Paul “Bad Daddy” Waring Chris Monaghan photo

Occasionally, problems pop up when conducting an interview and that’s exactly what happened on April 26 when I chatted with Paul Waring (aka Bad Daddy) over the phone from his studio in Belfast. It was an informative conversation that went well until I hung up and discovered that I had failed to press ‘record/start’ on my cassette recorder. Needless to say, the air turned blue as I hastily redialed my phone to see if the singer/songwriter/guitarist was still available. Fortunately, he was, and after I explained my blunder, he chuckled and we began again.

Q: I think we discussed your upcoming performances at Bruno’s and Hydeout at the Wharf on May 27th and 28th, respectively, and I asked if you had ever performed there in Hallowell before.
Waring: And the answer to that is “No.” I’ve never performed at Bruno’s, so we don’t really know exactly just how it’s arranged, which is fine because we kind of get in that situation a lot in the various clubs we play here in Maine — many of them being restaurants.

Q: What will your show entail?
Waring: We’ll cover certainly all of my discography and a handful of covers that we do, and there’ll be merch and CDs and all kinds of things available. I would invite anybody to come up and chat us up — and meet-and-greet with us — at any time.

Q: Speaking of CDs, you have two albums out now, is that correct?
Waring: Yes, that’s right.

Q: When did the first one come out?
Waring: The first one I did in 2008, and was kind of a product of the work that a good friend of mine and I did when we were working together back then. He’s since moved on and started a brewery and has less time to focus on music, but we’re good friends and definitely musical mates — we’re kind of simpatico in the same sort of styles within the blues genre that appeal to us — so that comes out through our music and, certainly, I think is reflected generally pretty well on that first record we did.

Q: What was that album called?
Waring: It was a self-titled record for the band that I had going then which was called The Bad Daddies … but that was a while back and I have been meaning to get to this record actually for quite some time, since probably 2015 or so, but operating as a musician here in Maine offers many challenges, including personnel.

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Q: How so?
Waring: I went through a few years having difficulty finding the right mix of some folks to work with; that’s common for people who are producing original music, you want to find people who are into that, that want to engage in that process. So it was just a couple of years before the pandemic that I began working with the crew I have now; they’re a great bunch of guys, but certainly the pandemic situation really interrupted us. I thought I was going to do the new record here in Maine, (but) I actually found myself in Chicago quite a bit and decided to do it there with friends I had made over there the last decade or so. It was cool, very fun, and it was really great to be making a record in Chicago, actually.

Q: And seeing the travel limitations during that period kept you there in Chicago, you could say that the pandemic made your new album possible.
Waring: Yeah, that’s right. It was literally January of 2021 and I just felt like there was no end in sight and I was not in a good place personally; emotionally I just felt drained, not happy, then I realized, “Well, I’ve got all these songs written, what can I do here to pull this together?” That’s when I turned to my buddies in Chicago and I said, “Hey, what if I hired you guys to work on a project with me?” And they were ecstatic just to have something to do musically, and they liked the material, they thought the songs were good, I played them all of my demos and they were immediately on-board. Then it just became a real collaborative session to put it all together.

Q: Seeing you made the album in Chicago with those players, will it translate over here in Maine with a whole new group of musicians?
Waring: Well, the songs might come off a little bit differently than what’s on the album but the message will come through clearly, and in a way it’s kind of more enjoyable to have a little more fluidity between different groups like that, people playing what they hear rather than trying to copy, say, note-for-note; I ’m okay with that.

Q: Well, I think that that lends itself to the blues, does it not?
Waring: Oh, that’s right, yeah, that’s a good point, and like any form of music, really, it’s a form of communication, no matter the genre we’ll all sharing similar ideas. But the beauty of blues or jazz or rock or soul, any of these genres, is the idea that there can be spontaneity.

Q: In closing our chat, is there anything, Paul, that you’d like me to pass on to the folks reading this article?
Waring: Yeah, I think it’s important to push my roots here in Maine operating as a musician doing blues and blues/rock, which is what I play. One of the things I thought I could do with this album was just poke above the fray a little bit and get a little bit of attention coming my way.

Afterword: As the author of this column, I must state that having listened to “It’s A Mad Mad Bad Dad World,” what Waring and crew have laid down in those 10 tracks is as solid and tight as anything I heard down on Beale Street in Memphis. This album and the guy who made it are the real deal — if you like the blues, you gotta check out both of them!

Lucky Clark, a 2018 “Keeping the Blues Alive” Award winner, has spent more than 50 years writing about good music and the people who make it. He can be reached at [email protected] if you have any questions, comments or suggestions.

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