Rave's! musical artists of the week
by Ed Huyck
Pat McCurdy was having a ball entertaining the crowd at The Sports Corner, but a burr was scratching him under his new velvety shirt.
The day before, he had performed at the University of Wisconsin-Fox Valley in Menasha.
While playing a snatch of "Believe It or Not," the theme from the early '80s TV show "The Greatest American Hero," a student in the audience started heckling him.
"Wrong generation, dude," is what he told McCurdy. The statement became a rallying cry for the singer at his show that night, turning up whenever his music — or comic references — turned back to the '80s.
McCurdy, the Milwaukee-based, 40-something comic singer-songwriter, has maintained a grueling schedule in the last decade, performing his signature mix of original tunes, off-the-wall routines and bits of nostalgia to an ever-increasing audience. He performs six or seven nights a week, typically accompanied by stone-faced bassist Mike Sieger.
He has released six CDs of his music. The latest, "Pat in Person Vol. 2," features such fan favorites as "Everyone's a Whore" and "Sex and Beer."
But his live concerts are about a lot more than just songs. McCurdy lives off of audience interaction. "Sex and Beer" includes a choreographed dance for the crowd to join in on.
McCurdy "virgins" are treated to special "lap" dances from Pat. Your McCurdy "virgin" Rave! reporter's song, by the way, was "Peter Cottontail." (For Easter, natch. And it was a figurative lap dance, honestly.)
His next local show is at 9 tonight at The Sports Corner, 500 Grant St. in De Pere Admission is $4. For bookings, call his agent Bill Pachner at 414-769-7224.
Q:How long have you been doing you act?
PAT McCURDY: Since 1988. Eleven years; it seems like an eternity. But comedy has always been a part of my show. Even when I was a front man in rock bands. I would do it. It helped out on nights when were bombing. It was a way to keep the band entertained.
Q:What is your schedule like?
PAT: I'll do 30 shows in April. I have two days off and two days when I have two shows. That's a typical month. But this is something that I really enjoy doing. It's better than being addicted to alcohol or drugs. Performing is my addiction. But I've been doing it for so long that it isn't such a big deal.
Q:How do you develop your shows?
PAT: I play at the same places every Monday and Tuesday, so I develop the show there for the rest of the week. I keep it topical. I'm not a stand-up comic. They will develop their 45- to 60-minute show and then, for the most part, not change it. You can go see a comic once and then go again a couple of months later and hear the same jokes. (My) show is improvisational and interactive. The crowd is as important as what I am doing.
Q:Is it easy to get the crowd involved?
PAT:Now that I am known, I find the people know what I am doing, or they don't.
Q:How does a live performance differ from a concert?
PAT: On the CDs, I try to mix it up more than (when I perform) live. The CD is less of a rip-roaring performance. Live, I have to keep everything moving. I would like the next CD to be all pop songs. They would be serious and comic, not all the goofy stuff. Not that I don't like to do the goofy songs. Artistes might look down at the goofy stuff, but people like it.
Q:Do you remember your best show?
PAT: When you do 300 or so shows a year, it is hard to say what the best ones (are). It is hard to remember what the last one was. Green Bay has been a good market for us. People really get into my music here. The last time we were in Minneapolis, we had to turn away 100 people.
Q:What about the worst?
PAT: There are a lot of them. The very worst of all time was at a community college in Florida. I was playing in the cafeteria as the lunch entertainment. There were at least 1,000 students in there and none of them would turn around and watch me. I have an interactive show, so it was an hour of hell. Another time I was at Aurora University and there was only one person watching me. I remember, she just sat there eating Froot Loops. When she was done, she left.
Q:Any desire to move up to the national stage?
PAT: The shelf life of a typical local entertainer is two years. I've been at it 11 years. I don't want to go to Cleveland and sleep on the floor. I don't press past our area, but I sell Pat CDs in every state. There are "Patheads" everywhere. Maybe I'll do an online show. Just play it up for weeks, which would be a neat trick, since I am computer illiterate.