They were ditched by their singer. The guitar player quit town for NYC. With a show booked and the remaining three members of what once was "their band" committed to making it work anyway, they said hell with it, wrote a set-worth of songs and played the gig (thank god there wasn't an encore).
Freed from guitar-based structure, the sound quickly morphed into something far more interesting to the remaining three: Rob Doran, Fay Davis-Jeffers and Butchy Feugo. So they named themselves Pit er Pat, after seeing the words in a painting by Chicago Imagist Jim Nutt. Pit er Pat's newfound sounds were more rhythm-based and the keyboard took the fore, leaving more space in the gaps left from the absence of a guitar.
Each of the members of Pit er Pat are also active in the arts community, as well as working artists. The band used an artist's sense of aesthetic to hone its sound, focusing on less expected and more dissonant elements that emerged as its music progressed. Pit er Pat has been likened to The Raincoats, Soft Machine and Blonde Redhead, but there's also a little bit of Stereolab in the mix. Yet, even with this notable stew of influences, Pit er Pat has molded a sound derivative of none of their precursors and very much its own.
Amazing local live shows landed a gig at the Empty Bottle opening for 90 Day Men and The Ponys last New Year's Eve, and "Shakey," a solid first release for Thrill Jockey, has netted a month-long spot touring with Need New Body as the opening act. The tour kicks off with a much-anticipated two-night stand at the Open End Gallery on July 12 and 13. And while Pit er Pat will no doubt be back to Chicago in late-August, something about these shows smacks of the kind of milestone moments in Chicago music that leave locals claiming they saw them play here in town before they got big. And if you want to make that kind of a claim one day, this might just be your last chance.
Tell me who you are: "A musical group that lives in Chicago and performs live music in Chicago and elsewhere. We have also released multiple recordings of our music, most recently on the Thrill Jockey label. Listening to the recordings differs from seeing the band play "live" so for the full experience, both listening formats are recommended. Our live shows are very different. We're still playing the same songs, more or less the same way, but the sound is less controlled."
Baby's first steps: "Our first show in Chicago with the current line-up was at the Empty Bottle in the late summer of 2002. We opened for The Eternals and Abiline. We also played the first show at The Open End Gallery space in 2002, and that's where our last show in Chicago was held. The shows at Open End are all ages, and we really like that, since the crowds are more energetic. Open End is one of the few places left in Chicago where you can see an all-ages show."
Here I amórock you like the: "Ocean. Sometimes it sounds more like a creek. It really all depends on your state of mind and perspective."
Coming soon to a dive bar near you: "We are playing two all ages shows at Open End Gallery on July 12 and 13 with this crazy band from Philadelphia called Need New Body, and that will be the last time we'll play in Chicago for a while, since we're going on tour with Need New Body afterward."
Fresh from the woodshop: "We have a new record out on Thrill Jockey called "Shakey" and a new tour-only release we just recorded with John McEntire called "3D Message" that's about 15-minutes long and has all new material."
What's cool in your neck of the woods: "Right now Yojimbo's Garage Bike shop, Irazu Costa Rican restaurant for the burritos, and the lake front. I also spend a great deal of time at home.
They blew my hair back: "Lichens [Rob Lowe of 90 Day Men]."
Read more about Pit er Pat, compliments of Thrill Jockey.