'Preparing For The Velvet Limo Ride!'
Virginia's Pat McGee Band is an acoustic-based sextet consisting of singer/songwriter McGee, Brian Fechino: Guitars, Chardy McEwan: Percussion, Chris Williams: Drums, Todd Wright: Keyboards, and Chris Reardon on Bass. The group formed in 1996 and began touring almost immediately, spending much of the next four years on the road with Fleetwood Mac, James Taylor, Ziggy Marley, Counting Crows and the Wallflowers, as well as playing dates on the H.O.R.D.E. tour.
This consistent gigging helped the Pat McGee Band to sell over 100,000 copies of their self-released albums and paved the way for their Giant Records debut Shine which was produced by Jerry Harrison and released by Giant Records in the spring of 2000.
Now the Pat McGee Band have a lot more to celebrate this summer of 2005. They recently signed a multi-record deal with Kirtland Records and have announced they will hit the road with Vertical Horizon in support of their brand new enhanced CD, Save Me. Save Me features all new artwork and packaging, plus five previously unavailable bonus acoustic tracks ... and a video for the band's current hit single, 'Must Have Been Love.'
Chatting with the man himself, Pat McGee, I first asked him if having self-released all their own music prior to the 2000 release of Shine, what it finally meant to them to have a backer? "Well, when we decided to make the jump to the majors we really felt like we did it because we had more to offer that radio could help out with. We were a band that seemed to appeal to all ages of people so we figured the major label could help make that happen. Being backed by a major or a great indie label, which is where we are now at Kirtland Records, is an honor. We had always done things on our own, but this finally feels right at Kirtland."
Personally, what has been your major musical advancement from '95s FROM THE WOOD to '05s SAVE ME? "Well, I always wanted this band to be able to rock out with electric guitars and also pull off the folk acoustic vibe as well. I think now we have the line-up to do it all. Rock out and folk off."
Where did the title for the new album SAVE ME originate ... and what else could it so easily have been called? "Well, 'Velvet Limo Ride' was the bands choice but then we thought, wow, that is terrible. We are not that cool. 'Save Me' came from the fact that the phrase seemed to pop up in a few of my songs. And it really fit the whole lyrical vibe of the record. Lots of people need help in lots of different things."
Which song on the new album is the most poignant to you ... and why? "Well, songs like 'You and I' and 'Don't Give Up' are some of my favorites because of the passion in the lyrics. There is a real strong feeling there."
Having grown up playing both the piano and clarinet and yet now not being able to play either, do you have continual plans to try and learn one or the other for inclusion on future albums? "WOW, yeah, clarinet. The only band to pull that off on a rock record was Van Halen on 'Diver Down,' but the Piano I would love to get back into. It's pure laziness. Sometimes I just want to sit on the bus or on my couch at home and knock back some wine and do something non-musical. I plan to put a Wurlitzer in my house to get me on the right path!"
Is it true that you are actually a southpaw and had to learn how to play guitar right-handed? And if so, ... why?! "Well, the southpaw thing was because of my brother, he's a lefty. I just played his guitar when he was at work or whatever and once I learned Led Zep's 'Over The Hills and Far Away' it was official ... I must play guitar forever! Thank God my bro made me learn it right handed. Lefty axes are hard to find. Actually, I would have saved lots of money! Hmmm, maybe I wouldn't have bought so many guitars just because they looked cool!"
Whatever happened to Gillian's Fun Deck, the band ... and would they have survived in todays music industry? "Gillian's Fun Deck, one of the worst rock band names in history, was named after the amusement park
on the Jersey Shore that we'd group up spending summers at. The band will reunite one day to whip through some classic rock covers. Would we survive in the today's music industry, yeah, if you call playing weddings
survival? No, we are not available just yet. Wait, how much? Those Simon and Garfunkel covers are coming back to me!"
If life truly imitated art, what piece of art would YOU be ... and why?! "Some painting of a Christmas scene with lots of family and mass wine consumption ... that's pretty much me. Clark f**in' Griswold!"
Tell me something about the man Pat McGee that doesn't get noted in the press and that you would like known "Actually, I like being unknown. Labels, managers and other music execs, don't want a guy that doesn't want to be known, but I have a weird thing about fans of actors, musicians and any celebs ... not that I am one of them! I am so thankful that anyone cares to even ask me a question or get an autograph! It's strange to me that they want to know every detail about them. I feel like it's the way of the new American pop culture. Milk someone for everything they can bleed then be done with them. I really admire those celebs out there that you know nothing about. BUT, what I want people to know about me is my shoe size is 10 and that I one day want to own a Christmas tree
farm/pumpkin patch/winery ... and on Wednesday nights me and my neighborhood buddies will play Squeeze covers!"
Finally, if you were placed into a studio along with three other musicians and given 24 hours to record a charity record, who would those three musicians be and what would the name of the song be?! "Wow, amazing and a very hard question! I bet you get some really insane answers!
Hmmm ... Springsteen, because he would keep it real and make the lyrics interesting. Tom Petty, because he would keep it simple and rockin', and Aretha Franklin to make it sexy and make me sing like it was the last
thing I was going to do on earth.Yes, none of my real hero's, because if I met them I would probably find out that I hate who they are as people
and that would be distracting to the writing process."
"I must say, these are the best questions ever. Thank you for being original. I hope my answers are OK."
Yes, Pat, they were great and so were you for chatting with us today. Thank you, my friend.
Interviewed by Russell A. Trunk
If you would like to win a copy of their new CD Save Me, just answer this easy question: What was the name of the High School that Pat McGee attended?
Send me your answers and if you're correct you'll be in the running to win one of these wonderful CDs! Just send us an e:mail here before July 24th with your answer and the subject title 'PAT MCGEE CD' to: firstname.lastname@example.org
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