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Pat Green gets lucky

By Jeffrey B. Remz, November 2004

Page 3...

Green apparently knew his days as a drummer were limited. "I decided when I was a senior in high school (that) when I was a freshman at Tech, I decided I was going to learn to play guitar. When I got $100, I bought a guitar."

Green attended Texas Tech for three years and took two years off to further his musical career (this is when he released "Dancehall Dreamer" thanks to money borrowed from family and friends) before returning and finishing two years later.

Songwriting apparently came quickly for Green. "Really, I guess by about eight months into playing guitar, I started writing. Probably within about two years of that, I had my first record. It was a natural progression."

Green put out four more albums on his own, including "George's Bar" (1999), "Here We Go" (a live album from 1999), "Songs We Wish We'd Written," a duets album with fellow Texas musician Cory Morrow (2000) and "Carry On" (2001). The five albums sold more than 200,000, a huge number for an independent artist without the deep pockets of a major label.

After graduating Tech, Green soon pursued a musical career full time, in part thanks to his dad.

Asked when he knew he was going to do music full time, Green says, "when my dad fired me."

"He said, 'get out of here. Go do your thing'."

Green soon played honky tonks, dance halls and various clubs throughout Texas.

A big break came when he played at Nelson's annual July 4th picnic in 1998, leading to a wider audience and bigger bookings like Billy Bob's in Fort Worth.

Green had to make a decision about his career - either try to get bigger or maintain himself as a Texas artist.

"It didn't matter what we did at that indie label," he says. "We couldn't get any better (in Texas). There was nothing left to accomplish. It was either quit trying to grow, let it be and move on and just kind of live our life that way, or go out there, and hit the brass ring, and do it for Texas musicians and people that I loved."

While one would have suspected a Nashville label for Green, he opted for Republic of New York, which has Mississippi rockers Three Doors Down and hard rocking group Godsmack.

"They came to me and said, 'you just give us the tape, we'll promote the record'. They didn't want to come in the studio or change me."

"They don't even give me songs to listen to," says Green of a situation typical for many artists.

The label released "Three Days" in 2001 before hitting it with "Wave on Wave" and its spiritual title track becoming a hit single.

Green is going where few from Texas seem to want to go - spreading the word around the U.S., but Green is quite happy and surprised with how far he has come.

"It's the next natural step, and I'm happy to take it. You know, I think the music deserves an ear. I think Texas music is just as cool is as any other music in the world. I have no regrets at all."

Why the success? "We fulfilled the need. People were wanting music that didn't sound like country music on the radio that didn't sound like the country music on the TV. I definitely was not going to win any supermodel awards. I'm not very slick."

Being a star in Texas and now trying to do the same outside of the state, is it hard playing in 600-person clubs in Boston and elsewhere? "In some respects, I find it easier outside of Texas because there are expectations out here," he says.

Green doesn't take his success for granted. "Yes, it's very surprising considering how many people like country music and how strong the country music world was when I started playing," he says. "At the same time, we had a good band, and we had a lot of fun onstage, and we weren't pretentious about it, and we're still the same guys. You catch the flying star, and you get routed on up."

Green makes it clear he's not some vehicle of star making machinery. "No way you can look at us and (say) the record label signed us and did a good job. We did it on our own."

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