21 Nov 2017

The Axeman, AKA Paul Martin on 30 years of playing metal music on the radio

From Afternoons, 2:18 pm on 21 November 2017
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Photo: ©2014 Steve Dykes

When Hamilton high school boy Jesse Mulligan called up heavy metal radio show The Axe Attack to request Metallica's 'Fade to Black' in 1988, the host Paul Martin, aka The Axeman, was charming, courteous and complimentary about his choice.

Nearly 30 years on, Paul’s show is still going strong and now streams on digital radio app iHeartRadio.

As well as being an expert on talking about heavy metal, Paul is the bassist in the band Devilskin.

But it was a very different type of music that first tickled his ears as a child.

Paul Martin aka The Axeman and Ozzy Osbourne

Paul Martin aka The Axeman and Ozzy Osbourne Photo: Supplied

“I was five years old when I heard Louis Armstrong on the radio and that changed my world!”

Paul took up the trumpet and got pretty good, he says, before heavier sounds caught his attention as a teenager.   

“I met the wrong crowd at school and the next minute I’m listening to Black Sabbath, the Sex Pistols... I traded my trumpet in for a speaker!

“I’m the youngest of four kids and my older sisters were playing Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, all this cool stuff. It was captivating for me to hear Led Zeppelin’s ‘Kashmir’ with all its grandiosity. There just so much going on ... wow, this is spellbinding.”

Despite spending his life playing and proselytising for metal, Paul is no fan of defining music by genre.

“Everyone called Motorhead heavy metal apart from Motorhead, who called themselves rock ‘n’ roll!”

Though he finds metal fans are generally loyal and thoughtful types.

“People into metal 30 years ago, 40 years ago, they’ll still like those bands. Your average metaller is not concerned with trends, we’re not going to change our spots overnight just because we’ve heard dubstep.”

Listen to Paul’s metal picks:

  • Led Zeppelin - 'Kashmir' 
  • Uriah Heep - 'Gypsy'
  • Deep Purple - 'Child in time'
  • Black Sabbath - 'NIB'     
  • Tyrant - 'Sorry' (not available on Spotify)
  • T REX - 'Electric Slim & The Factory Hen'                        
  • Devilskin - 'Burning Tree'