"My brain feels like a saxophone; it's all downhill from here..."
-- Patrick Porter
Some of you who know me well, or who have been following my online chattering for awhile, will have heard me go on and on about my friend Partick Porter. Patrick is an artist-- writing novels and poetry, painting, and making music. In this post, I wanted to share some of Patrick's art with you, cuz it's some of my favorite stuff ever.
I met Patrick sometime in 1993 or so, when he was 15 years old. I was at Wax Trax one day (legendary Denver underground nexus), and picked up a copy of his zine, Our Comics Suck. In it he expressed his wishes to buy an old Fender guitar, and I had a Duo-Sonic that I never used anymore, so I wrote him a letter telling him about it.
A few days later Patrick came over to my apartment to look at the guitar. It was a piece of junk, to tell the truth. It'd been stripped and "refinished" with a sticky, gloppy dark brown stain, and the neck was jerryrigged onto the body with ugly bolts. Didn't sound too good either. But it was cheap. Patrick agreed to buy the guitar for $125 (a rip-off, looking back), but he only had $75 on him. I took the money and said pay me the rest when you can.
(You can read another version of this event in the story "Lost and Found," in King-Cat Classix.)
Turns out Patrick loved that guitar, and used it in his band Neglected Lawn, up in Bailey, in the mountains, where he lived. But he never got back to me with the remaining payment. I kind of figured he never would, but then one day that fall he called me up and said he was in town, and he had the money.
I drove down to DU and he came out of the apartment, with, no shit, a plastic bag with $50 in change in it. Pennies and everything. That's when I knew I was dealing with a special person.
Years passed. Patrick learned jazz guitar, and began making his own music. I moved back to Chicago, Patrick shifted all over the country. We had some kind of weird bond, and many 2 AM phone calls ensued. We became really good friends. I never had one in real life, but in many ways Patrick is the closest thing I've ever had to a brother.
The stuff Patrick makes is messy and brilliant, and deeply beautiful and sad, to me. His music is some of my favorite music in the world. One day Patrick decided to start painting, and lo and behold he was good at that too. He likes to paint because he doesn't know how.
Over the years his music has grown from funny punk noise to hushed shoegazery pop, to his current style, which is a splattery mix of crazy/delicate singing, smart lyrics, trashcan/luminous guitar, drums, piano, reverb, and haunting beauty. Real beauty, like looking out at the real world. Even before Patrick started making canvases, I felt like his songs were paintings. They have that feel to me. People looking for the latest "indie rock" car commercial are going to be confused and knocked back by this kind of thing. It's real art by a real artist.
Without going into details, Patrick has lived an oftentimes rough life. Of all my many poor friends, Patrick is the only one who, to my knowledge, has ever spent nights on park benches. To me this is a crime. But that's America™ for you, right?
I'm including here some videos, images, and poems, plus links where you can find more of his work. I hope you enjoy it.
Patrick Porter Wikipedia entry
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Patrick has released over ten full length albums, on various small labels. His 2007 recording, A Swan at Smiley's, is, I think, a masterpiece. His latest album, the achingly warm, crazy, and funny Bachelor Pad Blue; Bent Pants and Stray Cats, has not yet been "officially" released, but is available for download from bandcamp.com.
For studio versions of his songs, please visit:
Patrick's Bandcamp site
Myspace site with art and music
More unruly songs
Recommended tracks for first time listeners:
"Bond Funeral Home"
"Wait For Another"
"Feed From a Holy Lite"
"Hollywood is a Word on a Wall"
Video for "Wait for Another," from A Swan at Smiley's:
"When The Summer's On" live in NYC
Patrick Porter Plays "Hee Haw" Live Behind The TV Set:
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Coconut Soop (2007)
Ten Million Mules (2008)
Quiet Girl (2009)
Schdy 1 (2009)
Video: Patrick Porter Paints Live From His Horse Pillow:
Video: Patrick Porter-- District Attorney Painting, In Progress:
Patrick's etsy shop
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Just a few short samples: