"It's called Indie Jazz-N-Roll," he says. "What?" I say. He tells me what the word means.
"I just started getting into Jazz singers when I was younger. The crooners, divas, all of it. It was so cool and reassuring to a dorky band kid. Like, someone telling you someday you can be as cool as this, and make it look easy, if you stick with it. The simplistic lyrics and song meanings. It really resonated in my soul. And still does. But I also love indie rockers, and Chuck Berry, and Ryan Adams, and the Beatles... I wanted to put all of my loves together in one pile of songs." Patrick is definitely a crooner when he wants to be. And Paul McCartney at times too. He's a skilled songwriter. Sitting down with him for just a few hours revealed songs in just about every vein of American Music.
"For me now it's just indie jazz-n-roll (laughs). That's all I want to do now at my concerts. It fits my life, my voice, my style, my worldview. And whenever I pick up the guitar these chords and these words just come out of me. I'm writing more for the fun of it these days. So if whatever bounces off this guitar sounds fun to me, we're gonna do it."
He's no rookie either. Patrick has been a busy guy. Sitting down with him over coffee I learn a bit more about the musician.
After moving to the PNW in the 90s and picking up the guitar, it seems he hasn’t put it down. Blasting through blues sets as a Jimi Hendrix impersonator at 17 wasn’t a common thing for a kid from the suburbs. He quickly found himself in up and coming NW bands. After showcasing in SXSW 2007 he decided to strike out on his own and form Mon Chéri with Caroline Schibel, Kurt Olson, and Brandon Vasquez. After being ‘found’ by the good folks at MTV.com and some successful touring adventures, Patrick decided to take a break from touring and travel the world.
Now residing in Seattle WA, he has taken up the mantle of his very own name (for the first time) as a solo artist.
"It's kind of hard using your own name after being in successful bands for so long, it's like people think you just started! Who's Pat McHenry? But that's ok I guess, I've been trying to use it my advantage. People like the new kid!"
As we wrap up our meeting I ask, "So what do you think life is gonna throw at you next?"
"I don't know," he says,"I guess we'll see! Right now it's fun building a band and a following again. Seattle's music community is much more challenging because there is so many talented performers and musicians all vying for this little piece of success pie. And a lot of them deserve some of that recognition in regard to their own accomplishments. So that's hard. But I think cream always rises to the top. That's something I've seen all over the country. So hopefully my cream is on the rise. We'll see."
Patrick smiles a wide smile, offers a handshake, and we part ways. It seems as if he's off to a great start, and the future is quite bright and creamy for this new-to-Seattle songwriter. - IJ