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

2020-05-15
Phil May of The Pretty Things RIP – We were saddened to learn that Phil May, lead singer and founding member of The Pretty Things, has died at the age of 75. The band's 1968 album S.F. Sorrow is one of the enduring classics of the psychedelic era, and the group existed in various forms until finally retiring in 2018. » Read more

2020-05-14
Jorge Santana RIP – Jorge Santana, noted guitarist, leader of the band Malo and brother to Carlos Santan, died on May 14 at the age of 68. Jorge and Carlos worked together on a number of occasions, though Jorge's career was centered around Malo, solo work, and with Fania All-Stars. » Read more

2020-05-06
Florian Schneider RIP – Florian Schneider, one of the founders of the pioneering electronic group Kraftwerk, has died at the age of 73. Co-founder Ralf Hütter announced that his bandmate had passed away from cancer after a brief illness. » Read more

2020-04-23
Shindig Festival Goes Lock-Down – Here's what they're saying: It's A Happening Thing! The Shindig! Magazine Lockdown Festival. In our days of no large gatherings of people, maybe it's still possible to have a music festival. Shindig! Magazine is giving it a go with a multi-artist streaming extravaganza on Saturday April 25. » Read more

2020-03-24
Bill Rieflin RIP – The sad news reaches us today of Bill Rieflin's death. Rieflin was best known as a drummer in bands ranging from post-punk to industrial to indie-rock to progressive rock, including work with The Blackouts, Ministry, Nine Inch Nails, Swans, Land, and King Crimson. Rieflin had been battling cancer for several years, and succumbed to it on March 24. He was 59. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

The Fiery Furnaces - Gallowsbird's Bark, Blueberry Boat, Rehearsing My Choir, EP, & Bitter Tea – A circus medley of distinct musical apparitions like a non-nasal Holy Modal Rounders of the twenty-first century with equal parts Jonathan Richman, The Velvet Underground, and Grease! Hey, Rizzo! ...  (2007) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues