Paul Hayles

Born in SE London in 1948, Paul Hayles grew up in a family of fundamentalist, evangelical Christians, his father being a pastor. The family moved to East Devon when he was 12 and Paul escaped back to London in 1968 to join the hippy movement, his degree course an afterthought. It was during this period he first met Lemmy when they both auditioned for the same group and he first saw Hawkwind at the Isle of Wight Festival in 1970. Having roadied for Andy Fraser (Free) in Bristol, he decided to move with his French girlfriend to that city, financed by selling acid. They married and moved down to the wilds of North Devon where they had two children and found a large hippy community. Paul went to Exeter University to qualify as a teacher, mainly so their children would not have to go to school. He had had classic piano lessons since the age of 4 and at Exeter continued but learning about playing blues and jazz. And he was an original member of the band Ark, once called the ‘Grateful Dead of the English West Coast’, who gigged in their own right and as support to bands like Gong and Hawkwind. Dave Brock and Bob Calvert of the latter lived within a few miles and in 1977 Paul, along with Martin Griffin (drums) and Harvey Bainbridge (bass), was asked to join Sonic Assassins whose first gig was recorded and became a cult album. He then was asked to join Hawkwind for their ’78’ US tour. Paul moved his family to the South of France on leaving the band and lived there for 12 years, constantly writing and playing music whilst firstly running a small farm and then a language services business. During this time he got to play in the Topper Headon Band (ex-Clash) alongside Henry McCullough (ex Jo Cocker and Wings). Returning to the UK in 1990, he spent several years in the New Forest, working in a residential school for boys with emotional and behavioural difficulties. He played for a while with punk-rave-folk band, The Crop-dusters, until their regular gigging clashed with his promotion to Deputy-Head and then Head Teacher. He was offered the Headship of a similar school in North Devon, open 365 days a year, a hugely difficult job which after 3 years led to separation from his wife, a heart attack, the sack and an Employment tribunal where he won a year’s salary as compensation. He then formed a company providing Care with Education in Bristol, mainly for Afro-Caribbean kids, and moved in with a new partner, but 5 years of intense work led to cancer, an operation and his resignation in 2005. However, being in Briistol he got back into writing and playing music, firstly working with rap godfather, Jalal Nurinda of the Last Poets and then putting out an album, ‘This That, The Other’ with local musicians including Roni Size’s drummer. Immediately after this he was asked to be the support band for Hawkwind’s 2006 English tour which led to further gigs in 2008 and a new album and UK tour in 2013. Now single again Paul lives mainly in SW France and continues to compose and produce albums under the names of ‘Nagas2′ and ‘Smoke and Shadows’. He is working at the moment on a final Lastwind album and his first book, both due out in 2019. He has travelled widely, his favourite places being Morocco, South Africa and SE Asia. He reads loads and enjoys his two grown-up sons and his 7 grandchildren. His health isn’t so good and he has had several periods in hospital but his morale is high and he lives every day as if it could be his last.