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
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
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
“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
“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
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.