Paul/The Man in Blue

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Michele
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Paul/The Man in Blue

Postby Michele » Tue Feb 05, 2013 2:29 am

Hey all,

I know we've been wondering where Paul has been in the past couple of years. Last I heard he was taking time off for one of the tours and would be back, but he didn't turn up again, and also he wasn't at any of last year's online shows. Sadly, I got a call from VT today, who heard from his niece that he passed away this morning. I knew his health had been declining, but this was still sudden and unexpected.

This online notice gives the details and also the memorial information, if anyone else is local to Louisville. His niece has requested suggestions for music to play during his memorial. I can pass them along to her if anyone has ideas.

Please feel free to post your memories here, I will too when I get a chance, hopefully tomorrow.

Digital
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Re: Paul/The Man in Blue

Postby Digital » Tue Feb 05, 2013 3:08 am

I was sad to hear of Paul's passing as well, though I knew he had been ill for awhile. My thoughts and prayers go out to the family.

I can tell you exactly when and where I met Paul Hankins. It was November 21st, 2004. Vienna Teng had just finished an incredible show at Jammin' Java in Vienna, VA, and had debuted her new song "Blue Caravan." I recorded the whole thing and afterward, Paul came over to ask about getting a copy of the recording. Per Vienna's policy, I couldn't give it to him (we even asked), but that's what got Paul started on recording Vienna's shows: so he could listen to Blue Caravan again. At least, that's how I remember it.

By that time, he had already been to more of Vienna's shows than I had. As everyone around here knows, he certainly made a lot of them. The last post of his I can find, he had rattled off number 264 and was planning 265. From the recordings I know about, he made it to at least 277, including shows in Alaska and Europe. I wouldn't be surprised if there were a few more I don't know about.

The recordings are his legacy. I know of at least 137 Vienna Teng shows that Paul recorded, sometimes with multiple recorders. He relished every performance and declared each one different. You could see the excitement in his eyes when he thought he had heard something really new. Paul loved Vienna, he loved her music,and he loved sharing it with others. I know he enjoyed his interactions with all the various people on this forum. When Paul talked about his "shadow tours," he often mentioned the various fans he was going to meet up with and visit along the way.

As Michele mentioned, Paul's health has been in decline for some time. I don't know all the details, but I know sometime around 2009 he quit going to so many shows. Originally, it was a financial thing, since the markets he had been using to fund his adventures took a downward turn. But as things recovered, his health started to decline. It wasn't too bad at first, but he just couldn't go on the marathon drives like he used to (Paul used to drive 6,7,8 hours AFTER a show to get to his next hotel!). By the time I met up with him in Louisville, late 2010, he was more deliberate in which shows he attended. I think he only did a handful that year. Last year, I pointed him to a local show, and he begged off for health reasons. That was the last time he and I exchanged email.

For those that didn't know, Paul was "The Man in Blue" because he showed up at every Vienna Teng show in his own uniform: a button-down blue shirt and a pair of blue jeans. Apparently he was allergic to some clothing dyes, but the blue shirts were just fine.

It just won't be the same going to a Vienna show not knowing if he'll show up or not. I always enjoyed our conversations, his friendship, and knowing that there was another person out there that felt the same way I did about music. He will be sorely missed.

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Re: Paul/The Man in Blue

Postby Scot » Tue Feb 05, 2013 4:12 am

Indeed, this is very sad news. I met Paul when I hosted a house concert in New Mexico for Vienna in 2004, and yes, he was there. He wasn't recording yet, but he already had lots of good stories to share. I admit that I sometimes found his fanaticism bordering on creepy, but Paul was a true lover of music and he truly cared about the musicians. I learned it wasn't creepiness, it was just central to his being. Vienna was probably his favorite artists, but he turned me on to new music and new performers every time I talked to him. Not only did he love music, but he SUPPORTED music. At my house concert for example, Paul dontated significantly more than the nominal "ticket" price. He bought Vienna CDs at every show, largely to help support VIenna. He would actually find out which venues didn't take a commission on the CDs and would buy accordingly so Vienna would get the most proceeds possible. I am sure Paul did this with the other bands he liked as well. Paul had a kind and generous soul.

Indeed, Paul's legacy is his recorded archive, but it is also his deep support for musicians. He would often talk about their tough lives, lack of insurance, and other concerns and he did what he could to return the love he found for their music. Paul was fairly private (at least to me) about his personal life, but I gathered enough to think that his life was probably pretty difficult. I am glad he found music, and Vienna, to help him through it. And it is a testament to his generosity that he so thoroughly gave in return.

To honor Paul and his spirit, I would recommend introducing someone to a CD of someone you love, listening to a band you truly enjoy - as if it were the first time, and offering some support to a musician who could use it.

Rest in peace, Paul.

scot
Last edited by Scot on Tue Feb 05, 2013 9:41 am, edited 2 times in total.
My little attempt at a Vienna Teng WWW page (Set lists, song info., and more...)

Fred
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Re: Paul/The Man in Blue

Postby Fred » Tue Feb 05, 2013 4:40 am

Yes, this is very sad indeed. I never met Paul, but I came very close once. A group of fans including Paul and a few more of us were going to get together for lunch before Vienna's show at The Kate in Connecticut in December of 2009. I didn't end up going because my family was with me and had other ideas, but I called Paul up about it at one point. His line was busy, and I got an outgoing message recorded by...guess who? Rest in peace, Man in Blue, example to us all.
Ain't praying for miracles, I'm just down on my knees
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And everything I think I know is just static on the radio.

NJ Fan Chris
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Re: Paul/The Man in Blue

Postby NJ Fan Chris » Tue Feb 05, 2013 5:14 am

This is heartbreaking news. I was thinking about Paul just the other day.

I met Paul at several shows, and I was amazed at his dedication. I worried about him going to some of those festival shows in the blistering heat.

When I used to volunteer regularly at Outpost In The Burbs, I remember just days after we booked Vienna, Paul came to the very next concert to check out the venue and introduced himself to the president of our little operation. He also became a fan of Ollabelle that night.

At Joe's Pub shows, Paul would help in reserving a table for the bulletin board folks.

I believe the last time I spoke to Paul was Tarrytown New York. Vienna was the supporting artist and Paul gave me a tsk-tsk when he spotted me heading for the exit early.

Rest in peace, Paul

Chris
"From Bottom Line to Highline"

Scot
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Re: Paul/The Man in Blue

Postby Scot » Tue Feb 05, 2013 6:10 am

NJ Fan Chris wrote:
At Joe's Pub shows, Paul would help in reserving a table for the bulletin board folks.


Yup. Paul saved me a seat/table at quite a few Vienna shows.

s
My little attempt at a Vienna Teng WWW page (Set lists, song info., and more...)

Michele
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Re: Paul/The Man in Blue

Postby Michele » Tue Feb 05, 2013 10:29 am

Some kind of weird cosmic coincidences going on here - just got back from a show at The Independent, and now I'm staying up waiting to watch Marika on Fallon.

To continue the recording story, Paul showed up in California for his first visit to see the band show at The Indy, with his brand new recorder and microphone. We needed to find a show where he could practice, so we went to a free show at Borders. I won't name the performer here, but you all know him as a famous singer and former lead of a band named after an American city. He was on tour promoting his Christmas album. We got there, fiddled with the gear, and rested the mic on a table of books. Then they announced no recording, and I think Paul didn't get his practice in for that show. The set was very short, only five songs, so we moved on to Bottom of the Hill. That venue is Really Loud, and there was a lot of screaming going on. I wanted to stay, but had no earplugs, and Paul didn't seem very wild about it. The band was Pidgeon, and Erik and I ended up seeing several of their shows over the years.

We're very fortunate that so much of Vienna's career is documented due to Paul's efforts in both following tours and actually getting the shows recorded. There were so many times when I'd hear of his travel plans, and be so worried about him making it to the next show. He got through it anyway; it was clearly worth it to him.

I believe the last time I saw Paul was in Akron 2009, my 100th show. I'll spend some time this week listening to his recordings in his memory.

Chris, do you have an Ollabelle song you could suggest for the memorial? I think we're going to be able to figure out songs for the rest of the bands he liked to see.

tomcos
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Re: Paul/The Man in Blue

Postby tomcos » Tue Feb 05, 2013 4:54 pm

Very sad news. I didn't meet Paul until a string of shows in late 2009, but we were undoubtedly in the same room for several shows before that. Rest in peace, Man in Blue.

Caffe Vivaldi 2009.jpg
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Re: Paul/The Man in Blue

Postby Ang Mo » Wed Feb 06, 2013 6:35 am

I never had the opportunity to meet Paul in person, just as I never had the opportunity to meet Jack, but I know beyond the shadow of a doubt that he was one of Vienna's most dedicated fans if not the most dedicated. I think there was a time when he was at nearly every concert for a couple of years straight, even the concerts in Europe. It is sad to hear of the passing of The Man in Blue, may he rest in peace.
“When facism comes to America it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross.” Sinclair Lewis

Ang Mo
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Re: Paul/The Man in Blue

Postby Ang Mo » Wed Feb 06, 2013 6:35 am

I never had the opportunity to meet Paul in person, just as I never had the opportunity to meet Jack, but I know beyond the shadow of a doubt that he was one of Vienna's most dedicated fans if not the most dedicated. I think there was a time when he was at nearly every concert for a couple of years straight, even the concerts in Europe. It is sad to hear of the passing of The Man in Blue, may he rest in peace.
“When facism comes to America it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross.” Sinclair Lewis

Scot
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Re: Paul/The Man in Blue

Postby Scot » Wed Feb 06, 2013 7:12 am

Here is a good picture I just found from 2004.
Image

scot
My little attempt at a Vienna Teng WWW page (Set lists, song info., and more...)

Michele
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Re: Paul/The Man in Blue

Postby Michele » Sat Feb 09, 2013 8:43 pm

The online notice was updated with a bit about Paul's archiving and street team efforts.

Vienna was wondering what music we came up with for the memorial, so I figured I'd post it and we can maybe pass on some musical discovery. That's something Paul would have liked for us to do...

VT - Say Uncle, Blue Caravan, Pontchartrain, Gravity
The Bowmans - Forever
Ollabelle
Sometymes Why
Over the Rhine - Ohio, Professional Daydreamer, Changes Come, Who Will Guard The Door, the album _Live from Nowhere Volume 3_
Kyler England - Higher Ground, Leave A Light On
Joshua Radin - Winter
Priscilla Ahn - Dream
Ellery - Arizona
Hem - Half Acre

Thanks to everyone who helped with suggestions. I noticed a reoccurring theme of loss described in the lyrics of many of these songs. It seems to be consistent with the reason he became a such a huge VT fan in the first place. I added "Leave A Light On" by Kyler to try to lighten things a little...

cmooreNC
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Re: Paul/The Man in Blue

Postby cmooreNC » Sun Feb 10, 2013 7:34 pm

I am moved to tears and words just don't suffice for me at reading this news. "The world's friendliest stalker," is what Vienna called him on more than one occasion and that's simply the best way to put it. He was truly one of a kind. I will miss him. God speed, Paul. :(
Chris

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Re: Paul/The Man in Blue

Postby wolding » Thu Feb 14, 2013 6:19 am

What a sad reason for me to return to the forum after such a long time. I haven't even been lurking. I too will miss Paul. I can say 'ditto' to so many comments made earlier here on the forum.
I met The Man In Blue for the first time through this forum years ago. It was not a long wait before I met him in person at one of Vienna's concerts. He was always an energetic cheerleader for Vienna, and for other artists he liked. I'm happy to see some of those artists in the list created for his memorial service. The Man In Blue saved seats for me, shared many stories, and pointed out the fine differences in Vienna's performances of her songs as they matured on stage. I was lucky to hear and edit some of his recordings from the time before he obtained his really good recording equipment.
When I went on a road trip last October, I passed through Louisville and called Paul to invite him to lunch. I woke him from a late morning nap, and he explained the trouble he was having. I wished him well. I was shocked at how weak he sounded on the phone. That's the last time we talked.
What a magnificent, kind soul. My life is better for having known Paul.
Rest well, and God keep you, my friend.
Bill

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Re: Paul/The Man in Blue

Postby darthscsi » Sat Feb 16, 2013 11:31 pm

Indeed, very sad. He was always a pleasure to talk to at the shows.


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