Paul “Pablo” Wilson (b. 20 October 1978) is a Scottish musician, hailing from Kinlochleven. He is best known as the bass guitarist for Northern Irish alternative rock band Snow Patrol. He previously played guitar in Glasgow band Terra Diablo from 2000–2005. In March 2005, he replaced bassist Mark McClelland in Snow Patrol and switched instruments to bass. Wilson has been friends with the band years before he joined them and even Terra Diablo, and had contributed guitar and keyboards as an unofficial live member. He plays left-handed and generally uses a black Rickenbacker on-stage. He is a multi-instrumentalist and is trained in piano.
Paul Wilson grew up in Kinlochleven and attended the Kinlochleven High School. He always wanted to be a musician and has said that its the only thing “he’s ever done”. He has said that if he couldn’t be a musician, he would have worked as a music producer or teach children how to be in a band. Wilson is a multi-instrumentalist, and can play instruments such as piano, guitar, bass, drums and banjo. He went to music school to learn the piano, and in his own words, can “play most things unless they have to be blown into”. He has been friends with members of Snow Patrol since 1995, during their “wilderness years”.
In 2000, he joined Glasgow band Terra Diablo as guitarist. Whenever Terra Diablo supported Snow Patrol on tours, Wilson joined Snow Patrol on-stage as an unofficial member, contributing guitar and keyboards. He once joked that he agreed to tour with Snow Patrol only the condition that Terra Diablo could tour with them. Wilson left Terra Diablo in mid-February 2005, the reasons for which were not made public. On 16 March 2005, Snow Patrol bassist Mark McClelland was fired from the band. Vocalist Gary Lightbody asked Wilson to replace him. He accepted, and switched to the bass guitar when he joined the band. He played his first show as permanent member in Dingle on 1 April 2005. In October 2006, during the Eyes Open Tour, he injured his left arm and shoulder. Though wanting to continue, the band thought better and six concerts were subsequently cancelled.
Apart from his work with Snow Patrol, Wilson is credited for playing bass and providing background vocals on Hope of the States’ 2006 album Left. He also guested on Film School’s 2007 album Hideout.
Wilson considers Pink Floyd guitarist David Gilmour his “hero”. His favorite instrument is the guitar, which he played for nineteen years, before switching to bass. He found the transition difficult, as he felt that one could “get away with more” playing the guitar. He finds the bass a difficult and challenging instrument to play and “express” oneself. But he enjoys playing it and likes the potential of the instrument: “By changing one note, you can make the whole thing sound a lot better”. Apart from writing bass-lines for the band, Wilson occasionally contributes guitar and piano parts. He writes bass-lines based on the song’s rhythm and at times teams up with drummer Jonny Quinn to come up with a basic riff or simple chord changes. He believes in the philosophy of “less is more”, and adds small bits over the basic lines only if he thinks its suitable. He has said that he writes music “24 hours a day”, and during tours, he carries his laptop with him to record his compositions. He plays the bass left-handed, and prefers using a pick. On-stage, he generally uses a black Rickenbacker 4000 bass and names the Fender Jazz Bass his favorite. He also likes the Fender Precision but cannot play it, being left-handed. On Snow Patrol’s Reworked Tour of November–December 2009, Wilson played double bass.
As a child, Wilson was a huge fan of Star Wars, and owned toys of all characters. Wilson owns a house in Los Angeles and likes vintage American cars. He owns a Battleship Grey ’81 SS Camaro and has modified the interior of the car with a skull on the gear shift and cobra heads for door locks. Wilson is a smoker. He has been trying to give it up for a long time and was successful for three months in 2006, but couldn’t drop it entirely. He finds the idea of sports “pretty stupid” but enjoys swimming. He has the name of his previous band “Terra Diablo” tattooed on the inside of his left arm. In 2008, it was reported that he was dating actress Sophia Myles, after her split with actor David Tennant.
Rickenbacker 4000 (Black)
Fender Jazz Bass
Ampeg SVT–2PRO, SVT–4PRO
Ampeg SVT–810E (Bass cabinet)
Big Muff (distortion pedal, 2×)
Line 6 Bass POD XT Pro