Magazine article Guitar Player

Pat MacDonald

Magazine article Guitar Player

Pat MacDonald

Article excerpt

SONGWRITING SERVES AS the prescription of the day for me," says Pat MacDonald. "It comes from a place of need. When I begin, I ask myself, 'What do I require at this moment? Do I need to relax, feel compassionate, be silly, or express heartbreak or anger?' If it's the latter, I try to achieve an alchemy in which those feelings are turned into beauty or humor. My preference is to emerge unbruised."

MacDonald's new CD, Troubadour of Stomp [Broken Halo], is full of moments of catharsis. Perhaps the most notable is "Thanks Man"--a wry, sarcasm-laden reflection on the real-life dissolution of his marriage. The track finds him thanking a friend for sleeping with his wife, and propelling the relationship's decline. MacDonald is long known for his playful, edgy songs. They were the hallmark of his days in Timbuk3, where he enjoyed a major hit with 1986's "The Future's So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades." Several high-profile musicians, including Stewart Copeland, Imogen Heap, Cher, and Peter Frampton have also collaborated with MacDonald on material for their albums.

For MacDonald, the medium is related to the message. Using a notebook versus a computer to write lyrics is linked to his songwriting approach.

"When the song is coming from a deeper place, and I feel I need to keep up with those thoughts as they flow, a pen and paper serve as a more fluid conduit," says MacDonald. "The size limits of the page make you focus, and when you want to edit, you tend to think deeply about it because the words can only be changed by physically crossing them out. …

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