By PAUL ELLIOTT
So Bruce says “hey, I’m going to see Dan Patlansky launch his new album, you wanna come?” and I’m thinking, not sure about that, I’m pretty tired of music right now, taking a bit of a break from it all, especially the mainstream South African stuff, it’s just not alive anymore. I go along anyway, the company is good and I get to see what all the fuss is about.
Passion and conviction go a long way with me. I don’t like seeing guys just spray out a couple chords and piggy back pop melodies for forty minutes. When I say “don’t like” I really mean “hate”. I want to hear something from a man’s soul, something that doesn’t quite sit until you’ve sat in musical conversation with him. Dan and I had that chat. He had sweet things to say to me.
Being a guitarist myself, I understand all too well how much you can lean on your gear, and in fact on your instrument to do the heavy lifting for you. So I checked out a lot of what was happening on Dan’s amp, a Doctor Zee if I recall correctly, and his pedalboard. I watching for “tap dancing” and wanted to be terribly critical of what this man was doing either to us, or for us. Then he pulls out an acoustic, naked as a baby, and pretty much schools me on how much he cares for rawness.
So Dan the Man rips up a little Hendrix… and I’m thinking “dude, this better go well for you… if you give me any faux flame-age or even dare to play with your teeth I’m going to be annoyed and disapp… oh, he’s playing an entire original, blistering solo with one hand… and now he’s dangling his Stratocaster from her E string and she’s screaming for mercy, but he’s being a beautiful bastard and won’t let her go just yet!” I shut my face and let it slip from my skull, flames appropriately flaring from my earholes like dad’s old V8 from it’s branches…
*PS: Heavy face puller, this man.
Look, I entered this gig having very serious doubts. And now I must eat my hat. Mr Patlansky is a Guitarist. He’s an authority on his instrument and a master of his personal craft. It takes a lot for me to say that, but it has been weeks now since that show, and I still find myself dreaming of picking up my guitar again one day, opening up my amp to the setting known as “complaining neighbours” and letting my heart sing star songs. Dan Patlansky, thank you, and good night.