Joesolo is the alter ego of Paul Thompson, formerly of Hull
guitar-pop outfit Lithium Joe.
As the band's songwriter and vocalist, Paul played in excess of 350 gigs as the
group released a string of self-funded records through their own label,
After a musical hiatus, 2004 saw Paul commence recording as a solo artist with
his debut CD An Exile In Suburbia.
Paul talks to Nick Quantrill about his new musical direction and life
as a fiercely independent musician.
It'd be fair to say that if people know you, they know you through your former band, Hull - based Lithium Joe. What can you tell us about those days?
Well, me and the Joeboys spent ten years between 1991 and 2001 trying our damndest to make people listen. We toured over and over, released as much as we could afford to release, and basically ran the show out of our back pockets with whatever money we could scrimp and save from the string of shitty jobs we barely managed to hold down. We gave it our best shot. We never made it. Simple as that. I loved every second, and I wouldn't change a thing.
Are any releases still available?
I've a couple of boxes of a 7" EP we put out in 1998 called War Stories left....maybe 50 copies.
Other than that it's all sold out now I believe.
In actual fact I'm just in the process of putting out a special edition
of our 2000 album Upstairs At Park Street which will include six new tracks that were previously only available as downloads. That should be out in a month or two.
Being back on the scene has renewed people's interest in Lithium Joe so the
CDs have been shifting again.
There will also be a new-look website up and running soon at
www.lithiumjoe.co.uk with free downloads and news of anything we may or may not get up to in the future.
There was a gap of maybe three or four years between the last Lithium Joe release and the first Joesolo record, and then we get two albums in a year! What brought on this burst of creativity?
When the Joeboys effectively parted company in the summer of 2001 I thought I was finished.
I'd literally given every last shred of myself over to the band for ten whole years and
then it was gone. Your life becomes meaningless if you let it.
Me and Mrs Solo had just had our second son so I gave myself over to
supporting them and being the best husband and father I could.
I didn't pick up a guitar for over a year. Then Joe Strummer died.
It's hard to put into words what Joe meant to people of my generation. The Clash had motivated and inspired us in ways that you just can't see any group doing now, and when he died I just started thinking about all the good guys and how they were disappearing one by one. I just got the old bee back in my bonnet. There are so many negative signals out there and so much inanity and blandness. I think if you've got the ability to give voice to your opposition and maybe suggest an alternative then you should quit moaning, get off your arse and do it.
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