Fireworks

Ray Paul

Fireworks & Rocktopia Staff Writer
Ray Paul
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I got my first taste of music as most do from the radio in the seventies, upon getting a record player around 7 years old. I really found my true love in music, when my father gave me a batch of singles and albums he no longer wanted, and I began to spin them every day.

For every classic album like ‘The Kinks’ or ‘Golden Hour Of George Harrison’, I had ‘Bugs Bunny Comes To London’ or ‘The Adventures of Captain Scarlet’!. Amongst my first singles were Charlie Drake ‘Please Mr Custer’ and The Yardbirds ‘Heart Full Of Soul’, which I count as my first real step into rock music.

By 1978 I got my first ‘true’ rock album - Status Quo ‘Blue For You’. Recommended by a friend at school, this began my love for rock in all its forms. By 1981, I had attended my first two concerts – Saxon (mind-blowingly loud!) and The Police (lots of screaming girls) - and began to feverishly seek out rock albums from junk and record shops to add to my collection.

Growing up in London, I was lucky enough to be able to attend many rock clubs, and tried to get to as many gigs as I could. The old Marquee club in London was a great place to see bands - Magnum, Vow Wow, Budgie, and even Tesla on their first ever UK date!

Hammersmith was a regular haunt for gigs for me (renamed the Apollo, but to us real rock fans it will always affectionately be ‘The Odeon’), and I caught Venom on the Seven Dates of Hell tour, with a little known support band called Metallica... unfortunately I missed them - I was in the pub!

Then it happened. I got a Boots record voucher for Christmas and bought Kiss ‘Unmasked’ in 1980. Despite narrowly missing the tour, I became a massive fan of theirs. Kiss became the band that really changed my life, and I began to collect everything I could on them, from seventies merchandise like lunch boxes, to the original Mego dolls (or as they are called today, action figures!). At a chance meeting at an Ace Frehley signing in 1987 in London, I met and became friends with a guy running a Kiss fan club, and by 1988 I was Director of the UK seat of the Kiss Army International. I did this for ten years, even sitting down and interviewing Gene Simmons for almost an hour during the reunion tour, a dream come true.

I have sang and been a drummer in a number of bands over the years, purely for fun, and I’m an avid record and rock biography collector, as well as a film buff.

I especially enjoy trips to the United States, with of course California being my favourite destination. Having frequented the many renowned clubs and bars in L.A., I have been lucky enough to bump into people like Slash (literally), Cyndi Lauper, Gene Simmons and even passed Clint Eastwood and Nicholas Cage. My biggest celebrity to bump into in the city of angels? – sitting back to back over a burger in Denny’s with none other than Lionel Blair!

What does surprise many people is I am a massive fan of The Beach Boys, and one of my most special moments was meeting Bruce Johnston of the band. My music tastes really do vary – from Journey and the immortal voice of Steve Perry, to Jethro Tull, Electric Wizard, Frank Marino and ELO.

I attended my first Gods show in 2000 and picked up a copy of Fireworks, shortly after subscribing to the magazine. In 2005, I offered Fireworks a review of a Journey show in the US that I was attending. Subsequently, I ended up photographing and meeting the band at the prestigious Greek Theatre in Los Angeles, and have been writing for the team ever since.

I have discovered some wonderful music through the magazine, and made many new friends. Some of my stand out phone interview moments while working for Fireworks magazine have been Rickey Medlocke and Jimi Jamison, and my reviewing has allowed me to meet wonderful personalities such as Roger Hodgson of Supertramp and Biff Byford of Saxon. One of my most memorable phone calls was one regular Saturday teatime at home.

“Ray, the phone for you…it’s Paul Stanley!"

What I love about Fireworks magazine is everyone on the team does this for the love of the music, and a chance to bring everyone that bit closer to our passion.

RAY PAUL

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Latest Message: 1 month, 1 week ago
  • Berny : @SoCal Rocker: Welcome back! There are 50 free issues of Fireworks Magazine for you (and of course all other Rocktopians) to download. Check out the news on the frontpage. Stay happy, safe & healthy. Best wishes to California!
  • SoCal Rocker : Hello from Burbank CA, I had to change my name and PW. How's anyone doing?
  • Rocktopia Te : @davidputnam: Could you please check your email? Many thanks & best regards, RT
  • davidnputnam : I ordered 86 - 90 and received paypal receipt, but cant find in downloads. Please advise.
  • davidnputnam : I ordered 86 - 90, but cant find in Downloads. i have the paypal receipt.
  • Berny : @rarock: Glad we were able to sort this out. Thanks for your purchase!
  • rarock : Hi there. I have similar problem with Issue 90, payed by Paypal, but doesnt show in Orders or in Downloads. Thanks for help
  • KI2000 : Thanks Fireworks Magazine and Rocktopia!
  • Hysteria : WOW! Thanks to the Fireworks Team for this AMAZING offer. YOU GUYS ROCK!!!! \m/ \m/
  • Rocktopia Te : Check out the Fireworks Magazine Corona quarantine give - away!
  • Johns Band : Royal Hunt new concept album in the works to be released in 2020.
  • Berny : @WardyS1: I will contact you by e - mail.
  • WardyS1 : Hi. Also purchased 90 couple days back but not in my orders have receipt. Cannot find an email to contact instead link sorry
  • Rocktopia Te : @tomandpam: Hope this is now sorted and you were able to download the magazine
  • tomandpam : I ordered a download of #90 and it's not in my orders and I have the PayPal receipt. Can you help with this? Thanks
  • Berny : @zom414: Apologies for my late reply. Could you please contact me directly at «email» ? Many thanks in advance!
  • zom414 : Trying to change my password but the security question won't accept my answer, can you help?
  • SeaDog57 : just an observation. I just got Issue 89 at the Bookstore and when i looked at the spine of the magazine it says "Fireworks Issue 85 Winter Jan - Mar 2019" Was this a misprint? The rest of the Magazine is Issue 89. Was just wondering did anyone else notice this?
  • Berny : Apologies! Magazine can now be accessed from your download section. Best wishes, B.
  • Berny : @Martykelly: We're sorry
  • Martykelly : Just purchased issue 89 hoping its going to be in my download soon.
  • Johns Band : Will "Watch & Listen" music videos make a comeback. Just order H.E.A.T. "Live In London" CD.
  • Berny : @the trapps: Apologies for the delay in processing your order. The magazine is now available in your downloads section.
  • the trapps : waiting for the issue 89 which we purchased to be in our downloads section ???
  • Berny : @tomandpam: Many thanks for your purchase. The download instructions were sent yesterday, please contact me at «email» should you haven't received the email.
  • tomandpam : I paid for a download on issue 89 and didn't receive the download. Please let me know when I can get it. Thanks
  • Berny : @zom414: Fireworks Magazine #89 will be available at selected UK based newsagents on December 16th. The digital version can already be purchased in our Download Store.
  • zom414 : When's the next mag due for release?
  • Berny : @el nowy: Apologies for the delay in processing your order. Pls. check your mail!
  • el nowy : Hi, how long does it take for my download license to be available? I purchased it 3 days ago. Thanks!

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