Patrick Spurgeon is a drummer and producer from Oakland, CA. He is a long-time member of the indie rock band Rogue Wave, where he handles drums, samples, guitar, and vocals. Pat also records his own compositions as The Phantom Drummer.
A true local treasure, he brings his unique combo of stellar musicianship and upbeat attitude to each of the innumerable bands he's been involved with over the last 30 odd years.
An avid DJ and record collector, he is a wealth of knowledge on all things 80s. He speaks largely in movie quotes.
Bowling With Pat
Are we announcing ourselves? Full name?
Graham: Hello, I’m Graham LeBron here with Drops of Gold. I’m here with my friend, Pat, to bowl and talk about music.
Pat: Hi, I’m the friend, Pat Spurgeon, I’m gonna talk with my friend, Graham, and while we’re bowling. Not about bowling, but... While we bowl.
P: You just missed an awesome bit about our favorite things on television, but we’ll get back to that.
G: Correct. Alright, I'm bowling!
G: So should we start talking about music?
P: We can start talking about music. I was gonna speak all in movie quotes (he does this often)
G: Do you remember when you first wanted to be in a band?
P: Oh, I remember, I remember exactly, I was in high school, I was still a junior and...
G: Junior in high school.
P: And I met this guy he was the boyfriend of my girlfriend’s sister, so he rolled up to school to pick her up after swim practice. I was also on the swim team, not the ladies, I was the manager.
What turned you onto music?
G: My mom sang, my mom was always in choir in church.
P: “Mom sang bass, daddy sang tenor?”
G: “Me and little brother would join right in there”
G: So I always sang, I was in choir from like 3 years old on.
G: But then we got MTV in the 80s at some point, and I was like, “that’s what I want to do.”
But yeah, I saw him roll up, I didn’t even know he played music he just had an army parka on with an XTC pattern painted on the back of it from Drums and Wires and he rolled up on a Lambretta scooter, an early sixties Lambretta.
It was totally a page out of Quadrophenia and I had no idea about any of that until I met him.
He totally steered me in this direction of wanting to play music.
And that was Tom Shover, he’s a Chicago man and still rocking.
G: I didn’t think I could, I remember very distinctly watching Back to the Future when it came out in the theatre and he plays guitar, and look, it’s Michael J. Fox.
I figured Michael J. Fox learned how to play guitar.
I was like “man, I was in junior high, I’m too old to learn to play guitar, it’s probably too late for me.”
But I had this fantasy of being able to play guitar and sing in school. Instead of being in choir I would be able to play my…
P: Actually I gotta go back before that, it would be my step dad making, I say making as if we did it against our will but, he was a band teacher and we all took an instrument,
me and all four of my brothers. And I took drums.
G: So you already played a little drums when you talked to Tom, so you were like “Maybe I could do this.”
P: I know, I was just starting to learn drum set and he’s like “why don’t you come over? I have a 4 track.” And he was just recording some songs in his mom’s basement, and that was it, that’s how I started playing.
So, my friend down the street had a guitar, an electric guitar that had one string on it, he never played it. So, whenever I went to his house, his older brother.
P: A one string?
G: Electric guitar with one string and no amp.
So I would just play that. Nee nee nee nee...
And then I finally got my parents to buy me a guitar for my 15th birthday and...
P: With all the strings on it?
G: Mmh hmmh, a nylon string.
P: That would be funny if you got a one string guitar from your parents.
G: They just got his guitar?
P: “No, I don’t want all those other strings! I just need one.”
G: “One is fine!”
P: I never looked back.
G: Don’t ever look back.
P: I would’ve been good at biology.
G: You would’ve?
P: I would’ve been good at science, I would’ve been like… My parents, if they see this they’re gonna be so mad. I actually was good at school.
“I was fast at school!”
“Made it in the lumberyard” (Caddyshack)
G: And then I found younger kids and I ended up being in a punk band, and was like the only person who actually knew how to play my instrument because I had a guitar book and took a couple lessons. Everybody else just like… So I didn’t last in that band.
You were “Pootie too good?” (Pootie tang quote)
Part 2: Soundtracks
Alright no more of this, I obviously have lost my touch.
Did you ever have a touch to begin with Kumar?Know that's from?
There it is!
I got one.
You know what that’s from? I lose my touch.
From White castle?
Did you ever have a touch to begin with?
No, it’s Bottle Rocket. Kumar, when he can’t open the safe.
Oh yeah, yeah.
“Get back in position, assholes!” (Bottle Rocket)
Seven Ten split.
Ooh, that sounds good.
A seven ten split? Did you ever watch that show "The Banana Splits?"
That was one of my earliest introductions to rock’n’roll music.
Yeah, that’s right. They had that cool groovy theme song.
I used to have that 45.
“Tra la la, la la la la….” I have strong memories of that.
That feels good!
So, what music do you like from Bottle Rocket?
Well, Wes Anderson always puts a Rolling Stones song in.
In almost every one of his movies there’s always a Stones song.
And Cat Stevens.
Yeah, and in that one its a... and they’re never on the soundtrack because they can never get the rights. (ed. until Darjeeling Limited, probably not the real reason)
Because they’re, I won’t say anything bad about the Stones, but...
They can afford not to.
Yeah, is that when, is Dignan running at that point?
Yeah, he runs back in and gets caught.
As far as the music in Fletch....
Yeah? The music in Fletch, you found the soundtrack recently, right?
Yeah, I just got the soundtrack on vinyl and playing that,
(singing theme song) is so good.
Miami Vice? Jan Hammer.
No, that was Jan Hammer…
Hamer? Jan Hammer, uh, yes.
Part 3: Rock 'n' Bowl
Years ago when I was in Old Pike, we were playing in...
What years ago was that, the 90s?
The 90s, well it was 99. Old Pike Sony 550 recording artist, Old Pike…
But anyway, were were on tour, I think we were in New Orleans.
And there was a bowling alley that was also a venue, it’s a lot like the Magic Stick in Detroit.
But the bowling alley, and the bands would play right like, there was a little area and the bands would play right there while you were bowling, which was cool.
But they had no wax, zero wax on the floor.
So if you put any english on the ball, it just went shooop!!!
In the gutter. But what a cool thing having a live band playing right where you are.
Oh yeah, that’s great, rock and bowl.
Maybe that’s what it was called!
Hey, that’s catchy, I just made that up.
I’m gonna look that up! Or we should start it.
There are a few things embarrassing in life and one of them is bowling.
I thought it was gonna jump out. Bring it in the lumberyard! (Caddyshack again)
So, I did karaoke last night.
What’d you do?
Oddly, that’s a really fun song to sing.
But the lyrics, woah. I don’t know what was going on there, but still.
I didn’t pick it, I just happened to have the mic, but… “In the white room….”
I got all loungey on it. It was fun.
You killed it?
Fun. Killed it, nailed it.
Nailed the Audish. (School of Rock)
Part 4: Phil Collins and Drumming
Yeah. They all look like they’re high school teachers. That’s just what happens to you.
It is! Yeah, exactly.
Ya tuck it in. Your shirt is light blue and you’re wearing khakis..
Because they probably were kind of nerdy then too, really. It’s not like they were ever the coolest band.
What is is, is comfort. As you get older everything is in pain.
And just like, you pull your pants up, and you’re like, “Ah! that’s good I’m tucked in.”
You don’t have to suck it in anymore to impress anyone.
You’re like “I’m Phil Collins, who are you”
“I have more hit records than Madonna…”
Yeah. “You might know me from such bands as me, as Phil Collins.”
Delta Spirit, you know this band?
Yeah, did Jake go out with those guys?
That’s how I know about ‘em.
This is my favorite song of theirs, I think.
Trashcan, Delta Spirit.
Everybody in that band is a drummer, did you know that?
They’re all drummers, and they made a band together and were like “We’ll just switch around.” And they were like...
Does anyone stick with the drums?
They don’t switch now. They have one guy plays drums. But they kind of started it like they all were drummers and “We’ll just make a band, and we’ll figure out the other instruments.”
I like that.
I do too. Which means they have a very rhythmic sensibility, just in general.
a lot of people.
Both excellent drummers too, a lot of people don’t know that.
Excellent drummers. We all start out as drummers, I swear.
As a kid, you’re, like, beating on things.
You know, I just never outgrew that.
I think that’s why piano is an easy transition for a lot of people too because you’re already hitting things and there’s a piano around you’re gonna hit on that until you “Oh…”
I was just trying to be nice about, like, I’m not into their sappy stuff, but I do have a soft spot for like…
Or like “Say Say Say”
or Phil “Against All Odds”
“One More Night?” great song to spin.
“Easy Lover” Phil Collins and Philip Bailey, the two Phils.
The two Phils… That’s Philip Bailey from Earth Wind & Fire.
And he found him when, what was that, Genesis? Was it that Genesis song he had the Earth Wind & Fire horn section play on it?
“Is anybody listening?”
Yeah, is that Genocide or Phil Collins?
“No reply at all” is Phil Collins, I think. It’s from No Jacket Required, I think.
We’ll have to fact check that.
Yeah, we’ll have to fact check that…
(Completely wrong, it is Genesis from 1981’s Abacab, but Pat was right about the horn section)
(Fleetwood Mac, Dreams playing)
Are you a fan of Mick Fleetwood’s drumming?
Man, he uh… Yes, absolutely, but like, not at first.
Because when you’re a kid you have to like the flashy….
But those bands I still like, but man, there is nothing more satisfying than hearing that just tight groove with some of the weirdest fills.
It’s sort of a Charlie Watts kind of thing but Charlie Watts was more of a groove, like a dance band. Like if he was playing in, like, trying to keep a solid groove.
I think Charlie Watts and Mick Fleetwood are similar in that way.
Before you throw your ball, do you know what is the uh...
What they find, they tested the holes in the bowling ball, what they find in them? The most…
I have a guess.
Take a guess.
Yes, fecal matter.
Good to know. Pick your nose...
That’s why I go like this.
Oh, you bowl that way?
And I throw it like that.
Or I wear rubber gloves.
Mick’s got tasty drum fills that just…
Did I say tasty?
I feel so bad. Can you like “bleep?”
In this song, for example, there’s hardly, there’s only a few fills, he pretty much just plays the same. The bass and the drums do the same thing almost the entire time.
Well, yeah. John McVie is Mick Fleetwood’s right foot.
Yeah, layin’ it down.
And just, we could go on, this could, we’re gonna fill up your phone on Fleetwood mac talk.
That’s a good way to end it.
End this one on a freeze frame.