Melody Maker December 11, 1971
      

Patto: music to loon by
By Roy Hollingworth

         
We breakfasted on hot meats and rice, and Mike Patto drained a bottle of light ale before saying "Good morning," and then he started talking about puddings, and Patto

Puddings? Ė That's Patto's way of describing the situation where you write a song at 3 a.m. in the morning and youíre on your own, and the song seems fine. Then somebody says it's good, and you need an agent, and then someone to deal with the Press, and somebody to do this and that, and vans, and equipment. When you carry that song of yours to a gig, youíre carrying a "pudding" as well. And youíve got to be strong.

Now Patto are strong, stronger since drummer John Halsey said he was going to leave. After four years of four musicians being very closely together Ė Patto are one of those inseparable units of people Ė it seems strange. They asked Halsey for his reasons, he gave them. They all looked straight at each other, and they all broke out into a grin. And Patto finally got it together, and Halsey stayed.

Now Patto is exploding and happening, and above all, Patto now has confidence. And theyíre going to win.

"At the moment it's bloody great. Weíre not floundering anymore. We did 18 months of £5 gigs, which were audition gigs to get us onto the club circuit, to get people to know that Patto wasn't Timebox. And there were a lot of people who didnít want to know," said Patto after saying "good morning."

Hello, Patto have arrived.

Now here we are ladies and gentlemen, Patto, a fine little rock band who'll play you some restless tunes, and stamp their feet, and put in front of your very eyes, Ollie Halsall, who is the most fascinating guitarist in Britain. And Patto are also funny. Why, only the other week they presented a skit called "Cassius Clay v Sonny Liston," right there and then on stage, off the cuff so to speak. "We're playing Division One music," said Patto.

Yes, theyíre a Division One band, and Patto and Halsall are continually gaining international caps with the Centipede squad. Thereís a lot happening. Patto reckons he's working with hothead musicians, with ace ideas. He works hard to keep up with them. "Patto is not MY band, my name's Patto, and soís the bandís, but Iím just one of the lads. So I'm a spokesman, well I like speaking."

Even though it wasnít quite true, everyoneís image of the Liverpool sound was of four lads in suits bashing out something raw on stage. Something totally wild. "We treat our rock like that, and I mean, Ollie's from Liverpool way. But I have that image in mind, that raw image.

"People may talk of our musical achievements, and of stages we've reached, and they speak very nicely. But underneath out basic love is for just standing up there and dishing it out, dishing something raw out."

Mike has got a piano on stage now. The first night he used it the people from the Patto office said "yeh, but Patto youíre not going to sit down all night, youíve got to leap around a bit." Well, itís there when he wants it, and itís helping with his writing, and with his head. "Itís another colour," says Mike. "It means that other things can be done on stage. These are more colours whether it be lunatic music, or us singing "I Love to Go a Wandering" in German. On stage it just comes, we look at each other, and some amazing things happen."

The first album Patto laid down was laid down flat. It was laid down so you could hear four musicians. They wanted it that way, honest look at themselves. They didnít want any studio technique to flatter the band. They got the view they wanted, and we got an interesting little package.

With their recent second album they got fully into it, and wrote an album. They designed the cover and got into mixing, and found a sympathetic producer in Muff Winwood. It worked, and itís impressing. Even John Peel played it.

As for gigs, well Patto are blowing a fair little storm, and whipping up some hot, heady scenes.

A Patto gig is a loon. It's good to go to, because you get a live band who play their rocks off, and it's hilarious at times. A good old steam.

And now comes the dilemma. Just as itís all working they are wanted in America in January Ė and Germany as well. "A few good, close friends, who know what it's about, reckon weíll have en easier time in the States than here. They reckon Americans will go for the music. I'm a little wary of that. I know the band donít just want to go to the States just for a few gigs. It'll be at the peak of the album as well. I suppose we should be here in England. Itís all a bit strange, and will have to be worked out."

But the first thing on Pattoís brain at the moment is to write a complete new bag of songs. That's they are doing now, and they may even lead to another album, a quick one.

Honesty

"Honesty is scaring me. Iíve found myself sitting down on my own with an ugly face, and writing. And Iíve picked that writing up the next day, and gone Christ, whatís that? But thatís honesty. Iím writing things I bloody well mean. Itís a new phase, and I know it. And Patto are starting a new phase. A bloody good one."
      

  

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