Rock of Ages: Pat Travers Releases Retro Rocket and Proves He's Still an Ass Kicker on the Hard Rock Circuit

By Thompson, Art | Guitar Player, September 2015 | Go to article overview

Rock of Ages: Pat Travers Releases Retro Rocket and Proves He's Still an Ass Kicker on the Hard Rock Circuit


Thompson, Art, Guitar Player


ONE OF THE GREAT THINGS ABOUT ROCK GUITARISTS WHO BECAME FAMOUS IN THE 1970S IS THAT MANY of them continue to make albums and tour, albeit typically on a smaller scale than in their heyday. I recently had the chance to see Pat Travers and his band at a bar in Northern California, and it was an intense experience. Travers, his guitarist Kirk McKim, bassist Rodney O'Quinn, and drummer Sandy Gennaro absolutely killed it on a set that included old hits like "Heat in the Street" and "Snortin' Whiskey," cuts from his most recent studio albums Can Do and Retro Rocket, and classic covers such as "Born Under a Bad Sign" and an amazingly dynamic rendition of "Red House." When I checked the GP index the next day and found that the last time we did anything on Travers was a cover story in 1980, it seemed like high time to catch up with him again. Not that much has changed since that time, as Travers still rules the riff- rock roost and delivers ass-kicking live performances that prove guys of his vintage (he's 61) just seem to get better with age.

Travers' signature sound came together pretty quickly following his stint with rockabilly singer Ronnie Hawkins. Like Jimi Hendrix, Travers went to England and metamorphosed into a powerful solo artist with blazing guitar chops and a creative zeal that would influence a ton of upcoming hard rockers in the 1970s. Reflecting back on his meteoric rise with the albums Makin' Magic and Putting It Straight (both from 1977), Heat in the Street (1978), and Crash and Burn (1980) Travers said, "I think it's because I started so young. I was playing in bars and clubs six nights a week from the time I was 15 to the time I left to go to London when I was 21. So I'd had five years of playing regularly, and I think I'd managed to store up a whole bunch of ideas because I'd done so much already. It seemed to me at the time that I was just winging it, but I did know what I liked, and I was pretty experimental too. We tried things just to see if they were going to sound any good, and sometimes we got lucky. I was also lucky enough to start playing music at a time when bands and musicians were looking for new sounds, and everybody's next album sounded nothing like their last album."

What's the key to keep doing what you do at such a high level for all these years?

Well, the thing I learned from guys like Johnny Winter and Billy Gibbons is that it requires quite a bit of energy to do it right. Both of those guys put in a very high energy level to do what they did all the time, and there's really no other way to perform properly. I know Johnny didn't have the same kind of energy level that he had in the '90s or whatever, but the one night I played with him he was tearing it up.

How did that happen?

I was lucky enough to meet Johnny for the first time in Daytona Beach in late 1987.1 went to a club he was playing at and he was awesome. He invited me onto his coach and told some war stories, and I was so star-struck--but he was so cool and nice to me. I met him again a couple of years later, and then quite some after that we were doing this big rock legends cruise together and he invited me to get up and play with him. It was a lifelong desire of mine, and I'm so glad it actually happened.

Early on in your career you added a second guitarist, and you've kept that format ever since. What are the qualities you look for in someone to back you?

Well the first double guitar thing I did was years ago in Ontario, Canada, and it was a fellow named Derek O'Neil. I looked up to him and his playing, and he seemed to always be on that next level above me. Plus he played a Strat and I didn't. Then later I tried a couple of other guys for a while, and nothing really worked out until I met Pat Thrall, who was recommended to me by Neal Schon. The common thing about Pat Thrall and Derek O' Neil was that other than playing music, we just seemed to have a good time together. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Rock of Ages: Pat Travers Releases Retro Rocket and Proves He's Still an Ass Kicker on the Hard Rock Circuit
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.