Two for Tahoe: Pat Travers Band returns for March 7 concert
Pat Travers, who is accustomed to receiving encores, returns to the South Shore Room stage on March 7.
The venue in Harrah’s Lake Tahoe is known to be filled with chair dancers until perhaps the final song or two of a show. However, people were on their feet most of the time during the Pat Travers Band’s 2014 performance. At the conclusion of the show, he said he hoped to return to Lake Tahoe soon, and 51 weeks later he will in fact be back.
While it’s difficult to imagine Travers with cold feet when it comes to stepping upon a stage, the physical effects of wintertime in Toronto motivated him to become a high achiever.
“I still remember being 16 years old and having to take the city bus and my feet just freezing, and me going ‘I never want to have cold feet again in my life,’ ” Travers told Tahoe Onstage by telephone from his Central Florida home.
By then Travers had already played guitar four years and had been to a Jimi Hendrix concert. He went on to find success, as did Hendrix, in Britain.
“I never really thought I was traveling in his footsteps,” Travers said. “My mom was English, my dad was Irish and I had lots of English friends. In Canada we have lots of British TV, so it wasn’t a total culture shock for me.
“I had a couple of choices. I could have gone to New York or Los Angeles but I had no desire to go to either one of those places. So I went to London and I was fortunate in the first couple of months of being there I was able to get a record deal. Then meet a manager and get a better record deal. The curve just kept going up and up for a few years. It was awesome.”
While Travers career was heating up, he feet remained cold.
“Believe it or not, we didn’t get snow in England but it seemed like it was colder there,” he said. “So when we started to record an album in Miami in 1978, I just kind of went, ‘Well, I’m staying here.’ I’ve been in Florida ever since.”
He has cut at least 30 more records since, and has had numerous hit songs, including “Boom, Boom (Out Go The Lights),” “Snortin’ Whiskey” and “Heat In The Street.”
“I sadly lament the passing of AOR, album-oriented radio,” Travers said. “We didn’t have to worry about three-minute singles, 45s. We just tried to make great albums. So we got a lot of airplay on these FM stations all across the country.”
Travers’ latest album, “Can Do,” was released in 2013. He said it gives a flavor of his current live show.
“Actually that’s a good indicator,” he said before last year’s Tahoe show. “We’re doing three or four songs from ‘Can Do’ in the set now and, of course, we’ve got to do a lot of stuff that my longtime fans like and we have a little blues section where we do ‘Red House’ and a couple of other tunes where I switch to slide. It’s a high-energy show with lots of cool playing.”
The Pat Travers Band has remained intact for several years. Rodney O’Quinn is the bassist and tour manager, Kirk McKim is the rhythm and dual lead guitarist and Sandy Gennaro has been the drummer since the 1981 album “Radio Active.”
Travers’ fans are known as Hammer Heads and they are ubiquitous in the United States and Europe.
“We’ve got them everywhere; we’re lucky,” Travers said. “California is great for us. We love California.”
Travers stays in shape for his high energy shows by practicing karate. And while he is a famous rock star, he’s also a fan, just like most people. A lover of comedy, he has a guitar autographed by Lewis Black and he has an 8-by-10 photograph of boxer Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini, who played Travers’ best-known song when he entered the ring.
“I got to meet him when we played in Youngstown, Ohio,” Travers said. “He came to the gig. I was just in awe.”
Pat Travers Band
When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday, March 7
Where: Harrah’s Lake Tahoe South Shore Room
ABOUT Tim Parsons
Tim Parsons is the editor of Tahoe Onstage who first moved to Lake Tahoe in 1992. Before starting Tahoe Onstage in 2013, he worked for 29 years at newspapers, including the Tahoe Daily Tribune, Eureka Times-Standard and Contra Costa Times. He was the recipient of the 2011 Keeping the Blues Alive award for Journalism.