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RIP Paul Raven, 1961-2007 [2007-10-24]

It is with great shock and sadness that I have received the news about the passing of an old friend of mine, Paul Raven. He died in his sleep early saturday morning of an apparent heart attack, just 46 years old. My thoughts go out to his family and friends who have suffered an incredible loss.

The first time I met him was in Malmö way back in 1991 when he played bass for Pigface. It immediately struck me how friendly, down-to-earth and cool he was. My friend Forssis had randomly met him in London during the summer and struck up a conversation (because of a Pigface T-shirt), and here we were, the three of us, waiting for Pigface to soundcheck.

About a year later, Forssis (without telling me) sent Paul a tape with Buddard demos. Paul wrote back and said that he loved it and that he had started a Buddard fan club within Pigface consisting of William Tucker (Ministry guitarist, died in 1999), En Esch (from KMFDM) and Andrew Weiss (from Henry Rollins Band). Apparently they used our demo as the intro tape for the Pigface US tour and to terrorize other band members in the tour bus. They requested band photos which we sent them along with a new demo tape.

The next time we met was in Stockholm 1994. Paul was now the bass player for Prong, and one of the bands I was playing in was opening for them. My guitar amp blew up during sound check, and Tommy (Prong guitarist/frontman) had a strict never-lend-out-his-gear policy, so Paul let me borrow his bass distortion pedal instead! We talked and laughed a lot, had some dinner, and after the gig he invited Forssis and me to his dressing room and offered us beer and joints. He told us more crazy tour stories, recited his favorite Buddard lyrics, and also told us about the untimely demise of his Buddard demo tapes — It seems Martin Atkins had finally had enough and killed them with a screw driver.

The third and last time we met was last year, in may 2006. Paul had joined Ministry for their album “Rio Grande Blood” and was touring the US with them. I was on a business trip to San Francisco and it happened to coincide with the Ministry tour, so I stayed behind a couple of days and went up to Sacramento to see them. I arrived at the venue just before sound check. Paul had just woke up and came walking towards the back entrance when I shouted “Oi, Paul!”. He said “What?” (like “Who the hell are you?), and I said “Don’t you recognize me? I’m Buddard!”. He started to laugh and gave me a big bear hug.

After soundcheck he came out again, and we chatted for a while. It was almost impossible to believe that 12 years had went by since the last time we met, it felt more like we had met last week. According to the now well-established tradition I gave him a Buddard CD (“Wish you were beer”), and he said “It’s good to know that Buddard’s still around”. This was the last time we met, as Ministry had to leave for San Francisco directly after the gig.

See you later, man, we’ll start that side project in the afterlife. And as you’d always sign your emails to me:

stay drunk
r a v e n

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