|Beat Instrumental, February 1972
|Since Patto’s inception two years ago, they’ve
become well known on the club and college circuits as a band that likes
to have a good time. And they’ve also established themselves as one of
the best up-and-coming bands on the English rock scene.
Patto was formed from the remnants of Timebox. ‘It wasn’t a question of a pop band suddenly deciding to go onto a heavy trip,’ Mike Patto explained. It was a very gradual process. For quite a long time people were coming to see Timebox and hearing Patto material. On the other hand, after we formally became Patto, we were still playing Timebox material.’
As Timebox. they had found themselves faced with a choice of musical direction, ‘Either we could carry on as we were,’ Mike continued, ’or we could break up, or we could keep trying. We decided to keep trying -- to stick together and write new material. After a bit of chatting and a few changes of name, including a few weeks as "Little Nesbitt and the Bootleg Pafilly Five" we finally became Patto.’
At first they didn’t advertise their former identity. ‘It was a mistake,’ Mike admitted. ‘We wanted to prove ourselves without any reference to our pop background. Although it worked out in the end, it took a long time to happen. We ended up doing audition gigs and getting nowhere. We became very defensive.’
Mike is Patto’s vocalist. The rest of the band is Olly Halsall (guitar and vibes), Clive Griffiths (bass), and John (no second name), who plays drums. They all write, although the new album features only material written by Mike and Olly.
‘We all come from musical backgrounds,’ Clive explained. ‘And we’ve all been playing a long time. I started on violin at the age of seven. I got into the bass one night when I went to see some friends play. The bassist didn’t turn up, so I got up on stage and jammed. I came down to London about five years ago.’
Olly had started as a drummer -- playing left handed. ‘I could also play a little bit of piano,’ he told me. ‘It was my own arrangement of No Other Love But Mine. I couldn’t play anything else. About the same time Mike was performing his big number -- Oh, Oh, Duchess. It’s a pity we couldn’t get together.’ ‘The trouble was,’ Mike continued, ‘that we were only about five years old at the time, But it proves we’ve been playing a long time!’
Patto’s music owes little to other bands, ‘We’ve developed very gradually,’ said Mike. ‘So the music has developed out of ourselves. It doesn’t hold any vitally important message but our lyrics are written to put across whatever we want to say. We hope that the audience gets a double message. Firstly that we, as a band, want to have a good time and enjoy the gig with them, and secondly that we do try to put our feelings over.
‘We like playing live, but it’s a lot more difficult than the audience think. They go to a gig and see a band leaping around -- they think ‘I couldn’t do that’. Well, that’s how we feel. But it’s getting better. As Patto we’ve become more confident in ourselves. Once the audience has warmed up we start leaping about. As soon as you’ve actually got the gig rolling you can start to relax and enjoy yourselves.’
After their difficult start, Patto are starting to find that things are speeding up. ‘We’re getting a lot of work now. Previously we had to beg for gigs. it’s now got to the point when we can say ‘When do we go to Germany’ instead of ‘Please can we go to Germany’. We’ve also sorted out a lot of hassles with recording and suchlike. We used to get really knackered by producers. Now we’re working with Muff Winwood and it’s working out really well.
‘We’ve also got things worked out as a band instead of individuals. We know how to get things together -- and when to give way to each other. It’s a case of ‘agree when you do, and agree when you have to.’
Pattos equipment is almost as unique as their music. Olly plays a custom Gibson S.G. through two Fender amps, a 40 watt and a 20 watt wired together to give 60 watts. The guitar was converted for left-handed Olly by their old roadie ‘who was promptly awarded the C. D. M. and sacked.’ Clive plays a Fender Mustang bass, fitted with two Jazz bass pick-ups. He uses an Acoustic 360 stack and ‘a little bit of wire with plugs at each end to go between the amplifier and the guitar -- it’s called a lead.’ John plays a Gretsch kit with a 22-inch bass-drum, although he sometimes uses a double bass-drum set-up. They recently found a forty year old Wurlitzer piano, which Mike plays on stage. We bought it from a broke American for sixty quid.’ They use a 300 watt WEM P.A. with two vocal mikes (‘one for singing and one for looning'), and one mike on Olly’s vibes. The sound is mixed through a twelve-channel Johann Schneider mixer, which also carries the five mikes used for miking the piano and lead cabinet.
The future looks good for Patto. ‘We’ve got very definite ideas. We feel ourselves to be a unique little band, and we want to be treated as such, not honed into anything different. We’ve got things together now. Our music will develop the way it always has, with a little smack of anarchy and a sad realistic insanity. Basically, we’re just going to carry on having a good time. Music is a gas; it’s a good life.’
Note: Text from this article was used for the "Roll 'em Smoke 'em" press kit bio page.
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