Thursday, April 13, 2006

Interview: Pat Green

It took him nearly a decade, but these days Pat Green feels like he's sitting on top of the world.

"I'm not going to lie to you," he said. "I've been a happy boy for a long time."

In the past few years, the work has started to pay off for Green and his band, earning hit records with "Wave on Wave" and "Lucky Ones," picking up Grammy and ACM nominations and touring with a couple of CMA Entertainer of the Year winners in Kenny Chesney and Keith Urban. He's sold out the Houston Astrodome multiple times, the Smirnoff Music Center in Dallas and Rabb's Steakhouse in Ruston, where he'll play on Wednesday.

"I've never met anybody that stood in front of the mirror with a tennis racket and wanted to be the bouncer," Green said with a laugh. "Everybody wants to be the guy under the spotlight, and it feels great. It feels like all the work that we put in as a band is starting to pay off, and it's just getting a little easier to come out and do a show and make a mess of things."

The latest coup for Green is a move to RCA Records, which will release his new album "Cannonball" in August. He sees big things ahead with the deal.

"As much as I wanted to try to impact country radio from the outside, it's just too difficult to get it done," Green concedes. "I don't have the ability to just walk into any radio station in the country and say, 'here's my song, play it.' You have to have the weight of a reputable record label behind it. So why not sign with the biggest, most powerful label in the world?"

As far as the new record goes, Green said he approached it with the same honesty that he's recorded all his albums with.

"I try to always write and record what comes out of me honestly," he said. "I don't fight the songs, but I danged sure don't want to put out the same record every time. I get tired of bands that do that."

Though it's only been in the last three or four years that Green has started to garner mainstream attention, he's had a following in Texas and the surrounding areas for much longer, and much of that has come from college campuses — not places you normally associate with country music. But playing colleges is part of Green's formula for success.

"I think the college campus is where those indelible and unforgettable relationships with everything in the world start — your friends, the kind of music that you like, the people that you run around with," he said. "That's where I try to get in the door. If you can get in to people when they're in college and forming those ideals, you're going to be a lot better off than five years down the road when they get a little bitter with the world."

Even with his popularity on college campuses, his summer co-headlining tour with the Dave Matthews Band may seem like a strange pairing to some, but not to Green.

"To me, there's no music that doesn't go together; it all matches to me," he said. "I will say it to the day I die, if music is done properly, if it's performed right, if it's done with a little bit of pride, music communicates louder than anything else in the world. If you get a band like mine up there with a band like Dave's, it's going to be a loud night."

Green's not the least bit concerned about perhaps having to try to win over fans that come to see Matthews.

"You know what? I've played for 10 people in DeKalb, Ill., before, so 50,000 people, I don't care where they're at, they're not going to scare me," he joked.

For those who haven't seen Green's live show yet, he assures them that they'll get their money's worth.

"You're going to see a train wreck in slow motion," he said. "I don't leave anything out there. You're going to get everything I've got. You're going to see a big, sweaty mess, like you would at maybe a Springsteen show. You're going to know I did some work for you."

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