La Jolla Condos

Rough Cutt Vocalist
Paul Shortino
aka Duke Fame

FIB MUSIC:  So, you were just a kid when your first single came out, in '71, right?

Paul:  Oh my God. Yeah.

FIB MUSIC:  How does Paul & Jo Jo all come about?

Paul:  I was sixteen years old. This guy named Mark Anthony.....I was jamming with him and this guy named Johnny Apollo. They wrote a couple of songs and took me into the studio and recorded with them. It was Paul & Jo Jo, but it was originally Paul & Coco and Coco was Mickey Dolenz sister from the Monkees. We cut the track and the next thing, we got this big time producer named Snuff Garrett, who had done Sonny & Cher and a bunch of other big names. It hit the charts with a bullet and was doing just fine and then Vicki Lawrence came out with a song called "The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia" and that knocked me off and put me on the chopping know, are we going to pursue this young guy, or take Vicki Lawrence, this girl who is on the Carol Burnett Show and they went with her. They put the brakes on my record. It went to 22 with a bullet on Billboard, but that's as far as it got.

FIB MUSIC:  How does it all come together, in the first place?

Paul:  It was signed with Bell Records. I just went and did the session and it was out of my hands after that.

Paul Shortino - Age 15
(sitting down)

FIB MUSIC:  How did you get the record deal?

Paul:  I don't know how they got it to Bell Records, but somebody gave it to somebody, who gave it somebody and the next thing you know, we're really making a record. All the studio cats in there playing. Guys who had played with Fats Domino, some really big time session players played on it. Here I had just gotten to Los Angeles, straight out of Ohio....a backwoods boy, you know? It was overwhelming. Of course, I thought I was trying to be a super kid and in the middle of the whole thing, I got arrested for pot, went to jail and thought my career was over.

FIB MUSIC:  That kind of helps your career though, doesn't it?

Paul:  Well back then it didn't. It was all pretty clean. They wanted and what I was doing was becoming a pop star and pop stars don't get high, but we know different.

FIB MUSIC:  Who introduces you to Ronnie James Dio?

Paul:  Dave Alford.

FIB MUSIC:  This was in 1981?

Paul:  I think it was '80 or '81. The first line-up of Rough Cutt was with Jake E. Lee, Claude Schnell who was in Dio.

FIB MUSIC:  What were the sequence of events that led to Jake leaving.

Paul:   Ozzy started looking for a guitar player and Wendy knew Sharon and got Jake an audition and then we replaced Jake with Craig Goldy.

FIB MUSIC:  Did Jake join Dio briefly, before the Ozzy audition?

Paul:  No. They were thinking about it, but it never came to pass.

Rough Cutt
(L-R) Jake E. Lee, Joe Cristo, Claude Schnell, Paul Shortino, Dave Alford

FIB MUSIC:  Were you upset when Jake left the band?

Paul:  No, because we butted heads anyway. It was better that he go on. It's just Jake's personality, he's not an easy person to work with....from what I've heard....I talked to Randy Castillo when he was in Ozzy and Phil Soussan and Jake would show up to rehearsals late...and then just stroll in...and that didn't go over too well.

FIB MUSIC:  How did you meet Jake E. Lee?

Paul:  I met him through Dave Alford...he was the go between guy who helped put Rough Cutt together. I was playing with Claude Schnell, we had had a band and basically we took, what once was a line-up of the band Ratt, now became the line-up of Rough Cutt, which was Jake.....and Dave Alford was also in Ratt and Matt Thorne (Matt Thorr), Chris Hager and Matt were in a band together.....So the first line-up was Jake E. Lee, Claude Schnell, Joey Cristo, Dave Alord and Paul Shortino. The second line-up was Matt Thorr, Chris Hager, Craig Goldy, Dave Alford and Paul Shortino. Then the final line-up of Rough Cutt, Amir Derakh replaced Craig Goldy. We had Amir in the band for about two weeks and we got signed to Warner Brothers.

FIB MUSIC:  In my interview with Craig, he said that even Ronnie James Dio thought it was a stupid move for him to leave the band when he did.

Paul:  I don't understand it either, but it was all good because we ended up getting another guitar player that meshed well with the band.

FIB MUSIC:  Are there any Rough Cutt recordings with Jake E. Lee out there?

Paul:  Oh yeah. There's "Used and Abused", "A Little Kindness", "Saturday Night"....Wendy has some of the tracks, but some of the tracks were left at the Record Plant by a guy named Delano.

FIB MUSIC:  Will any of it ever be released?

Paul:  I don't know. Some of those tapes won't ever be released because I don't know where they're at and Wendy has some stuff, but I don't know what she has. A couple of the songs were on a release, L.A.'s Hottest Bands. I do have that on vinyl...someday I'll see about getting them transferred onto cd.

FIB MUSIC:  and Jake E. Lee played on those tracks?

Paul:  Yeah and Ronnie produced them.....there are a couple of recordings we did with Craig that were never released. "The Queen of Seduction" was one of them and its never been released.....Craig was on that one.

FIB MUSIC:  Do you still have that recording?

Paul:  Yes, I think I have a demo recording of it.

FIB MUSIC:  That would be so cool to release those songs.

Paul:  Oh know, Jake lives up here in Vegas too.

FIB MUSIC:  What's the deal with him? He seems like he's just disappeared.

Paul:  He has disappeared....he hasn't been on stage for about ten years.

FIB MUSIC:  I read somewhere, I think Jake E. Lee said it himself, that "Bark at the Moon" was actually a riff he used in Rough Cutt, but just sped it up in Ozzy? What song was it?

Paul:  I'm not sure, but he would know better. Wow.

FIB MUSIC:  How did you get along with Craig Goldy?

Paul:  Oh, we got along just fine....he's another trippy dude. I can't really put my finger on it, but he was a trippy guy.

FIB MUSIC:  Were you upset when Craig left the band?

Paul:  No, not at all. Everytime someone left the band, it seemed like the right person filled in and added something to the band. He played as good, if not better and he had a personality aspect that wasn't there with the others.

FIB MUSIC:  Did everybody get along in Rough Cutt?

Paul:  Oh yeah, it was definitely a good batch of chaps.

FIB MUSIC:  Describe a typical day-in-the-life of Paul Shortino during the L.A club days.

Paul:   Well, when we were doing the demos with Craig, I was working at a bar with a band. So, I worked from 9 to 2 in the morning everyday and then went into record during the day.

Paul Shortino & Craig Goldy
Rough Cutt

FIB MUSIC:  What was the band?

Paul:  The band was called Legend....we were just doing five nights a week. I had a lot of money in my pocket then. Also, during that time, the Dio's asked me to move in their home, so I did that. When they first signed Rough Cutt, they pulled me in there...they were afraid I would go with someone else. So, I lived with them for awhile and then we got signed and went to Europe, got signed and came home. We went to find a producer and found Tom Allom and went in and recorded the first Rought Cutt album.

FIB MUSIC:  That's what I thought. You guys were touring a lot before you even got signed, right?

Paul:  Oh yeah. We were doing all kinds of things before we got signed. We went to Europe to see if we could get a European deal and came to the States and they finally signed us, which was unbelievable. At that time, everybody in the L.A. scene was getting signed and then we got signed before a lot of people, but it took them ages to find us a producer that we all agreed on, so we missed the window. The Ratt window, the Dokken window....all those doors that were open for the 80's bands, by the time we released the album Tipper Gore had gone over the top with the censoring and put all those stickers on the records. We would go to these radio stations and they hadn't even opened up our record.

FIB MUSIC:  Since you were there to see the L.A. music scene in the 70's and then in the 80's, how did you see the music scene change?

Paul:  Oh, it changed big time. People have to pay to play in those clubs.

FIB MUSIC:  Bands weren't paying to play when Rough Cutt was on the scene, right?

Paul:  No, but they do now.

FIB MUSIC:   Didn't they start doing that at the end of the 80's?

Paul:  Yeah.

FIB MUSIC:  So, what was the difference between the 70's L.A. scene and the 80's scene?

Paul:  I was a place where music was born. Everybody came to L.A. to make it. You've got the industry there, but as far as the entertainment goes, at that time, everybody was flocking to L.A. in the late 70's, early 80's. The club scene was booming then, but it is not now.

Paul Shortino as Duke Fame
This is Spinal Tap

FIB MUSIC:  Well, it wouldn't be right not to ask about this. Somewhere around this time period you play Duke Fame in This is Spinal Tap. How did that come about?

Paul:  Well, what happened was Jake was in the band when it all came about. We played the Troubadour, took an ad out in the paper and the people in charge of casting for the movie saw the ad and came down the show and asked the three of us, Jake, me and Dave Alford to come down and audition for the part and I showed up in white leather and I was the first one there, so I got the gig. That's how I got the gig, I didn't really have to try hard, just the first guy who showed up. I got my SAG card out of it, so it was cool.

FIB MUSIC:  Any memories come to mind from the filming?

Paul:  Well, there was one thing....I always tell the story of when we......we weren't signed yet, so I wasn't really a rock star and the girl who was playing my girlfriend was a girl who had been dating Jackson Browne, just before he met Daryl that was my arm candy in the film and of course Wendy Dio was managing me who was married to Ronnie, who was a rock star, so I actually had to act like I was rock star.

FIB MUSIC:  Anything else come to mind?

Paul:  Well, one thing.....I kept looking at the guys in Spinal Tap and thinking their hair looked really weird...I didn't know they were wigs, at the time. So, I'm sitting next to Rob Reiner at lunch and Michael Mckean,Christopher Guest and Harry Shearer are all sitting there as well and they all have their hair off and I said, "you know, you guys look just like the guys in Spinal Tap" and they all started laughing at me, "we are dude, they're just wigs". Ahhhh, that's why they looked so weird.

FIB MUSIC:  The movie pissed off several rock stars. I think Steven Tyler even walked out of the movie because he thought it was about him.

Paul:  Oh really, I didn't know that. I tell you, that thing has followed me around. Anytime a gig is weird, it's Spinal Tap. But you know, everything in that movie was true. Everything that happened in that movie, happened to Rough Cutt somewhere down the line. We were doing a show and I was at the front of the line ready to get on stage and I've got to take a dump. So, I've got to walk past everybody and have a guy in a cart take me back to a toilet backstage.....and then there was a gig we played where we couldn't find the stage....just like Spinal Tap. So, people can walk out being pissed off, but I'm sure it really hit a nerve. Everybody has had Spinal Tap moments happen to them. Aerosmith, I'm sure had many moments....when Tyler popped Hamilton, or Hamilton popped Tyler and knocked him off the stage.

FIB MUSIC:  They got in a fight on stage?

Paul:  Yeah, they got in a fight on stage. He fucking cold-cocked him and knocked him off.

FIB MUSIC:  I'm pretty sure it was Tyler who was pissed off because it was also during the time when Aerosmith were on their way down, right?

Paul:  Yeah, it really was when Jimmy Crespo was in the band.

FIB MUSIC:  Didn't you play with him?

Paul:  Crespo? He's a nut. He's a boy in the bubble. He's allergic to everything. When he recorded with Aerosmith, everyone was staying at Tyler's house and he was in a Motel 6 because he is allergic to everything. We worked together for awhile and it was just so hard to work with someone who was just so allergic to so many things. We did a video and we had fog in the video and he said, "I can't do that anymore; I can't do anymore filming." We did a gig in San Diego, as Rough Cutt, picked him up in Culver City, which is about a two hour drive to San Diego. J.T. Garrett, who was playing keyboards for us, at the time....., so he picks up Jimmy and Jimmy gets in the car. It's about 100 degrees, maybe in the 90's...he gets in the car with a sweater, t-shirt and a leather coat on and looks at J.T. and says, "can you turn the air off, I'm cold". So, they had to drive to San Diego in bumper to bumper traffic with no air. J.T. would give up anything for air, he thinks it's the best thing ever invented. After that gig, we had a gig in Las Vegas and we decided that we would fly Crespo. We could all drive out there and we would just fly Crespo in, so we could have air conditioning again. So, we picked him up at the airport and the first thing I ask is, "Jimmy, how was your flight?" and he says, "ohhhhh, it was terrible". He never had a good thing to say about anything. It just got to the point where it was just whatever. We were in the middle of recording an album and he and his wife and family just got up and moved to Vegas in the middle of it.....right in the middle of the project. Howard Leese had to cut on the songs that Jimmy had co-written with me.

FIB MUSIC:  He just leaves the project without saying anything?

Paul:  Yeah. Trippy.....trippy me he's a weirdo. I don't really know him.... I shouldn't say that. Everybody has their quirks and he has his. For whatever reason he acts like that is beyond me.

FIB MUSIC:  What was it like working with Mitch Perry?

Paul:  Well, he is an incredibly talented guitar player....., as brilliant as they come. He just has some problems with drinking. I don't know if the substance is gone in his life, but I had to quit playing with him because.....I'm not a drinker and I take stuff a little too serious.

FIB MUSIC:  You haven't had anything to drink since the seventies, right?

Paul:  Yeah.

FIB MUSIC:  That's amazing. You didn't party all through the Rough Cutt days?

Paul:  Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah I did, but when I met my wife 17 years ago, she just cleaned my ass up. I've been really pretty clean of anything and everything.

FIB MUSIC:  You just didn't like to drink?

Paul:  I've never been a real drinker, but when I did, I just turned into a real asshole. So, I just tried to stay away from it. I have a little beer, a little wine, but I don't drink too much.

FIB MUSIC:  What was your drug of choice?

Paul:  I've always been a pothead. I'd rather smoke a joint than drink Jack Daniels. I won't be the one druelling in a corner.

FIB MUSIC:  Smoking weed doesn't mess with your throat?

Paul:  No and I don't have to smoke too much, just one or two hits and I'm fine. I find that I do it less and less now. I'm finding out now, why so many engineers don't get high at work. You have to remember what you are doing.

FIB MUSIC:  Do you remember anything from the day you signed your record contract with Warner Brothers?

Paul:  I remember we had champagne. I remember being in Wendy Dio's office and we got the call, the paperwork and it was all about finding the studio and the right producer.

FIB MUSIC:  Anything stand out from the recording sessions for the self-titled release?

Paul:  Nothing really. They spent a lot of time on the guitar tracks. I had to cut my parts in ten days.

FIB MUSIC:  Basically a song a day.

Paul:  Yeah. Then the first gig we did after the record was done was at the Forum, with Dio headlining, we warmed up for Dokken. We just did a few dates with them and then went out on the road with Krokus and Accept, that was our first tour.

FIB MUSIC:  What was that like?

Paul:  Well, we didn't get a soundcheck at first, but it just so happened that Spinal Tap was showing at the time we were on tour with Krokus and Accept. The guys in Krokus saw it and asked if I was Duke Fame and I said yes and Marc Storace asked me to come backstage because he wanted to meet me. From then on, we got a soundcheck. Duke Fame came in handy a few times.

FIB MUSIC:  Where did you record the self-titled release?

Paul:  We recorded it at the Record Plant, in L.A., on Third Street, before they moved it.

FIB MUSIC:  How long does it take to record the record?

Paul:  It took about three months, we went thirty grand over budget.

FIB MUSIC:  Do you remember what the budget was?

Paul:  I think it was about a quarter of a million dollars. Part of that session was supposed to be recorded at my parents' recording studio, but Tom Allom was getting too much nose candy from Rose at the Record Plant, so he wanted to stay there. He had a big nose problem.

Rough Cutt

FIB MUSIC:  Were you planning on recording your vocals at your parents' studio?

Paul:  Yeah. We were going to cut the basic tracks at the Record Plant and all the guitars and vocals were supposed to be done at my parents' studio and then they burn my folks.....and then we went thirty grand over budget.

FIB MUSIC:  What did Tom Allom get for doing the record?

Paul:  He got fifty grand up front.

FIB MUSIC:  Plus points on the record?

Paul:  Yeah, they're the only people who ever made any money off the record.

FIB MUSIC:  How long did it take from the time you signed the record contract, to the time you released the record?

Paul:  About a year. Producers, producers, producers.

FIB MUSIC:  Just trying to find one?

Paul:  Yeah, finding someone who had the available time and someone the record company would ok. Not to mention that the band was arguing over producers and it just took forever. We blew the window.

FIB MUSIC:  How did you feel about the finished product?

Paul:  It was alright. I don't think anything I have ever done, except for the record I did with Jeff Northrup, "Back on Track" and a little of the Quiet Riot record that I did ever really captured what I am, as a singer. What my roots are; I'm really more of a bluesy kind of singer. I just kind of jumped in on the heavy metal scene because there was a door opening with the Dio's, but I'm really an R&B singer more than anything. I think the thing I am doing with Pete Reveen is the closest to what I'm about. I think the real Paul and the real Pete Reveen are going to come out on this record. We're more into the late seventies heavy rock, which was a really good time period. Not saying that there wasn't some great music in the eighties, there was some really great stuff. It was the later years with Poison, which they have done well with what they do, but to me, that stuff is bubble gum.

FIB MUSIC:  Who else did you guys tour with to support the self-titled release?

Paul:  We toured with Accept and Krokus and then Accept broke away from Krokus and we went on tour with Accept. We did some festivals.

FIB MUSIC:  How long was the tour?

Paul:  Probably for seven to eight months and came home and started another record.

FIB MUSIC:  How do you guys end up working with Jack Douglas on your next record, "Rough Cutt Wants You"?

Paul:  Well, we met Neil Kernon, who had, at the time, just done Dokken's "Under Lock & Key", which had gone platinum. He had been the producer and Michael Wagener engineered it. However, the guys in the band did not think Neil would do a great job for us because Michael Wagener was the engineer. But Neil was an engineer, songwriter and producer. He told the band that you guys should be writing material sort of like Bryan Adams with the type of singer you have and the guys did not dig that idea. We sat around and listened to the Dokken album before it came out and I just thought, we've got to get this guy because he was a songwriter too. We hung out with him all day, went down to the Village in New York and hung make a long story endless, we didn't choose him; we chose Jack Douglas. Then we go to find out, the next album Neil does is Queensryche and it gets a grammy. Anybody I ever wanted, I always got outvoted. We were on this democratic process with the band, which is the worse thing you could do with a band. Giving too many people too much say. It's better to have one person making the decisions. When you have too many people making decisions, it takes too long to make a decision. That had a lot to do with it.....never getting our records out on time because everybody was to busy trying to decide, not just the band, the record company would come in say what they had to say. It's crazy.

FIB MUSIC:  Jack Douglas was just available?

Paul:  No, they wanted to use him because he had done all the Aerosmith stuff. He showed up and he looked like he had just gotten out of a mental institution....., but it was all good. Jack was really fun to work with.

FIB MUSIC:  How so?

Paul:  Well, in "Rock in the USA", I went into track my vocals and Jack said, "I want to sing it a little different. I want you to go home tonight and rewrite your lyrics", he gets in front of the mic and starts doing this jazzy melody. So I went home and rewrote it to fit the melody. Originally, I had done it way different, all ligato, kind of heavy metal, straight ahead and he added the jazz thing, which was a (Steven) Tyler thing.

FIB MUSIC:  Did Jack Douglas share any good stories?

Paul:  His wife had gotten thrown into Rehab, or a mental instituion. Jack was with John Lennon the night he was shot. They had been working in the studio and Jack dropped him off at the Dakota. After that, Yoko was trying to get money out of Jack, that they had given him. They were flying back and forth from Los Angeles to New York in private jets, seeing how much coke they could do. Just before we met him, he went into the nut house to get his girlfriend. He went in, put on the green intern outfit, put here in a wheelchair and wheeled her out. He told me that story when I met him. I was thinking, what in the hell do we have here. He was a nice guy to work with.

FIB MUSIC:  Where did you record "Wants You"?

Paul:  We recorded some of it at Cherokee Studios and also Crystal Studios and, once again, we were supposed to do part of it at my folks studio and they got burned again. We mixed the record in New York at the Record Plant and master it there and I had to fly there to finish my vocals because we weren't finished with the vocals.

FIB MUSIC:  Did you have a smaller recording budget on this record?

Paul:  It was about the same as the last one.....about $225,000 to $300,000.

FIB MUSIC:  If my memory serves correct, it seems like this album didn't get as big of a push as the first one.

Paul:  Yeah, we didn't get a push at all. We lost everybody. As soon as the first album came out, we lost our A&R guy to Capitol Records. You depend so much on an A&R guy and when you lose him, you don't even realize how much you've lost. We lost our voice at the label and they didn't know what to do with us. He fought for us tooth & nail and when he left we were just another band in the shuffle. We were on great tours, he had us going all the time. They just didn't really believe in the band. When your labelmates are Van Halen, Madonna and ZZ Top, who was huge back then..., it's easy to get lost in the shuffle.

FIB MUSIC:  How long are you guys in the studio?

Paul:  About the same as last time, about three months and then I had to fly to New York to finish the vocals, which was cool with me because I got to go to New York. It should have been done in California. My family had blocked out time for us and then they got burned.

FIB MUSIC:  Did your parents have a nice studio?

Paul:  We had a very nice studio, it was top of the line. The just didn't like the board, it was a Trident board. It was a great board, just a preference. If you started at the Record Plant, most likely you wouldn't leave. Back then, it was who signed the band and where we made the record was most important. We could have made a record in a bedroom for all I cared. If it sounded good, who gives a shit what we spent on it, but going over budget......I'm just watching money be pissed away. Here's my career going down the tube because they are just pissing money away.

FIB MUSIC:  At least you were thinking about that. Most of the people I interview
never really thought about it, at the time.

Paul:  No, I was watching them just waste money.

FIB MUSIC:  You knew you had to pay it back.

Paul:  Exactly, we're not going to see a penny of this until it recoups.

FIB MUSIC:  Speaking of....did you guys ever recoup?

Paul:  Oh yeah, the first album did, that one recouped, but our manager signed a deal that we wouldn't get any money for the first record, until the second record recouped. So, when they go out of print, how do they ever recoup, they can't.

FIB MUSIC:  What's weird is the first two Rough Cutt releases went for huge money on Ebay, for years.

Paul:  They've re-released them on cd....a guy from Wounded Bird released them.

FIB MUSIC:  Right.....the Rough Cutt, two on one cd?

Paul:  Yeah.

FIB MUSIC:  Do you see any money from that?

Paul:  No, we won't see a penny of that until Warner Brothers recoups that second album.

FIB MUSIC:  What's the debt?

Paul:  Well, probably now it's around 35 to 40 thousand. It's not bad, but if it's not in print and it's not in stores, it's not being sold. This guy is selling them on the internet, who knows where else he has them available.

FIB MUSIC:  Why isn't the Quiet Riot record you did still in print?

Paul:  I don't know, but I'm thinking about licensing it and releasing it. What's really neat is everytime Quiet Riot released a Greatest Hits, Sony would include three songs that I did with the band. I'm still getting royalties from albums that never made it to cd. I'm sure Kevin hated it.

FIB MUSIC:  Some of the songs you did with the band were the best. I used to love....what was the hit song you did with them?

Paul:  "Stay with me Tonight"?

FIB MUSIC:  Yes, I loved that song when I was a kid.

Paul:  That song was supposed to go on the second Rough Cutt record. I even gave the guys in Quiet Riot equal writing credits on it. It didn't make the Rough Cutt album. It didn't have the same feel as what went on the Quiet Riot record. It didn't have that bap bap, that echo on the snare vibe and it didn't make the cut. I had written the song, so I let the guys in Quiet Riot hear it and they wanted to do it. But on that record, the guys in Quiet Riot got an equal share of the writing and the publishing.

FIB MUSIC:  That's amazing, Spencer Proffer actually let you keep the publishing?

Paul:  Well, that's a whole other story. When I left Rough Cutt, it was really weird because Rough Cutt was in Japan and we were right behind Quiet Riot on tour. They were just a week ahead of us. They fired Kevin in Japan and I quit Rough Cutt in Japan.

FIB MUSIC:  Was it the end of the tour?

Paul:  It was at the end. We were having problems and then Wendy said she had heard that Quiet Riot was looking for a lead singer and I said, "well, I'm going to check it out".

If you found this interview first, make sure to read
Paul Shortino Part I - Current Shortino News &
Paul Shortino Part III - The Quiet Riot Days

Don't forget to visit Paul's websites:
Offical Paul Shortino Website
Paul Shortino's The Cutt
The Official Paul Shortino MySpace Page

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