Exposé Online banner

Paul Sears — Angels & Demons That Play
(Stairway Press, 2018, TPB)

by Jon Davis, Published 2019-03-12

Angels & Demons That Play Cover artHere at Exposé, we’ve been keeping tabs on drummer Paul Sears since about issue #2 (1994), reviewing a large number of albums he’s contributed to, and we’ve interviewed him twice. Anyone who’s read those interviews will have noticed that he is a natural storyteller, and after being told for years “You should write a book!” he took on that challenge. Looking back at our interviews with him, most of the anecdotes he shared with us are present in some form in this book, along with a lot more. Suffice it to say that Mr Sears has had an interesting life in music, full of connections, collaborations, random encounters, right-place-right-time situations, right-place-wrong-time situations, and other experiences. These are all told in a casual way with his unique humor, full of humility and wonder. There are many stories that could be punctuated with “I can’t believe I was lucky enough to have been able to do that.” His youth is covered in some detail, including the many musicians he met and played with as a teenager in Washington, DC, the first bands he played in, and the odd things that happened in the late 60s and early 70s when kids were trying to make a go at music. I found it a little confusing at times due to many anecdotes being presented out of chronological order — for example, the late-90s Muffins reunion was actually talked about before he wrote about how he joined the band in 1976. There are also a number of sections written by various of the people involved, giving their recollections and viewpoints. Among these are Tom Scott, Ted “Doctor Progresso” White, and others. Aside from a few times when he veers off into outside topics like his preferences in stereo equipment or his views on income taxes, he builds up a fascinating picture of the life of a musician who is well-known in a niche genre. There are many books out there about famous musicians who achieved widespread fame, but artists focused on less mainstream forms of expression operate mainly in the shadows, paying the bills in creative ways, following sometimes elusive opportunities, and doing their best to stay true to what they love. You don’t have to be a fan of The Muffins to enjoy this story. My main complaint about the book is the lax proofreading — punctuation and grammatical errors abound, and formatting of things like song and album titles is very inconsistent. As a habitual editor, I wanted to get out a red pencil and mark it up, but I was able to get beyond that and just enjoy the stories. As a helpful bonus, the book comes with a CD featuring tracks from quite a few of the albums Sears has played on.

Filed under: New releases, 2018 releases

Related artist(s): The Muffins, Spirits Burning, Sun Ra, Clearlight, Cyrille Verdeaux, Karda Estra / Richard Wileman, Dave Newhouse (Manna / Mirage), Nick Prol / Proletarians, 4S'd (Sears, Scott, Swann & Stanley), Chainsaw Jazz, Paul Sears

More info
http://www.stairwaypress.com/bookstore/angels-and-demons-that-play/

Latest news

2020-09-09
Simeon Coxe RIP – Simeon Coxe, best known for his experimental electronics in the band Silver Apples, has died at the age of 82. The band's 1968 debut album set the stage for both German electronic music and experimental punk music a decade later. Coxe died on September 8 from pulmonary fibrosis. » Read more

2020-09-05
Gary Peacock RIP – Legendary bassist Gary Peacock, veteran of many recordings and performances with Paul Bley, George Russell, Roland Kirk, Bill Evans, Tony Williams, and many more. » Read more

2020-07-22
Tim Smith RIP – Tim Smith, leader of the eccentric band Cardiacs, has died at the age of 59 after many years of health problems. Cardiacs was known for intense and complicated music that combined punk energy with the rhythmic and harmonic sophistication of progressive rock. » Read more

2020-07-12
Judy Dyble RIP – Singer-songwriter Judy Dyble, who was a founding member of Fairport Convention and one of the distinctive voices of the 60s folk revival in Britain, has died at the age of 71. Her passing came at the end of a long illness, though which she continued to work. » Read more

2020-07-06
Ennio Morricone RIP – Famed composer Ennio Morricone has died at the age of 91. The creator of scores for more than 500 movies, some of his works have become the most recognizable sounds in the history of cinema. His soundtracks for Sergio Leone's Westerns made from 1964 to 1971, are iconic landmarks in film music, but he also composed for dramas, comedies, and other genres. He won the Academy Award for Best Original Score in 2016 for The Hateful Eight. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Pink Floyd - Atom Heart Mother – Back in the heyday of symphonic rock, it was natural for Pink Floyd to take an occasional stab at "serious" composition, their most assiduous attempt being this 1970 album's daringly...  (1994) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues