Back to Archive Main Page

The John Brindle Interview

Paul talks about "Running Horse" - Article featured in Sept 2002 "Good Feelin' to Know" Fanzine.

The Mark Gould Interview

The Full Interview "30 Years on the Run" at Sound Waves Magazine

Confessions of A Poconut at Sound Waves Magazine

Review of Firebird at Sound Waves Magazine

Background & Insights
All I can say is, thank God for the Two Trees Inn midnight tea buffet, or else this interview with Paul might never have happened. My meeting with Paul had been set up for several weeks, with the help of the Futuredge people, as well as Rich, the caretaker of this great web site (and I must note that his PC history was a big help in background for the story). Poco went on at 9 p.m., a bit late for any opening act, but generally the way the casino operates their weekend shows. Interestingly, it was clearly a Poco audience, with many fans wearing Poco tee shirts and the like. The band did a 45-50 minute set, meaning no acoustic set other than “Crazy Love,” and then left the stage.
Paul had told us that he would get back to his hotel room around 10:30, or about half an hour after Poco left the stage. What no one counted on was that half the audience would leave after Poco’s set, and the band members had to hang around backstage and help pack the shared equipment after the show. Naturally, Jon, Tom and I raced back to Two Trees after Poco’s set because, well, you just don’t keep an interviewee waiting (Journalism 101 learning curve). Not knowing what was happening back at the show, we waited. And waited. And waited. And waited. Thankfully, the company was great, but, being a morning person interviewing late night people, I was getting a bit bushed. Enter the tea lady. A couple of good jolts of caffeine later, I was more than ready to go.
Paul came in just after midnight, gave us a hearty hello, and then said the entire band was going to the bar to wind down a bit. What we all forget is that, fun and exciting as it is, this is the musicians’ job, and like us in our professions, they want to wind down at their “happy hour,” even if it is after midnight. Paul, Rusty, Tim, and Richard chatted with us, until about 1:15 a.m., when Paul indicated he was ready, and we ventured off to talk, in his room. When I was getting ready for the interview, I prepared by talking to other writers who had had the opportunity to interview Paul in the past, even though he and I had met several times. I knew that Paul had not done a lot of “one on one” interviews, and wanted to make sure I knew how to best approach the interview with him.
Almost uniformly, all of the writers I spoke with said the same thing: Paul Cotton will be the nicest, most mellow guy you will ever interview. Boy, were they right. We went into his room, where he turned on some classical music on a portable CD, very low, and sat down in a chair. I sat on the bed, turned on the tape recorder, and off we went. It was funny, but as tired as I was, the combination of the caffeine-laced tea and Paul’s accommodating personality made this one of the easiest interviews I have ever done. The warmth of Paul’s great songs comes out in his personality. I have had the opportunity to interview a number of “rock stars,” and usually they either give you grunted, one word replies, or they wax poetically for several minutes about what they want to talk about, not what you ask them. Paul was not like that at all. No matter what I asked, he thought for a minute about it, and answered, straightforward and to the point.
Even though I am, well, a big fan, I knew that I had to put on my reporter’s cap and ask a couple of tough questions, particularly, from my point of view, about Paul’s non-involvement in the “Legacy” project, his feelings about that, and if another Poco album will come out in our lifetimes. I was a bit worried about the “Legacy” question because, to my knowledge, no one had ever asked him, in depth, about it before. Sensing his friendly personality, I should not have worried. As you can see from the interview story, he gave me a straightforward, honest answer. Actually, the whole interview went that way; it was a pleasure.
A couple of tidbits that did not work their way into the story: --Even having written such a beautiful song about it, Paul has never been to Barbados. He’s been just about everywhere else in the Caribbean, but not there. That shocked me, given the detail about the island and the city of Bridgetown, in his song. --Even though this is absolutely unimportant to us as fans, and arguably none of our business, either, it was so clear in taking to him that Paul is extremely happy with his personal life. His eyes glowed every time he talked about his lady back home in California. “Firebird,” which is clearly about her, started off as a story about an Indian ceremony that she told him about. It was so nice to hear that a man, who has made us all so happy, is so happy himself. It will be wonderful if we all can express that kind of contentment at age 55. --Rusty told me when I spoke with him about Paul, that he, Rusty that is, actually did write a number of songs in the early years of the group, well before Richie left, but he said “having three or more writers in a band is what kills most groups.” I found that interesting, given what happened to the Sky Kings.
Finally, as I was leaving, I remarked to Paul, kiddingly of course, that it was much too long since I had heard Poco do a long set, so I could hear “Bad Weather,” which clearly remains his classic. What did Paul say, after flying 3,000 miles, driving an hour to the casino, undergoing a long soundcheck, doing the show, packing equipment backstage, and it being almost 2:30 in the morning? “Hey, if it wasn’t so late, I’d pull out the guitar and play it for you right here.” That, more than anything else, gives me a good feeling about the person who is Paul Cotton.

Back to Paul Cotton Page

Sign Guestbook