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.

A bit about the band...

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 change!      

A 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.

A 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 few.

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 rutler@aol.com.  You can also leave a message in the guest book.

Ken Thornton


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, David Sandilands, and Chris McGinn.

And, of course, we must thank all of the publications, journalists, and photographers of the era that documented the band in the press.    



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