Q&A with Greek guitarist Spiros Pazios - one of the most well-known musicians of local Blues Rock scene since 1980s.

"I miss the spontaneity of playing and the ability of writing superb songs. I’m afraid that today everything is manufactured and the only interest is how we’ll sell more and not if we get some good songs. I hope that in the future will become a big revolution, a big change and new musicians and bands will arise with the character and the ιimagination of the older ones."

Spiros Pazios: Let The Good Times Roll

Greek guitarist Spiros Pazios is one of the most well-known musicians of local Blues Rock scene, since 1980s. Spiros says: “In the age of 18 I started playing with one of the most famous bands of the 80’s in Greece the “MUSICAL BRIGADES” (Mousikes Taxiarxies). I played with the leader and singer of the band JIMMY PANOUSI for 25 years until 2004. We played again as MUSICAL BRIGADES for two years 2015-2016. When I was in Brussels I played as a musician in a British band named AD HOC WORKING GROUP. We recorded a record with the name of the band distributed by Polydor (Polygram) records and we did many gigs all around Europe.          Spiros Pazios / Photo by Nassos Polyzoidis

I worked as a radio music producer at TOP FM and SUPER FM Greek radio stations. As a producer in the record companies BMG and MBI. I composed many songs for famous Greek artists. For almost ten years I worked for tv shows making music and funny videos. Now, I work in a music store as a sound consultant and I play as a musician with George (Zorz) Pilalis, the best Greek Bluesman and guitar slide player, with whom I’m together from the age of 5, also I'm member of local blues soul band named ANGEL LO VERDE BAND.”

Interview by Michael Limnios

How has the Blues and Rock counterculture influenced your views of the world and the journeys you’ve taken?

When I’ve been involved in Rock music I was 13 years old and this happened in the decade of 70’s. Rock music then was a way of living and had influence not only in what music you were listening but even in the way of dressing, behaving, thinking etc. To be a musician at 70’s it was at least a shame for your family. Everybody was staring at you for your long hair, your dressing code for everything. All the messages of 70’s for peace and love through music, influenced in the maximum the relations between people. Strong friendships, no competition and help for whoever needed. All these had a great influence for the next years of our life.

How do you describe your sound and music philosophy? Where does your creative drive come from?

My music philosophy is “I play music with good musician’s friends to have fun. I do my best and I try to have a sound as much as possible recognizable”. My big influence in electric guitar was at first Rory Gallagher (when I was in high school I had a band playing only Rory’s songs). I love of course David Gilmour (his leads are all great compositions and not just guitar solos), Mark Knopfler and Chris Rea who is a big influence to my song writing. And so many others…

Which acquaintances have been the most important experiences? What was the best advice anyone ever gave you?

The most important experience was The British band I played with during my stay in Brussels Belgium, the Ad hoc working band. The other guitarist of the band the rhythm player told me that from now on you’re playing for the band, for the songs of the band, and not for yourself. This was a great lesson for my next behavior as a musician. The best advice gave me an old USA bluesman who was playing live at Mylos club and he asked me to jam with him. I told him “it’s impossible to play with you, you’re so good I’ll be embarrassing”. He answered me “I heard you playing and you play with your heart and soul and that’s enough, this is music”. I’m trying to keep doing it until now.

"To be a musician at 70’s it was at least a shame for your family. Everybody was staring at you for your long hair, your dressing code for everything. All the messages of 70’s for peace and love through music, influenced in the maximum the relations between people. Strong friendships, no competition and help for whoever needed. All these had a great influence for the next years of our life." (Photo: Mousikes Taxiarxies / LR: D. Daskalothanasis, Spiros Pazios, G. Drolapas, V. Vekios, and J. Panousis c.1980s)

Are there any memories from gigs, jams, open acts and studio sessions which you’d like to share with us?

There are so many memories with the band I played in Greece, Musical Brigades (Mousikes Taxiarxies). The strangest thing I remember is when we recorded our first record at 1980 we tried so many different and strange ways to record our guitars…in the bathroom, in the kitchen even we put the amp out in the garden trying to get live sound. Also, I played in Belgium in a jam night with some fantastic musicians like John Martin.

What do you miss most nowadays from the music of past? What are your hopes and fears for the future of?

I miss the spontaneity of playing and the ability of writing superb songs. I’m afraid that today everything is manufactured and the only interest is how we’ll sell more and not if we get some good songs.

I hope that in the future will become a big revolution, a big change and new musicians and bands will arise with the character and the ιimagination of the older ones.

If you could change one thing in the musical world and it would become a reality, what would that be?

I would like to disappear bouzouki as a musical instrument.

Make an account of the case of Rock n' Blues in Greece. Which is the most interesting period in local scene?

I think the 70’s and 80’s is the most interesting periods in Greek Rock n’ blues music. A lot of good bands and musicians like Socrates, Paulos Sidiropoulos, Mousikes Taxiarxies, Trypes, Zorz Pilali and so many others.

"The right Rockman was never racist or member of the wright political party. He was always progressive and restless spirit. Then, because now the meaning of Rockman has changed or better has mutated in something different. Rockman today is also everyone folk Greek singer who put in his songs a distorted electric guitar." (Photo: Spiros Pazios jammin' on stage, Athens Greece 2016)

What are some of the most important lessons you have learned from your paths in local rock scene and circuit?

Unfortunately, in our country there is an unhealthy competition between musicians. They all think they’re the best and that they do something great. When you think about all these musical monsters all over the world most of us would be better to do another job.

Music is fun and you do it to have a good time (or as I say, in my age is Psychotherapy). You do the best you can and that’s it.

What is the impact of Rock music and culture to the racial, political, and socio-cultural implications?

The right Rockman was never racist or member of the wright political party. He was always progressive and restless spirit.

Then, because now the meaning of Rockman has changed or better has mutated in something different. Rockman today is also everyone folk Greek singer who put in his songs a distorted electric guitar.

Let’s take a trip with a time machine, so where and why would you really want to go for a whole day?

I would like to be back in the old Plaka of Athens with all these fantastic clubs and to play for a night with all my old fellows, Jimmy Panousis (RIP), Vagelis Vekios (RIP), Dimitris Daskalothanasis, Van Svarnas and of course Giannis Drolapas at Roulis club Skylab.

Photo: Mousikes Taxiarxies, c.1980s - Jimmy Panousis on vocals, Vagelis Vekios on drums, Spiros Pazios on guitar, Dimitris Daskalothanasis on bass, Van Svarnas on sax and Giannis Drolapas on guitar.

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