The GTVs

 
 

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Q&A with Patrick Crowling, Our New Bassist

So, can you tell all our fans a little bit about yourself? What's your musical history? What pops your cherry? Who are your musical influences?

 

The first band I can remember really getting into was The Monkees. When I was a kid I was really into Adam Ant but I don't think I really got what he was going for. I think it was just the cartoony-ness of it that resonated with my eight-year-old self. But the Monkees were the first band I can remember being into where I knew "okay that guy plays the guitar, that guy plays the drums." Which means Michael Nesmith was the first guitar player I can remember thinking, “That guy looks cool. I want to do that”. And then The Monkees led to the Beatles and that was pretty much it.

 

I started out playing the guitar and then switched to bass shortly after college when I realized that a good bass player will never be out of work. So I really dedicated myself to learning how to play the thing and not just treat it like a big funny looking guitar. I was really fortunate to be in bands with some amazing bass players so I got a front row seat to seeing how they put a line together or how they approach the groove of the song with the drums. What I always tell my students is that if you want to learn how to play rock bass the three guys you need to listen to are Paul McCartney, John Paul Jones, and Bruce Thomas from Elvis Costello's band. As far as bands go, the stuff that I keep returning to is New Wave and college radio from the late 70s and early 80s. The Police, Elvis Costello, Talking Heads, XTC, REM, The Replacements, that kind of thing. And then The Who, The Kinks, Zappa, The Velvet Underground some more kind of out there stuff. My all time favorite band is They Might Be Giants.

 

How long have you been playing bass? Why play bass? What's your "rig" like?

 

Well aside from the Social Darwinism aspect of there simply being fewer bass players than guitar players I also really like the idea of being the link between the rhythm section and the melodic section of the band. A good bass player lays down a rhythmic foundation but also creates the harmonic context for everybody else. And if you do it right it's one of the most satisfying musical experiences you can have. Live I play a four string Schechter mostly because I like the versatility of it. You'll never be able to replace the sound of a real Fender P-Bass but you can dial in a really wide range of tones on the Schechter and it's a long scale neck which I prefer. The older I get the less I care about what amp I'm playing through. Your tone comes from your fingers more than anything else so as long as the amp has reasonable tone and enough support for the bottom end I'm happy. Plus more often than not on gigs you're going to end up playing through whatever house amp they have for you. So if you get super precious about your amp sound you're going to be spending a lot of you're gigging life pretty grumpy.

 

You teach at the School of Rock and set up full on performances. What are some of your more memorable productions?

 

Well each one is really unique. That's one of the things that makes my job so rewarding - every three months you get to build something from scratch with a new group of kids. I work at two schools - Ft. Washington and the Main Line. The shows are kind of like your children: you have to love them all. And like children there's ones that kind of disappoint you, or ones that you wish you would live up to their potential, or ones that are really exceed your expectations and turn out to be something really special. I directed to show once of Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer, and Anthrax which could not be more outside my personal wheelhouse but it turned out to be one of the best shows I've done. I also directed a Radiohead show, which is a band I've always aggressively hated, but that turned out to be a really great experience too. The show that always stands out to me is “History of the Blues.” We did it as a historical review starting in the 20s and going all the way up to the present day. It was a really small group (maybe 11 or 12 kids) and everybody really committed to the idea. We used to joke that we should have reunions of that show. The whole group was really tight.

 

Why the GTVs? You can play pretty much any style, and join or form any type of band.

 

I really like the idea of doing something a little bit different. The world is littered with crappy rock bands and at some point it becomes almost impossible to stand out from that crowd. Playing in a band like the GTVs there's a whole community of bands and labels and websites and radio shows and fanzines that you can key into. There's a built-in network of slightly crazy and insanely dedicated people that you get to be a part of. I think it's what attracts kids to punk rock when they're teenagers. This notion of being part of a community that stretches beyond your little sphere of experience. Plus Sam is hella foxy and the way we set the stage up I get to stare at his butt all through every show.

 

Now for the really important questions:

 

What do you like to do on a groovy date?

Shot contest.

 

What's your favorite color?

Blue. NO YELLOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOW.....

 

How do you like to relax?

I'm tense and nervous. And I can't relax.

 

Who's your favorite Monkee?

Mike.

 

Ginger or Mary-Ann?

Ginger.

 

Velma or Daphne?

Daphne. Though I've dated my fair share of Velmas.

 

Brady Bunch or Partridge Family?

Banana Splits.

 

Tra-la-la, indeed...