Interview: True to Their Music–Introducing Patrick Bale & The Pale Ales

“If you try to be something you arent people will see right through you. If you stay true to who you are you cant go wrong.”

Two winters ago, the day before Christmas, a close friend of mine was in town to visit family. We made plans to meet at one of our favorite breweries, BuckleDown Brewing. That occasion had a fulfilling purpose in itself; his brother would perform that night with a band, Patrick Bale & The Pale Ales. The room was filled (funny to think of in our current situation) with friends and family of the band, to full capacity. The evening was filled with well, lots of great beer, but a music act that surprised me.

Now, that surprise from two years ago brings a warm memory today. Something we all could use every now and then.  Patrick Bale & The Pale Ales came to fruition in an effort to blow off steam in the best way they knew how, “by making a bunch of noise in a garage.”

After listening to their debut album, Cheap Shot, I realized the band displays how they stay true to who they are through the art of storytelling. Patrick Bale (lead vocal, guitar), Eric “Gator” Iverson (drums), Rich Kvasnicka (bass), and Bill Carroll (guitar) shared their secret shower songs, inspirations, and other odds and ends when it comes to music.

What’s the most important thing for anyone to know about your band? What is your band about?

Patrick: I think anyone that comes to a Patrick Bale show for the first time can expect a little bit of everything. The best country songs are about telling real life stories. And that’s exactly the kind of songs we wrote for this record. We wanted to make anthems that uplift people and stick with them and then catch you off guard with some of our more emotional tracks. The goal is to bring different people together who have nothing in common and get them to relate and have a good time.

What got you into music? How did the band come to fruition?

P: The band actually started as a stress reliever not meant for anyone else to see. We came together in an effort to blow off steam in the best way we knew how, by making a bunch of noise in a garage. We did enough to where it started to sound better and better. The boss at the bar I was working at needed to drop an act and we filled in. We were able to rock the house with a handful of songs we were playing and wanted to take it to the next level.

I never played much but had listened to all different kinds of music growing up and I think my family playing country most of the time shaped my musical tastes. When all my friends went off to college and I stopped playing football, I picked up a cheap Epiphone to keep myself from going crazy. I ended up falling in love with it and still am!

Rich: I started playing saxophone in 4th grade.

Eric: My dad. He played drums in a classic rock band when I was growing up so I always had it around.

Bill: My dad was a jazz musician and owned a music store. So like Eric, I was always around music.

Cheap Shot by Patrick Bale & The Pale Ales

What’s the central theme or message to the album?

P: One of the artists we look up to once said “You have your whole life to write your first album”, and that’s exactly how we feel about this project. A lot of these stories are about experiencing real emotions for the first time and how a young person handles those unfamiliar feelings. At the same time, there’s an optimism to the stories we tell that no matter what, you have the chance to get back up and give it another shot … no pun intended.

The world is full of questions about quarantine and shelter-in-place. What have your days been like? Are you creating new music or listening to things that inspire each of you?

All: Just like everyone in the world felt at some point, we were extremely frustrated. Right when the lockdown happened we had shows lined up, the album raring to go, and all that got put on-hold. On the bright side, it really gave us time to think about what we did and put the extra polish on the album that all these songs deserved.

Have your family members’ musical interests and abilities influenced the style of this band?

All: Our families all loved music and we learned so much listening to all of their favorite albums growing up. Some of us didn’t have any musicians to learn from growing up. The rest of us came from families of musicians, and played in bands growing up. As we grew into teenagers we got into pop, pop punk, jam bands, country, and heavier stuff like thrash and metal.  

Who are some of your favorite musicians or bands? What have you been listening to in quarantine?

P: Cody Jinks is such a badass. I think the guy is just on fire right now and can’t put out a bad song. Other than that I really love what Tyler Childers, Eric Church, and Luke Combs have been putting out, too.

R: I like to try and listen to a little bit of everything, from classical to punk to show tunes to metal. I can find beauty in almost anything so the favorite band question is a hard one for me. During quarantine I’ve been listening to a lot of our album to get it ready to release, but besides that a few artists are: Reckless Kelly, Marc Ribillet, Bishop Gunn, Cute is What We Aim For, Lydia, Mac Miller, The Starting Line, Turnpike Troubadours, Whiskey Meyers, Taking Back Sunday.

E: Stevie Ray Vaughn, Black Sabbath, Incubus, MGK, Yelawolf, Blackbear, NF. I’ve also been listening to Luke Combs, Whiskey Myers and the Cadillac Three.

B: I don’t listen to music. Exclusively true crime and paranormal podcasts.

What was the first instrument you learned to play and the first instrument you purchased?

B: I took piano lessons when I was little. I tried saxophone for a little while but that wasn’t too successful. Then when I was 10 i started playing guitar. Since then I’ve picked up bass, ukulele, banjo, mandolin, and I’ve gotten a bit better at piano. Obviously I’m most proud of my tin whistle skills.

E: I’ve been playing drums my whole life. First and only love

R: I played alto sax from 4th grade thru high school. I picked up the bass in high school.

P: I accidentally smashed my first guitar. I had an intense performance and snapped the neck right in half. She’s hanging up in my room now.

Have you tried reaching out to other local artists or inspirations to collaborate?

All: Our biggest collaborators have been each other for sure. We all come from different backgrounds and musical styles, so bouncing ideas back and forth to come up with something we all feel really rocks is a great feeling. Other than that that our most important collaborator has been our producer, Chuck Macak. Chuck’s been making records for decades now and his experience and drive really helped us make this album the best that it can possibly be.

What was your album creation process like? Have these songs been in development for a long time?

P: These songs started as a type of self-therapy. I wanted to turn the emotions I was feeling into something tangible. Some of the songs predate the band! We formed it out of necessity to perform stuff like Restless Nights. Over the last couple years, we tried to come up with songs we felt could surpass it, and we finally feel we have a collection of songs that people will enjoy as much as we do.

If you sing in the shower, what’s the go-to?

R: “I Want It That Way” by The Backstreet Boys.

E: “It Wasn’t Me: by Shaggy.

B: “It’s a tie between the Monster Mash and Rock and Roll McDonalds.”

P: “Burnin Love: by Elvis.

I’m not going to ask what’s next for the band, simply because that’s insensitive to the time we are living. What is the best piece of advice you’ve been given about music?

R: Listen to the people playing around you. And have fun.

E: Make sure you love what you are playing. If you don’t, get out.

B: Don’t give it away for free.

P: If you try to be something you aren’t people will see right through you. If you stay true to who you are you can’t go wrong.

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Michael Kocourek

Michael Kocourek is a Berwyn native, now living on the north side. He is a marketing professional, but beyond the corporate world, his passion involves sharing live concert experiences with the masses. If he isn’t curating a playlist or sharing a new song, he’s likely eating at a Chicago restaurant or cooking.

One comment

  1. Great interview!! Love watching these guys live. Nothing foney here. They really perform with
    Everything they have.

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