Pat & the BLUESchargers

The Full Story


Pat - the figurehead

There was always music at home. As a small child, I loved listening to “The Sound of Music” with Julie Andrews. I’m told that I was apparently already singing along to it when I was about 5 years old. Then, the 45 single “Rosegarden” by Lynn Anderson. I still remember the cover with the portrait of Lynn Anderson. I was madly in love with her!

Christmas 1971 was a turning point, when I received a cassette recorder as a present. And the first LP I recorded was the one by Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac (the one with the dog next to the dustbin).

At the same time, I eagerly listened to the music my older siblings brought home. It was breathtaking: Uriah Heep, Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Mandala Band. And who remembers the LP “Argus” by Wishbone Ash? Those wonderful guitar duets. Oh my God! And Peter Green, whom I regard and revere as the true English blues musician, not a blues rocker. And then there was Johnny Winter and of course B.B. King.

How many times have I stood in front of the window of Musik Hug in St. Gallen and admired the Gibson Les Paul? And time and time again, I’ve been turned away because this guitar was simply unaffordable for a Highschool student. But this guitar was the key to the sound of the Allman Brothers Band (Jessica). That’s how I thought back then, with limited access to amplifiers, instruments and all the technology.

When I was fourteen, I got a job during the summer vacation and was able to buy my first second-hand Fender Stratocaster copy for CHF 180. The amplifier was an old tube radio that I bought for twenty bucks.

At seventeen and after a few attempts at playing in the typical school bands, I got my first Gibson SG. But that was a “piece of s…”, sorry. During my apprenticeship, making music took a bit of a back seat, school was demanding. Then there was handball, military service and then soon my family.

I started playing for real when I was thirty. I was able to swap my Ibanez JP20 for a real Fender Stratocaster, and then immediately with the first Fender Super 60 amp. That’s when it really got going and it has stayed with me to this day.

One of my nephews played in a hard rock band when he was at school. I once asked him if I could also play hard rock. He told me firmly but sincerely that it would be impossible because every third note I played would sound “bluesy”.

So, presumably I really can’t play anything else. Or I might venture musically to the edge of the blues record, only to find my way back to the blues straight away.