Paul Kopasz (better known as Paul K, a Detroit native)
had produced a number of cassettes in the
late 1980s, but surfaced only with Patriots (Shrunken Stomach, 1988) and
its 17-minute title-track and profound portraits like My Knife.
His Weathermen became a staple of folk and blues clubs in
Lexington, near Louisville (Kentucky), but the real attraction is Kopasz's songwriting,
that draws inspiration from Lou Reed
and Gram Parsons.
The Big Nowhere (SilenZ, 1991) is a dark and brooding work, obsessed
with drugs (Kopasz was a heroin addict and spent time in jail)
The sound is sparse and subdued, but Poor Man's Eyes (one of this classics),
Robespierre and Superhighway already display his skills, while
The Arson Biz and Post Office Pinup reveal a sarcastic if not
The Killer in the Rain (SilenZ, 1992), featuring the Weathermen,
is a hard-rock album.
The Third Day is the Worst, Highway Hero and
The Killer in the Rain exude sweat and dirt, blue-collar frustration
and suburban alienation.
The Blue Sun (Homestead, 1992) is an anthology of his
cassette material. It includes live classics like
Amphetamines And Coffee and The Blue Sun.
Kopasz returned to the solo format for
Blues for Charlie Lucky (SilenZ, 1993), possibly his masterpiece,
at least as far as storytelling goes
(Black and Blues , God's own singer,
Nicotine Psychos Blues, and especially Radiant and White).
On the other hand, Garden of Forking Paths (Silenz, 1993) is again
as raw and energetic as Killer. The Weathermen are in top form.
Leave Me In Tears,
Something I Never Did Own,
Stolen Gems and
Stone In My Shoe are the new classics, while
7 Gates to the City presents him in the unlikely role of religious
After the cassette Corpus (Shrimper, 1995), the mini-album
Coin Of The Realm (Fiasco, 1995), that contains
Coin Of The Realm and Pillar Of Salt, and the
live album Now And At The Hour Of Our Death, Amen (Glitterhouse, 1995),
Paul K and the Weathermen matured with the sober and harrowing
Achilles Heel (Thirsty Ear, 1995), whose
Cold Summer Nights and Roses For The Rich show Kopasz at the
peak of his songwriting muse while Deportee, Add Up The Bills,
When You Read This I'll Be Gone and Everything's Forgiven
are all impeccable performances by one of the greatest bar-bands of the 1990s.
Kopasz aimed for the masses with Love is a Gas (Alias, 1997), his most
polished and relaxed record ever (produced by Velvet Underground's Moe
Tucker). Liar's Prayer, Deep Freeze,
Apple in my Eye, David Ruffin's Tears, Slow It Down
sound like Neil Young, Lou Reed, Jonathan Richman and many others, but not
like Paul K and the Weathermen.
Love is a Gas and Everything That Glitters retain his original
A Wilderness of Mirrors (Alias, 1998) is not only a concept album but
also a tour de force, as Paul K pens 17 songs and uses the Book of Job as a
reference. The biblical endeavour yields some of his most accomplished blues
tracks (Wilderness of Mirrors, Imperial Statues,
Big Bad City, Crash, The Bottle and the Cork)
although this is a completely new artist.
Paul K then joined the Prayers of drummer Tim Welch
Saratoga (Alias, 1999), an eclectic stew of
folk, rhythm and blues, gospel, soul, etc that marked a return of sorts
to his roots.
His mission as a literate protest poet of the working class continued with
Terminal Hotel (2001) and
Maintain Radio Silence (2007).
Four career retrospective double-CDs were released:
Stolen Gems (2003),
Res Ipsa Loquitor (2019),
Curriculum Vitae (2020) and
Sottovoce (2020). The last three were curated by himself while he was terminally ill.
Paul K died in 2020 at the age of 57.
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