Paul Francis

Paul Francis

Paul Francis has been a professional drummer since the age of fourteen with a career spanning over forty years. His first professional opportunity arose in 1962  when the band he had joined was picked to tour with Rolf Harris, Paul was given special permission to leave school prior to his 15th birthday. The band toured around England with Rolf performing a show that was headlined by The Tornados and Joe Brown.

In 1964 Paul got the job with Tony Jackson and The Vibrations. Tony Jackson, being the lead singer with The Searchers, having just gone solo. The first single for PYE Records, 'Bye Bye Baby', reached number 25 in the charts. Paul appeared on many radio and TV shows such as Top Of The Pops, Thank Your Lucky Stars, and Ready Steady Go. After achieving a couple more minor hits including a number 12 record in the Swedish charts, the band eventually parted after 3 years together.

Paul then joined a soul band for several years, recording and touring. It was prior to a tour in Germany that Paul was called by Chris Dreja after being recommended for the job with the New Yardbirds. It was left that Chris would contact Jimmy Page to sort out a meeting, but on returning from Germany, Paul found that Chris Dreja had left the band and a meeting was never arranged. Jimmy Page went on to form Led Zepplin. When the soul band split up, Paul joined a band called The End which was produced by Bill Wyman. This name was changed to Tucky Buzzard for later recordings. Paul recorded and co-wrote two albums with the band: one recorded in England; the other in Spain. While performing in Spain, the band also backed, co-wrote and recorded with Spanish star Miguel Rios, who had a Number 4 single and a hit album.

In 1972, Paul joined Fuzzy Duck, and recorded their debut album which has since become a collector's item. Paul co-wrote some of the album's songs. During this time, Paul studied with Frank King in London and also had lessons with Jon Hiseman. Paul also started to do session work with various artists. He then joined a band called Tranquility, recording their second album and touring extensively in America for two years. They supported David Bowie; Earth, Wind and Fire; Yes; Billy Preston; the Everly Brothers; and many more famous acts playing at top venues including Carnegie Hall.

Back in the UK, while on a session, Paul was offered the gig with Maggie Bell. Recording her second album, 'Suicide Sal', and doing four tours of America and working around Europe, including supporting The Who at Madison Square Gardens and Charlton Football Ground to an audience of 70,000.

Paul moved to Great Horkesley, Colchester, in 1983 and set up Orchard Percussion Studios, offering drum tuition.

After a reunion with Tony Jackson in 1991, Paul formed The Soul Detectives to back Tony and also to perform in their own right. Due to failing health, Tony did not perform many gigs and The Soul Detectives carried on with Paul on drums until the present day.

Paul has written and produced many drum tutor books, videos and DVD's as well as composing music and releasing his own solo CD called 'Pablo'.

Over the years he has worked with many artists including: Rolf Harris, Bill Wyman, Jack Bruce, Jet Harris, Gilbert O'Sullivan, Maggie Bell, Steve Harley and Cockney Rebel, Albert Lee, Tony Jackson and the Vibrations, Billie Davis, Dickie Pride, Marian Montgomery, Carl Wayne, Screaming Lord Sutch, Wee Willie Harris, Jimmy Justice, Craig Douglas, John Walker, Geno Washington, Joe Pasquale, Herbie Flowers, Jim Stafford, White Plains, The Luvers.

His main influences and inspirations are Buddy Rich, Tony Meehan, Peter Erskine, David Weckl, Steve Gadd, Jeff Porcaro and John Bonham.

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