By Rosine Alleva, José Oliveira, Journalist/Photographers – Rock At Night France, Switzerland.
We last saw Pat O’May in concert in May 2016 at Woodstock Guitares. He’s a fantastic guitarist with a wide musical range, mixing Celtic with Hard Rock, Metal. Besides his PAT O’MAY BAND he played with many other artists – Alan STIVELL, Martin BARRE (Jethro Tull), Pat McMANUS, Jonathan NOYCE (Gary Moore last bassist) – composed many documentary musics and even a symphonic album (KELTIA SYMPHONIA). The concert was absolutely fantastic, we had the chance to hear one of my favorite songs “Overlord”, but also “No religion”, “Homeland”, or “Whiskey in the Jar” and many more tracing Pat O’May’s career. A great moment of complicity and humor between the musicians for everyone’s pleasure in the audience!! Many events happened since our last interview in 2016 and we were delighted to meet him again. It’s always very pleasant to chat with him. And it’s full of his well-known kindness, big smile and sturdy humor, that Pat gave us this new interview here below.
RAN– Hi Pat, nice to see you again. You last played here at Woodstock Guitares in May 2016…I retraced a bit what you did since then. How was the reunion with MARIENTHAL, your former band from the 80’s, how was the concert?
PAT O’ MAY– It was actually a Greek record company called No Remorse Records who wanted to re-edit the album. We hadn’t seen each other since a long time. Through our french agent, he could find everyone and reunite us. So we agreed for the album which came out in vinyl and cd. I told the guys that if the album was re-edited it would be fun to do a concert together. It was just like we never left when we met again…although the end of the band was a bit stormy (mostly because of me as I quit). We took another drummer as the original one didn’t play at all anymore. So I asked John, the actual Pat O’May band ‘s drummer, to play with us. It was a memorable concert, really sweet and it was cool to see old friends from the time, a very nice evening.
RAN– A year ago you had a concert with IAN PAICE, DEEP PURPLE’s drummer!!
PO’M– This is thanks to John (JOHN HELFY, Pat O’May’s drummer). John has a show called PAICEY STORY that pays homage to Ian Paice’s career. So, John contacted him and he accepted to play in the show where John is alone playing drums with videos tracing Ian Paice’s career. After the show PATRICK RONDAT, Christophe (CHRISTOPHE BABIN , Pat O’May bassist) John and myself had an enormous chance to play Purple’s titles with IAN PAICE. An unforgettable moment!
RAN– I saw you re-edited all your cds last year, including a cd/dvd IN LIVE WE TRUST, concert from 2010 in Trégueux, same venue than your anniversary concert!
PO’M– Yes, same place. We re-edited them all for the anniversary concert.
The cd/dvd IN LIVE WE TRUST has been re-edited with a bonus from another concert, a festival from 2007 with ALAN STIVELL, GILLES SERVAT. Super venue, we were playing our full album OMEGA for the 1st time in front of 45000 people and the 1st time we played OVERLORD Live! The people from the festival were absolutely amazing cause we had the chance to play on the big stage even though the public didn’t know our music, we didn’t have the same notoriety as other artists who played, like Marilyn Manson for example.
RAN– Let’s talk about this huge anniversary event in October 2017. You organized an amazing concert to celebrate your 23 year career, the list of the invited artists is long…
PO’M– Yeah, PAT McMANUS BAND, RON THAL, JONATHAN NOYCE (last GARY MOORE bassist) who introduced me to “OH WILD ONE” an unedited song from Gary Moore. We recorded it at the concert with the approval of Gary Moore’s family. This is thanks to Jonathan. There was also PATRICK RONDAT, DIABOLO, THE BAGAD KON KERNE, JAMES WOOD, JOHN HELFY, CHRISTOPHE BABIN, the “Gars du Loch” (my neighbors) laughs…And many more.
RAN– I followed the concert through videos on Facebook and on the radio with France bleu.
PO’M– Yes, we had that big chance. France Bleu dedicated us the afternoon with interviews and the evening with the live concert transmission.
RAN– It must have been an enormous organization as well I suppose…
PO’M– Logistically it was a huge budget. The people were adorable, everyone gave a lot of his time, many of the invited artists didn’t want to be paid. This I refused, cause besides the concert an album has been recorded, it was normal to remunerate the musicians. I think I talked about this concert to everyone about 13 months before the event. I talked about it to the Fan Club who has been extremely active, without them it would have been really complicated. I chose 23 years of my musical career cause I didn’t want a round number. A friend told me I was celebrating the 23 kilos of my career, which is quite true (big laughs). So you may understand that 25 years…I’m alive so we’ll stop here!! (Laughs).
RAN– Let’s talk about the upcoming concert on April 7 with Patrick RONDAT, Pascal MULOT who I saw playing with Jean-Claude RAPIN and NONO (TRUST) the same day as JOANNE SHAW TAYLOR’s concert in Colmar.
PO’M– Yes, the G5, organized by XLMusic, a music shop, with Patrick RONDAT, Pascal VIGNÉ, Youri DE GROOTE and myself, accompanied by Pascal MULOT at the bass and Aurélien OUZOULIAS at the drums. XLMusic made already masterclasses and demos with us. It’s great Each of us will play 4 titles and we’ll play a few covers. Christophe Godin (http://www.godinguitars.com) won’t attend the event, due to health issues which is really sad but a good thing for me at the same time, as he’s the best!! So I’ll look less stupid (Laughs). It will finally be a G4.
RAN– ET MON CŒUR TRANSPARENT, (And my transparent heart), the movie, you played the movie music, right?
PO’M– Actually Jannick (Jannick Reichert, sound engineer) and I were working on the mix of the classic album KELTIA SYMPHONIA when I received a phone call from Erwin COÏC. He was looking for a guitarist and an artistic director to help him for the music. So he gave me the project since he knew my background in relation to film music and as Erwin was searching for drummer and bassist as well, I proposed CHRISTOPHE BABIN and JOHN HELFY to join me.
One of the very interesting things with Erwin COÏC is that it was his first film music so he had certain codes. But he discovered the studio really, how to produce a film music. At times he did not hesitate to share his baby and sometimes not at all … We reduced some of the music though, which serves the movie better I think. A very interesting experience. The movie will be out on May 16.
RAN– What about your collaboration with MICHELLE SURLEAU?
PO’M– This is brand new! I was at a festival, PROG EN BEAUCE, where I jammed with FRANCK CARDUCCI. I was there to meet people, to look to program us for next year, I also wanted to be programmed for ROCK AU CHÂTEAU and knew the organizer would be present as well. We’ve been introduced and I played my album BEHIND THE PICS for Rock au Château. MICHELLE SURLEAU called me in February to let me know she would like to meet me as she wanted us to work together. So we met and it went on right off the bat. So she became my artistic agent since then. It’s going to help me a lot, to find dates, the idea is to develop the music we do with the band, to be more often on tour, to go further, in better conditions … to expand the business. Although for me it’s best if it remains more intellectual than physical though (big laughs).
RAN: What about your projects?
PO’M– Well the projects, we will start to mix the live album of the anniversary concert and it will be released this Autumn. We will keep touring and then back in studio to record a new album.
RAN– Would you think to organize something with the band for ANGE’s 50 year career anniversary….in 2020?
PO’M– It’s a long time ahead, we probably will…
RAN– Thanks for your time Pat, it was a pleasure, like always!
PAT O’MAY Band musicians:
Pat O’May– Guitar, Lead vocals
Christophe Babin– Bass, backing vocals
James Wood– Keyboards, acoustic guitar, vocals
John Helfy– Drums
Many thanks to David Kilhofer – MUSIC FOR EVER Productions for organizing this great evening!