Waukesha Freeman February 1989
'If the Beatles could do it, so could I'
Brookfield's Pat McCurdy has spent his life making music
by Candace Doyle
Add Pat McCurdy to the list of musicians inspired by the Beatles.
"I got my first guitar when I was was in fifth grade," said McCurdy, 34. "I started writing songs right away. I felt if the Beatles could do it, so could I."
And McCurdy, who grew up in Brookfield, has been doing it ever since.
"I pretty much knew what I wanted to do at an early age," said McCurdy, the lead singer and songwriter for Pat McCurdy and the Confidentials.
During his days as a Brookfield East High School student, McCurdy formed a number of bands, including a '50s oriented group called Rory Slick and the Roadsters.
After attending the University of Wisconsin in Madison as a Communication Arts major, McCurdy turned again to writing and singing songs and formed YIPES!, which produced two albums on the RCA/Millenium label — YIPES!, which sold over 100,000 copies, and A Bit Irrational, whose single Darlin' was number 68 on the Billboard charts.
YIPES! disbanded when RCA's Millenium label folded, said McCurdy.
But that band gave birth to a new one, Pat McCurdy and the Men About Town, which won five Wisconsin Area Music Industry awards during its four-year life.
This year, with Pat McCurdy and the Confidentials just two years old and a recently completed recording — The Good Life, McCurdy received WAMI's award for best pop artist of the year. He said about 1.000 copies of The Good Life have been sold.
"It was kind of exciting," he said of the most recent WAMI award. "It was nice to be nominated. We got a couple of nominations for the tape."
But McCurdy, who describes his music as "melodic pop," takes his success in stride.
"I've made a pretty good living doing what I love," he said. "But that's not to say I'm not ambitious.
"I think I'd like more people to hear my music," said McCurdy. "Everybody who makes music wants that."
McCurdy said that besides the Beatles, his family helped inspire his musical career.
His father, although tone deaf, loves jazz and his mother played the piano. Both tried with obvious success to instill a love of music in McCurdy and his brother, a trumpet teacher at the University of Idaho.
"All of us took piano lessons," he said. "We had harps, flutes, drums. I'm sure they thought it would make us more well-rounded individuals."
The Confidentials include Douglas Knight, lead guitar and vocals; Jim Whitfield, bass and vocals; and George Wood, drums. McCurdy said his most recent group plays in Chicago a lot and at the Toad Cafe and the Boardwalk, both in Milwaukee. McCurdy also does a solo act at the Celebrity Club, Milwaukee.
Plans for the Confidentials may include a road trip, he said.
"With the Confidentials in the last year, we played Chicago a lot," he said. "We went to Los Angeles and played. We're thinking about going on the road in April, but it would be mainly in the Midwest, maybe New York."
A new tape, produced by a record company, may also be on the horizon, he said.
"I think we have a lot of interest, from record companies but they're very cautious about what they'll sign," he said. "We have to wait out and make a place for ourselves. We're just basically finding our way."