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In 1999 Morecambe guitarist Paul James was playing to a few hundred people with his band The Bottlenecks.
Now the 22-year-old – better known as The Rev from punk band Towers of London – is to complete an astonishing climb up the career ladder.
Several months ago he signed up as the new guitarist with dance super-group The Prodigy and is now in the middle of an eight-date festival mini-tour and working on the band's fifth studio album.
When the Evening Post caught up with him, he admitted he had to pinch himself when he stepped out on the stage in front of 45,000 people at Creamfields in Lisbon three weeks ago.
But The Rev, who still makes regular visits to see his family in Morecambe, says making it as a rock band guitarist has always been his dream.
He said: "I would say I'm a bit cocky about it because when I was playing the Lancaster Beer Festival in front of 200 people and then went to see Aerosmith the next night, I looked up and thought, 'I'm going to do this.'
"I was in three bands when I was 14 and if I had not done all that I would not be where I am now. It just goes to show if you put the effort in you get what you deserve.
"Every single day I watch the world go by and watch people going to work and think I'm going to play guitar with my mates and get paid for it."
The Rev met The Prodigy two years ago when Towers supported them at Brixton Academy. He got to know the band and, after their guitarist left earlier this year, he got a call inviting him to join up.
Paul will now play three more Creamfields gigs and another four music festivals across Europe. He added: "Towers of London have got some downtime at the moment and when a band like The Prodigy ask you to play guitar you don't say no.
"I was a Prodigy fan before and getting the chance to support them and go for a beer with them was good enough. I'm over that 'wow' thing now, we are friends.
But I do have to pinch myself when I'm there in front of 45,000 people and Keith Flint is jumping all over me."
The Rev insists he will always remember his Lancastrian roots and will also not be leaving Towers of London, although he says he does not know what the future holds.

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