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At the end of "The Kids Are the Same," the infectious title track from the 1982 album by The Beat, singer Paul Collins reels off a list of places like Detroit, New York and Los Angeles where all the kids just wanna rock out and have fun.

Among those cities he shouts out is Little Rock. Now, Collins is finally getting to sing it here.

Paul Collins’ Beat

Opening acts: Isaac Alexander, The P-47s, Listen Sister, Reade and the Personal Space Invaders

8 p.m. Saturday, Four Quarter Bar, 415 Main Street, North Little Rock

Admission: $15 advance, $20 at the door

(501) 313-4704

Or, well, right across the Arkansas River.

Paul Collins' Beat will perform Saturday at Four Quarter Bar in downtown North Little Rock as the headliner of an evening dedicated to skinny-tie power pop and scrappy garage rock.

Expect a full and rocking set featuring music from Collins' first band, The Nerves, as well as songs from The Beat and all the way up through his most recent solo album, Out of My Head. Also performing will be Isaac Alexander, The P-47s, Listen Sister and Reade and The Personal Space Invaders.

An in-store meet-and-greet is scheduled for 6 p.m. Friday at Arkansas Record and CD Exchange, 4212 MacArthur Drive, North Little Rock.

In all his years of touring, which began back in the mid-'70s with Peter Case and Jack Lee in The Nerves, this will be Collins' first trip to central Arkansas.

"It's weird. I tried to contact a couple of clubs there, but I could never get a connection going," says Collins from New York, where he was making lunch -- chicken with poblano and sweet potatoes -- for his mom.

His local contact finally came as a sort of happy accident when longtime fan Reade Mitchell of Arkansas Record and CD Exchange was discussing Collins with a distributor for Pittsburgh-based record label Get Hip Records.

"He saw me ordering a bunch of reissues by The Nerves and he said his band had played some shows with Paul in Pittsburgh," Mitchell says. He was soon placed in touch with Collins and an Arkansas debut was in the works.

The Nerves were an influential, if not commercially successful, project that was a forerunner to the pop rock of late '70s, early '80s outfits like The Knack and Tommy Tutone. Blondie had a hit with a cover of The Nerves' "Hanging on the Telephone" and in Green Day's American Idiot musical, a version of "Walking Out on Love," written by Collins, was performed.

Collins, Lee and Case also helped forge the DIY approach to life in a band, self-releasing an EP and booking their own tours.

"There was really no alternative scene yet in America," Collins says. "I've been doing this DIY thing since the beginning. The major labels weren't interested in this type of music, but we weren't going to sit around and do nothing, so we did it ourselves."

After the trio broke up in the late '70s, Collins and Case started The Breakaways before parting and forming The Beat and The Plimsouls, respectively.

The Beat, later renamed Paul Collins' Beat, recorded six albums, toured like crazy and had a song, "There She Goes," on the Caddyshack soundtrack.

"The first self-titled Beat album is one of my favorite albums ever. It's just a timeless blast of energy," says Mitchell, who first heard the group's "Don't Wait Up for Me" on Radio South Africa while he was in boarding school in Kenya.

Collins' latest album, the power pop gem Out of My Head, was released on Alive Naturalsound Records in September and was recorded at a friend's studio in Brooklyn. From the '60s-inflected bubblegum of "Kind of Girl" to the scrappy rock of "You Belong to Me," and the punchy, '70s teenage nostalgia of "Midnight Special," the record is like opening a time capsule.

"The title track reminds me a lot of 'Paint It Black' by the Rolling Stones," Mitchell says. "His big focus is on good songs, and I think that this album continues with that. These songs could have been recorded 50 years ago, 30 years ago or now."

Collins collaborated on the project with bassist Paul Stingo.

"I had been looking for a musical partner for quite some time," he says. "Someone who had the same influences that I had, which Paul did."

Saturday's show will feature the latest version of Paul Collins' Beat, with Stingo and original Beat drummer Michael Ruiz.

"Michael is my Ringo," Collins says. "He just makes my music come alive."

Mitchell, who will perform with The P-47s and again with the Personal Space Invaders, says Saturday's show will be like a multi-act revue from the '60s, with opening bands performing truncated sets and everyone sharing instruments.

"We wanted to do something that would get the audience ready for the high-energy set of Paul Collins' Beat," he says. "We're gonna do four or five songs apiece and let The Beat do the rest."

Photo by Special to the Democrat-Gazette/JOY WHALEN
Power pop legend Paul Collins will play the Four Quarter Bar in North Little Rock on Saturday.

Weekend on 11/08/2018

Print Headline: Paul Collins finally gets to Rock with The Beat


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