| Home

Weather Forecast
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Personality Test: Musician Paul Thompson

Daily Photo Galleries

By The The Tribune-Review
Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Paul Thompson gave up life on the road, and Pittsburgh jazz fans are happy he did.

The Lawrenceville bassist, 35, went from Duquesne University to traveling with the Maynard Ferguson Orchestra in the mid-'90s, but got tired of living on a band bus.

He returned and set up shop here in a number of ways.

"I just say I'm a musician who also teaches," he says, pointing to his work at the Pittsburgh High School for the Creative and Performing Arts, Downtown, the school from which he also graduated.

But he probably is better known for his work with Opek bands, Salsamba, Thoth, Billy Price and Downtown theatrical groups.

The star who would play me in the movie version of my life and why:

Don Cheadle. Outstanding actor with range; you have to have lots of range to play me.

Childhood hero and why:

My grandfather. He loved unconditionally, and he always made me feel like every moment he spent with me was the greatest time of his life. I miss him.

Pick one:

A. Jack Bauer of "24"

B. Angus MacGyver of "MacGyver"

C. James West of "The Wild, Wild West"

D. Sydney Bristow of "Alias"

C. James West of "The Wild, Wild West." He always found insightful ways to get out of trouble, he could fight as well as anybody, and he didn't have a mullet.

In five years, I'd like to:

Be a way better person and a way better musician. I'd also like to enjoy my students' music a lot more in five years.

My favorite thing about Pittsburgh is:

So much to love! I'll tell you one thing: the sense of community here is stronger than anywhere I've ever been.

If the TV is on at 2 a.m., I'm watching:

West Coast Sportscenter on ESPN HD.

Star I'd like to dance with on "Dancing with the Stars":

Marie Osmond. She's a babe, and she was one of the first people I remember seeing on TV.

Three people I'd love to have dinner with:

My grandfather, my grandmother, and my Aunt Alice. I miss them.

After a long day, I like to relax with a (pick one):

A. Martini

B. Cold beer

C. Cabernet

D. Herbal tea

E. Hot chocolate

F. Red Bull

D. Herbal tea. This is as close as I get. I'm more of a smartwater guy, anyway!

My quirkiest inherited trait:

I draw, doodle, sketch. Not all that quirky, but something definitely passed down from my Pop-Pop to my mother to me.

My best bar sport:

A. Pool

B. Darts

C. Air hockey

D. Beer pong

C. Air hockey. Anybody really good at any of these has a little too much time on their hands!

My favorite sandwich, plus fixings:

Roethlisburger from Peppi's! Everything on it (and nothing to do for about a day-and-a-half).

One word your mother would use to describe you:


Celebrity crush:

Wendi Nix (you know what I'm talking about if you watch ESPN).

The oldest thing in my refrigerator is:

Applesauce ... about three jars of it. I always think it's a "healthy choice," but I never touch it.

My required snack in a movie theater is:

Vanilla shake and a warm chocolate-chip cookie at AMC/Waterfront.

When I was 10, I wanted to be:

A marine biologist

Musical instrument I wish I could play.

Bass ... really.

My favorite comfort food:

Peanut butter thumbprint cookies

Exercise I hate most:


Vegetable I won't eat:

Brussels sprouts

I'm deathly afraid of:

'80's slasher movie trailers -- can't watch them when the sun goes down.

If I were auditioning for "American Idol," my song would be:

"A House Is Not a Home" by Burt Bacharach -- have you ever heard Luther do it?

The first band I saw in concert (when and where):

Yikes. YES, Mellon Arena, September 1987. Big Generator tour.

TV marathon you could watch all day and why:

"Daisy of Love" -- it's so hard to turn away from a car accident, isn't it?

Favorite Pittsburgh-area landmark.

I love the Cathedral of Learning in Oakland. We used to race to the top when I was a kid.

Saturday mornings you'll find me:

Sleeping, of course!

Best new gadget I've tried recently:

iPhone. I just got the new OS on my iPhone and that thing never ceases to amaze.

The person I'm most often mistaken for:

David Justice ... if you can believe that.

Pick one:

A. Perry Mason

B. Denny Crane

C. Arnie Becker

D. Ally McBeal

A. Perry Mason. Didn't we all wanna be Perry Mason?

The worst advice I ever received:

"Don't ever use a humidifier in winter. Never. It'll crack your bass."

In high school, I was:


The most famous person I ever became friends with:

Jay Harris -- formerly of FOX Pittsburgh, now on ESPN Sportscenter. I knew him before he became a big star.

My most recent eBay purchase:

Radial JDI passive direct box. Doesn't everybody have one of the those?

Pick one:


B. "Top Chef"

C. "The Amazing Race"

D. "Deal or No Deal"

B. "Top Chef." I think I am one of three people in the state who hasn't seen "Survivor."

The movie that always makes me cry:

"Rudy." When he gets that sack at the end, I'm a mess.

My most treasured fashion accessory is:

My belt, purchased for a lot of money on a gig in San Antonio. It's heavy enough to double as a whip if need be.

What you'll always find in my glove compartment:


My most embarrassing junk food:

Steak Soft Taco from Taco Bell. I've probably taken five years off of my life from consuming them.

If I wasn't a musician, I'd be:

Some type of computer or IT guy. In general, I love to solve problems.

The last book I read:

"Man's Search For Meaning" by Viktor Frankl

It's not pizza without:

SAUCE!! What's with this "white pizza" stuff?! The sauce makes the pie!

My favorite Pittsburgh pizza:

AIELLO's. AIELLO's every time! They know how to make SAUCE (see question above).

Movie I could watch every time it appears on cable:

"Superfly." It's just one of the greatest films, ever -- and such an incredible time capsule.

My favorite Web site:

My most memorable fashion mistake:

I actually owned a jacket exactly like Michael Jackson's "Beat It" jacket. I talked my Pop-Pop into buying it, but I never had the guts to wear it out of the house.

Pick one:

A. "CSI"


C. "JAG"

D. "Law & Order SVU"

D. Law & Order SVU. You can't go wrong with a totally unique sound effect that everybody knows.

If I could live my life as someone else, it would be:

Buddhist monk in the Himalayas. I would like to know that kind of peace and stillness.

My childhood nickname was:


My favorite "bad" movie is:

"Superfly" (see above).

My best karaoke song:

"Cruisin' " by Smokey Robinson

My first job:

I worked for two guys that moved here from Boston and bought up real estate. They actually bought a ton of stuff in the Mexican War Streets in the '80s (before it was fashionable). Anyway, I did a little of everything that summer: painting, demolition, plumbing, tiling.

My worst job:

Busboy on a famous boat line here in Pittsburgh. Worst job on the PLANET.

Pick one:

A. Miracle Whip

B. Hellmann's Mayonnaise

B. Hellmann's Mayonnaise. Mayo!! You have to have MAYO! There is a difference!

My favorite cable channel:


The song that always gets me out on the dance floor and why:

"Boogie Oggie Oggie" by A Taste Of Honey. Disco is so decadent.

Life would be better without:

Judgment. I think people form opinions too quickly. Everybody and everything deserves a good chance before we pass judgment.

If I could tour with any two bands, they would be:

Chick Corea Elektric Band and Chaka Khan

I never travel without my:

Laptop. It's loaded with music and movies and work I should be doing.

People would be surprised to know that I:

I just found my father last year -- after 34 years. Thanks to the Internet, I connected with him and my two brothers and sister that I've never known.



Show commenting policy

Most-Read Stories

  1. If ‘evil’ doesn’t apply to ISIS, what does?
  2. Unlike years past, strength of 2014 Steelers could be offense
  3. Steelers Lookahead: Previewing Sunday’s game vs. Cleveland
  4. Ford City explores beefing up code enforcement
  5. RX Fit brings cross-training to Ford City
  6. Wedding aboard Pittsburgh’s Gateway Clipper ends in arrests
  7. Steelers notebook: Polamalu made 1st-time captain; Roethlisberger named for offense
  8. New Dayton food pantry sees more people each week
  9. Housing market remains ‘disaster’ in Westmoreland County
  10. Labor United Celebration draws 25,000 to Northmoreland Park
  11. Western Pa. districts aim to win back students from cyber charters
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.