20 Ouestions With Pat Green

To the rest of the country, Texan Pat Green is a new face on the music scene. But in Texas and surrounding states he has a huge following among college-age kids drawn to his rambling, partying, Texas-spawned soul. His album, Three Days, on Republic/Universal, turned heads when it entered Billboard’s Top Country Albums chart at No. 7 in November. His video for the up tempo anthem “Carry On” went to No. 1 on CMT’s fan-voted Most Wanted Live countdown, and Radney Foster’s clip for “Texas in 1880,” including a cameo by Green, has spent its share of time on the MWL register.

We wanted to know more about Green, and we figured you would, too. Earlier, he talked to us for a feature. Below, he answers 20 questions submitted by fans. He recalls the first album he ever bought, the first concert he went to, his favorite live performer, and he discusses the tension between his old and new fans. He also talks about naked fans, guys who cut the crowns out of their hats and his decision to re-record some of his older material for the new album.

1. Why do you have such a huge following of college students?

I guess it’s because I never grew up. Seems like I’ve always had that mentality of just living my life footloose and fancy free. I’m not really all that concerned about ever being that serious about anything (laughs). That’s how I was in college. I can’t really speak for other people and how they act in college. When I was there, I kinda took it as it came. I never really worried about my grades or anything else like that. I just kinda had fun enjoying life, experiencing growing up a little bit, but not too much.

2. How old is Pat Green and when did he start his singing career? I would also like to know if he is married or seeing anyone?

I am 29. I started singing when I was 18 and I am married (laughs), happily (laughs again). My wife’s name is Kori. We met in college and got married a couple of years ago.

3. How tall are you?

6 foot 3. That’s with my boots on.

4. What do you like to do in your free time, when you’re off the road?

I’m a pretty outdoorsy kind of guy. I like hunting, golf, some fishing and I like to write, especially late at night. I do all kind of writing. I write little short stories and introspectives, you know, make up stuff. That’s usually fodder for my regular writing, my songwriting.

5. Who or what was the reason for your love of music?

My dad, who was really into music, but my whole family. With as many sisters and brothers as I have, this huge family, there was always different kinds of music around. My brother David loved Motown. My brother George was into big rock ’n’ roll bands. Dad was into musicals. You walk down the hallway at my house and there was always something going on.

6. What was your first album you ever bought and what was your first concert you ever went to?

First album I ever bought was Dire Straits, Brothers in Arms. First concert I ever went to was Chicago, I think. Now, the first concert that I ever got to pick myself — my parents took me to Chicago — but the first concert I ever got to pick myself, that I bought the tickets for, was Sting at Reunion Arena in Dallas.

7. I’ve been to a lot of different live shows — everything from ZZ Top to Stone Temple Pilots to George Strait. I still rank you as my favorite live performer. Who do you rank as your favorite to see live?

Certainly Sting is top of the mark there. His work on different instruments is what impresses me most about him. There’s a new guy named Bob Schneider [from Austin, Texas] who I think is an amazing performer. That’s a great question. I bet I could think for about 10 minutes and have some other answers.

8. I purchased your new CD on the Tuesday it came out, and “Carry On” got me past mile 90 in an Ironman Triathlon that Saturday! The conditions were particularly hard that day, and the bike portion was just brutal, but I “grabbed my world with my own two hands” and finished my second Ironman. What song or whose music has had the kind of impact on your life that you can point to and say “Thank You”?

Wow, what a great question. Somebody put some thought into that. Let’s see here. Who can I really thank? I’d have to thank the Beatles. They were the masters of making music happen in so many different directions at the same time. They really knew how to create music that would start in one place and end in another. That’s one thing I really enjoy about their music. I’d have to thank Jim Morrison of the Doors for being such a free thinker, to allow songs to have as little or as much shape as he wanted them to [have].

And back to the Beatles, I’d have to thank them for being a group of musicians, thinking together on how a song should have movement like that. I really appreciate that out of my band as well. Lastly, and really most importantly, is the guys in my band who’ve been with me for many, many years, who are accomplished talented people.

9. What is the craziest thing a fan has done? For example, anyone ever showed you a tattoo of your logo?

I’ve seen my own lyrics on tattoos. I think that’s a little bit … you know, I’m like, well, OK, whatever floats your boat. Please don’t hold me responsible for when your children see that. It’s amazing to me. I’m very happy and secure and enjoy my marriage and all that, but what’s funny to me is that there are people out there that think I want to see them naked. I’m like, OK (laughs), way to go, you’re making your mama proud, is what I keep thinking. My favorite ones are when the drunk guy gets up on stage like he’s gonna … and he doesn’t know what he’s going to do. It’s crazy to me. They get this great, brilliant plan to hop up on stage in front of 10,000 people. They get up there and they’re like, ’OK, I’m here. What do I do?’ The only thing they can think of is to jump back into the crowd and they all kind of move out of the way and they hit the floor. Crazy-slash-stupid.

10. For a year or more, young guys in their 20s have been wearing western hats with the crown cut out. When I ask the boys about this, their answer is “Pat Green”! Why do they cut the crowns out of very expensive hats? Do you wear a hat like that?

No. I’ve never worn a hat with the crown cut out. And I honestly don’t think I have anything to do with that. I have seen it. My only guess is that they want it to be like a visor (laughs), a full-on visor rather than just a frontal visor. I don’t know. To me, with any kind of clothing, I’m not about looking ’hospital corners’ [neat] unless I’m going to church or to a wedding. I’d rather be frumpy, wrinkled and untouched. I don’t like my cowboy hat to look real pretty anyway.

11. What was it like working with Radney Foster on his hit “Texas in 1880,” and do you plan to do a show with Radney anytime soon?

I’d certainly love to work with Radney at any time. I believe we do have some stuff planned. Working with Radney, it’s really great to work with such an accomplished writer. That’s what I really enjoyed. After getting to play that song that Bill Lloyd wrote [“Texas in 1880”], after that, I got to write with [Radney] and hang out with him and really kinda crawl around inside of his brain. He’s just such an accomplished person that it was neat to experience that. I don’t know the specifics [about playing together] because I don’t usually look at my schedule until the week of, but I know we’ve been talking about doing dates, but not a tour, nothing major.

12. What is the biggest sacrifice you have had to make by signing with Universal/Republic and taking your music national?

I don’t get paid on a per-record basis (laughs). There’s really not been any sacrifice as far as I know of. On this new record that we put out, I wanted it to be all new material and they [the record company] wanted it to be all old material. So we did compromise, but I would hardly call it a sacrifice. They are wonderful people and they believe in my music and my band and how I want it done, and they’re just getting behind it. As far as I know, there really hasn’t been any loss for me.

13. Why did you re-record some of the tracks from previous CDs to put on your Three Days CD? When can we expect a full-length new CD?

The next one will be a full-length, new CD, all new material. The reason why we re-recorded [some songs], is because they wanted a bunch of the catalog songs on there, and I simply didn’t want them to be old recordings. I wanted them to be current and how we play them now, on stage, as opposed to how we played them six or eight years ago when they were first recorded. My voice was six or eight years younger. Your voice matures just like any other part of your body. If you listen to old recordings of Willie Nelson, he doesn’t sound like he does now. Same with me or anybody else. I just wanted to make sure that for our first nationwide release, everything sounded vocally and sonically comparable to whatever else was on the record. A lot of people got on me for changing the songs. They felt like I was selling out. I was like, ’Kiss my ass. It’s my song.’

14. What are some of your ideas for the next video off the new album?

I’m keeping that one under my hat. The next single is ’Three Days.’ If that’s any salt for your eggs, then great. But I don’t want to speculate too deeply on the many, many treatments that we’ve received.

15. You’ve been in the music business for years now. “Carry On” isn’t even a new song for you. Is it weird to go from Texas hero to country newcomer?

I always knew it would come to that. Yeah, it’s really weird to play new markets where nobody knows or cares who you are. At the same time, it’s a welcome challenge. What most people don’t understand, whenever they get on me for taking my music outside of the state, is everybody’s got to be challenged in one way or another, in life. I need that on many different levels. I need to be challenged on stage, to perform in front of new people and to get them to enjoy my music. But I also have to take it to new places and see if it’s going to fly. All my roots and all my bases are right here at home in Texas, but I’ve got to see what the rest of the world can do, too.

16. Now that you have found more mainstream success with the new music video, CD and press attention, do you see yourself conforming more to mainstream country music from Nashville?

No. That’s all. No.

17. I am a new fan. I’m from Alabama and have not had the pleasure (until now) to be exposed to your music. I have been to your Web site and read some of the things that your “real” fans had to say. They’ve called you a “sellout” for being on CMT and they are not very welcoming to your new fans. So, basically, what I was wondering is, do you have anything to say to your “real” or new fans regarding this issue?

I think that can be addressed. Honestly, our crowd at the video for ’Carry On’ was 40,000 people. There’s not many country artists in any state who can put that kind of crowd together. When you have that much of a mass appeal and it hasn’t gone big, there are a lot of people who feel ownership, or feel something slipping away when it gets on TV. First of all, the fans here at home should not feel slighted or gypped in any way. This is just my work. I’ve got to keep things moving forward.

To the new fans, I say welcome. Don’t worry about it. If the people who are already here are hard on anybody, I’m just as much here for the new people as the old people. This is my job. This is how I make a living and how I stay happy and enjoy my life. As far as, if people want to take ownership, that’s great, but the moment they start controlling me, that’s the same as a record label telling me I’ve gotta do something I don’t want to do. It’s like, hey, this is my life.

18. “Threadbare Gypsy Soul” is my favorite cut from Three Days, and I’m not alone in my love for that song. I understand that Willie Nelson [who sings the song with you on the CD] can’t travel with you, but why aren’t you doing the song on your tour?

Hmmmm … Don’t know. It’s a good question. Maybe I respect the song a lot and want to play it in its [true] state first. I’ve never played it live because I’ve never had a chance to play it with Willie. I don’t know, that’s a good question. Certainly, we will start playing it more.

19. What’s your favorite song to perform? Mine is a toss up between “Southbound 35” and when you sing that song, “Stop, hey, what’s that sound, everybody look what’s goin’ round!”

Oh yeah. That’s called ’For What It’s Worth.” Buffalo Springfield. I enjoy performing that, simply because it’s a new song we started doing for the Sept. 11 people. New songs are always a lot of fun to perform. Then again, I really enjoy playing … ’George’s Bar’ and ’Carry On’ are probably my two favorite to perform.

20. I’m from Texas, and a lot of fans say you sold out. I believe you’re leading the way for more Texas country to follow. What are your goals for the next five years?

Well, first of all, if anybody thinks I sold out, they can kiss my ass and get in line behind anybody else who thinks that. I’ve got my band, they’re my songs, and if they’re not my songs, I either co-wrote or I have some kind of connection with them, just like any other record I’ve ever done in my life. The future holds very much the same of what it has in the past. I plan on continuing to force myself to grow in my writing and to grow in my performing and to make it better and to make it more interesting for you and for me, equally. The crowds are still getting a lot bigger around Texas and they keep growing around here. It does get my cockles up whenever I hear people say I sold out, but so be it. Think what you want to think.

Second, I hope that I can do anything for the future of this music. I’m not doing anything than what Willie Nelson or Johnny Cash or Waylon Jennings ever did. They’ve helped me out in ways that I could never repay. Jerry Jeff Walker, same way. I will always be there for somebody coming up and lend an ear or a hand if I can. If people aren’t willing to lend a hand or help out somebody else who’s coming up and realize that music isn’t really a competition, they’re probably not worth their salt anyway. The next five years, that’s exactly the plan. Nothing’s going to change for me. I’m writing new songs everyday that I can. Some are going in a fun direction and some are staying exactly where I was 10 years ago. All in all, I really enjoy the process of writing and experiencing my own creativity.