Paul Guerin is one of the hardest gigging guitarists on the planet but lockdown is a chance for the Quireboys/Down N Outz six stringer to revisit the 10 albums that make him tick. Simon Rushworth counted down 10 quarantine favourites.
Rory Gallagher – Photo-Finish
Rory was – and still is – my favourite writer and player. In the first proper band I ever put together, the first song we played live was Shadow Play from Photo-Finish. Many years later I was working at New Kings Road Vintage Guitars and one day Rory’s brother walked in with his entire collection for valuation. I just looked at the cases, open mouthed, and couldn’t believe my luck. When you’re a guitar player, opening a case for the first time is like Christmas morning. Anyway, I opened up the first one and there was Rory’s 1961 Strat staring back at me. I asked if I could play it and Rory’s brother told me to go for it. Luckily Rick [Zsigmond, owner] decided to film it but you could see how much it meant to me: I was shaking! I plugged into this cheap amp but it was still the best guitar I’d heard in my life. I played Shadow Play and was like a kid in a sweet shop.
Rod Stewart – Atlantic Crossing
When you’re young and your heart keeps getting broken a million times this is the record to turn to. It was my go-to album when I was a love-struck kid growing up in Blyth. I guess when you’re feeling miserable and you want to feel a little more miserable there’s no record quite like Atlantic Crossing. On the vinyl, side one is the slow side and then side two is the faster side. Rod went over to Muscle Shoals to make the album and that was obviously a bucket list thing for him. The vibe is incredible and the music reflects his decision to quit the UK and move to the US…and eventually leave The Faces. Even the covers are so well chosen. It’s a fantastic record.
Bob Seger – Nine Tonight
Back when I was growing up in Blyth there were groups of lads who hung out together – nothing as serious as gangs but there was some rivalry there even if it was mostly good natured. My group was the Stumble Bums and the young ‘uns were the Orphans. We used to go on trips to Edinburgh where the bars were open earlier and all day. And the cassette that soundtracked those journeys was always Bob Seger. I’ve got so many great memories of going north of the border with my mates, getting absolutely blasted and then 15 of us sleeping in the back of a Transit and crawling back home on the Sunday ready for work the next day.
The Georgia Satellites – In The Land Of Salvation And Sin
I used to go to my mate Will’s house and he had the Keep The Faith EP which we used to play over and over. Hearing Dan for the first time was just one of those life-changing moments. His writing reached its pinnacle on In The Land Of Salvation And Sin – he calls it ‘The Divorce Album’ and it’s his emotions laid bare. I ended up playing with Dan a few years later and I worked my balls off to make sure I got everything exactly right for those shows. I’d seen a few guitar players who’d hooked up with Dan and not stuck to the script so I was determined to do the job properly. I practiced the solos over and over and when it came to my moment in Switzerland I just thought if I fuck this up I’m going to throw myself in the river in Geneva. Luckily I got through it and it was a feeling of total euphoria. Dan’s made so much good music over the years and continues to do so but this album is very special.
Chas N Dave – 100 Hits Legends
I saw Chas & Dave supporting Led Zeppelin at Knebworth in 1979 and they were amazing. When I’m about to go on stage, warming up in the dressing room before a show, I play some Chas & Dave and it just gets the buzz going. Mrs Guerin isn’t a fan of Chas & Dave and she isn’t a fan of The Sensational Alex Harvey Band – two of my favourite bands. So when we have our Monday music nights and we each get to pick our tracks my default is Ain’t No Pleasing You with some dad dancing for good measure! She normally responds with some Duran Duran but I never learn my lesson. Everyone focuses on Chas and his piano playing – which is marvellous – but Dave’s bass playing is probably the best I’ve ever heard.
The Traveling Wilburys – The Traveling Wilburys
You got all those famous fellas together and the genius of the project is that there’s not one ego spoiling the party. I’ve watched the footage of them putting the debut album together and they sat around writing their own parts and then they’d decide who sang what and where. It was just a bunch of mates – who happened to be the cream of the crop – enjoying making music together. Not one of them was an arse. What they came up with, unsurprisingly, was top of the league. This record is all about the pure joy of making music and it’s wonderful.
AC/DC – Stiff Upper Lip
I’d spent years and years listening to AC/DC – I knew all of the old albums off by heart and I’d been lucky enough to meet Bon Scott a couple of times before he passed away. So the classic AC/DC was ingrained in me from an early age and every new album had a point to prove. I picked up Stiff Upper Lip when it was released and thought to myself ‘I wonder what this is going to be like?’. As soon as I hit ‘play’ any fears were put to bed. That opening track is pure, killer AC/DC. One guitar and one voice and then it kicks in! I was driving down the A1 in the old Jag once listening to Stiff Upper Lip and singing away at the top of my voice. I looked at the clock and I was doing 130mph without realising. It was like Smokey And The Bandit. I hit the brakes and calmed down but that’s the power of AC/DC!
UFO – Lights Out
Back in Blyth I had this friend Mick Lee who’s a funeral director. He was one of those kids who knew from the age of 12 or 13 what he wanted to do and his dream was to become an undertaker. He’s still doing it now. Anyway, he had a brother called John and we went to his brother’s house one day and the first thing we heard was Lights Out. I’d never heard anything like it in my life and it just blew my socks off. But we had to make a sharp exit as Mick got into a fight with his brother and Jon kicked us both out! Years later I ended up drinking with UFO in Dublin and then playing with them all over the world. I played alongside Michael Schenker in the US and Japan and Lights Out is still one of the best songs he ever co-wrote. It’s funny how things turn out.
Ian Hunter & The Rant Band – Fingers Crossed
Everyone bangs on about Mott The Hoople – and rightly so. As a member of Down N Outz, I love that band. But Ian has consistently released quality albums for more than 50 years and his solo work is simply sensational. His output has got better and better and he’s never become a parody of himself. I honestly don’t know where he gets his ideas from or where he gets the energy from. Everything on this album sends shivers down my spine. It really doesn’t matter how old he is – Ian is the epitome of the saying that ‘age is just a number’. The quality of his work is beyond belief and right now it’s only his tinnitus that is slowing him down. What I love about him is that he’s not even considering retirement and he still has more to come. He’s never just knocked out a record for the sake of it.
Jimmy Barnes – Freight Train Heart
This was the album that Jimmy co-wrote with Jonathan Cain from Journey. Johnny Diesel is on guitar, Randy Jackson’s on bass and Huey Lewis pops up on harmonica I think! When I moved to London in 1987 I met these three fellows from Australia and New Zealand and all they ever went on about was Cold Chisel this and Cold Chisel that. So I got introduced to Jimmy and we went to see him at the Brixton Academy – it was just beyond incredible. It’s one of those gigs that I’ll never, ever forget. I listen to Driving Wheels now and it gets me through two miles on the treadmill no problem. You hear the slide guitar and you feel as if you’re going into battle – like a Roman centurion! It’s such a great song to open up an album with and the big songs just keep on coming.
*The Quireboys are re-recording A Bit Of What You Fancy ahead of a 30th anniversary re-release later this year.
*Down N Outz latest album, the award-winning This Is How We Roll, is out now.