|Dates connected with James:||1980-1984|
Paul Gilbertson was the inspiration behind the early years of James. Some of the philosophies that the band still encompasses today – taking risks on stage, improvisation and never knowingly sounding like anyone else – come from Paul, who was the band leader in the early years and the man who came up with the band’s name back in 1982.
Paul was in the same class as Jim Glennie at Yew Tree High School close to Man City’s Maine Road ground and were almost inseparable during most of their childhood years. Paul developed an interest in and introduced Jim to the punk scene developing in Manchester in the late 70s which encouraged him to buy a guitar and to convince Jim to buy a bass.
In the early years, Paul wrote the lyrics to most of the band’s music, which was developed from jams. He also took the responsibility for organising live performances, developing close ties with members of both Orange Juice and The Fall, and choosing the band’s personnel.
However, as the band developed, through releasing their debut single on Factory in 1983, Paul had started to overindulge in the drugs scene that was taking a hold on the music and club culture in Manchester at the time. He would turn up for rehearsals catatonic and developed a penchant for trying to play the guitar left-handed or upside-down.
Things came to a head after he went to Cornwall for six weeks in the summer of 1984 and came back a completely changed person. The band tried to cover for him, even to the extent of bringing Larry, who Paul had ironically brought in to give the band guitar lessons, in as a second guitarist, but the situation got worse rather than better. After a shambolic gig at Deville’s in Manchester, he was told to steer clear of drugs for two weeks before the band’s next show or risk being kicked out. He didn’t comply and had to be told when he turned up for the soundcheck for the gig at the Hacienda that he was no longer in the band.
Paul now works as a taxi driver in South Manchester and has had virtually no contact with the band for almost fifteen years.