Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Peter Case & Paul Collins: Bringing back the songs of The Nerves (along with some Plimsouls and Beat tunes)

Peter Case, left, and Paul Collins in Seattle. (All Cat Rose photos)
By Andy

Peter Case once called me from a pay phone in Hollywood.

Thanks to my former journalism adviser at San Jose State University -- and Case's ex-brother-in-law -- the man who practically helped invent power pop in the mid-'70s with The Nerves and Breakaways chatted with me in '89 about his second solo album, "The Man with the Blue Post-Modern Fragmented Neo-Traditionalist Guitar," for the Spartan Daily.

I caught the ex-Plimsouls leader at Club Oasis on that tour and was impressed with how the acoustic tunes from his solo LPs translated live.

Twenty-three years later, Case jammed an electric guitar into his hands while rocking along with former Nerves/Breakaways bandmate Paul Collins (he has his stellar Beat, too) at Seattle's Funhouse on March 2.

Alongside Amos Pitch on drums and Timm Buechler on bass, the two old pals rolled through a 25-song set of numbers that spanned their careers (see set list!)

4-song EP from 1976: Jack Lee, left, Collins and Case
Backstage after the gig, Case pointed at my Nomads T-shirt and reminisced about writing a song (with Jeffrey Lee Pierce) in the mid-'80s for the Swedish band: "Call Off Your Dogs." When he was in Stockholm, the band kept him up all night to write lyrics for the tune, he laughed.

Collins and Case each spoke with me briefly about playing together again and embarking on a two-month tour (Seattle was the second stop):

* COLLINS, who noted that he and Case played a show together a couple of years ago with their respective bands, but they haven't played in the same band for more than 30 years --

I think it's going great, we've got a crack backup band and the songs speak for themselves, so it's really kind of easy.

I would say more people have not heard of (The Nerves) than people who have heard of them -- but I don't care about that. It feels great, I'm very proud of what we did. Those songs will live on forever-- I love it. It's just wonderful... you know, you work hard and you can do good things.

(On memories of playing with Case)...It's more looking forward, that it's fun to be doing this and that we can, that's what I think. It's great to hear those songs again, play them again -- it's a rush.

* CASE --

You know what's great? For me, it's like a lot of fun: One, we've got a lot of history, you know, and I've always believed that soul is when you're proud of where you've been. So, if you've got history with people, it's nice to be able to go -- even if it's not just a group, but friends or something -- to be able to go out and share life with some people you go way back with is always a real fun thing to do. So, that's good, even though there's certain difficulties we've always had working together, we love working together, because it's really fun...

The other thing about it is the song catalogue that we made up. All these songs from back before 1983, it's really fun to kind of revive them and bring them back around because we made them at the time to be sort of timeless-- we never went with gimmicks or the time.

Andy's Spartan Daily review from '89, plus pic below by Kendra Luck


  1. Great review, wish this tour was coming to Boston!

  2. Thanks! maybe they'll catch a groove out there and extend the tour...
    cheers, Cat and Andy

  3. I saw this show with Peter and Paul at the Funhouse on March 2nd, it was so awesome! They were great! Loved every song, and got to get pictures taken with Peter and Paul and autographs! Paul signed my original
    "The Beat" album cover (from 1979?) I was a big fan of The Beat, and only just over the past year or so have gotten into the Nerves and Plimsouls and love them too. I think "Million Miles Away" is one of the most perfect songs ever!

  4. Great, Kelly. What a solid set of songs that night from some stellar musicians. cheers, Cat and Andy

  5. Going tomorrow night in St Paul -- will let you know how it goes...

  6. Show last night was GREAT. Unfortunately, no Paul. Peter was in good spirits and good voice!

    1. No Paul? Doesn't sound right. When I saw them, Paul sang about 2/3 of the songs and Peter sang the rest. But Paul sang most of The Nerves/Beat songs. The band backing them are the guys from The Paul Collins Beat who tour with him. Did Peter sing Rock N Roll Girl or Hanging On The Telephone?

  7. No Paul.

    Backing band was solid and worked quite well together. I thought Peter did a fine job on the Nerves/Beat songs. I am certain he did Hanging on the Telephone with a nice little intro talking about Jack.