Five Important Questions
Coliseum’s Ryan Patterson
Ryan Patterson, an E-town emigre who’s been connected to the Louisville music scene in some capacity since high school, has been in a lot of bands. As the city’s most high-profile all-ages promoter, he’s put on a whole lot of shows. He was the vice president of Initial Records before it collapsed. Now he runs his own label, Auxiliary, which has released records from Black Cross and Coliseum (Patterson’s two current bands), his brother Evan’s band Breather Resist, and Lords, among others.
With Coliseum, the singer-guitarist-songwriter makes the incessant and crushing rapid-fire punk that’s brewed a volatile concoction of angst and humanity in his head since probably his formative years. Considering the band’s road schedule, mixed with Patterson’s demanding datebook as a freelance graphic artist (he’s currently designing an Avail compendium to be released soon), next Wednesday is one of those mildly rare instances where Coliseum is actually playing a show in town. LEO caught up with him and asked five very important questions.
LEO: If you were Mayor, what would you do to help promote people like you in this city?
Ryan Patterson: Personally, as a guy in a band and a show promoter who is 28 years old but is involved in the “all ages” music scene, the only thing I constantly lament about Louisville is that there is no small venue that caters to both the older drinking crowd and the younger show-goer. Nearly every other city I play on tour around the country has a venue that sells alcohol, has a nice stage and good P.A., caters to a wide variety of artists and is also ALL AGES. Louisville’s system of venues has created a rift of overage vs. underage — after you hit 21, people generally “graduate” to a different type of venue and often a different type of music. I think it would be great to have a place where “The Kids” and “The Grownups” both feel comfortable going to see great bands that aren’t big enough to warrant the expense of renting out a Headliners-sized venue for an all-ages event.
LEO: Which Louisville musician needs to get more attention?
RP: Hmmm ... I had to think a long time about this one ... I was thinking maybe Slint. They put out a couple of records a few years ago and no one really seemed to pay attention. Then they did that reunion show and I don’t think anyone even knew about. It also seems like that band called My Morning Jacket could do pretty well if Louisville’s press and record stores gave them any coverage or support. I heard people in England like them a lot. As far as I can tell, there aren’t any other bands in Louisville.
LEO: If music were food, what kind would yours be?
RP: Either vegan soul food or a raw, organic, veggie BLT made out of smoked, shredded coconut. Both might sound weird in theory but are mind blowing in practice. That said, on tour we often crave the assembly-line burrito joints (a la Q-doba, etc.) as a very welcome break from the tedium of scrounging for mildly healthy and tasty options at roadside fast food drive-thru windows.
LEO: Tell me about one of your favorite works of art aside from your medium (novel, movie, painting, etc.).
RP: While I’ve only read an excerpt thus far, I’m currently obsessed with “The Long Emergency” by James Howard Kunstler. It’s his theory about American life after the point of peak oil consumption, once we can’t rely on cheap gas to fuel our cars, electric plants and commercial vehicles transporting truckloads full of crap for us to buy at Wal-Mart and Target. That’s on my mind a lot right now, and I just bought the book to read on our next U.S. tour … while we’re out burning outrageous amounts of gas in our huge tour van!
LEO: What do you want to say that you know you shouldn’t?
RP: There’s nothing I shouldn’t say that I feel the need to say here. Instead, I’ll voice an apparently unpopular opinion. Only 40 percent of people in Louisville voted against the constitutional amendment that banned same-sex marriage in Kentucky last year. Meaning over half of the population of Metro Louisville is so obsessed with an antiquated, right-wing idea of the “sanctity” of marriage — or are simply so afraid of homosexuals — that they felt the need to prevent them from having any legal recognition of a same-sex union. Somehow, the rest of the state feeling this way doesn’t shock me, but I had hoped Louisville would at least be enlightened enough to have a more open mind and heart. Maybe I’m a year late in saying this, but I was let down by what I had always thought was a very progressive city, and sad to see that our city would turn its back on so many of its own.
BY STEPHEN GEORGE