The success of The Clayton Center depends on the efforts of our part-time tech and event staff. Get to know the folks behind the scenes, starting with senior audio tech Paul Barton who has been mixing sound in the auditorium for nearly 20 years.
Paul has worked in music and recording for most of his adult life, and as a performer, musician, and technician, he believes that working at The Clayton Center is the best of both worlds.
“The Clayton Center is a top-notch facility,” said Paul. “The staff is professional, the light and sound systems are outstanding, the acts that come through here are nationally and internationally renowned, and at the end of the day, I get to go home. As someone who has been on the road and experienced the touring lifestyle, getting to sleep in my own bed is priceless.”
Paul is originally from New Jersey and has played music since elementary school. His youth was influenced by his family’s affinity for theater and their frequent trips to New York City to watch Broadway shows.
After attending St. Peter’s College in New Jersey, Paul pursued music full-time. In the 1980s, he toured with Hawkfire and opened for various bands, the most notable being Twisted Sister and Black Foot.
“I can’t wait to tell my future grandchildren stories about when I was on the road. Being on tour is fun, and I enjoy seeing new places and meeting new people,” said Paul.
During the years he spent touring, Paul discovered his interest in the technical side of music.
“At one of our shows, I stepped in as the sound tech with no prior experience. I started setting things up on the board, and the band thought it sounded great! It sure wasn’t because I knew what I was doing, but from that moment on, I began working as a sound tech and in recording studios between touring with bands.”
Paul equally enjoys being on stage and behind the scenes with a soundboard. He believes the objective in both roles is to give the audience the best show possible.
When asked if he has a favorite act that has performed at The Clayton Center, Paul could not choose.
“If you wander the backstage area, you will see the walls lined with posters from acts that have performed here. I have worked on 85% of those shows and met a list of people longer than my arm,” said Paul.
“The performers who come here are regular folks who happen to be extremely talented. Outside of performing, they put their pants on one leg at a time like everyone else, and it is cool to get to know them on that level. So, to call one a favorite, I don’t think I could. They are all great.”
Paul is excited and optimistic about the future of The Clayton Center and looks forward to continuing to work with his Clayton Center family.
“I will stay here as long as they will let me. The people here are amazing.”
Top: Paul at work at The Clayton Center sound board.
Bottom: Paul (second from left) in a 1980s promo photo for the band Hawkfire.