Stand Or Fall

Music Works Records

It aint easy being Duke Fame

Paul Shortino is a charmer. It was his dark, shaggy mane and rugged good looks that landed him the role as Duke Fame, the rock star stadium sell-out that intimidates a burned-out Spinal Tap in the Rob Riener 1984 classic of the same name.

Shortino was an original member of L.A. rockers, Rough Cutt. The band rose to fame in the early to mid-‘80s headlining large theaters and landing the opening slot on a number of high-profile tours. (Amir Derakh, Rough Cutt guitarist, is now in the MTV flavor-of-the-week band, Orgy.) Shortino left Rough Cutt in 1988 and briefly joined an ailing Quiet Riot only to leave immediately after their last tour. A couple of scattered solo efforts maintained Shortino’s profile over the next ten years with the culmination of a smoldering hard rock affair entitled ‘It’s About Time,’ recorded with his band simply called Shortino.

Recently Paul released ‘Stand Or Fall,’ a blues-drenched, spellbinding soul album guaranteed to steam up the windows. Shortino shares credit on the record with his backup band, the Rhythm Junkies. The combination proves to be quite lethal.

The album’s title fires up the disc with Buddy Guy-like sputters fully caressing Shortino’s whiskey-stripped vocals. Shortino takes a hard look at relationships with ‘Take Me Into The Fire,’ ‘Devil In My Heart,’ ‘Honesty,’ and ‘There Goes Another Love.’ “‘Devil’ I wrote about my mother-in-law who’s husband just up and left her,” explains Shortino. “I had Bonnie Raitt as the singer when I was writing it. ‘Honesty’ I wrote dealing with relationships I’ve had in the past—not all good.” The last track on the CD, ‘Broke n’ Busted,’ is an old number Shortino promised his father to record someday. “It’s about my life when I was broke n’ busted and disgusted with everything. Amir (Derakh) and I have maintained our friendship, and he adds guitar to several of the tracks including this one. We took the production out of it to give it that stripped down sound.”

Paul Shortino