I was born in 1977, in Winnipeg. Originally I wanted to be a cartoonist, but i got seriously into guitar instead. I learned from Beatle books and Dad's records, and was also a bit of a teenage classical guitar prodigy, though looking back now my technique was sloppy. But i was swimming in a small fishbowl so it didn't really matter.
I started writing songs for girls and for school projects. I began recording my music -first using the "boombox to boombox" method, then later moving onto cassette 4 track (Fostex then Tascam). I started to go see bands at age 16, and naturally formed my own group, which was called "Gigvest". This group recorded on ADAT and released two cassettes that drew lots of attention.
I became a bit of a pothead for a couple years. I think it really helped my stage moves but the reality of my day jobs (janitor, window washer), was becoming hard to avoid facing. So the best thing to do was go to music school! Which is where I met my wife Donna. I started playing the band Elvis which was a crafty cover band playing to the collegiate crowd. And i finally gave in and started teaching guitar lessons as an evening job at Ted Good Music. Teaching has been an ongoing source of income and interaction ever since. It's about relationships.
I started a lovely recording project with Devon Armstrong called "Jan and Steve". We were using the school's electro-acoustic music lab under cover of darkness. So we needed to have alter egos. I left university (a few credits shy of diploma) in 2004 and moved out to Toronto. Within a year I formed the band "Scribbled Out Man" with Doug Friesen and Don Kerr, and we released the album "All Different". This was recorded on 2 inch tape at the Gas Station on Toronto Island by Don Kerr. I learned a LOT of stuff from my friend Don. How to be professional.
Then I bought my first Mac computer and went on a giant recording binge, resulting in the double album "Smooth Sailing and How!". Limitless tracks! As my lifestyle went fully nocturnal i developed working methods that resulted in an exceedingly prolific creative output. It has lead to a giant backlog of material that i am still reckoning with.
I also started working withh Dave Bidini of the Rheostatics as the Rheos entered a 7 year break up. He is my longtime buddy, helped us move to Toronto. His solo project is Bidiniband and i am a member. We have gone on to release 3 albums on Pheremone Records. This project really went to lots of Canadian places and I learned the joys of being a featured sideman.
Jan and Steve Released the album "Timespirit of the Times" under shroud of mystery. One of my favourites in my discography. I believe it will be rereleased in 2047 to great recognition. Around this time I met Colleen Hixenbaugh of BDR (at the Rivoli, i believe) and we formed a duo. It was eventually called "Colleen and Paul" and released a lovely album. Harmony pop with folky instrumentation and 60's energy.
I joined the Pinecones in 2009 -the same year I got married to Donna. Brent Randall was a star of Halifax and i bumped into him outside Paul's Boutique him shortly after he and the Pinecones moved to Toronto. This lead to recording sessions at my home studio and we released "Sage" to critical acclaim (and Polaris long list, even). We did some mini tours.that made money but were slightly harsh.
I started to produce other bands like Ba Johnston, The Billie Hollies, Kyp Harness, The Heavy Dream and Dr. Ew. Then i went through a solo acoustic instrumental phase resulting in the Don Kerr produced album "The Gay Serenades". We were going for a rickety sound in a wood floor environment. The Pinecones released their follow up "OOh!" which went in a hi-fi power pop circa '79 direction. I started writing a book about music theory. When it gets finished i'll let you know.
I started my own teaching practice at this time as well. This lead to me refining my teaching methods and generating some sensational new teaching materials. I was conscripted to play in Don Kerr's Communism, a hard-hitting political rock band and played on the Get Down Get Together album. My son Marvin was born in 2014 and after this i began feeling around for a new solo career, with a concept of bringing in dissonant harmonies, chromaticising my pop.
My music career has taken me from one end of Canada to the other (from Newfoundland to Haida Gwaii!) and between as well and around the states and even the UK a little. I have played on dozens of recordings and performed with many music legends -Ron Sexsmith, Mike O'neill, Andy Kim, Dan Hill, Chris Murphy, Tom Wilson, Jon K Samson.