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The Magic Highway

 

An article which appeared in Fanfare magazine, April 1971. The interview was done with Paul Fenton during the group's tour of Australasia.


PaulPAUL 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 group?
   "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 and exhausting.
   "The exhaustion doesn't bother me at all," Paul said. "You see, at last I'm doing what I want to do."