South African-born blues-rock guitar virtuoso Dan Patlansky is currently out on the road across Europe in support of his incredible new album.
There isn’t a bad track on Dan Patlansky’s latest offering Introvertigo. There are no fillers, you don’t find yourself skipping tracks, you just sit back and enjoy the album at it’s fullest. However, where Patlansky comes into a league of his own is with his jaw-dropping live performances.
Having recently wowed the audience at HRH Blues in Sheffield Dan Patlansky will resume his UK tour in support of Introvertigo at the start of May. National Rock Review recently caught up with the man himself whilst in London to talk about his new single “Sonnova Faith”, life on the road and his plans to return to the studio to record the follow-up to Introvertigo on his return to South Africa this summer.
NRR: Thanks for taking the time to speak to us here at National Review, it’s always good to talk with you. So I’ve got some questions around your new tour, your current single and everything that you’ve got going on.
NRR: Firstly, you are out on the road at the moment, you are touring the UK in support of Introvertigo. I was just wondering how have the shows been going so far?
Dan: So far it’s been fantastic. We’ve only done two, but they’ve been really good. The songs are really translating great live, we’ve been touring these songs for quite a while now and they’ve really settled into the live platform really well. It just really is a pleasure to be back in the UK. I’m now looking forward to the rest of the tour.
NRR: Speaking of the tour, you’ve got another great guitarist out on the road with you, Ash Wilson. What’s it like having Ash out on the road with you this time?
Dan: It’s absolutely fantastic, I couldn’t think of a better support act to have on the road. He’s a fantastic bloke and I’m a big fan of his music; great guitar player, great singer and just an all round nice guy. So it’s a real pleasure and I think it’s a good night out, having him on the road with us, I really do.
NRR: We caught your performance at HRH Blues recently, I have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed it and in particular your acoustic segment.
Dan: Oh yeah (laughing).
NRR: We got to see a little bit of a different side of your playing, which I had never seen before. I know you’ve done an acoustic album a long time back, but I was just wondering do you enjoy performing acoustically and would you ever consider including an acoustic segment in one of your shows?
Dan: Yes certainly, I mean obviously my first passion is the electric guitar thing, but you know the acoustic kind of limits you guitar playing wise, it makes you rethink the song and makes you rethink how to play, and it makes you rethink the singing. I find that really refreshing, especially after spending the amount of time we do with the full band and the electric thing, I do find it a refreshing thing. So hopefully, in the tours to come, we can start adding that in and kind of be our own support act if you know what I mean and start off acoustically.
NRR: I think that would work really well, that would be great. I’ve got to ask you about “My Chana” because I’ve seen you do that a few times now and every time it just completely blows my mind. It just seems like you totally lose yourself in the music and I was just wondering with that track, is it the same every night, or do you actually go off-piste a bit and improvise, or is it fairly standard how you perform it each night?
Dan: I mean I think certain things kind of happen every night on the showmanship side, but for the most part it’s completely improvised and we all go in a different direction every night and that kind of keeps it fresh for us and keeps it exciting. You know sometimes it goes in a direction we don’t want it to go in, but I suppose that’s the nature of improvising and it kind of keeps us on the edge of our seats and that makes it really enjoyable to play.
NRR: Obviously, we also got to see you jam with Laurence Jones at the weekend. I was just wondering what was that like for you? I know you did the Jimmy Reed cover. How did you come to connect with Laurence?
Dan: One of the first tours I did to the UK we played in Poole down south and I had a double-header show with Laurence and we actually jammed on that night too. I’ve been in touch with Laurence for the last couple of years, I’m really good friends with him and so when we found out that we were on the same bill on the same night it was just a great opportunity and great excuse to play a song together. So it’s always a pleasure playing with Laurence and I’m a big fan of Laurence’s playing, I think he’s fantastic.
NRR: I was just wondering, besides Laurence, if you could choose any other guitarist to sit in with who would you choose?
Dan: I would without a doubt choose David Gilmour, he’s been a massive influence from when I was really, really young and I would love to meet the guy and obviously playing with him would really be a dream come true.
NRR: From the new album Introvertigo, you just recently released your new single “Sonnova Faith”. I was just wondering could you tell us a little bit about that song and the inspiration behind it.
Dan: Yeah, I mean that song is pretty much a dig at kind of people in power in religion that kind of I suppose in a way steel and make promises they can’t keep. So it’s pretty much when communities donate money to religious organisations and then the people in power buy Ferraris or Lamborghinis with the money, so that’s pretty much what that song is about. I suppose it goes far beyond that, it goes to political figures too and anyone in power really.
NRR: Obviously, you are from South Africa, I was just wondering how different is the blues scene back home compared to over here in the UK?
Dan: Yeah, I’ve got a great following back home, but I think it’s a lot smaller than in the UK. The UK’s blues scene is very, very healthy and a real pleasure to play in and I think the audiences this side of the world are far more discerning and far more educated on the blues and the blues rock and it keeps us on our toes. They know what they like and they know what they dislike and it’s just that’s who I kind of want to play for and it’s a real pleasure.
NRR: It really feels like you’ve established quite a connection with the British crowds, it’s almost like we’ve adopted you over here already.
Dan: That’s good to know (laughing).
NRR: What’s your favourite thing about our little island?
Dan: Well it’s really again the scene and the passion for live music, there’s a culture for live music here I feel and it doesn’t exist in a lot of countries. It definitely exists here, that culture of going to see bands live and enjoying music and buying music, it’s a really special thing. I suppose that’s kind of a been running a long time here in the UK because a lot of American artists have had to come to the UK before they made it in America like Jimi Hendrix and guys like that, so there’s definitely legacy here.
NRR: You’ve got quite a back catalogue, a lot of people don’t realise, I think you’ve got about eight or nine albums behind you. What’s your favourite track to perform live and why?
Dan: Probably my favourite track to perform live is “Still Wanna Be Your Man” off the new album, just because I find it’s a fantastic platform to express through, and it’s kind of like the slow blues of the album. I always find a slow blues the most natural thing for me to play so that’s always my favourite part of the evening of any show is playing that song.
NRR: Do you still enjoy playing the old stuff like “Daddy’s Old Gun” and tracks like that?
Dan: Yeah, definitely they’ve kind of morphed into different songs over the years and they kind of take on a new life every time we play them and they go in slightly different directions. I suppose we have to do that to kind of keep them fresh and keep them musical for own ears, but definitely still enjoy playing those.
NRR: Who was the first band you saw perform live and how did that first live experience affect you as a musician?
Dan: You know when I was a kid, not many bands came to South Africa, it was quite isolated musically. So I think the first band I ever saw was Def Leppard when they came to South Africa in the early 90s, which to be honest I’m not really a Def Leppard fan, but it was an incredible experience seeing you know a rock band on a big stage in an arena. Yeah, it was just fantastic to see and hearing music that loud for the first time and that powerful it was definitely something I won’t forget.
NRR: Out of your whole record collection what’s the one album you couldn’t live without?
Dan: For me, it would be Pink Floyd “Wish You Were Here” without a doubt, that is definitely my all time favourite album.
NRR: What else do you have in store for the rest of this year?
Dan: Well yeah, we are heading into the studio when I get back to South Africa in June. We track a brand new album and we hope to release that album this time next year in the UK. I really look forward to having a fresh set of songs to perform and to play and yeah, that’s the immediate plans.
NRR: Thanks again for taking the time to speak to us, we really appreciate it. Good luck with the tour that you’ve got going on right now and hopefully we will catch up with you again very soon.
Dan: Thank you Adam, I appreciate your time.
Dan Patlansky UK Tour Dates:
Dan Patlansky tours the UK in April and May with special guest Ash Wilson
24 Hour Box Office – 0844 478 0898
Book Online – www.thegigcartel.com, http://danpatlansky.com/shows
Islington O2 Academy, London Tuesday 2 May
Manchester Deaf Institute Wednesday 3 May
Cardiff The Globe Thursday 4 May
Bristol The Tunnels Friday 5 May
The Factory, Barnstaple Saturday 6 May
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Photo: Sean Brand