THE BLUES PICKED HIM, SO HE
PICKS THE BLUES
Paul Plumeri Sr.,
blues guitarist, seen on cable on “Miles of Music”
On his start as a guitar
I first picked up a guitar when I was 7 or 8. My brother Sam took
lessons before me and I guess he thought it was going to be
easy. So he dropped it, and the guitar sat in the corner of
our bedroom and I became fascinated with it. So there was
that, and also my dad (Sam Plumeri Sr.) was al ways so
active in politics, and whenever I would go with him to
functions, there would always be music, and I was drawn to
On getting better...
I talked my parents into giving me lessons in 1963. I had some
natural talent, and certain things came easy, but I had to
work real hard at the reading. It was an ex citing time to
be into the guitar, as the Beatles exploded and with it, the
guitar. I liked everything that had a guitar in it.
On his introduction to the
In the eighth grade, a friend gave me a copy of B.B. King’s “Lucille”
album, and I had never heard anything like it. It really
flipped me out and that was it. I started seeking out
anything that called itself “the blues.”
On the old days...
I met Joe Zook. He was about a year older than me, and we started a
band, Hoochie Cooch. We played everywhere, opened up for
Fleetwood Mac, for Aerosmith. We collapsed, though I think
we could have been huge. We were kids, you know? But I
remember the Trenton crowd booed Fleetwood Mac and wanted us
to come back out. But Joe and I are still playing together.
We’re closing out Heritage Days (yesterday) and play a few
acoustic shows together. It’s been an interesting walk,
On his music being used in a
I got an e-mail from Tom Marolda (another Trenton musician with whom
Plumeri recorded) and he told me a pair of songs we recorded
in 1981 are being used in “Phantom Punch,” a movie starring
Ving Rhames about Sonny Liston that’s coming out soon. I was
pretty much knocked out by that.
On working for a living...
I got a job with the city after my son was born, and now I work for the
state. But I’ve never stopped playing, and use my vacation
time to tour the West Coast. I just got back from Seattle a
month ago. The Seattle thing started back in 1995, when a
guy I used to know here got a band together and told me to
come out and play, with him backing me up. He said take a
guitar and get on a plane, so that’s what I did. And it
start ed a 12-year string that continues to this day.
On his parents...
Our parents supported us to the hilt. They didn’t stifle dreams. Dad was
a dreamer, al ways had ideas, always trying everything.
That’s how the Thunder happened.
My parents wanted me to finish school, but I was stubborn. Now my son
(Paul Jr.) is a really good guitar player (in the metal band
Isyou), but I’m making him finish school. I’m just enforcing
what my dad let me slide for.
On B.B. King...
I played with B.B. King twice, in 1989 and 1990 at the War Memorial. Back
in 1973, King came to Mercer County Community College, and
he was well known then, but not an icon, unless you were
into the blues. I couldn’t believe he was coming here, and a
friend of mine was shooting photographs of the show and
dragged me backstage. He was so gracious, and we kept in
touch. He was always encouraging, and playing with him was a
milestone for me.