Friday, April 12, 2013

Influences and Inspirations: Pat Travers

April 12: Happy birthday Pat Travers.

Wow, what a big influence in my early guitar playing years, the late 1970's-early 80's. This was quintessential hard rock of the day but with a healthy dose of of funk; unique and ballsy guitar tones; great songs; a powerful voice; and top notch musicianship. But beyond that, Pat put forth a remarkable combination of musical qualities that was rare for that "hard rock" genre. He could do gorgeous multi-tracked guitar harmonies like few others (outside of Brian May) would dare attempt. He was one of the only guys besides Rush who could write songs in odd time signatures that still kicked ass. And I didn't mind one bit that his songs would have extensive instrumental sections. All the above are in evidence in this great tune, "Heat in the Street," from the superb album of the same name:

Pat always fills his band with incredible musicians and generously gives them plenty of room to stretch out and flex their musical muscles. The classic live album Go For What You Know is a powerful example of that.

And of course I have a soft spot for instrumental rock; Pat produced a great one on his classic Puttin' It Straight album, called "Off Beat Ride."

Puttin' It Straight is a personal favorite. This whole album has a great vibe, with a magical combination of great songs, musicians and production. I first heard of Pat through this album, shortly after it came out in 1977. Once I discovered it, I just couldn't stop listening to it, and I still do.

Pat is still around, playing shows and kicking ass; check him out on Facebook at He keeps his schedule updated there, and regularly posts about his influences and inspirations!

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