La Paz were formed in Lanarkshire, Scotland in the early 1980's by Chic McSherry, Doogie White and Alex Carmichael. We'd all been playing in the local music scene for a number of years and had run across each other often enough but the time hadn't been right to work together until then.
We hit it off immediately on a personal level, we liked the same music and we had the same influences and heroes (Purple, Rainbow, Journey, Gary Moore) so we started to recruit other members to try to form a band and go do some gigs. We decided to add keyboards right away as, at that time, the "classic" guitar/keys combination had declined from favour and it would immediately make us different from the other all-guitar bands that dominated the circuit at that time.
We auditioned several keyboard players before we were introduced to Andy Mason and he fitted in from the start, even though he was a public schoolboy and we were just a bunch of schemies from Motherwell, Wishaw and Viewpark. He was still at school when he joined and looking at the photo on the right which was taken at our first demo recording it's hard to imagine that he was allowed out on his own never mind with us lot. He likes to think that he brought an air of civilised sophistication to us but we have some photographic evidence that proves we corrupted him totally...in reality we saved his life because a career in the Civil Service clearly beckoned before he met us.
Drummers were a different matter and, over the life of the band, La Paz amassed almost as many as Spinal Tap, although none of them (as far as we know) died in bizarre gardening accidents or spontaneously combusted. The alien being that was Spanky Harrison (drummer number 4 and the only one that never divulged his first name) remains unaccounted for so there is still time for an urban legend to emerge. As well as him, there was Dougie "The Brickie" Hannah (drummer number 1), Stuart "Bunty" Brown (drummer number 3), Colin "To" Morrow (drummer number 5 and still playing in Crossfire with Alex). Unquestionably the loudest and the most accomplished was/is our current drummer: Paul McManus (drummer number 2 originally and the only one not to get a pejorative nickname...but it's never too late so email your suggestions).
The band name was actually chosen last of all and it came quite by chance. Chic was "accidentally" reading page 3 of "The Sun" (the "accidental" bit was that he was reading it rather than just looking at the topless model) when he noticed that the strapline for that day's lovely, Caz Carrington, read: "Ever been to La Paz, Caz Has". It may have been Ms. Carrington's obvious charms that swayed him of course, but Chic claims he just liked the rhyme of it and so La Paz was born.
La Paz played live regularly, felt like constantly, throughout Scotland. We also did the world-famous Marquee Club in London as well as at some festivals in Milton Keynes. Although we never played outside the UK, we felt that we had played in the USA by proxy as we were regulars at various US military bases in the UK and we had a huge fan-base amongst the enlisted men stationed here. These gigs were marathons - sometimes we played up to three one hour sets per night - but they were the only ones on the circuit that paid good money and it was from those earnings that we funded all of our recordings.