the Isle of Wight last year and we also do a lot of the folk festivals

    Is there cross over between fans of Paul Young and Los Pacaminos?

    It’s a 50/50 thing. There’s a lot of people for whom music ceases to exist once they get to a certain age, it’s just background music and they don’t go to concerts any more. A lot of them want me to play what they’ve heard from 25 years ago but there are other Paul Young fans who are true music lovers and they love hearing me with the Pacaminos. They bring other people along and introduce them

    Have you got a favourite venue to perform in?

    It’s always nice to perform locally so for me the Half Moon in Putney is our home from home, we play there a lot. It’s the same people that buy the tickets so fast it means that no one else can get in! We’re playing to the same people every three months!

    What do you enjoy most about playing with Los Pacaminos?

    I love being able to stand back and watch someone else do their thing. The sense of humour in the band is great. We often say we should record every day as there are so many stupid and funny things that are said and done: We just laugh all the time!

    Paul Young plays The Forum on December 10. For tickets, which are priced £17.50, go to www.twforum.co.uk