Last week, on March 9, 2020 Paul Kopasz wrote a farewell from in-home hospice care, for his pending exit, “For my fans and friends: you are all very lovely people, but it’s check-out time and i can’t be late. The last 3 anthologies should give you a good representation of what i tried to do while i was here: ‘RES IPSA LOQUITOR’, ‘CURRICULUM VITAE’, ‘SOTTO VOCE’. I hope it will provide some degree of lasting pleasure. It has certainly been my pleasure to play for you.”
Today, March 16, Paul died at his home, in the company of his wife, Danielle, and his cat, Patti Smith.
Paul K was diagnosed with throat cancer in June of 2019. In recent days, he was able to “visit with friends, bandmates and family…and also see America burn down in a way that surely would have added several albums to his 100-plus discography.” Wife Danielle was able to read him many of the loving wishes expressed via social media in response to the farewell he wrote to friends and fans.
“The Birth of Paul K and the Weathermen” was one of the first band profiles ever written for Ace, in July of 1989. Since January of that year (1989), Paul K had produced five 90-minute cassette tapes. And he was just getting warmed up. Paul K said at the time, if he hadn’t been a musician, he’d “probably be a jewel thief…It’s the most exciting thing I can think of with the highest potential reward.”
In 2012, “A Wilderness of Mirrors,” the feature film about Paul shot and edited by John Bosch, opened with a special screening on November 5 at the Kentucky Theater. “The movie seems to be about halfway a documentary about the group and the other seems to be an attempt to make an MTV-style music video following the plot of this opera I wrote in 1997,” Paul K said at the time.
Memorial announcements have not yet been released.
Paul K. (nee Paul Kopasz) was born and raised in Detroit and moved to Kentucky in the 1980s on a full scholarship to be part of UK’s champion debate team. In 1985, he started an art-damaged punk outfit. His band has most consistently been called “Paul K. and The Weathermen,” but has had other names too. The group has more than 50 releases, including albums on Homestead, Alias and SilenZ. He spent time living in a Canal Street squat in New York in the 80s, playing with Jaco Pastorius and others. He spent stints in California, Amsterdam and again New York, playing and writing music. He has toured the U.S., Canada and Europe, to great acclaim for his songwriting, guitar and vocal skills. The music, from early days featuring an acoustic guitar with an electric pickup and effects, draws on influences ranging from The Who, The Velvet Underground, Big Star, Gram Parsons, The Kinks and Townes Van Zandt. The 1995 release, Love is a Gas, was produced by Mo Tucker of the Velvet Underground. 1997’s A Wilderness of Mirrors is the rock opera released on Alias and the basis of the “documentary/fairytale” movie. Other titles of note include Blues For Charlie Lucky, and the The Blue Sun, and, as the best place to start, the two-disc collection Stolen Gems. —Kakie Urch