Back in 2004 I was shooting a lot of bands and befriended a lot of musicians, one of whom introduced me to James Paul of The Rogue Studios. The first time I visited The Rogue was in May 2004 when James and his associates had just moved into the space. The move was a bit of a story – and you can read about it on the studios’ website. This afternoon, 6 years later, we went back to The Rogue to take some shots of James in his place and found that not only does he have a vast collection of stories to draw from – but there is a story to almost every eclectic piece (of instrumental nature and otherwise) living in The Rogue.
Case in point, the guitar that he is holding in the shot above is a very temperamental early 1970’s Gibson Les Paul Custom, which as James puts it ‘has a mind of it’s own’ and does not allow everyone to play it with the same level of success. After this shot was taken he pulled out a 1960’s Gibson accoustic guitar that was once owned by Greg Keelor of Blue Rodeo.
A talented musician who can play a number of instruments, James told us that the instrument that he is most comfortable playing is the piano – he in fact has the piano that once sat in the cove at the Montreal Bistro – the same piano that Oscar Peterson played his last concert on.
Almost as fascinating as the instruments themselves is the stories behind their acquisition. James is fantastic to talk to, and more so to listen to – in fact it would be easy to get caught up in the dialogue and forget to keep shooting as time went on – that happened a few times this afternoon.
The Rogue Studios is, in it’s own way, a museum of the history of music in Toronto. And James, it’s captivating curator.