Paul Gurvitz: A Life of Music

In 1963, in the small town of Ilford, England, there was a men's hair salon by the name of Paul Anthony. The owner of the salon Paul Gurvitz not only played with scissors but also the guitar. Paul had been playing guitar with local groups for a while . One of Paul's customers who also played guitar and sang was Brian Morris. It didn't take long before they were playing together and they would rehearse in the back of Paul's salon, and so began the fascinating career of a hairdresser who became a gifted musician, producer and songwriter and went on to make history with several successful bands.

Paul's father, Sam Curtis was the manager for his son's band and got them their first gigs playing at US army camps in Germany and France.

In the meantime, Paul returned to England where his father now worked as the tour manager for American artist Gene Vincent
(Be-bop-a-Lula). Vincent just happened to need a live band and so Paul with that band The Londoners became the backing band for a short time before returning to Germany as THE LONDONERS to play at the famous Star Club in Hamburg. The club's owners sent them to play in all of their Star Club venues across the country and also recorded a few singles for the Star Club label.

Upon their return to England, Paul felt it was time to rename the band. "The Londoners was okay for Germany, but I wanted a better name for England." And so THE KNACK was born - named after the film of the same name, which was in the cinemas as The Stones, The Who and The Beatles were at the top of the charts. The Knack signed a record deal and recorded several singles until 1967, but things weren't taking off. With the departure of long time band mate Brian Morris, Paul made a radical change and founded GUN.

Gun went through many line up changes (Yes vocalist Jon Anderson was even with the band briefly) until they got their first break playing shows with T Rex and Pink Floyd on the London underground scene. "We were playing a lot at the Speakeasy which was a very fashionable club at the time," Paul recalls. "There you would stand shoulder to shoulder with people whose music is still played all over the world today, Phil Lynott of Thin Lizzy, Brian Jones of the Stones, Jimi Hendrix and Keith Moon of The Who, just to name a few. Anyway, in our set we used to play 'A Day In The Life' by the Beatles. One night at the end of the song some guy approached me and said, 'That was excellent'. It was the last time I would see John Lennon face to face."

By the middle of 1968, Gun became part of a new breed of bands - the power trio. Paul had taken over bass and left the guitar to his brother Adrian, who was by this time becoming quite a talent. The drums meanwhile were still handled by Louis Farrell. Famous jazz musician Ronnie Scott, had just formed a management company and signed them as his first band. Shortly afterwards they were signed by CBS, and by the end of the year they were at the top of the European charts with "Race With The Devil", an unforgettable song featuring heavy, powerful riffs. They had recorded two studio albums by the end of 1969 and were regarded as one of the loudest bands of all time.

When Gun broke up Adrian left for the US to play with Buddy Miles and Paul reunited with his old band mate Brian Morris, who had changed his name to Brian Parrish. They began writing new songs and were introduced to legendary producer George Martin, who signed them to his label. Regal Zonaphone. Their self titled album, under the name of PARRISH & GURVITZ was promoted on the road with a new band. After their second album, the project split and the backing band went on to join Peter Frampton. Following on from this, Paul began working on new material with his brother. Under the name, THREE MAN ARMY they recorded songs with various drummers (including Buddy Miles and Carmine Appice). This eventually made up their debut album, "A Third Of A Lifetime". Three Man Army became a fully fledged live band with the permanent addition of former Jeff Beck drummer Tony Newman. The band toured with the Beach Boys and the Doobie Brothers throughout the U.S. and recorded two more highly acclaimed albums Mahesha and Three Man Army Two.

When Tony Newman left the band to play with David Bowie, the brothers Gurvitz hooked up with Ginger Baker and changed their name to the BAKER GURVITZ ARMY. Baker was considered the ultimate rock drummer at the time, known for his work with Blind Faith and obviously Cream. The band's self titled debut was a heady mix of heavy rolling, hard rock - a sound that was completely new and characterized by Baker's unmistakable drumming. With that sound the band entered the US and UK charts in 1974. Two more consecutive albums followed as the band expanded their line up from a trio to a quintet. When their manager Bill Fahelli died in a plane crash, a dispute with the management company forced the band to part ways.

In the years to come, Paul played on and produced his brother's solo albums and went to the US in 1985 to work as a songwriter and producer. This period yielded a string of hit singles that he wrote for bands such as Five Star, Jody Watley, The Fat Boys, The Cover Girls, Stanley Clarke, Jellybean and many others. In 2002 Gurvitz returned to the spotlight as a solo artist and continues to record successful albums in his own right. This is roughly, 'so far' - the biography of a successful musician. Paul says there's no secret behind it. "I have always just followed my passion, which is music." What about being a genius? "Maybe", he says, "I suppose surviving 40 years in the music business could class me as a genius. But then again 40 years of rock 'n' roll can make one very delusional."


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