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Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Moment of silence

Paul deLay

Comments (20)

A young man. Rest in peace, Mr. Delay.

I last saw Delay when he headlined for John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers in 1985. I was amazed how a guy his size could boogie so hard.

He was always a monster. And he always had great guys behind him.

The No Delay Band will now play its last number.

In 1968, we had some friends who lived in a Victorian house on Interstate Avenue, where the Blanchard Education Service Center building is now. Some members of the U.S. Cadenza band lived in the house and we would hang there.
Also hanging there was this kid, dressed in prison blue pants and a faded blue denim jacket with a floppy denim hat, who was continuously playing the blues on a mouth harp. He wasn't in a band, he was just a solitary guy who didn't want to do anything but blow his harmonica.
Following his career, all these years, I came to realize that, I've never met anyone who had such a singular vision of what he wanted to do with his life. Here he was at 15 or 16 years of age and he already had his master plan. We won't forget you Paul.


I met Paul a few times and saw him perform many, but knew his father Allan deLay, a photographer who was my Scoutmaster for several years.

When I was but a lad, the senior deLay took me along as a gopher on some shoots, one of which was...Brown Sugar.

Paul's father died in early 2005 at his home; age 89, I think. I remember poster-sized black & white portraits of young Paul and his siblings that hung permanently on the wall behind Allan's desk.

And he once gave me a harmonica from a box full of them he kept in his attic. I've always wondered if Paul's father introduced him to the instrument.

The photo is by Allan J. deLay.

It's a sad day for Portland. He was a local treasure and part of what makes this such a great place to be from.

I'll never forget the first time I saw Paul Delay. I was 21 years old and my band had just moved to town. I walked into that club right down the street from the Silver Moon in NW Portland, and there was this obvious character playing pool and drinking beer right out of a pitcher. The break ended and Paul's band began to play. It was shocking. See, in those days, I had no idea a band could be that good and not be world famous, so my first reaction was, "Uh oh." I distinctly remember thinking, "They sound like a great blues record", and Paul even had that old time microphone that I had only seen in pictures. Then Jim Mesi started in. Oh my God. Frankly, these guys scared the hell out of me. The first tavern I walk into in Portland and the band is devastating. I knew right then, we were in big, big trouble, and that was before I kept bumping into another musician named Robert Cray. This music thing was clearly not going to be easy. I saw Paul not too long ago in the grocery store and he smiled and I nodded to him. That's the last I saw of Paulzilla. For me, he was one of a few people who made Portland, Portland.

The Earth Tavern, maybe?

I just called another musician from the band I was in back then and told him the news. He also said it was the Earth Tavern.
And the place where we met or at least got to know the Robert Cray band was called the Questing Beast tavern on SE Stark.

I once had a friend who said he lived between the Earth and the Moon -- all on NW 21st.

I was so sad to hear this news today. I have such fond memories of my mate playing (drums) with Paul and Janice Scroggins on keys...that was a tasty trio. His shows with his band were never anything less than a good time. I loved his singing, his songwriting, his monster harp playing. When we lived in the tropics and I'd feel homesick for the West Coast, listening to some Paul deLay could instantly make me feel better...and make me realize yet again what a treasure he was.

We last saw him at a wine tasting at some fairgrounds last year...it was pouring out, and he and his band were playing to a mostly empty courtyard. A few of us dared the rain, and he kept up the music with a great sense of humor.

A major loss for Portland...

Holy crap, I missed this news. Seen him perform dozens of times, loved his music. Truly tragic indeed.

Every day is a gift.


At least it was pretty quick. God rest him.

He could blow that harp.

Back when Bend had an Original Joe's he'd play here like once a month. The Dude could Party.

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