Canadian Music Trade - April/May 2017 - Page 20

FACES “H onestly, there hasn’t been a day in 45 years where, as I got up in the morning, I said, ‘Damn. I have to go to work today,’” says an enthusiastic Peter Patrick. And while some veterans of Cana- da’s MI industry could make the same claim, what’s particularly noteworthy is that Patrick has spent every one of those 45 years with the same compa- ny. The longtime GM of Erikson Music, Patrick joined the team at JAM Industries before it was called JAM Industries, and has nearly a half-cen- tury’s worth of stories that make his passion for the position and industry crystal clear. Patrick was born in Montreal and spent his childhood moving around to various rural communities with his family, eventually settling in Frederic- ton, NB. He was drawn to music from an early age, having been introduced to classical music by his mother and the jazz greats of the time by his father. He developed his ear playing the harmonica and then the recorder be- fore setting his sights on a guitar after The Beatles’ seminal performance on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1963. Shortly after, he had his first six-string and literally played it until his fingers bled – before Bryan Adams had started grade school. At 17, he was asked to join an established east coast rock band called Naked Lunch and played with them for the following few years. After seeing the band perform on a Halifax TV show, executives with promotions powerhouse Donald K. Donald suggested the band move to Montreal, which they did the follow- ing year amidst the notorious October Crisis. “As you can imagine, a rusty van with out-of-province plates full of long-haired guys was an easy and frequent target,” he recalls. “I believe we were pulled over at least 24 times, sometimes at very nervous gunpoint.” The band was busy with gigs for the first year before the opportunities started waning and they disbanded in 1971. After a brief respite back in New Brunswick, Patrick returned to Montreal and joined another band, 20 CANADIAN MUSIC TRADE Peter Patrick By Andrew King Hotspur, which eventually enlisted fellow NB resident Terry Hatty as its frontman – who would go on to per- form with The Guess Who in the early ‘90s. The band spent months in New Jersey amidst what Patrick calls the “highlight of his musical career,” but he soon grew tired of being broke and hungry and returned to Montreal. During his time with both Naked Lunch and Hotspur, Patrick was in regular contact with a bassist named Allan Embury, who was working at a family-owned music store called Golden Imports. Embury introduced Patrick to Marty Golden and his brother, Sam, and Patrick soon began taking shifts at the store. In 1972, Marty left Golden Im- ports and music retail to found JAM Industries, which has since grown into an MI distribution juggernaut with Patrick along for virtually every step of the journey. In the mid-‘90s, he was promoted to his current post as GM with Erikson Music, which has been his official title ever since. “Music is of course what drew me to this industry and is still a big draw,” Patrick enthuses. “I’m sur- rounded by ‘toys’ and people who love to talk ‘toys,’ but the relationships I’ve developed and the friends I’ve made both here at JAM and around the world have made it a thoroughly enjoyable ride as well.” Among the highlights of a long and storied career are the global destinations he’s visited, including a particularly memorable trip to Japan with Golden for a Christmas party at one of their guitar factories. “The MC was up speaking to several hundred workers and all of a sudden everyone was looking at us,” Patrick recalls. “The guy was saying, in Japa- nese of course, that Marty and I were famous Canadian musicians and that we would play for them, so we dutifully got up and played together for the first time ever. I remember he had to play a pretty bad electric piano with missing keys and the gui- tar I had was pretty bad too, but we played a 12-bar blues thing and got a standing ovation. Famous in Japan!” Another came just a few years ago when JAM received a shipment of guitars with misplaced bridges. Destroying them didn’t feel right, so JAM’s Eddy Shenker found an orga- nization that supplied instruments to indigenous people in the north and they donated about 60 repaired guitars to various village schools. Patrick was invited to present the instruments to Grand Chief Stan Beardy of Nishnawbe Aski Nation at Government House in Toronto and performed a rendition of “Here Comes the Sun” for the dignitaries. Outside the office, Patrick and his wife of 42 years, Elizabeth, enjoy their time together, travelling when- ever the opportunity presents itself. Music is still his number one passion and he still picks up his guitar at least once a day. He also enjoys photogra- phy and keeping active with tennis and his “old-timers” ball hockey league. And to this day, there’s not a morning that begins with anything but enthusiasm ahead of his short commute to work. “The most enjoyable part of the job after all these years is thinking back to how it all started,” he rem- inisces. “When you walk by JAM’s Wall of Fame that recognizes people for their years of service, you see just how many have been here for 5, 10, 15, 20, or 30-plus years and realize that this is a great place that passion- ate people have chosen to call home” – and few for as long as he has. Andrew King is the Editor-in-Chief of Canadian Music Trade.