Interview with Patrick Coleman (PC) Upon Release of California Formica Cowboys
This album is so great. One word comes to mind: faithful. Faithful to the cosmic sounds we love. No Americana bullshit if I may say so. Just straight on cosmic country music, with no hesitation to call out bullshit whether it’s Nashville’s product, or a woman that deserves it, without crying in one’s beer, that in the spirit of so many country greats.
And the musicianship is impeccable. “Baby Blue” is as good as on Ballad (of Easy Rider album by The Byrds), that’s saying something. PC’s voice has the nuance of Gram’s, adding vulnerability to lyrics that say otherwise. Hey, The Byrds, Gram and yes the Stones are history. PC & the Angels of Death, whoever they are (like a McGuinn or Parsons, finding who/what you need for the vision as it develops), are not history but continue to create their own. They will be leaving Modesto soon for their appearance at Gram Parsons 70th Birthday Bash and some planned tours. Be there and don’t miss PC & friends. –Will James, Cosmic American Productions
WJ: Is this a combination of your first band and a new one?
PC: Yeah, this is a mix of first lineup and new. Formica was originally supposed to be an EP of five or six songs, but it just came together as many friends loved the large group of songs and couldn’t cut it down to a small number. That’s why some are labeled as earlier recordings or alternate version. Funny enough, the album has already been labeled “psychoneurotic” by some due to its frequent change in mood or thought. I do think a lot about the album as an art form still, as it was in the 70s, telling a story, so it could be subconscious. (Laughs) But you would have to understand what it was like through the past four years with musicians, breakdowns, and mishaps since the first album release. I don’t want to forget to mention that Rick Clark (yes, Gene Clark’s brother and my good friend) did backing vocals of some songs. He’s back to playing live shows in Southern California again.
WJ: How was Tommy Hall (member of Facebook group Gram’s Angels) the inspiration for Formica Cowboys?
PC: Tommy Hall was the inspiration for the song Formica Cowboys. Someone had copied and pasted the original Rolling Stone magazine article called “The Strange Case of Gram Parsons,” I think from 1970 something. And the writer mentioned The Flying Burrito Brothers, calling them “Formica Cowboys,” in reference to them being a California rock group “trying to be country.” Well, the Facebook group Gram’s Angels just got a kick out of this, having many comments. And Tommy said he would like to listen to Formica Cowboys any day than listen to the crap coming out of Nashville today. So that just stayed with me. (Laughs) Tommy has always been very outspoken about the way he feels. Why we love him.
WJ: Which Stones album should “Over It” be on? That question based on my first listen.
PC: “Over It” would probably be on Beggar’s Banquet, I suppose. Like “Street Fighting Man.” The Rolling Stones have always been one of my favorite bands, so I’m very influenced by them. The Mick Taylor years especially when they were dabbling in country rock, thanks to Gram Parsons’ influence on Keith. But that song also has some Lou Reed influence as well, the antihero. Rock music shouldn’t be so cleaned up. We like the real, honest thing.
WJ: Any of these players coming with you to L.A. Dec 3?
PC: My lead guitarist will be coming with me to the Huntington Beach show on Dec 3 (Southern California) along with a couple of friends to round out the sound. [Editor’s note: http://grambash70WEST.us]
WJ: Did you capture any other gigs along the way yet?
PC: Mac (Mark MacSenti) and I are going to plan a sweep of the Southwest doing house concerts this fall. The Gram Parsons 70th Birthday Bash West in Huntington Beach, CA on Dec.3. Spring break week, we will be in Mexico City, Monterrey, and Guadalajara. I’m also going to do a U.K. tour in the late spring. We already have radio play in London, Scotland, and Ireland, as well as Nashville and Texas. So things are looking pretty good. I’m hoping to sell a lot of product out there.
WJ: Any online presence or reviews so far for the album?
PC: We are on iTunes, as well as many other download sites, and physical CDs can be purchased at CD Baby online. I’m also selling them. Four radio stations have now requested it, making ten so far throughout the world. I sold one exactly five minutes after I posted! (Laughs) Isn’t that crazy?