I met Paul Leahy in the fall of 1974 when I transferred to Princess Margaret High and I think I was probably jealous of him from the first moment. I wanted to lay guitar but hadn’t quite figured how to go about it. He was already a wonderful player who echoed all the British guys I loved – Beck, Ronson et al.
Then he joined or formed Toys and my friend Gay Chill kept me up on their career – playing here, playing there – on TV, on the Christmas telethon! and we waited as anxiously for them to come on as if it were the Beatles on Ed Sullivan. Then they toured Japan. It took me almost 30 years before I got there with my band.
I didn’t know Paul well, at all, but my friend Bruce McKenzie played keyboards in the band and he’d tell me after practices how good Paul was, shaking his head. He was an accomplished musician but Paul was one of those guys who was just on another level.
I lost track of him until I saw his picture in the paper with some weirdo outfit called No Fun, who wrote their own stuff, released their own records and did theme concerts, all outside the then mafia-like hold the Industry had on music at the time. That seemed like something you could never do, but he and David M did it anyway.
So, frankly my life has been a sad case of following Paul, years behind. Despite that I still find him a lovely man even if he’s still miles better at the guitar then I’ll ever be. Last year he sent me a Polly cd, which was of course brilliant, and made me just as jealous as I’d been 40 years ago when I heard him play.
At this point all I can think to do is get him in a band with me.
Don Vito Donatiello