By Rosine Alleva, Journalist/Photographer – Rock At Night France, Switzerland
Pat McManus Band love to come at the Wood Stock Guitares venue, a few weeks before the annual Rory Gallagher Rock and Blues Music Festival in Ballyshannon, where the band is performing already since many years. Rory Gallagher and Gary Moore, the famous Irish blues rockers are for sure Pat McManus big influences and playing at a festival in a beautiful Irish village (with an amazing lineup), must definitely make it each time an unforgettable event.
But let’s talk about this April concert and interview with Pat. Every time the band comes to Wood Stock Guitares, the crowd is growing, mixing the generations. And that Saturday the venue was absolutely packed!!! I couldn’t make my way through the audience to take photos (being short doesn’t help haha!!) and had to go through the back door to reach a discreet corner on the stage. The concert was amazing!
Pat is such a guitar and violin virtuoso, always interacting with the public with such a sparkling, generous smile, giving his love through his music with the great complicity of his long-time bandmates Marty McDermott (bass/ backing vocals) and Paul Faloon (drums)… I met Pat, Marty and Paul Faloon a first time in 2012 in Colmar and 2 years ago, could assist for RAN to the sound-check at Wood Stock Guitares. Many things happened since, it was time to talk about it and to see Pat McManus Band live again! A long time as well I hadn’t seen THE HOOK, a local and very promising band who were the opening act for the evening.
RAN– Hi Pat, so great to see you all again! Since I last saw you mid 2017, there were big events like Pat O’May celebration for his 23 years of career in Brittany, October 2017….how was it?
PAT McManus– That was a massive event! I have great respect for Pat O’MAY, I think he’s a fabulous guitar player and the music that he makes is very dear to my heart. He is a very very good songwriter. His songs have slightly Celtic influences in them and I really can relay to that. So I admire Pat for a long long time and when he asked me if I would come over it was a great honor to meet Pat and play with them on stage and also to meet Patrick RONDAT. What a guitar player!! He’s my favorite guitar player now! One of greatest musicians I’ve ever heard. I think he deserves to be up there with STEVE VAI, JOE SATRIANI. Patrick RONDAT is every bit as good, if not better!!
RAN– I saw him playing in Colmar with NONO and Jean-Claude RAPIN.
PAT– I’m a big fan of Nono (Nono Krief – TRUST). He’s a fantastic player and I’m a big fan of TRUST. Me and my brothers MAMA’S BOYS John and Tommy, we liked them a lot….Even though they were singing in French and we didn’t understand, we DID understand what they were saying. They were fantastic! I love Nono’s guitar playing and very good guitars!
RAN– Talking about guitar players you love, tell me about these future concerts, with Pat O’May & Patrick Rondat….3 PATS FOR A GUITAR NIGHT.
PAT– Yes, calling it the 3 PATS was my idea, you have the 3 tenors, now you have the 3 PATS (Laughs). And it will be a real honor for me to play with them. They’re fabulous.
RAN– Did the 3 of you already play together?
PAT– We did a huge jam at the end of Pat O’May’s anniversary but this is going to be quite different. We were talking and thought it would be a good idea to do something, the 3 of us together and call it the 3 PATS. For me it will be a beautiful thing to do cause they’re such great players and nice people as well. And that makes a lot of difference.
RAN– For sure! I didn’t meet Patrick Rondat personally yet…You released 2 albums, “TATOOED IN BLUE” last year and an acoustic one “REWIND” this year
PAT– This year I’m 40 years a professional musician. So I thought it would be nice to have a look back through my career at the songs I’ve written. But to do them slightly different, I thought it would be nice to have an acoustic version of them. I went back to the archives and had a look to some of the MAMA’S BOYS songs, some of the CELTIC songs and the songs I did with the PMB band from 10 years ago. So I took the best 14 tracks and also my folk traditional roots, the traditional Irish music, which I began to play first. So I come back to the violin. There are violin tracks, it’s quite an eclectic mix but it represents who I am. It’s a slightly different look at the songs, with totally different arrangements than on the previous albums and done on acoustic guitar. I hope that the fans of Mamma’s Boys and Celtic aren’t too offended by what I did…I’m pleased the way they turned out.
RAN– I heard a great acoustic version of Return of the G Man on an Irish television interview!
PAT– This is a dedication to RORY GALLAGHER, my heroe, growing up. It’s on the album. I’ve been very fortunate to play at the Rory Gallagher festival every year so I thought It would be nice to write a song about RORY.
RAN– He nearly went to play to Woodstock! Would you do anything special for the 50th Woodstock Festival anniversary?
PAT– Well, it was a bit before my time… but an Irish guitar player did! Henry McCULLOUGH, Joe Cocker guitar player then and later he joined Paul Mc Cartney and WINGS. He co-wrote “ Live and let die”. Imagine, what a cv!! He was a fabulous guitar player. We were really good friends but he sadly died few years ago. One of the only Irish men to play Woodstock! Yeah!!! A lot of big guitar players come from Northern Ireland: Henry McCULLOUGH, Eric BELL from THIN LIZZY, Gary MOORE, Rory GALLAGHER.
RAN– You do regular festivals in the summer, any more in France?
PAT– Yes, at the end of this tour, we do one with BRIAN DOWNEY’s Alive and Dangerous (THIN LIZZY’s drummer). Fabulous! I’m looking forward to that! I’m a big fan of Brian Downey. My brother TOMMY loved his drumming, he’s one of his true great drummers in the world. It’s always a pleasure to play with Brian’s band, they’re just fantastic musicians and Brian…waouw, he’s something else!!! And it brings back memories as well when we toured with Thin Lizzy on their farewell tour….So Brian Downey has a very special place in my heart.
RAN– What about your brother John ?
PAT– He lives in Los Angeles now and does a lot of photography and art work. The last band he played with was FASTWAY with Eddie Clarke (ex-Motörhead). Unfortunately Eddy passed away last year. I saw the band in Dublin, with SAXON, they were fantastic! John was playing a little bit of bass but he’s not really interested these days.
RAN– You toured the world, played on big stages, with many musicians, is there anything you desperately want to do you never did until now?
PAT– No, I’m very fortunate, I don’t have big high expectations….One thing I would love to do …I would love to play support to JEFF BECK! And then I will rest, I will die a happy man! There are guitar players, great guitar players and then there is someone really special and that’s JEFF BECK! He just defies all logic, he’s THE man!!
RAN– Thank you so much for this nice moment Pat, looking forward to see the concert.
PAT– Thank you! And I’d like to thank all the fans out there for their support throughout the years and everybody who gives us a chance to play, and then interviews. We really do appreciate, thank you to everybody who’s taking interest in the band.
Pat McManus Band:
Pat McManus – Guitar, Violin and Vocals
Marty McDermott – Bass and Backing Vocals
Paul Faloon – Drums