Pat Travers - vocals, guitar; Jerry Riggs - guitar, vocals; Barry Dunaway - bass, vocals; Pat Marchino - drums
"I think everyone loves the live (performance) because it's spontaneous," said guitarist Pat Travers, around the time this King Biscuit show was recorded. "The audience drives me on. I react, and I think the listener reacts to it because it is live. Human beings have to feel that they're there." Although this show was recorded in an intimate theater in West Palm Beach, Florida, on March 26, 1984, it was heard by millions of human beings - or rock loving fans, to be more specific - when it was originally broadcast over 500 plus FM radio stations.
"Let me tell you," says Travers. "I have always wanted to leave a lasting impression. And I always thought the way to do it was to get the energy level up, so much so that people feel like when we leave the stage there's a vacuum." Travers only charted a few big radio hits in the late 1970s, but he had been touring for almost a decade when this recording was made for King Biscuit, and his popularity was at its peak. Travers first emerged in 1976, (between the careers of Robin Trower and Stevie Ray Vaughan), and was considered one of the hottest axemen on the scene, especially during the early '80s.
This show was recorded while Travers was promoting his ninth LP for PolyGram, Hot Shot. In addition to the title track and "Killer," Travers plowed through a high energy set that also included "Born A Rocker," "Rockin'," "Snortin' Whiskey, Drinkin' Cocaine" "La La La La Love You" and his signature closer, "Boom Boom (Out Go The Lights)." Another highlight is "Just Try Talkin' (To Those Dudes)" (written about his frustration with record company executives) and Travers' crankin' remake of the Albert King penned/Cream classic, "Born Under A Bad Sign."
This show was recorded with a new band that Travers had assembled to record Hot Shot that included Jerry Riggs on guitar and vocals, Barry Dunaway on bass and Pat Marchiano on drums. "Together these guys (were) great," says Travers. "These musicians specifically worked well together on stage. For this band, the live show is where it all came together." Travers emerged out of the competitive Toronto club scene. Canada was just beginning its onslaught of international talent. As acts like Rush, Bryan Adams, Lover Boy, Red Rider and Triumph were coming into prominence.
"I just picked up an electric guitar when I was 14 and started playing," says Travers. "That was when I got into my first band, a high school band." Travers got hooked on rock 'n' roll at the same time as millions of others did. "I guess the first time I saw The Beatles and The Rolling Stones on the Ed Sullivan Show, I decided this is what I wanted to do. It was the excitement. That whole thing of being special appealed to me. I wanted to be respected as a musician."
By the time he was 15, Travers was playing in bar bands, and as soon as he finished high school, was gigging all week long playing rock standards. Eventually, Travers got a spot as guitar player in Ronnie Hawkins' band. Then, during the summer of 1975, penniless, homeless and band-less, he moved to London. He got a friendly benefactor to buy him a used Marshall amp, and gradually made his place on the underground London club scene. Travers was eventually signed by established manager David Hemmings, who secured a label deal with Polydor Records. By April of 1976, he had formed a power trio with Peter "Mars" Cowlings on bass and Roy Dyke on drums. Another early member of the trio had been future Clash drummer Nicky Headon.
Travers soon became known for his powerful live shows, and by the time his eponymous debut LP was released in late 1976, the word was out. He immediately scored a huge, worldwide hit with his remake of the blues cover "Boom, Boom Out Go The Lights." The song had been adapted from an old blues standard that Travers learned from a veteran Canadian blues player named, ironically, the King Biscuit Boy. The tune was written by Stan Lewis but first made famous in the 1950s by Little Walter, a well known harmonica blues player.
Travers continued to build his popularity with a series of solid, rock albums that included Makin' Magic and Putting It Straight (1977), Heat in the Street (1978) and the live LP Go For What You Know (1979). He recorded his final four albums for Polydor in the early and mid-1980s, before leaving the label in 1985, when it shifted its focus to techno-rock. Travers continued to tour, but did not return to recording until 1992, when he signed as a contemporary blues artist with the L.A. based Shrapnel Records.
He has recently reemerged in the blues/rock community with a number of reasonably successful releases - Blues Tracks (1992) and Just a Touch (1993) - and has also appeared on tribute albums to Albert King and Stevie Ray Vaughan, in addition to Extreme's Pornografitti album. These days, Travers continues to work with drummer Aynsley Dunbar and, on occasion, old friend and former bassist Peter "Mars" Cowling. He also still works with Jerry Riggs and Barry Dunaway, both of whom appear on these recordings. A testament to his longevity, in 2001 he embarked on a "Voices of Classic Rock" tour, and in 2003 released P.T. Power Trio, an album of rock covers. This recording is the perfect testament to the star quality of Pat Travers. This is straight ahead, no-holds-barred, rock 'n' roll. It sure ain't for the faint of heart.
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