Heart of Steel: Interviews

PATTON'S's Bob Watson and Jason Felger

Interviewed by Rick

The Metal Revolution has begun!!!! Patton has taken the metal torch and has rolled out the heavy weapons on their campaign to bring good old fashioned head banging metal to the masses. I recently had the opportunity to pose these questions to the band.


Since Patton is a relatively new band to the readers of Metal-Rules.com can you tell us a bit about the history of the band? Members? How you met etc?

Bob: Patton was formed out of the breakup of Steamroller, there was a difference in the direction that Steamroller was going to go in and we parted ways with the vocalist and formed Patton. The lineup as of now is Jason and myself, I had met Jason through an audition from our Steamroller days and we became good friends and shared the same attitude and philosophy about music!!!!

Jason: Yeah, Bob was the founding member of Steamroller & everything was already in place when I auditioned. In Steamroller, there was always a struggle internally as to what kind of music you were "allowed" to bring to the table. PATTON was formed to let us do what we do naturally without limitations or "forced" writing sessions. I think it was April of 2000 when Bob, Rich (former PATTON drummer) and myself went out for dinner to discuss the rising tensions in Steamroller. There was an overwhelming feeling to "end the drama" as Rich would put it so PATTON was formed.



What does Patton mean by the caption on your website that states "The Metal Revolution Has Begun"?

Jason: It was a statement of how we feel about the scene today as well as where we came from musically. The major labels out there have just slapped the word Metal onto any new band that owns a distortion pedal & it's insulting to the Metal fans. I mean, Nickelback is NOT Metal. We wanted to have the true metals heads take notice that we're bringing some serious Metal to the table & if they really want it, here's their chance. We also have fought & struggled against what everyone else wanted us to play or felt would be popular for us to play. This is what we do & we stand behind it fully in good ole revolutionary style.



You just released a new CD on Silver Bullet Records simply called METAL. Can you talk a little about the CD? Where it was recorded etc.?

Bob: believe it or not we recorded this in our studio we call the dungeon. It is a 13' by 13' room we had built in Jason's garage, this is where the first Patton CD War Declared was done also, this Cd came about because we were tired of hearing all the so called Metal bands out there proclaiming that they are Metal and telling the fans lies and giving them basically one song on a 13-15 song Cd, well we set out to give the TRUE METAL FANS a whole Cd filled with GREAT METAL TUNES from the first song to the last, we are giving them their money's worth.

Jason: This CD is what we intended from day one. Some of these songs were written while we were still in Steamroller but were beyond the scope of that band.



You seem to have moved in heavier direction on METAL compared to your last effort WAR DECLARED. Was it a conscious decision to move in that direction?

Bob: yeah we were both PISSED at the time, when we recorded War Declared there was something about the heavy dbl bass tunes on that Cd, when we did those songs we had a attitude of destruction that carried over to this Cd, plus some of these songs were on the back burner from the previous band that we weren't allowed to do because of someones reluctance to do these type of songs.


There are some interesting songs titles on METAL like "Smokin Like The Devil" and "Rock Fantasy". Can you speak a little about some of the songs on the CD? Do you have any favourites?

Bob: My favs are Hypnotized, Human Evolution, Smokin, Metal, you are not me, Your gonna pay.


Jason: I feel very strongly about everything on the CD but my fav is Metal. The song, Smokin' Like The Devil is based on a saying used in the early American settler days. To have witnessed people smoking tobacco then apparently to some of the more religious groups they referred to it as you were smoking like the devil. I guess the devil was thought to have smoke coming from his nose, ears, etc. (lol) Anyway, I just kind of elaborated on that saying with the tobacco advertisements & the big business marketing ethics. Rock Fantasy kind of became our anthem in the studio. It has always been our dream to be on the big stage shredding it up & this was that notion put in song form. Every lyric on the CD has meaning personally to us.



Jason produced the CD. Why did you produce it yourself and is producing something you just picked up or is it something you are trained for?

Jason: We still had a bad taste in our mouths from working with a producer back in Steamroller. We watched some really gritty recordings get reduced to Fleetwood Mac intensity! It became apparent to just go for it & stay 100% true to our vision. I'm not trained for it other than following that one rule, if it sounds good, it is good. I've produced the majority of my recordings over the past several years and it is a constant learning experience with endless creative avenues. Each production gets better than the last & closer to what we envision. No one knows your music better than you do.



Both you guys write all Patton'ís songs. What is the songwriting process of the band?. Do you write on your own and bring finished songs or do you collaborate? Where do you get the ideas and inspiration for those songs?

Bob: in the past we would both bring riffs to the table and develop them, the Metal Cd is a lot of Jason having the complete songs in his head and then running them by me I might have made suggestions here and there if he wasn't sure about a part of the song.

Jason: Inspiration is just personal experiences and beliefs. All of the songs from both PATTON cds have meaning.



Will the band be doing any touring to support this release. If yes with whom and if not why not?

Bob: No.

Jason: As of today the touring plans have been on hold. We're certainly not against doing it. There are several factors involved as for the delay but it is unrelated to PATTON.



If you could choose one band in the world right now to tour with who would it be and why?

Jason: For me, Judas Priest would be an incredible band to tour with. Their music still holds up. Their new stuff still holds up. And their fans are true Metal fans.



The artwork for METAL is very interesting. Can you tell us who did it and who came up with the idea for the piece?

Jason: I had the idea for the diamond plate & skeleton. Bob & I did the lighting effects & photography for the diamond plate & worked with a friend, Blair Gray, to create the skeleton. The skull on the back cover is actually a toilet brush! (lol) My parents bought it for me years ago.



How did you get involved with Silver Bullet Records and how many albums are you signed for?

Jason: We were talking with Eric Meadows from Silver Bullet shortly after War Declared was released. They were just getting ready to launch the label & had an interest in our stuff. When he heard the first few tunes from Metal, they wanted to work with us on this CD. It was a good opportunity for us to be involved with their startup & getting everything going. We decided to take everything one step at a time to see if the strategy would come to fruition. It's still pretty early in the process.



Have any bigger labels shown interest in Patton or are you content with the deal you have going now with Silver Bullet Records?

Bob: We actually shopped this around to some labels and they didn't want any part of it, I guess because we didn't have a DJ or Mc in the band, or our hair was too long, or we were too good musicianship wise, the music industry is really screwed up right now and I don't think it will ever recover!!!

Jason: As with any industry fully unrelated to artistic expression, and the music industry certainly fits that description these days, sales reports and number charts dictate signings. Record labels want to see RIAA proof that you can sell without them before they will get involved. Of course, if you can, you'll lose money by turning it over to them afterwards. We talked with Silver Bullet & agreed that there was no interest in going the RIAA route. If you notice, there isn't a bar code on our CD. We could care less if some chart shows us selling 2,000,000 records or 200. We'll know how well we've done & our fans will have an uncompromised CD in their hands and that's all that matters to us.



What are some of the bands influences? And what do you listen to when you are kicking back and relaxing?

Bob: My all time fav band is Van Halen the early years, Stryper, TNT, I really like the Halford live CD, Megadeth.

Jason: Influences for me are Judas Priest, Megadeth, Annihilator. As far as listening, I run the gamut. In total disregard to copyright date & genre I like the Halford live CD, Priest's Jugulator CD, Essential Jerry Reed, Scott Joplin's complete works, Peace Sells by Megadeth which is a guitar player's wet dream. When I'm restringing & tuning up before going on stage I tend to listen to the Essential Jerry Reed CD for some reason.



Patton was born out of the split of the band Steamroller. Are there any similarities between Patton and Steamroller and do you still play the steamroller songs live?

Bob: No. We haven't done any of those songs from the previous band, as far as being similar Patton is Steamroller on steroids!!!!

Jason: I've been to Marc's website a couple of times. I don't hear any similarities between our bands at all. We haven't felt any need to relive that era with those songs. We also haven't had any fans show interest in that.



Jason, Is this the first time that you have been the vocalist in a band? In Steamroller you had another vocalist, so why handle the vocal duties yourself in Patton?

Jason: I've done vocals in some of my prehistoric projects. (lol) We didn't initially set out to have me handle the vocals. I was quite happy with sticking to the guitar duties. However, after an extensive search around LA & several web postings, we were really having a hard time getting someone to do what we wanted. I demoed a couple of vocals on War Declared to have auditioning vocalists see what we were after & it was just ugly to deal with it. Everyone wanted to be a carbon copy of someone else usually Eddie Vedder which absolutely would not fit this band! At one point we had a female friend of ours in the studio & she heard my demo tracks & suggested that I just do it. So out of necessity, here I am. On War Declared, that writing was put together with this vocal God in mind who never showed up. So stylistically, it wasn't geared for my voice. When we sat down for Metal, we knew who the singer was so consequently, it all ties in to me.



Did you take the name Patton from the WWII general? If so why? If not, what does it mean?

Jason: Absolutely. I had read the book, "Patton: A Genius For War" and found his drive & determination at being a General matched what we felt for being Metal Musicians. Never give up. I've been accused of sharing some of his personality traits for better or for worse. I won't deny that but I consider it an attribute as opposed to degradation. If you watch the initial speech at the beginning of the movie, Patton, you get an idea of the passion General Patton had for his position in the universe. Continuing to play Metal & get a band to the top has been an all out war for us & anyone with less drive & determination than General Patton would have succumbed & copied Pearl Jam by now. NOT US!



What's the idea behind having the cartoon like "time bomb" in your logo?

Jason: That was kind of an inside joke when I developed the logo. I have a bomb with a lit fuse tattooed on my arm. We also felt it matched the intensity of the band.



What is your take on the state of heavy metal in 2002 compared to 5, 10 or even 15 years ago?

Bob: I personally think the only bands that are keeping it alive are the death metal and black metal bands, but they are too extreme for the average fans to get into!!!!

Jason: There are some decent bands on the underground but the underground doesn't seem to get the attention it used to. In the U.S. everyone is watching MTV and having the corporate media tell them what they should like & that's it. If you have the money to buy your way onto MTV, you'll be multi-platinum. Metal will never reach the success that it should unless the fans are willing to turn their backs on the corporate brain melt & think for themselves in larger numbers than currently doing so. You know, if McDonalds only sold fries but you wanted a Big Mac, so long as you keep showing up & buying those fries they will have no incentive in offering you a big mac.



Have there been any new bands or CDs that have come out in 2002 that have interested you?

Jason: I actually saw a promo for a band recently that seemed to have a good energy about them but I couldn't even tell you the name! I think they are from NY state somewhere.



You guys are based in California. Los Angeles and the Bay area have had large metal scenes in the past. How is the California metal scene and how does Patton fit into that scene?

Bob: Pretty much dead here in Ca.

Jason: I've been in LA for 8yrs. 99% of the local bands are sitting around waiting to see what the next big thing is so they can copy it. No originality. Metal is a dirty word in LA. Any club that had notoriety from the big scene in LA now has the bands paying THEM to play there! For example, if you want to play the Whiskey, They'll give you a Tuesday night a midnight for 30 minutes. You have to pay them say $500. Then if the place isn't packed, you will never get a better time slot and you will always have to pay them to play there even if you get the better slot it will just cost YOU more money to play it! As far as the bay area, I read recently that Metallica went in and played a show with a made up name just to get out there and of course, word got out & the place was packed. The club owner/poromoter actually made THEM pay the club to have played! PATTON isn't really a local scene kind of band. I guess we consider our scene the internet. That is the only place where this kind of music can garner some good attention.



The growth of the internet in the past 7 years has helped numerous bands in the metal underground to get their music out to a wider audience. Patton has a website at www.pattonrocks.com Has the internet helped Patton at all in their efforts to get their music out to the metalheads?

Bob: Yes it has helped us out a lot and so has Metal-Rules.com, I can't thank you guys enough for all the support and dedication to keeping the metal flag flying and carrying the torch for all metal heads out there who refuse to let the big labels try and ram their B.S. music down our throats!!!!!



I think that is all for now. Is there anything else you would like to say to the readers of Metal-Rules.com?

Bob: To all of you who have supported us through the years we salute you. Thanks!

Jason: Absolutely. It's still a great honour to get e-mails from each individual fan who digs the CD & supports what we're doing. We look forward to bringing everyone Metal for years to come.


Thanks guys!

Join in the PATTON revolution at:  www.pattonrocks.com


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