Our Guest: Interview with Glenn Patrik by Monica Yasher

Posted on 3/27/2010 by Monica Yasher

Our guest today is Glenn Patrik. Glenn is a lesson that perseverance pays off as his CD, "Nuthin' But a Thang" helped him to obtain the RockWireD Magazine 2010 Winner Male Artist of the Year! Well, that and forty years of playing the blues, took him to this achievement.

Oh yes. Let's not forget that killer band he has behind him. With players such as Mike Malone, who has played with the likes of Mick Taylor and Guitar Shorty, Rusty Hall, who has shared the stage with The Marshall Tucker Band and Robert Cray, Ward Wallace, who helped keep the beat for the band, and Thomas "Freight Train" Walker who is named for a steady freight train cadence are all working toward taking this band to even further heights in the blues world.

Glenn seems to be from the old school of blues, as his history has him hopping trains from Kansas pursuing wherever the blues may take him. Though forty years may seem like a long ride, it seems that Glenn has arrived. And, it is hardly "Nuthin" But a Thang", it's a good thing he is there for blues fans everywhere.

Monica: How do you go about getting inspired to write music?

Glenn: It's not quite like that for me. I am pretty much constantly inspired, and have been for most of my life. Simple observation of the life going on around me every day is all I need to spark any number of ideas for songs. The bigger problem for me is getting to a pencil before I lose track of the fleeting melody or groove, or meaningful lyric. It doesn't take very long for a good idea to become obsolete in your memory.

M: Tell me about your new songs on your CD.

G: All songs except "Don't Call Me Daddy", "Don'tcha Know?", "Thang Thang" and of course, "Kansas City", were written during the three day recording session. The first three tunes mentioned, were written several years ago and it was simply time to record them. The session itself had an instant groove status and we were able to build songs quickly due to the energy of all of the musicians involved. I pretty much cover a broad spectrum of simple topics because life becomes complex with those topics.

M: What is your favorite song?

G: That 's a bit like asking which is my favorite cousin. All tunes were composed by me to satisfy myself. So, there is something in every tune that stays with me or they wouldn't have made it onto the CD. For now, the tune "One More Day" is my standout. It came as a result of nagging pain from a long-ago back injury and the frustration of running out of money for the recording project. One of those" why am I working this hard?" moments. After it was finished, it seemed to take a more universal stance for everyman. Everyone has hardships in some way. We all die.

M: What song posed the greatest challenge to see to completion and why?

G: That would be Thang Thang. I originally recorded a different version of that tune in Kansas City featuring the late Pat Morrissey on the trumpet solo. That was in 1991. Those sessions were excellent recordings, and Pat's solo was phenomenal.
But at that time, few of the 11 recorded songs really seemed to fit together as an album. So I never did a wide release of that material.

When I decided to put the Thang Thang on the new disc, I wanted the right horn soloist. I have many friends that are more than qualified to do a sizzlin' horn solo on my tracks, but in my head, I needed old school, greasy, been-there playing. To make that happen, I made a couple of phone calls and took a quick, one day, last minute, drive to Palm Springs, CA from Las Vegas to record Pat Rizzo on Sax. I'm pretty sure that all of those years working with Sly and the Family Stone and War speaks for itself, but listen to his solo and that 's the grease that I was talkin' 'bout! 18 years later, the song is finally released.

M: Are you self taught?

G: Sort of. I received proper music training within the Kansas City, Kansas public school system. I don't know how it happened, but in the 1950s-1970s, the K.C.K. schools had some of the most amazing teachers anywhere in the country. Some school bands from Kansas City were known worldwide. We had tremendously dedicated and skilled teachers during the years that I was in school. As a poor child living in the St. Margaret's projects, I was eligible for just about every little scholarship or assistance available.

Once the various instructors heard me play an instrument (violin, trumpet, piano)they would try to get me into their respective class. Even as all of this was goin' on, I had always wanted to pick a guitar and when I got the chance, I got right on it.

My uncle Peck gave me my first guitar when I was 10 years old. I taught myself a stack of chords and started goin' around the neighborhood to try and get anybody that played guitar, to teach me anything. I had a natural feel for music anyway but I started out with a lot of bad technical habits, which I didn't start getting rid of until I was in my 30s. People still hired me to play since I was 12 years old, but I broke a lot of strings. I finally met a couple of master guitarists that set me straight on many issues.

M: Who are your influences?
G: That really depends on which area of thought is being influenced. I love to sing and admire great vocalists. So I really fold that into both my singing and my guitar playing. To me, the closer the guitar sounds to a voice, the better.

On guitar, it's Django Reinhardt, Roy Clark, B.B. King, Leon Estelle, Millage Gilbert, Snooks Eaglin, Gatemouth Brown, Elmore James and Buddy Guy that have always affected me the most. I know that's a lot of cats to be influenced by, but each one of them has several techniques that just stand apart from the rest of the world's players. I was affected by each one of them deeply.

M: What would you say is your signature sound?

G: You can still hear a lot of the Kansas City sound in my music. There is no other place in the country that has that mix. As for a signature sound, I would just say, expect the unexpected with a fat, straight into the amp guitar tone and stylized vocals and always, a nod to one Blues legend or another. My recordings, tend to be more subdued than my live approach, which can get clear off the porch at points. A good audience brings out some of my worst behavior and my best performance.

M: How long have you played with this band?

G: I've been performing with Freight Train(Thomas Walker) since 1989. He IS my drummer of choice. We 've been working with Malone(Mike Malone), who I met in '93 since 1994. He's a great composer, front man, vocalist, instrumentalists and just flat brings it. Our bassist(Ward Wallace) has just joined on very recently.

M: What brought you together?

G: I met Train when I joined Kevin Mahogany's band in Kansas City, 21 years ago. He was already in there for a while. I met Malone in 1993 and began touring with him in the Joe Houston Band outta Long Beach in 1994. He's a great composer and we started doing each other's shows. With Joe, we were basically three bands in one. Everybody knew everyone else's material. We used to joke about the name of the band being listed as whoever booked the gig. We all (even the bassist) had our own show.

M: What do you admire most about your associates?

G: They are road tested, can sleep in any conditions, in most any position and live on cold food and water. These guys are professionals and bring it all home at every show. More than that, they are a pleasure to hang with. All bright guys with interesting thought processes.

M: How do your band mates bring out the best of you and what is it?

G: There are many great musicians that I've met over the years, several are famous, that are so intelligent that they are able to master an instrument and do amazing performances on that instrument. However, there's a certain something, that doesn't get said. Too precise. I value all of the musical skills but as a Bluesman I gotta play like I am livin' that day. It's not always pretty, but it's always effective. There are a few guys who were just born with the gift of musical talent and have been making some form of music since a very early age, and those are the guys in my band. Every show we do is the most that it can be. We feed off of the other's groove and musical direction.

M: What is your best moment on stage together?

G: Each show can be very different. Too cold, too hot, too windy and so on. But no matter the conditions, by the time we finish the first tune of the show and are going into the second tune, the rest of the band practically disappears to me because they are so in the groove that I have this huge space to work my thing. Never a need to count. It's just there.

M: What has been the hardest lesson for you to learn as an artist?

G: That money comes and goes, so you must prepare. I've had years where I took in my current annual salary in 2 months time. Right now, times are hard for a Blues musician. But people's tastes change and they eventually come back around to you. Until then, you have to use your funds more carefully. Also, It pays to have a lawyer, publicist and all that type of thing, that you can call when needed.

M: What do you want people to say about you and your music?

G: I want 'em to stop talkin' and come see the live show! Then say what they feel.

M: What is your strongest point as an artist?

G: I think that performing would be it. I have been standing on stage since 1964 and have performed continuously since then. When I get to the stage, I feel like I'm in my comfort zone. I've played tiny shitholes and I've played festivals with 80,000 plus attendees. Because it's Blues, none of it pays that well so you gotta go out and play your best show ever, every time. And that's what I do.

M: What would you like to improve upon as an artist?

G: There is nothin' that I'm doin' that couldn't stand a little improvement. Life is funny- by the time you get your singin' voice in order and you really know how to sing decent, you get old and your vocal cords starts to wear out a bit. The anger of youth fades away from your guitar playing while being replaced by sure-fire, time proven statements in sound. It's all about adapting and doing it enough that you leave some of your music behind but bring the best parts with you.

M: What has been your greatest moment?

G: Considering all of the fantastic things that we are goin' through now, I would like to think the our greatest moment is yet to come.

M: What would you like your audience to know about you that hasn’t been said?

G: I grew up in and around the Blues environment and learned everything that I know about performing Blues off of an actual Bluesman. I have been in bands with name brand Bluesmen while based in Kansas City, Chicago, Memphis, Clarksdale, MS., Austin and Houston. When I was in junior high school, and younger, I learned a few songs off of the radio and a couple of records that I had. But once I got older, I learned everything from a living, breathing musician. It makes a big difference.

M: What's next for you?

G: I just spent the last two weeks of February in London recording sixteen tracks with an English band called Elephant Shelf. That project was all acoustic, which is not my usual method of recording or performing. More parts are being added and all that, so we should have a finished product for release this summer. I got very inspired by the sessions and since returning home, have been writing simplistic, even primitive, Blues pieces on the acoustic guitar, and as soon as I get enough of them, I intend to release a solo acoustic CD in addition to the next band CD. Most of all, the band looks forward to hittin' the road and gettin' our Blues on.

M: Did it hurt to get that tattoo? (just kidding)

G: If you are referring to the tattoo on my neck, of all the tattoos that I have gotten, and that's a lot, it was the least painful. I was amazed and actually fell asleep during the tattoo.

Copyright © 2010 Copyright Monica L. Yasher and Glenn Patrik All Rights Reserved.
Photographs used by permission, Glenn Patrick. All Rights Reserved.

American Blues News Staff

What makes American Blues News unique is our coverage across America. Here is our lineup:

Mon: Memphis Correspondent - Robert "Nighthawk" Tooms
Nighthawk is our resident globetrotter and man behind the scenes, as he tours with the Reba Russell Band.

Tues: New York Correspondent - J. Blake
Blake is the American Blues News review and interview guru. You may catch him out and about in NY playing the blues.

Wed: National Correspondent - Monica Yasher
Monica is our executive director and artist interview specialist. You can catch Monica singing the blues around Pittsburgh or working on some country music songs in Nashville.

Thurs: Washington, DC Correspondent - Virginiabluesman
Geraldo offers inteviews and reviews. You may have seen him at an Ana Popovic concert or conversed with him on her websites, as he offers administrative support with her music.

Fri: Northeast Photographer - Nelson Onofre
Nelson offers a Friday column of blues photography and pictorial support for the interviews covered by the team.

Jim Stick in Colorado
Jim will be focusing on the Blues Festivals in the beautiful state of Colorado, and the artists that live and visit there.

Maureen Elizabeth, our resident art correspondent, will be focusing on blues art as she explores the creation of CD covers, or speaking with artists who also have a love of creating pictorial art in addition to their music! She may also feature some of her good friends in the Pittsburgh area. In her love of art, you may find Maureen's photography accompanying writer's articles on our pages. Maureen is also our marketing director.

Pittsburgh correspondent and photographer, CR Bennett, will share the Pittsburgh scene with all of you. You may also see CR's pictures accompanying other writer's articles.

We head to the big state of Texas! Abby Owen, our Texas correspondent.

Another big area to cover, the West Coast with Casey Reagan, Casey will feature many artists and events on this ocean's shores.

Lastly, we have our roving blues entertainment writer,
Chef Jimi.

And of course, we will surprise you sometimes!

Internet Marketingdata recovery