Graham Patzner (vocals, guitar, violin, piano), Will Lawrence (bass), Nick Cobbett (drums), Charles Lloyd (guitar)
Funk-soul-rockers from Oakland, California. Releases to date include Whiskerman (2011) and Bad News (2014).
“The true beginning of 'the band',” Whiskerman frontman Graham Patzner reflects, “began when I decided to quit acting school and fully immerse myself into singing, songwriting and getting better at the guitar. As in any venture passionately pursued, those who were attracted to what I was doing came to help and now we are fortunate enough to be joined by Nick and Will for about three years and Charles for two. Some members have left the core band including my brother Lewis, but he is still involved in other ways like arranging and recording.”
This immersion into songwriting – bringing with influences as diverse as “Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, The Beatles, Otis Redding, Ray Charles, Arvo Part, Jesus Christ, North and South American Indians, Buddha, Africa, Dostoevsky, Radiohead and the Godfather Trilogy” – served well to create a distinct Whiskerman sound. “I want it to sound like heaven,” Graham explains, “but I'm pretty far from that, so I'll settle with Rock/soul/folk. Things started pretty folk and blues driven, and once we added Charles things have been more rock and roll and soul rooted, but that is still changing.”
Rock and blues aren’t the only things that the band members bring to the collective. Graham reflects on the individual strengths of each whisker-man, explaining that “Will brings the blood rushing, sex pounding bass thumps of a soul god, Nick brings the dominating warlock crushing simplicity of finely tuned pulsating rhythms emanating deeply within a warring body in search of perfect groove, Charles brings the razor, the gusto, the bravado, the fury, the fright, the terror, the complexity and the wisdom, and I bring it all together!”
This wonderful cohesion has resulted in some great moments during the band’s trajectory so far. “We had two very wonderful nights recently,” Graham recalls, “with the Undercover Presents Highway 61 Revisited shows at the freight and salvage. The album was played all the way through, a different band for each song and we were chosen to play "Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues". We were playing to a packed house both nights and received standing ovations each night. It felt really great to be playing in such a beautiful space and be received like that. It was like being in a great theater show.”
Sounds like more such great nights are on the horizon for this hard-working band. Although it hasn’t all been plain sailing. “We played at a bar/grocery store in Incline Village around the time the lovely singer Mana Maddy was in our band,” Graham tells of a slightly less appealing scenario. “We were playing on a small stage in between the grocery store and the bar when a drunk guy fell onto the stage and knocked over my guitar. We stopped the song and the guy kept giving us shit so started getting in a shouting match, so the bartender, an alleged ex navy seal, came over telling us we were "disrespecting his family" in a fit of rage and demanded that we leave. So we packed up and left, no blood shed.”