Monday, April 11, 2022

Paul RK Wheeler Jr., a Performer of Boundless Energy, Passes

It is with sadness that we announce the passing of Hamilton/Niagara musician, Paul RK Wheeler Jr. He passed away on April 11, 2022 due to cancer complications. Our condolences to his family, friends and fans.

Paul grew up in a talented musical family and started drumming at the age of 4 but skillfully picked up many other instruments along the way. He played with many bands in multiple genres throughout the years.  In his incredible career, he opened for Alice Cooper, Trooper, Big Wreck, Foo Fighters, Alannah Myles, Nazareth, April Wine and Pete Best (Beatles). Most recently, Paul played for AC/DC tribute band Squeeler and The Rockets.

A word from Lou, our blogger:
I had the pleasure of meeting Paul a number of times over the years. He always had a smile on his face and was filled with boundless energy both on-stage and off. His wonderful attitude was infectious and his talent was immense. I will miss him dearly.

Media stories

Social Media Reactions

Bill Dillon (Rockets bandmate)

Sometimes all we have left are photographs and memories. Until such time it is all we too have left behind us .

Thank you Paul Wheeler for all you have blessed us with of yourself  and may you rest eternally in peace.

Dave Rave (Teenage Head)

Very sad news - we lost a true gentleman and inspiration to all of us .  RIP  Paul R K Wheeler Jr. We will all miss your talent and generous spirit. 

Coleen Drinkwalter-Plate (local music fan and friend of Paul)

My heart hurts knowing that this amazing person has left us. Paul R K Wheeler Jr. was an amazing friend and a super talented performer.  

Joanne Muroff Smale (Planet3 Communications)

You taught me the history of music out of the Niagara region - heck, going back to the early days of your family's talents.   As you shared, acts use to perform in the northern part of USA, crossed the border to perform in the region -  only to turn around to continue gigging in the States & onwards to Montreal.   Loved your Tuesday (I believe) nights at Tapp's Bar and Grill - the older crowd on Queen Street Downtown - lol. Big Texas Niagara great stuff.  You are a force to be reckoned with.   You 'bluprinted' musical memories of days gone by - thanks for the notes, thanks for the peace & love kiddo 

Mike Markarian (musician)

So saddened to hear of Paul R K Wheeler Jr.'s passing. Our association dates back to him producing the first Slang CD "Resilience". We had a ton of laughs together, "Uncle Paulie", for anyone who knew him, was a total cut up, just a great fun guy to be around, not to mention his many diverse musical talents. Paul has been a constant on the Niagara music scene for 5 decades.  He will be missed. F*ck cancer. RIP Paulie, thoughts are with his family and close friends at this time, condolences to you all. 

Kevin Richard Hotte (drummer)

My memory of the Wheeler Brothers.

Back in "the day" I was playing at Uncle Sam's in Niagara Falls. Between sets, I went next door to The Sundowner which, at that time also had bands. I sat down and watched Paul and Jon performing with a band called The Criminals. I thought they were a very good band. Jon was an outstanding guitar player and Paul equally as good playing bass. They had their show nice and polished, wardrobe, posing etc. They left a really strong impression on me. 

Sometime later, I get a phone call from Jon asking me If I would be interested in joining their band. Apparently, some agent they were working with at the time wanted to book them on a tour of Quebec and parts of Northern Ontario. I said sure. So we got together in the basement of their house and pounded out the set list. I remember the very first song we jammed on was Crazy Train. It was just new on the charts. While we were jamming you could feel the electricity as well as the uncanny, almost telepathic synergy that Paul and Jon had between them. I thought "we're gonna go over awesome".

A week or two later, I get a call from Jon. He's very pissed off and he tells me that the tour fell through. I don't remember the reason or circumstances. But anyway, I took an offer with another band and we kind of lost touch with one another after that until FB became a thing and I reached out to Paul after Jon's passing. It was obvious that we had mutual respect for each other because in that short period of time that we were a band, we left enough of an impression on each other to remember each other many years down the road. We re-connected through Facebook and spoke occasionally. 

That's it. That's my story of working with Paul and Jon. Godspeed and RIP my friend. No are with Jon now. I hope we can jam again one day!

Cartoonist/Musican Bob Sherwood

I lost an old friend of mine to cancer last week. He was a great musician from the "old school" Southern Ontario live music scene. This caricature is my tribute to him.

Videos above courtesy of Paul R K Wheeler Jr

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