Positive Music Place

Happy Birthday Pat Durkin

Posted by dlockeretz on December 2, 2011

Patrick Durkin does his thing

Most people will probably never know who Patrick Durkin is, and that’s too bad.  To have heard of him, you’d probably have to be a regular at a Boston bar such as Jacob Wirth’s or Durgan Park, but should you be fortunate to happen into one of the establishments where he’s a regular, you’ll be glad you did.  Listen to him play and you’ll understand why people lament when a bar replaces live entertainment with karaoke.

I used to play with Pat in the late 90s, in a piano/vocals, bass and drums trio format.  We’d tear through one cover song after another, in all kinds of styles.  Often, the more inappropriate the song was for our instrumentation, the more we’d enjoy playing it.  Pat’s the type of guy who likes to honor audience requests, even if he can’t play them perfectly.  He gets that most bar patrons would rather hear the songs they like at 90% than ones they don’t care about at 100% (and that the threshold gets lower as more drink is consumed.)  We would bust out “Pinball Wizard”, “Stairway to Heaven” and “Rock and Roll All Night” – not exactly typical cocktail piano repertoire – and I even attempted to follow him through Bruce Springsteen’s “Jungleland” one night.  At a New Years’ Eve gig, a customer requested James Taylor’s “Fire and Rain.”  We got through the first verse before Patrick cut us off and said, “Sorry, that song’s just too depressing for New Year’s Eve.”

Off the stage, Patrick recorded several CDs of original songs.  His writing reflects a wide variety of influences: as a piano-based singer songwriter, he’s certainly got a touch of Billy Joel and Elton John, but also brings a wider depth of musical perspective, drawing on other muses such as the Beatles, Ellington, Gershwin and more.

Of course, it’s easy to be nostalgic about my earliest professional shows, and about the late 90s, those prosperous Clinton years, when 9/11, Enron and the housing crisis were still years away.  But even back then, I could tell the difference between what felt like a “dues-paying” gig and one that was pure fun.   Patrick Durkin’s shows were events; it wasn’t just another band at a bar.

In addition to his musicianship, Pat has a lot of other interests, including literature, travel, gardening and more.   Oh yeah, he’s been known to throw back the occasional pint, too.  He has been married for the last decade-plus and has a five year old daughter.

So have a great birthday, Patrick Durkin, and know that your former bass player fondly remembers those gigs – and perhaps we’ll team up again someday.

For more information about Patrick Durkin, visit www.patrickdurkin.com.

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