Press | Pat McCurdy's Hot Solo Show (August 23, 1990)

Shepherd Express August 23, 1990

Pat McCurdy's Hot Solo Show

by Mark Shurilla

"I get most of my song ideas while driving around in my car," insists Pat McCurdy, referring to the material for his solo rock act.

And McCurdy is doing a lot of driving these days. Every Monday it's Lounge Ax in Chicago; Tuesday, Door County's English Inn; Wednesdays and Thursdays at Sherman's Celebrity Club in Milwaukee. Throw in Madison shows during the school year and three nights a month in Green Bay and you begin to wonder if there's any time for his rock band, the Confidentials.

"I leave the weekends for the band," McCurdy says.

A typical McCurdy show at the Celebrity Club find the stage set with a small amp and drum set (played by Bernie doll -- "with over 200 people packed in, it really helps to have a drummer," McCurdy said); the back was lined with a black velvet Elvis banner and other bizarre pieces of art. Pat comes out firing his topical tunes rapidly; point blank at the audience. A song about barbecuin' in the suburbs called "Memorial Day"; a put-down of pretentious art wimps called "I'm Artistic" and "Drink, Drink, Drink" which gleefully warns, "You'll become an alcoholic, a disgrace to your family."

The audience is singing along, they seem to know all the lyrics. His performance is nearly a religious ritual with McCurdy as it's Merry Pope.

"My audiences aren't the trendy types," he says. "These guys seem to know a lot about music but are into the 'hairdo band of the month' thing. They stick with me. Some of these guys come to every show."

Pat McCurdy has been in the entertainment game for quite a while now and seems to have a handle on the meaning of it all. "You know, I started out in high school with a band called Rory Slick and the Roadsters. Sha Na Na was big then and we did '50s music; stuff by the Coasters. Mike Hoffmann and Pete Strand were in the band with me. Do you know, we made more money doing those CYO gigs then I make with my band now?"

McCurdy stayed with music through college and performed the power pop band Yipes! which released two albums for RCA/Millennium when "new wave" pop bands were the rage in the national market. After that he had the Men About Town, "a Miller beer guinea pig," Pat remembers.

And then came the Confidentials.

The Confidentials include George Wood on guitar, Doug Knight on guitar and Mike Sieger on bass.

"I realized the Confidentials were getting a little too serious. The solo act helps me lighten it up a bit. One of our rules now is that we never practice," McCurdy left.

Back on stage, McCurdy has the Celebrity Club crowd in stitches as he makes up spontaneous rhymes with any name the audience can suggest during the song, "My Desire" -- "I wish I was floating down at the Nile with Cleopatra so I could feel her asp" -- silly things like that.

"I've turned down work in comedy clubs," McCurdy says. When asked if he thinks he has a comedy act he replies, "I don't come out and tell jokes. Besides, comedians with guitars are always foul, doing Tom Petty impressions and such. When I solo, I play like I'm fronting a band."

McCurdy's got over 100 songs that he mixes for his solo show along with choice oldies covers. "Playing oldies in high school and consistently listening to the radio has given me an incredible library of songs to choose from," he noted

Well many bands scramble for the brass ring of a national recording contract, McCurdy offers some sage advice: "I don't know if I'd ever want to do that again. It's not all it's cracked up to be. You do things you don't want to and when you stop selling records it's like you're totally forgotten."

McCurdy has an LP cassette out entitled "Memorial Day" that was quickly recorded in December at Midwest Recorders Studio.

"I played all the instruments except the drums," McCurdy says. "A couple of the tracks were recorded at the Celebrity Club by Billy Pachner with a four-track recorder."

He asds, "I recently did a tape with Pete Balestreri on sax that features my "God" song, the "Racist" song and a few others. If I got recording deal I would probably do some things solo and some with the band."

What's in the future for Pat McCurdy? "I'm working on a novel. I just bought a typewriter. Also, I'm going to try putting together my own cable access TV show."

McCurdy also plays Sundays with the Washed Up Has Beens at Harpo's. Gee. That means he has gigs eight days a week.