Pat McGee Review

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May 052004
 
Authors: Chris Kampfe

Slipping in between the lines of Rolling Stone articles and

lying underneath the blanket of Top 40 radio hits is the cozy world

of the Pat McGee Band. McGee’s band is one that has made grassroots

album sales routine and living on their tour bus a lifestyle. The

group has been selling out concerts for the better part of a

decade, thriving on solid songwriting and strong fan support.

Friday night McGee visited the Aggie Theatre, and played his

music for the people.

In between playing songs off their recently released album,

“Save Me,” McGee performed old fan favorites, and covers from the

likes of Pink Floyd, Crosby Stills Nash and Young and Peter

Gabriel. McGee even made time to serenade a cell phone from the

audience between it all.

Playing covers have been a true manifestation for the band’s

dedication to making each show special for their audiences.

“I remember when I would go see my favorite bands and they would

play a cover, I always thought it was awesome,” McGee said. “It

sort of makes (bands) a little more human, they’re not so involved

in themselves.”

The band’s choice of covers is no scientific process, and

they’ve been known to cover a range of songs from “Diamonds on the

Soles of Her Shoes” to “Eye of the Tiger” and everything in

between. McGee attributes many of the choices to late nights

scrolling through the library on his ipod.

“That’s always the gauge of how we know we’ve been drinking too

much,” McGee said. “But sometimes we do wake up and say, ‘hey, you

know we should do that song.'”

In a day and age when everybody and their mother has an ipod,

and an opinion on music downloading, McGee has a stance that bears

responsibility to both his bandmates and his fans.

McGee believes the one of the greatest myths behind music

downloading is that its effects are minimal.

“We love this job, but we don’t have any money,” McGee said.

“The bands that have money are the ones selling out the

arenas.”

McGee said he understands that college students are on

particularly tight budgets, and that he promotes free recording and

trading of his live shows. But he still views downloading as

illegal.

“It’s the whole trickle down thing, that I think a whole lot of

people that download don’t really get,” McGee said. “Everyone’s

like, ‘Oh the labels make so much money.’ They really don’t make a

lot of money. The executives make a lot of money.”

McGee himself has seen a great decrease in record sales from

selling nearly 300 albums at shows, to a more current 30 or 40

albums nightly.

“Something like that will lead a label to get nervous. Stop

spending money on an artist, drop them and then that artist is back

home,” McGee said. “Maybe they’re not a band any more. Maybe they

can’t afford to do it.”

McGee said he believes that as the songwriter and leader of the

group, it is his job to provide for the group.

“I’m always gonna be OK. I can play in a bar, acoustic and sing,

I’ll make a living. It’s the band members that matter,” McGee said.

“Nobody makes a lot of money, but I feel a personal responsibility

to take care of everybody.”

Despite his beliefs that downloading is damaging, he stands by

his music and his fans.

“I’m not the guy that’s gonna stand on a soapbox, Lars Ulrich

style, and sit there and tell everyone that they’re the worst

things on the planet for doing it,” McGee said. “At the end of the

day, if they come to the show and they like what they heard, I’m

happy to spread the music.”

McGee’s current tour has been an effort to promote their new

album on the Warner Brother’s label. While some fans may notice a

change in the band’s sound, McGee is comfortable with it.

“It definitely has a little bit more of a rock side, but funny

thing is, I play acoustic on every song on the record,” McGee said.

“It bridges the gap between where I wanted the band to sound all

along, and where we started, which was totally acoustic.”

With recent appearances on ESPN’s “Cold Pizza” and a potential

spot on the Jimmy Kimmel show, the band may be seeing some newfound

media exposure.

But regardless of music videos and radio airtime, the band does

not lose sight of their accomplishments thus far, and the promising

future that lies before them.

“I have an opportunity here to do what a lot of people would

love to do, and I feel like I’m lucky to do it,” McGee said. “You

owe it to the people that come to see you. You owe it to the bands

that didn’t make it.

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