Hello and welcome!
Welcome to the Patto Fan Site! Herein you
will find information about Patto (known earlier as Timebox) -- an English band
from the late 60's and early 70's. There are also sections dedicated to
Boxer and the careers of Mike Patto and Ollie Halsall before and after Timebox
and Patto. Of course, you can also find links to various other related web
sites of interest.
Note that throughout the site many of the small images are actually
hyperlinks to larger images. This has been done for those who still have
slower internet connections to decrease the time it takes for pages to download.
The band consisted of four very talented musicians: Mike
Patto (vocals, occasional keyboards), Ollie Halsall (guitar, vocals, keyboards, vibes),
John Halsey (drums, percussion), and Clive Griffiths (bass, vocals). They
produced some absolutely fantastic music -- an interesting mix
of catchy rock riffs, unusual time signature changes, incredible guitar solos,
ass-kicking vocals, jazz workouts, and humor. For one reason or another,
however, it never earned them
the recognition many feel they deserved.
Ollie was a particularly outstanding guitarist. From a
technical standpoint, he was doing things back in 1970 that were way ahead of
their time. His
approach to soloing in particular was very creative -- stepping out of the
typical scalar patterns and formulas and making it work like few others could. If you love rock
and/or jazz guitarists and haven't heard Ollie
yet, finding copies of the Patto albums and checking out Ollie's incredible
playing is very highly recommended.
A great guitarist does not make a band, however, and the rest of Patto's
members were exceptional musicians as well. Mike's striking voice could go
from smooth and soulful to a blistering scream. And John and Clive provided an
ace rhythm section.
Sadly, the Patto story is full of tragedy. Mike lost his fight with
lymphatic leukemia in 1979. Ollie died from a drug-related heart attack in
1992. Clive was in a car accident that left him paralyzed and, at least
for several years after, without any memory of his days with Patto and Timebox.
Chris Holmes has indicated that Clive has regained some of his memories of his
band days over the years. John, though left with a bit of a limp from the same
car accident, is alive and well and ran a fantastic pub in Cambridge until he
retired in 2013.
John still drums a bit for special occasions like Rutles tours.
Also sad is the fact that Patto has retained its relatively
unknown status, even in musicians' circles. Hopefully someday that will
bit about the web site...
I have created this website as a tribute to one of my favorite bands, of
course, but the primary purpose of this site is to share the information that I
found somewhat challenging to unearth. I felt like
an archaeologist when I started researching the band, so I wanted to make it easier for others
to learn more about Patto. Hopefully this web site will inspire even a small number of new listeners to check
out Patto and their related musical endeavors.
I have put a lot of time into the site. I've even spent time in English
libraries searching for articles. But today the site is more of an
archive as new articles and information are increasingly difficult to
find. I will continue to add to and improve the content and appearance
when possible. Some things are already well documented on other sites, so rather than
repeat or rewrite that information, I've provided links to those sites.
Throughout the site, I have tried to minimize my own subjective
opinions, though I've found it difficult to be completely objective when
talking about music.
bit about me...
My childhood was filled with guitars, drums, lots of LPs (rock, pop, and fusion,
with the Beatles being my faves), and Monty Python
on PBS, which was a regular Sunday night ritual. Naturally I became a big fan of the Rutles.
It is by way of them that I became
aware of Patto, due to the fact that two of the members of Patto were Rutles! John
Halsey was Barry Wom and Ollie Halsall was Leppo (and supplied Dirk's voice and
Stig's guitar). It was great to learn that John and Ollie were musicians
far more brilliant than their performances as Rutles would hint at.
My interest in the Rutles and Patto led to friendships with John Halsey and
Neil Innes (who gave me the nickname of Rutling Ken) and the honor of joining
them as lead guitarist on a number of Rutles tours in England. My recent
past was spent playing guitar with vonFrickle, a mad instrumental band that is often
compared to the likes of King Crimson and other so-called progressive rock
bands. You can learn about the band and check out some of the their music
at the band's web site, www.vonfrickle.com..
Being primarily a guitarist, I was particularly impressed by Ollie. The technical
skills he pioneered are taken for granted these days. However, it was his
creative, unique style of playing that deserves more attention.
Investigating their careers outside of Timebox and Patto has been rewarding
too. Ollie played on some great albums by Neil Innes, Tempest, Kevin
Ayers, and many others. I've become a fan of virtually everything that
I've heard with Mike Patto singing. And John Halsey drummed on lots of great albums
behind artists like Neil Innes, Roy Harper, Viv Stanshall, and Lou Reed, to name just a
Sadly for me, I became a Patto fan a long time after they were done. But the music is still here to enjoy, and
we can still turn other people on to it. That's really what is most
important, isn't it?
If you have any suggestions, corrections, etc. to improve this site, or if you
just want to say hello, you can contact me via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can also leave a message in the guest
A very big and sincerest thanks to John Halsey who has provided a lot of
information and copies of articles, photos, etc. to make this web site better!
A big thanks also to everyone else who over the years have contributed their
knowledge/time, provided photographs/articles, and granted permission for
articles/photographs to be reproduced on this site: Phil McCarthy, Barry Monks, Pink Bob, Jeff
Little, Nick Saloman, Eddie Tuduri, John Greenleigh, Greg Weatherby, King Lerch, Rob Streibich, Marty Zucker, Gordon
Jackson, Lars Gillen, Lucy Piller, Thomas Gustavsson, Satoru Yonemoto, Nanni
Iguera, David Couldridge, Marc Verschooris, Trev Williams, Richard Scott, David
Bird, Helen Newman, Peter Neilsen, Barney Swain, Steve Kelly, Michael Clare, Pete
Griffin, Sean Burke, and David Sandilands.
And, of course, we must thank all of the publications, journalists, and
photographers of the era that documented the band in the press.