P.9 history old members of paradise 9

Paradise 9 were formed in (or around) 1997, when Gregg McKella had been playing some of the songwriter’s nights around London. It was while playing at the “Acoustic Revolution” in West London, that he teamed up with Andy McDonald (ex-The Children) adding bass to Gregg’s songs, and together they also wrote a few songs together. On later sessions, Steve Teers joined in on djembe drum. It was in West London, where the trio were based, that they noticed Wayne Collyer, who was drumming for heavy rock outfit, Deepskin. Wayne also attended these “Acoustic Revolution” sessions, and so was approached to join as Paradise 9 drummer, so the band could take their music out of the acoustic arena and onto the London gig circuit. By 1998, they had worked on a complete gig set comprising of Gregg’s songs plus a few band written songs, and had taken these out gigging the London circuit and home counties. They still played some of the “Acoustic Revolution” sessions, and on their headline nights there, would feature guests (something there still maintain whenever possible) to “spice” up the night.

Guests included :

photo of mufa and wayne

Jeanette Murphy on backing vox (ex-Image Wot Image)
Poppy Gonzalez on backing vox (ex-Dreamfield/Hush Collector)
Tracie Reacher on backing vox
Mike Mishra on guitar (Panoptykon/Casual Affair)
Gareth Whelen on fiddle
Glyn Collins on flute
Stephanie Graffitti on fiddle (East of Ealing)

Following an awesome night supporting The Vibrators, they decided it was time to get in the studio and start laying down tracks that would become their debut album “Showtime”. So at the beginning of 1999, they started recording the album at Quo Vadis studios, in North London. It was around this time, that Mufa, (who had previously played with Gregg in Image Wot Image) joined the line-up on percussion.

In order to keep the band vibe that came with their live performances, some of the musicians who had performed with paradise 9 also guested on some of the album tracks. The album “Showtime” was released in the summer of 1999, where the band received much acclaimed radio play, including the then GLR (now Radio London), and continued to gig the album.

It was actually in the summer of 2000, (contrary to earlier reports) that the band split, following Wayne embarking on a trip to Australia. They reformed under this same line-up, to do a one-off charity gig on behalf of Whizzkidz, at the now defunct Happy Jax venue in West London, in 2002.

photo of early paradise 9 band

It was not until 2004 that the band actually re-emerged, following a request from an old friend to do another charity “one-off”, at the JB Bar in Gunnesbury, West London. This time Casual Affair’s Carl Sampson came in to help out on drums. The gig went so well, the Guv’nor of the JB Bar request that they play his birthday party. From that gig, the band reformed, now with Carl as the drummer, with Gregg, Andy, Steve, with Jeanette Murphy helping out on backing vocals and percussive things.

In 2005, Gregg re-located to Brighton, however the band still continued. Following Andy McDonald’s departure from the band in 2007, Matt Szul took over on bass duties, for a year, with another Casual Affair member, Neil Matthars taking over the bass reins in 2008.