Pat Travers: Guitar Maverick Redefining Rock and Blues


Pat Travers: Early Life and Guitar Beginnings

While most bluesy hard rock acts of the ’70s and ’80s hailed from the United States (the south, to be exact), there were several exceptions to the rule, such as Canadian singer/guitarist Pat Travers. Born in Toronto in 1954, Travers first picked up the guitar just prior to entering his teens, after witnessing a local performance by the great Jimi Hendrix.

Guitar mentors:

It wasn’t long before Travers was studying the other top rock guitarists of the day (Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page, etc.), and paying his dues by playing in bar bands in the Quebec area. His first true touring gig came his way when he hooked up with ’50s rock n’ roll vet Ronnie Hawkins (best known for performing with a backing cast that would eventually transform into The Band).

London Calling: Pat Travers' Musical Odyssey

Pat’s main love was hard rock, so  he packed up his stuff and headed to London. Shortly after he arrived, he recorded a demo that would land him a recording deal with Polydor and result in the release of his debut, Pat Travers, in 1976. A performance at England’s annual Reading Festival the same year only peaked interest, which resulted in two more releases in 1977, Makin’ Magic and Putting It Straight (both of which followed a pre-Iron Maiden Nicko McBrain on drums), before Travers returned to USA and set his sights on the U.S. rock market.

The Pat Travers Band Chronicles:

Hooking up with a backing band comprised of drummer Tommy Aldridge, guitarist Pat Thrall, and bassist Mars Cowling, the new Travers band lineup premiered on 1979’s Heat in the Street. This led to Travers’ most commercially successful period, during whichh he scored a pair of Top 30 releases.

Crash and Burn:

The release of “Crash And Burn” proved to be an expansion of Pat’s already excellent composing skills. Keyboards and vocals are the true highlight of this album as Pat flexed his musicianship muscles. And while not to disappoint his fans, he still played awesome guitars on such burners as “Snortin’ Whiskey”. Shortly after the Reading Festival Pat Thrall and Tommy Aldridge left the band. Following the next album he embarked on a very successful tour co-headlining with Rainbow.

International Stardom: Pat Travers' Global Challenges and Triumphs

As the ’80s got going, bluesy hard rock seemed to quickly fall out of favour amongst the U.S. record buying public, in favor of slickly produced arena rock, and after that, MTV-approved bands. As a result, each subsequent Pat Travers release sold less and less. Frustrated, Pat decided to take a break from releasing albums for the remainder of the decade, although he did continue to tour relentlessly. Pat still retained his fan base and still thrilled anyone who would come to see him perform.

Boom Boom (Out Go The Lights) Live at The Diamond, Canada 1990

In 1990 Pat re-entered the recording studio with Mars, Jerry Riggs and Scott Zymowski and released “School of Hard Knocks”, of course a title that could be considered a self appointed reflection on his career. After a successful tour in the UK, Pat toured the US and Canada where a concert in the town of his birthplace was recorded in 1990 and released as “Boom Boom, Live at the Diamond Club”.  To the delight of his fans, a video of the same show was also released.

Dynamic Stage Presence: Pat Travers' Live

Pat soon  released “Blues Tracks” in 1993 and several more albums culminating in  “Don’t Feed The Alligators” in 2000. Since then, he has been characterised by a dynamic and captivating stage presence, solidifying his reputation as a compelling performer. 

Legacy in Rock and Blues:

Controversies and triumphs have added depth to Pat Travers’ storied career, and we can expect his musical journey to continue to evolve. His story is not just a biography but a testament to the enduring power of musical expression and the indelible mark one artist can leave on the world. He continues to play live concerts today and has worked hard to establish a reputation of one of the very best hard rock guitarists in the world.

This Post Has 5 Comments

  1. Ralph Newton

    First time listener. I really enjoyed the Pat Travers interview and music you selected. Had the pleasure of seeing Pat in Toronto. Great memorable show.

  2. Timothy Harris

    I saw the Pat Travers Band when they were touring with rainbow in Springfield Illinois Pat Travers kicked ass rainbow could not I’ll play Pat Travers so they tried to Crank It Up loud that didn’t work I saw Pat drivers many other times at smaller venues always a great show

  3. Steve Ennis

    Seen him many times and NEVER EVER disappointed

  4. Mike Willis

    Pat Travers is the best guitar player of all time!

  5. Derek Sansone

    Pat has been my favorite guitar player since 1977 when I first heard Making Magic …..
    Have seen him live at least 12 times …..

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