Paul Smulders Biography 24 September 2018
I was born in Pretoria in South Africa. My father was from Tilburg in the Netherlands and came to South Africa with his parents, who worked on the South African Railways. For some time they lived in a town called Waterfall-Boven in the Eastern Transvaal.
My father played trumpet in a band that performed at weddings and other functions across the Eastern Transvaal. They travelled around in an old ambulance which had been re-branded “ Amble -hence!” My father tried very hard to teach me to play the trumpet, but I was not interested because I thought trumpets were not cool! I could kick myself for not paying attention. I am sure however that this is where my love for music took root.
I went to a number of schools and eventually ended up at Pretoria Boys High until 1969. I left school to become a Diamond Brilliandeer.
I taught myself to play the guitar. I lost touch with my guitars when I had to go to the army. In 1971 I was called up to do “National service” in the South African Defence force. I started off in the medical services and later transferred to the artillery.
After I completed my military obligations I took up where I had left off with my guitars. I guess it was a kind of therapy. They train you to go to war, but they don’t train you to go home.
I enjoy playing the guitar and also to entertain people if they ask. I have also tried my hand at writing songs, but I find it very difficult to do.
I was at a function for ex-military veterans when I heard the details of the Skillie Human story. Something touched me deep inside and I went home and wrote the song ‘Missing In Action’. In fact the song almost wrote itself.
The closest I have come to formal lessons for guitar is attending Dan Patlansky guitar weekends at Clarens, in South Africa. An event held over a weekend where guitar players of all levels of skill get together and learn from Dan Patlansky, as well as the other guitarists in attendance.