June 14, 2015

"Paul Minns ruled the nature and shape of the Third Ear Band...". Interview with MARY HAYES, Paul Minns' former wife! (part one)

After many years one believes to know almost everything about a certain thing, but surprises are fatally behind the corner... 
On March 3rd, 2014 Mary Hayes wrote me an unexpected letter through my personal e-mail (read it at http://ghettoraga.blogspot.it/2015/04/good-chances-to-have-soon-interview.html).
So after some months we arranged a multi-parts story about Paul, her and his family, a way for investigating the true origins of the TEB from a different point of view...

"In 1967, I first met Paul when I was living in Oxford Garden W11. Paul lived close by in Elgin Road, W 11. Both addresses are in Ladbroke Grove - known as part of the Grove.
Historically and educationally, Paul's life was different in regards to his earlier Senior school years at the London's City School for Boys, on the river Thames - probably as a Chorister scholar and was a student of the oboe and piano.

Paul's experience of musical life started as a member for the British Youth Orchestra as an oboist player - and work wise, he became a book typographically designer. Paul, therefore, had two careers, one as a musician, and two, a career as a book designer, both areas he was a brilliant artist. Paul was not affected by musical tastes, he was a natural with his interest in playing the oboe, and obsessed with the oboe sounding beautiful in musical overtones, and would constantly practice getting the reed and oboe right in tone and expression.

Paul and Mary after  married with friends

At this period, the Third Ear Band was in its babyhood, created by Glen Sweeney, drummer, and Paul Minns, oboist.
Glen Sweeney's method was tinkering with musical articulation - osculating with musical rhythms - Drum rhythms, jazz orientated. For Glen Sweeney, the meeting with Paul was visually, a dream come true.

Paul Minns playing the oboe became intermingled with a vision of Asian and Indian harmonies matched by musical and classical overtones. Musically, Paul's playing of the oboe became imbued by hauntingly melancholic sounds by escalating expression in nature and harmonies in mysticism.

A very young Paul Minns (courtesy of Mary Haynes)

Both good - for Paul Minns was the first musical debut for the Third Ear Band. Paul Minns playing became a masterly use of the 'oboe' and its mysticism. Both bad, because Glen wanted glory in his own articulate mould - as a success story. Glen Sweeney pushed the group - and Paul Minns, by playing the oboe - ruled the nature and shape of the Third Ear Band from 1966 -1989, which in essence would have been forever expanded musically".

(end of part one - to be continued)

no©2015 Luca Ferrari (unless you intend to make a profit. In which case, ask first)    


  1. I think I saw - or better - heard TEB at Rotterdam Kralinger popfestival in 1970 being at the age of 18. I bought their second album and have been listening to it since. I admire Paul Minns Oboeplaying being a fan of the instrument since I became familiar with classical music. I like to know more - so not all! - about this group, that has been so unnoticable influential for me in my 'growing up'. Please continue with hart two and let me know what you know about TEB and Paul in particular.

    1. Thanks for your comment, I can only envy you for having seen/heard the Band at the legendary Rotterdam festival! About the TEB you can read in this Archive just 338 files dedicated to them, some about the great Paul Minns. Enough to put his name on the button "Search This Archive" at the right of the main page. Anyway about the second part of the interview with his former wife you can read it at the page http://ghettoraga.blogspot.it/2016/04/with-obsession-of-reed-second-part-of.html
      Best wishes,