Pat McCurdy performs a "Groovy Thing" at Spring Fling
by Lisa Fedorowicz
Pat McCurdy performed at Carroll College's Spring Fling on Tuesday, April 15. Many people have seen his performance, but who is the man behind the music and the comedy? The New Perspective has the inside scoop.
McCurdy grew up in Brookfield, Wisconsin, went to school in Madison, moved back to Milwaukee and now lives in White Fish Bay. He has been performing for 15 years which helped pay his way through school.
McCurdy longed to be a musician since he was nine years old. Coming from a.musical family, he took piano lessons, but then realized, "it would be a lot cooler to be playing guitar. I just pestered and pestered and finally got a guitar," said McCurdy.
McCurdy did not plan on becoming a musician/comedian. "That just happened," said McCurdy.
McCurdy was in a band, which was always the front band, and would perform a little pattern in order to kill time.
Eight years ago, a club near McCurdy's house, on the east side of Milwaukee, needed a solo act McCurdy decided to try it because he never performed solo before.
"Then I didn't have enough songs," chuckled McCurdy, "so I started talcing and coming up with bits and it just kinda grew from there."
McCurdy recalls the first time he played the type of act he performs today. It began in 1988, in a bar with about 15 people in the audience.
"I didn't really know what I was doing," said McCurdy, "but it wasn't very auspicious. It was pretty nerve racking."
But those butterflies do not bother him much anymore. "I don't know if it's nerves or if it's excitement," said McCurdy.
McCurdy was never "discovered;" his numerous performances gave him much recognition.
"I've kept at it for so long that people know me in a lot of different places," said McCurdy.
There was no "big break" for McCurdy. "But I kinda like it thai way because I'm able to make a good living and everything," said McCurdy. "I don't see myself rich, I see myself.. .comfortable, finding new things to be enthusiastic about." McCurdy also likes not having someone, like an agent or record label, telling him what to do.
McCurdy believes that live performance is the most exciting way to listen to, or see, a show.
"There's a thing that people need and like," said McCurdy, "to be in a group and see something together and have a good time."
McCurdy's show is not for a specific age. He plays for children, college students, and older people, including elders. Yet, each show is never the same.
"I don't have it written out", explained McCurdy. 'It's so improvised. That's one of the things I do well- is take a crowd and figure out who's in it."
McCurdy has a few basic songs which he performs, and then, depending on the crowd, decides where to go from there.
"If it's a wild crowd, like Carroll College is known to be," said McCurdy, "you don't do too many quiet, reflective pieces."
McCurdy's music and songs reflect himself. "I'm very cynical, but at the same time, very optimistic," he laughed. "There's hardly a pessimistic bone in my body, considering how cynical and ironic some of the songs are."
Overall, McCurdy describes himself as an extremely positive person. "It's so unfashionable to be positive because hopelessness is more interesting in the musical field," he chuckled.
He also has a song titled "I like everything," which he says is "really goofy and kinda dirty and kinda scatological."
According to McCurdy, he likes to sing about sex and stuff rather than hate and pain. "Sex and the lack there of or the difficulty of getting that," explained McCurdy.
McCurdy is far from the shy boy he used to be. In fact, he is an extremely enthusiastic person. "My parents are still surprised when they see me play," he laughed.
McCurdy advises students to lighten up. "I think students now, from the years I've been playing, they've crossed that line into being too serious," said McCurdy. "You gotta be confronted with vices so that you can work above them."
McCurdy performs every Monday in his favorite place, Chicago. "It's really starting to really be exciting down there," he said. He is also beginning to perform in Chicago suburbs.