(October 18th, New York) – Ahead of his band’s performance this Friday at The Hall at MP in Brooklyn, we had the opportunity to catch up with Virginia rocker, Pat McGee, for an exclusive interview. In our conversation, we cover everything from the formation of his band to performing for Bill Clinton, from new music in the works to his band’s pre-show rituals.
For those not as familiar, The Pat McGee Band is a celebrated rock band from Richmond, Virginia that was formed by Pat over 20 years ago in 1995. Since its inception, his band has released eight studio albums, two with Warner Bros Records, and has shared the stage with legendary acts like The Who, Allman Brothers, Fleetwood Mac, The Counting Crows and RatDog. The Friday show in Brooklyn will be the first of a string of performances that will take the band across the East Coast to different venues in Virginia and Pennsylvania. On Friday they’ll be supported by sibling rock outfit Jocelyn & Chris Arndt, and tickets for the show can be purchased both at the door and in advance at this link. In the meantime, enjoy this interview, as well as this video of the band performing at the City Winery in celebration of their 20-year reunion tour.
CEG: Thanks for taking some time to answer some questions for us here, Pat. To start things off, can you specify a particular moment or time that made you want to play music?
Pat McGee: Well, it was a combination of all the concerts my parents took me to as a kid, all very diverse genres like blues, pop music, classical and world. It all made sense to me and I really appreciated it so much, even more so now.
CEG: How did you and your band first meet?
PM: I was playing bars in Richmond, VA in the mid 90’s. I was essentially on the hunt for the best musicians in town while I was performing solo 6-7 nights a week. I had already released my solo CD, From The Wood, in 1995. I found each member doing different projects and lured them away with a promise of steady work, great times and bar tabs!
CEG: How do you measure the success of your band, and what are some of your group’s goals over the next few years?
PM: The success of my career is one of longevity and fans that always stick by us. We were never a band that was based on the success of one radio single. We grinded away at it for a solid ten years. The goals coming up would be that of giving back to the fanbase, continuing to record new music, and putting on shows that keep our fans guessing. I grew up with a love of classic rock and the bands that put on shows that evolved. I strive for that nightly.
CEG: Does your band have any unique pre or post-show rituals?
PM: Honestly, we are about the most casual band out there. A page out of the Grateful Dead book, rather than KISS. Both fantastic shows, but we just like to hang out, have a drink or two and laugh about the day. It makes for a nice loose show.
CEG: Tell us one of your most memorable stories while touring.
PM: Oh man, thats a tough one. There have been some amazing moments. I guess the top of the list is being asked to introduce President Bill Clinton while he held office at a party we were asked to perform at in his honor. It was never confirmed he was actually coming. No matter what your politics are, introducing any President is a true honor. Musically I have had the joy of meeting some of my biggest influences (James Taylor, Jackson Browne, Grateful Dead, Allman Brothers, The Who) and recently made a record with some true legends, tracked in L.A. with The Section as my backing studio band. They are responsible for a massive amount of music recorded in the late 60’s/70’s and onward that truly shaped a special sound.
CEG: While on the road, do you utilize any tools or apps (for organization, traveling, keeping in touch with loved ones, etc.) that you can’t live without?
PM: The crack that is the iPhone has made my life so much easier yet I love those times without it!
CEG: Each does it differently, so tell us about your band’s creation process when writing new music.
PM: Writing is usually a solo effort with me. I have written some music with outside writers on occasion and some pieces with some band members. I am open to anything and everything and look forward to making more music with these guys.
CEG: Speaking of new music, do you have anything in the works that you can tell us about?
PM: I’m always writing and really want to explore writing an album based on my electric guitar playing. I want to work on that craft and get my rock on for a good deal of tunes!
CEG: Finally, we’d just like to close with an open forum. Is there anything else you’d like to share that we didn’t cover here?
PM: To me, playing live is such privilege and I really respect people that make that effort to come to live shows, because lets face it man, Netflix has some damn good shows, so we better kick ass on that stage to send them home happy they left their couches to see us perform.