IE: You’re currently on tour with Peter Case. Were there other occasions when you performed together since The Nerves broke up?
Paul Collins: Only once. I did some songs with him during an encore at one of his shows.
IE: Are you pretty familiar with Chicago?
PC: Chicago was a real mainstay for us [The Nerves]. In fact, we stayed there between tours. Do you remember La Mere Vipere? They threw a party for us. We played Huey’s, Ivanhoe Theatre, and B’Ginnings. Cheap Trick came out to see us.
IE: Some critics have said The Nerves could have been really successful if they’d stuck around. Do you ever imagine what might have been?
PC: When we broke up, I was devastated, but I never thought of it that way. It wasn’t until recently when I read an article where someone said, “Makes you wonder what would have happened if these guys had stayed together” that it really hit me. I’m glad I didn’t think of it that way before. I’ve had a great ride. For a bunch of kids who had no backing, it’s amazing the impact we had with just one EP.
IE: Have you and Peter kept in touch over the years?
PC: On and off. I’ve lived overseas so there were big chunks of time when we didn’t have any contact.
IE: Considering that you and Peter were in The Nerves, he was in The Plimsouls, and you were in The Beat, this show seems like a power pop fan’s dream come true.
PC: It’s power pop, but it’s more than that. It’s American rock and roll. At the time, everything was skinny ties, new wave, and power pop. I embrace [the label] now, but back then it hurt us. Radio stations would say, “Power pop? We don’t play that kind of music!” I wondered why people weren’t getting it.
IE: How will the show be structured?
PC: We’re still working on that. There are so many great songs, you could put them in a hat and just pick them. This is really two guys getting together because of the music.
IE: Is there any chance that you and Peter will do a CD together?
PC: That door is wide open. If the rock and roll gods are willing and we come up with a good batch of new songs, we’ll record them. Most definitely.
Paul Collins and Peter Case play Empty Bottle on March 25th. The Plimsouls recently released Beach Town Confidential, featuring a live performance recorded in 1983. Q&A by Terrence Flamm.
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