‘PATTO’ emerged in 1969 out of the remnants of 'TIMEBOX', an English band which received much critical acclaim from the musical press both home and abroad. "It wasn’t a question of a pop band suddenly jumping on the ‘heavy’ bandwagon," explains singer MIKE PATTO: "It was a very gradual process, and in fact for some time we were playing both Patto and Timebox material: at the time the change was very much a natural progression."
Timebox was a successful band, but it was not enough for the group. They decided to start again, a brave decision considering that they seemed likely to break through at that time. The keyboards player left the band, and PATTO took to the road as a four-piece, featuring MIKE PATTO on vocals, JOHN HALSEY on drums, CLIVE GRIFFITHS on bass, and OLLIE HALSALL on lead guitar. This has been the line-up ever since.
At the beginning of 1970, PATTO set out, doing gigs all over the U.K., getting their name around, and earning practically nothing for their pains. The first break came when they met MUFF WINWOOD, who liked the band and took over managing and producing them. In 1970 came their first album, produced by Muff. "It served its purpose," says Mike; "it even made a hit in Germany, and we’ve always gone down well over there since then."
PATTO began to get the return bookings they sought, and things were looking better; with the first album and a full booking sheet, the band settled into a happy groove. Out of this has come the PATTO that we know and love today, the last of the raving bands.
The band has always been recognised by musicians. MIKE and OLLIE were both invited to play with CENTIPEDE, the brainchild of Keith Tippet, featuring such names as Robert Fripp, Julie Driscoll, Zoot Money, etc., etc. - surely one of the most ambitious projects of recent years, and no place for musical tenderfeet. PATTO are musically a division one band boasting an extremely fine guitarist in OLLIE HALSALL, yet the big time has so far eluded them. Now at last it looks as though PATTO is about to take its rightful place at the top, a place they have been denied for too long.
The second album increased their reputation. "We were more together by this time", says Mike. "It could have been better but I think we tried too hard to make it truly a Patto album." Something just seemed to be holding the band back...something wasn’t right. A change was needed and it came when PATTO signed for ISLAND in March 1972. This, again, a natural move for the band; Muff Winwood is chief A. & R. man at ISLAND, so it was obvious for him to bring the group under the protective wing of the company.
And so to the new album by PATTO. This is their best yet, because this is PATTO. Where the previous albums have failed to showcase the band as individuals, this one succeeds at last to present PATTO as they really are. Drummer John Halsey comes to the fore with a magnificent rendering of old sea shanties...
But that’s another story. Wait for the album, and see if you’re not convinced PATTO are going to take the world by storm.
Mike Patto, vocalist, songwriter, piano-tinkler, occasional guitar-picker and arch-looner of the band, is also the namesake of the group. On stage he becomes a frenzied microphone-stand swinger, road manager, abuse-hurler, and tambourine-smasher, as well as being a gutsy singer. Mike’s musical career has taken him through many different types of bands, and he has proven himself in all fields, most notably in the very successful Centipede project.
Clive Griffiths has been bass player for the group since the Timebox days, and over the years has struck up a close relationship with drummer John Halsey, a factor of no small importance in the framework of the group. Clive also plays string bass and cello (the latter was originally his primary instrument), and can sing a mean falsetto backing vocal. He is an amiable fellow, with little taste for the bizarre.
Ollie Halsall, vibes player of some distinction, pianist, sometime vocalist, songwriter, is mainly known for his unique style of guitar-playing, and has been acclaimed the Cassius Clay of Rock and Roll by fellow musicians. Ollie is a bit of an introvert, a bit of an extrovert, and a wit to boot, and in fact if there’s a carving knife about he’ll keep you in stitches.
Drums, percussion, vocalese, accounts, and ‘Everplay Guru’. John was the last to join the Intrepid Four, but after five years has finally managed to rid himself of the new-boy tag (you can’t keep a good man down). His great wit, smooth vocal delivery, and beautiful sense of timing when seated at his traps, are only equaled by his love of good (and we mean good) food. After hearing him play the first number one tends to expect great things from John, and being the stalwart that he is, he never lets one down. He belongs to a rare breed of modest person, who can handle everything, in a British way.
The last word on PATTO comes from drummer John Halsey:
"PATTO isn’t a new band. Musically we’ve been through a lot of changes, and a couple of years ago we were very intense; if anyone had told us then that we’d be doing what we’re doing now we’d never have believed them. The looning and insanity, between flashes of brilliance, has developed gradually and naturally. As a popular journalist once said:’Who needs a circus when you’ve got PATTO’."
The new album by PATTO, their first for ISLAND, is entitled "ROLL 'EM SMOKE ‘EM PUT ANOTHER LINE OUT" IL34672
Thanks to Satoru Yonemoto for providing this press release.
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