Interview with Blackbird; March 2003

Last fall I stumbled across a hidden treasure online. After searching the net for any trace of the names 'Arlie Patton', 'Gabe Patton' and 'Shawn Gatlin', who, I may add, have been in many previous bands I liked; I found a website for 'Blackbird' and became hooked instantly.

Read on if you'd like to learn more about the guys, their new 5 song EP "The Last of the Rockstars" and to see if they can form a proper sentence…

Q1. So I've heard the new 5 song EP and I must say it sounds incredible! I noticed Billie Stevens of Handsome Devil produced it. What was it like to work with him? Any funny recording stories you care to share?

We had a great time working with Billie. His knowledge and experience made the recording process so much easier. When Billie let his two pet snakes loose while Shawn and I were recording guitars, Shawn couldn't even concentrate on playing due to the fact he was scared like a little girl. LOL! I have to admit I was feeling a little on edge myself.

Shawn: LOL!! Totally, I was looking out of the corner of my eye the whole time. Those bastards kept sneaking up on me!!! We have known Billie for years, and being old friends with him made it so much easier. We had a total blast, not to say that we didn't make him work his ass off! LOL!

Gabe: It was a blast to work with Billie; he is so fun and positive. As for stories, I was too drunk to remember. Ha!

Q2. I've seen the band locally and noticed you guys enjoy playing intimately scaled shows. How do you feel about playing smaller clubs after all the recent tragedies with the Chicago nightclub stampede and the Rhode Island fire?

My feelings haven't really changed, although I now make it a point to be a lot more aware of my surroundings.

Gabe: I'm not worried about something going wrong at a small venue, besides we don't use pyrotechnics at our shows.

Shawn:Actually we enjoy any size shows, we just love to play for people. Even though I think I have just a good of time when it's just us four in the practice room. If it's 5 people or 5000 people, they will still get the best show humanly possible! When I found out about the fire, it really made me think about shows I have been to and have played. At some of them if a fire started like that me and a lot of people would have lost their lives the very same way. It's making me look for the fire exits now that's for sure.

Q3. Pick your favorite song off the EP and explain the story behind it. Also, tell us what your favorite song to perform live is and why?

Arlie: I would have to say, "Turn Around." The song just came together so easily. Live, I would say," Unstoppable." The song just rocks!

Gabe: Fav. song on E.P. is The Hell (You Put Me Through). Live has gotta be Unstoppable, that song fuckin rocks!!!!!

Shawn: I think my favorite song on the EP is The Hell (You Put Me Through). As for a story behind it?.. Um I can remember us writing that song then dropping it. It wasn't till Gabe had the idea to rework it and add the "four on the floor" beat to it, then it took on a completely different feel and then we kinda just went from there. I remember when we were recording it; Arlie was upstairs recording the chorus while Gabe and me were outside trying to finish the verse lyrics as fast as we could so Arlie could record them. Favorite live song would be our cover of The Plimsouls song "A Million Miles Away, we just kinda lose it when we play it.

Q4. I really like how you guys have a rock n' roll edge and inject a missing element into the music scene today. What are your thoughts on the music currently saturating the radio waves and MTV?

Arlie: I think the music industry needs a kick in the ass and Blackbird is the band to provide that kick.

Gabe: I think music is in a horrible state, It's just waiting for a fun Rock N' Roll band to come along like us and get the party started again!

Shawn: I think the music that record companies are paying to have on the radio (you know its true) is total and utter shit, I mean how many bands do we need that sound like Creed or Puddle of Mudd?! MTV, do they even play videos anymore?

Q5. Musically the band has a wide variety of influences. Choose one of those and tell us how that influence has affected you as an artist?

Arlie: I would have to say Sam Cooke. I learned how to sing, singing along to his CD, " Sam Cooke Live at the Harlem."

Gabe: I would say The Rolling Stones are my biggest influence because they stick to what they know they don't follow trends and I think Blackbird is the same way.

Shawn: I think Simon Gallup from The Cure has had a tremendous influence on my bass playing, I remember hearing the opening bass line from Fascination Street for the first time. I tried like hell to get my bass to sound like that for days!

Q6. If you could pick your own tour line up, who would you tour with and why? Do you guys have plans to tour this summer? Where can we expect to see Blackbird play? I really don't have a preference.

Arlie: We will play with any band, anytime, anywhere. A summer tour is currently being set up and we expect to have tour dates by late April.

Gabe: I would like to tour with Motley Crue because they know how to party and they have a great drummer to steal ideas from every night and again they know how to party! Ha!

Shawn: Gabe and I were talking about what a good tour The Foo Fighters and us would make; now that's a great tour!

Think fast-
Converse or docs?


Beer or Hard Liquor?
Hard liquor

Leather pants or Dickies?
Leather pants of course!

Heavy Metal or Glam Rock?

Use this word in a sentence- 'Vaunt'
Pronunciation: /VAWNT/
Verb: brag, boast
e.g. "The researcher wrote a paper vaunting his success in proving his hypothesis."

Arlie: I vaunt about blackbird on a daily basis. Is that right! LOL!

Shawn: I vaunt to suck your blood, blah!!!

Final thoughts:
Arlie: Check out our website

Interviewed by Noele Shannon

Visit the Blackbird Website