article which appeared in Fanfare magazine, April
1971. The interview was done with Paul Fenton during the
group's tour of Australasia.
Fenton spends half his autograph-signing sessions signing
autographs for Mike Blakley.
You see, Paul joined Christie seven months ago when
Mike left. But fans still push pictures of the original
Christie group at them. And Paul has no choice but to pretend
he's Mike for the moment.
The first time he was asked to put pen to photo,
he was stumped. "Hey, how do you spell 'Blakley'?"
he asked, before he grinned and scrawled across Mike's face.
How did Paul become involved with the
"I was in a cabaret band before I joined
Christie," Paul said. "Once you get over 25 and
don't seem to have made it yet, you have to turn to that
kind of thing.
"I thought it would never come for me.
So I got a job in a nightclub and gave up hope. Then one
day Jeff Christie, an old friend of mine, told me about
the vacancy in the group.
"That was IT. It was such a beautiful
thing to happen to me."
Paul is a powerful drummer, often exerting
himself so much on stage it's a wonder he doesn't collapse.
And Paul gives the impression that hard rock
is certainly his bag. Included in the group's repertoire
is a fine selection of hard rock numbers, and in particular
Jeff's Martian King
is well worth listening to.
"But we know we cannot compete with groups
like Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple. So we play a mixture
of country and hard rock," Paul said.
"After all, Yellow
River and all those other commercial numbers
shot Christie to fame. A group has got to stick to a certain
theme. Then you've got to be able to maintain that theme."
When Paul is off stage, which "isn't very
often", he listens to Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, Cream,
Chicago, Blood, Sweat and Tears, and Santana.
The kind of life he leads is a rough one, taxing
"The exhaustion doesn't bother me at all,"
Paul said. "You see, at last I'm doing what I want