For the past eight years, Paul Dean served as guitarist and vocalist of Loverboy, a group he co-founded in 1980. Loverboy is one of the better known success stories of the ’80’s, winning fans and selling millions of records worldwide. Well now Paul Dean has released his first solo album “HARD CORE” (Columbia Records). With friends like Paul Stanley (KISS), Bryan Adams, and Jon Bon Jovi helping you out, you just can’t go wrong.
Q – You were in something like 13 bands before you met Mike Reno and formed Loverboy. Didn’t you ever feel like giving up?
A – Nope. What else was I going to do? I’m really obsessed with it. That’s my life. That’s what I do. I’m not out to save the world. I just like making records, and touring-playing for people and entertaining them.
Q – You’ve got a lot of top name talent helping you out on this album. Isn’t that kind of difficult to get someone like Bon Jovi to appear on your album?
A – As far as contributing to the actual album, musically or performance wise, Bon Jovi was just finishing their New Jersey album, in the same studio I was. I heard him playing the harmonica, and I thought it was just great. I didn’t think he could play. He said he was just getting into it and he had a few licks. I asked him if he’d like to play on the record, especially the tune that the two of us co-wrote and he said “Yeah, let’s do it!” So, we layed a couple of tracks down, and took the best one, and away we went.
Q – When you were in Loverboy, you were handling most of the guitar work, but you weren’t the singer, Mike was. Now you’re the principle singer on your own album, and guitar player…
A – And bass player, and producer, and mixer.
Q – Don’t you find it rather difficult to now have to play guitar and sing?
A – Not really. I got another guitar player that’s really hot. We trade-off solos a little bit.
Q – How many musicians in your touring band?
A – Four.
Q – What kind of places are you playing?
A – Right now we’re opening for Bad Company. We’re playing theatres across the mid-west 3,4,5000 seaters.
Q – After all the years of struggling, how did it feel to finally have a song like “Turn Me Loose” on the charts?
A – I was blown away by it. But, at the same time I always had this naive thing, ever since I was 14 years and heard Elvis and The Beatles, and the rest of these guys, someday I’m gonna make it. That’s what kept me going. I just assumed it was going to happen. I never thought for a second it wouldn’t if I stuck with it. With Loverboy, everything clicked. I had the band, the songs, the management, and the record company. When it happened it was like, yeah I know it should happen like that. But, at the same time I was still blown away-hey, it really does happen. We had 4-5 years of our music being in vogue.
Q – Was Loverboy a real group in the sense that everybody had a say in the direction of the group?
A – Everybody had a say. I had the most say because it seems I had the most drive of anybody in the band. There was a bit of complacency with most of the guys towards the end. I never got the support I wanted in the writing department. Mike dried up after about a year, and never wrote anything more. He’s writing again with other people right now, but I guess it was just something between us that didn’t happen anymore.
Q – Was there an equal split of the profits in the group?
A – The only thing that wasn’t totally split up was the writers. If I wrote a song, then it was my song. But we split up everything. We split up the publishing, t-shirts, everything but our ladies, (laughs).
Q – For a time Loverboy was all over the place. You were on MTV, magazine covers, the radio, touring. And then nothing. You disappeared. It was almost like you never existed.
A – It’s amazing, isn’t it? We had 5 albums; four of them were easily platinum and a half in the States. “Get Lucky” was triple platinum. Then, “Wild Side” slipped away. It was a tough thing to reconcile. It was sort of a frustrating thing. I know for a lot of the guys it was more frustrating for them than me. I guess it was the fact I’ve been in so many bands. I kind of also go by the statement in the very first tune we released “The Kid Is Hot Tonite”, where will he be tomorrow, when the fad wears off? I know what the business is. I’ve seen it, in so many bands. You come up and you have your 15 minutes of fame and glory and then you’re history. Next! That’s just the way it is. There’s very few bands that can do 20 albums.
Q – There were never any scandals connected with Loverboy.
A – There were never any scandals because we never let anything out. We never had anybody check into the Betty Ford Clinic, although I wish 3 of the guys would have, and still do. I mean, there’s some serious alcohol going down in this band. I think that’s one of the reasons we kind of drifted apart. It became a bit of a personal thing. Some people can get real belligerent when they drink. I don’t need that in my life. So, you got the scoop there.
Q – Your song “Working for the Weekend” captured the spirit of the people who go to bars. They’re working for the weekend. They’re waiting for the weekend.
A – It’s a definite anthem. I remember the first time we ever played it was a weekend, a Friday night. We played it “live”. We were playing clubs, doing 3 sets. Our first set, nothing. The place was packed. There wasn’t a person on the dance floor. We opened up with “Working for the Weekend” in the second set and immediately the dance floor was packed. I know exactly what you’re saying. And, that’s how I felt, too. When I layed the song on the band and we started playing it, I didn’t have to say one word to anybody. It was just here it is, play along with me. And bang, there it was.
Q – Did it take you very long to write that song?
A – It went around a bunch of corners. It started out as “Everyone’s Looking For A Favor.” Then, it became “Waiting for the Weekend” and Mike came up with the idea, why don’t we call it “Working for the Weekend!” It took I guess probably a couple of months.
Q – When did you know that Loverboy was over, that the group was going to break-up?
A – Well, let’s clarify that. We’re not necessarily broken up. It’s when you’re touring around and you see cities, and you’ll have to cancel shows because people don’t really care. The ticket sales aren’t there, so you just cancel the show. It happened on the “Lovin Every Minute” album. We lost a few cities. We had to cancel a few shows. But, it was real strong there for 5 or 6 years. Real strong. And we had to cancel the tour for the “Wildside” album altogether. The album didn’t sell that well. We didn’t bother going out on that one. The second single got zero airplay.
Q – What can you do solo that you couldn’t do in the group?
A – I can make albums the way I want to with no compromise. That’s not to say they’ll be as successful as Loverboy. I can sing about whatever I want to sing about. I’m not restricted. I can just do whatever I want to do. It’s great!