The third bandit was Paul Slack. Before joining us, he had been the bassist with the UK Subs. I’d already met him when the Subs had supported the Electric Chairs at the Lyceum. In fact, it hadn’t gone down very well. The Subs’ fans, skinheads for the most part, decided to pick on Wayne and were chucking all sorts of objects at him. It was hard to play in those conditions and Wayne was getting it full in the face. He’d responded and lobbed a beer bottle at a guy he’d spotted in the crowd, but it was a girl who got it smack in the mouth. Blood, ambulance, police - the works, and Wayne was taken in to the station for questioning.
Paul had responded having seen an advert in the Melody Maker: ‘Guitar instrumental band, The Flying Padovanis are looking for a bass player’. We’d already recorded Va Plus Haut with James Eller, a mate of Chris Musto’s, a good bass player who’d played with Carlene Carter, and as the single had been ‘single of the week’ in the New Musical Express, we’d had loads of responses.
We’d installed our gear in an old club in Vauxhall and the guys filed through one by one. They each had roughly half an hour. It was pretty hard to manage, but we stuck to simple favourites such as Pipeline and Wipe Out etc. Val had come along to give us a hand and he chatted with the waiting applicants who’d arrived early for their audition. In fact, they all could hear everything and the whole thing was really badly organized.
As soon as Paul arrived, with his shaved head, and he had plugged in his Travis Bean and we attacked Pipeline, we knew that it would be him who would play with us. Instantly.
We rehearsed for about a month in the studio in Vauxhall and booked our first gig at the Moonlight Club. Lol Coxhill had agreed to come along and play a couple of saxophone solos (on Va Plus Haut and Western Pasta), and Val Haller had also joined with us. He played the synth, his latest instrument, on Va Plus Haut, Western Pasta, and Look at the Mess.