Spotlight of the Week: Paul Terrien

Paul Terrien is a guitarist and teacher who’s played in many bands – REALM, Beatallica, Lapulele, WarPiper, Then Lizzy, and the Underwood Baptist Praise Band among others. He’s toured both nationally and internationally.

ME: How did you get involved with Wisconsin Music Ventures?

PAUL: Well, I’ve actually known Allison for a long time; I worked with her at Brass Bell Music Store for many years. She had Wisconsin Music Ventures going on for about a year or so before I’d even heard about it, but a bunch of my friends like Michael Tierney and Suzanne Singh were signed on. I was like, “well geez, this is where all the cool kids are hanging out!” so I signed up too.

ME: Right on, so it felt like the logical next step!

PAUL: It’s stupid that musicians don’t collaborate more often; it always seems so cutthroat where everyone’s out to get a buck more than everyone else as opposed to “hey, there’s this gig I can’t do, would you be able to do it?” and share stuff like that.

ME: I absolutely agree! Things should be collaborative and not competitive.

PAUL: I think the world should be like that, personally.

ME: I know that you’re in a lot of bands. I’m curious, which one’s been keeping you most busy lately?

PAUL: Well, I’ve been doing a lot of bands over many decades, and sometimes I get into too many bands going on at once and I overextend myself…much like the Roman Empire, where you fall apart mentally. Over the years, I’ve had to cut my number of bands down, especially with the pandemic where everybody stopped playing. My real love is my Hawaiian band, Lapulele; we play for a lot of retirement homes. There’s a lot of 70-year olds in the world and they’re making new ones every day. I’m pushing for that demographic because nobody else is. Other than that, REALM is the other big one; they’re a progressive metal band that I’m fortunate enough to join…I’ve been a fanboy since the 80’s and now I get to play with them. They keep me practicing the most because they work super hard, so that’s cool. Recently I blew the dust off of my classical guitar; my playing has been getting a little rusty so it’s nice to practice that stuff again.

ME: I understand the whole being a yes man thing; I’ve definitely been one for a lot of my adult life. There’s times I’ve said yes to way too many things and I’ll end up burning out…so yeah, it’s good to have that balance.

ME: Tell me about Spoof Fest.

PAUL: It’s Milwaukee musicians getting together and having like a Halloween for musicians; everyone picks a band and then you *are* that band…you’re not trying to tribute that band – you *are* that band to the best of your ability on an $100 budget. You’ve got to cut some corners on the whole thing and it’s funny, and it’s fun for musicians who collaborate who aren’t necessarily in the same bands as each other normally. I’ve been doing it since 1997 and I believe they’re on their 30th year or something like that.

ME: Damn, that is crazy. Who did you spoof this year?

PAUL: I was in Blondie with Suzanne Singh because she needed a guitar player, but my band was The 5th Dimension, who I’d fallen in love with over the pandemic. I think everybody should listen to The 5th Dimension. So get out there and listen to them!

ME: I will (laughs). Blondie is always solid.

ME: What are your plans for the summer?

PAUL: Yeah, so I’ve got a couple things; I picked up a gig for Wisconsin Music Ventures at the Silverspot, which is a nice place. There’s an Elvis movie coming out, and my band Lapulele is going to be doing some Elvis music out there. We’re also playing in Whitefish Bay in the market, and we’re also doing this beer garden out in Pewaukee in July. We’ll be playing for a lot of birds and bicycles…drinking and vibing…I’m not out to set the world on fire – just to send out love in the universe.

Visit Paul Terrien’s website here.

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