Pat Travers

Pat Travers

Patrick Henry Travers (born April 12 1954) a native of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, is a guitarist who began his recording career with Polydor Records in the mid 1970s. Pat Thrall, Nicko McBrain, Tommy Aldridge, Peter "Mars" Cowling, Jerry Riggs, and Carmine Appice are some of the noted musicians that have been members of the Pat Travers Band through the years.


Pat Travers was born and raised in Toronto, Canada. Soon after picking up the guitar at age 12, he saw Jimi Hendrix perform in Ottawa. Inspired by Hendrix, as well as other artists including Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton and Jimmy Page, Travers began playing in bands early in his teens; his first bands were The Music Machine, Red Hot, and Merge, which played in Quebec-area clubs.

While performing with Merge, he was noticed by rock artist Ronnie Hawkins, who invited Travers to perform with him. Next, the young guitarist moved to London and landed a deal with the Polydor label in his early 20's. His self-titled debut album was released in 1976, and featured bassist Peter "Mars" Cowling, who would become a mainstay in Travers' band for several years. An appearance on the German TV show "Rockpalast" in November 1976 was later released on DVD under the title "Hooked On Music". This performance showcases an early version of Travers' band featuring Cowling and drummer Nicko McBrain.

During 1977 Travers added a second guitarist to his band, changed drummers twice including using Clive Edwards, and by the time "Heat In The Street" was released in 1978, had put together the Pat Travers Band. This grouping featured Travers on vocals and guitar, Pat Thrall on guitar, Cowling on bass, and Tommy Aldridge on drums and percussion. The band's next release was a live album entitled "Go For What You Know", which charted in the Top 40 in the United States and included "Boom Boom (Out Go The Lights)". This was followed by the 1980 release "Crash and Burn", which climbed even higher on the charts, entering the Top 20. "Snortin' Whiskey" was a major American radio hit from this album and Pat Travers began the 1980s as a hot item in the hard rock music scene.

Things began to slide downward for Travers in August 1980. After an appearance before 35,000 people at the Reading Music Festival in England, both Thrall and Aldridge announced they were leaving the band to pursue other projects. Travers and Cowling forged on with drummer Sandy Gennaro and released "Radio Active" in 1981. A co-headlining tour with Rainbow followed, and the two bands performed in major arenas across North America. Although the tour was Travers' most successful road outing, the "Radio Active" album barely made it into the Top 40. It was much different than Travers' previous work, with more emphasis on keyboards than heavy guitars. Disappointed with the lack of sales, Polydor Records dropped Travers from their roster, and he in turn sued the record company on grounds that he was under contract with them to record more material. He won the lawsuit, and was able to release "Black Pearl" in 1982. This release also featured more of a mainstream type of music, rather than the hard-driving rock Travers had recorded earlier. "Hot Shot" was Travers' last major label release of original music, and was a return to a harder-edge style of rock than his previous two albums had been. One of Travers' best-recorded projects, it went basically unnoticed and is best remembered for the single "Killer". It was during this time that Travers also released "Just Another Killer Day", a 30-minute home video featuring music from "Hot Shot" that was a sci-fi type short story about sexy alien women searching for information on music here on earth.

Before the release of "Hot Shot", longtime bassist Cowling left the band, and Travers would work with several different bassists until Cowling's return in 1989. Also at this time Jerry Riggs joined the Pat Travers Band, and he and Travers created a guitar team that fans considered diffiicult to rival. After "Hot Shot"'s release in 1984, Polydor made plans to issue a greatest hits package, and then ended their relationship with Travers.

The latter half of the 1980s were quite grueling for Travers. Having entered the decade at the top of the music game, he found himself in 1986 without a record contract and being forced to earn a living once again playing nightclubs and touring constantly. By 1990, he had gained a deal with a small European label and released "School Of Hard Knocks". Totally ignored by radio, the project was solid and contained some of Travers' best material. A full-length concert video "Boom Boom-Live At The Diamond Club" was shot in Toronto the following year, but Travers was still not able to return to the success he had ten years earlier.

Shortly after, Travers signed a deal with American-based Blues Bureau International Records, a company formed by noted producer Mike Varney. Travers' first recording for the label was "Blues Tracks" released in 1992. It earned positive reviews from critics. Several more releases on the BBI label followed during the 1990s. In 1993, Travers parted company with both Jerry Riggs and Peter "Mars" Cowling, and Riggs was briefly replaced by former Foghat guitarist Erik Cartwright. The relationship was very brief, and Travers has worked with a variety of musicians since that time. Travers has not been able to regain the level of commercial success he once had, but he does have a very large and loyal fan base who call themselves "Hammer Heads". He tours regularly in the U.S. and has made several trips to Europe in the last decade as well. In 2001 he was part of the “Voices of Classic Rock” tour, and had a minor hit with Leslie West from the band Mountain called "Rock Forever". In 2004 he started a project with the veteran session drummer Carmine Appice and started touring the US; as of now there are 3 albums released. Travers was still rocking in 2006 with the Power Trio playing cover tunes from bands such as Led Zeppelin, Montrose, Queen, Trapeze under the album name: P.T. Power Trio 2, and they toured Europe in November 2006. Travers has lived in central Florida for several years, and is now married with two children.

Travers, in retrospect, is generally considered one of the most influential rock guitarists who emerged from the 1970s hard rock genre. Several guitarists such as Metallica's Kirk Hammett have cited Travers as a major influence.

Pat Travers line up now consists of Pat Travers, Kirk Mckim (guitar), Randy Lane (drums), and Rodney O'Quinn (bass)


* 1976 Pat Travers
* 1977 Makin' Magic
* 1977 Putting It Straight
* 1978 Heat In The Street
* 1979 Live! Go For What You Know
* 1980 Crash and Burn
* 1981 Radio Active
* 1982 Black Pearl
* 1984 Hot Shot
* 1990 School Of Hard Knocks
* 1991 Boom Boom (Live)
* 1992 BBC Radio 1 Live Concert
* 1992 Blues Tracks
* 1993 Just A Touch
* 1994 Blues Magnet
* 1995 Halfway To Somewhere
* 1996 Lookin' Up
* 1997 King Biscuit Live
* 1997 Whiskey Blues (a.k.a. Boom Boom, Live)
* 1998 Blues Tracks, Vol. 2
* 2000 Don't Feed The Alligators
* 2000 Boom Boom, Live at the Diamond 1990
* 2003 P.T. Power Trio
* 2005 PT=MC2
* 2006 P.T. Power Trio 2
* 2007 Stick To What You Know, Live in Europe

Noted Singles Released During Major Label Career

* 1976 Makes No Difference
* 1976 Stop And Smile
* 1977 Stevie
* 1977 Rock 'N' Roll Susie
* 1977 Gettin' Betta
* 1977 Life In London
* 1978 Heat In The Street
* 1978 Go All Night
* 1979 Boom Boom (Out Go The Lights)
* 1980 Snortin' Whiskey
* 1980 Crash And Burn
* 1980 (Your Love) Can't Be Right
* 1981 My Life Is On The Line
* 1981 New Age Music
* 1982 I La La La Love You
* 1982 Rockin'
* 1982 I'd Rather See You Dead
* 1984 Women On The Edge Of Love
* 1984 Killer

Travers & Appice albums

* 2004 It Takes A Lot Of Balls
* 2005 Live At The House Of Blues
* 2005 Bazooka (a.k.a. Superstition)

Compilation albums

* 1985 Boom Boom, The Best of Pat Travers
* 1990 Anthology Vol 1
* 1990 Anthology Vol 2
* 1991 The Best of Pat Travers
* 1997 Best Of Blues + Live!
* 2003 20th Century Masters, The Best Of Pat Travers

Pat Travers Is Credited On The Following CDs

* 1977 Glenn Hughes Play Me Out
* 1993 Songs From The Better Blues Bureau
* 1993 L.A. Blues Authority, Vol.III "Hats Off To Stevie Ray"
* 1993 L.A. Blues Authority, Vol.IV "Fit For A. King"
* 1994 L.A. Blues Authority, Vol.V "Cream Of The Crop"
* 2001 Glenn Hughes Building The Machine


During his first years as a recording artist, Travers would choose members of the audience to join him onstage and play "air guitar" on a cardboard replica of one of his instruments during a jam session.

David Hemmings was Travers' manager from 1975 until 1981 and is often confused with the British actor of the same name in trivia questions.

Travers is generally thought of as playing Gibson guitars, but he has also used Fender Telecasters regularly throughout his career. In recent years Travers has begun to use guitars manufactured by Paul Reed Smith on a steady basis.

Gibson guitars produced a special edition sunburst Les Paul double cutaway guitar for Travers in 1983. It would become his main guitar for nearly twenty years and the one he was most often associated with in photos. Gibson produced only one other guitar of this type, which was made for Joe Walsh. Travers finally decided to get rid of the guitar in 2006 since he no longer used it, and sold it on EBAY for $10,000

Travers performed with Todd Rundgren's band on "Saturday Night Live" in 1980.

External links

* [ Pat Travers Official Web Site]
* [ Bio at]

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