Pat Mastelotto earned his reputation as an LA session drummer in the 1970s, working with a diverse range of artists from Kenny Loggins to Patti LaBelle. In the 1980s, Pat was one of the founding members of Mr. Mister. After more session work, Pat was invited to join King Crimson for their "double trio" tour. A member of King Crimson since 1994, Pat has appeared on 20 of the band's albums. His numerous projects include HoBoLeMa [Holdsworth, Bozzio, Levin, Mastelotto] and touring with The Flower Kings. The Korg Wavedrum caught Pat's attention, and we were able to talk to him about his career, projects, and find out his thoughts on the Wavedrum.
KORG: Hi Pat. I was looking over your credit list and it’s a veritable who's who of rock – Eddie Money, XTC, Hall & Oates, Mr. Mister, Crimson, etc. So what are you up to right now?
PM: Since King Crimson is not active I keep busy with all sorts of things. The most front burner stuff right now is Stick Men; that's me plus Tony Levin and Michael Bernier on Chapman sticks. It's quite a sound.
KORG: So are Stick Men touring or recording?
PM: We have been doing a gob of gigs all over the world for the past year and half, and in the process of writing and recording as much as possible. Along the way we were lucky enough to open for Porcupine Tree, and decided to sell an advance version of the upcoming recordings. That CD we dropped last year, and now we’re just finishing up the CD Soup in time for North American dates this May. Besides our originals, we recorded 4 movements of Stravinsky's Firebird Suite. It's quite an arrangement! Tony Levin was working on it for months as we rode in vans all over the Europe last year. Stick Men just got back from South America and after that we're doing a North America eastern side tour in May, then Japan in June, and then right to Italy to begin another European tour.
KORG: Wow! So you guys will be busy this year…
PM: But first!! There will be the third installment of HoBoLeMa. That’s what I call Alan Holdsworth, Terry Bozzio, Tony Levin and me. We do entirely improvised shows, all one of a kind! We will be going to Europe in April for 20 shows. The night before the first HoBoLeMa gig in Berlin I have a gig in Seattle with Trey Gunn, so I'm rackin' up FF miles for me and my carry-on gear (like the Wavedrum). For HoBoLeMa I'm planning to bring an old [Korg] ES-1 Electribe.
KORG: Ok, so you'll be gigging yourself ragged. What's on the recording front, Pat?
PM: On the recording front, many things – including some tracks for Julie Slick [bassist in Adrian Belew’s power trio], and lots of work going into the next Tuner CD. The last one was in Modern Drummer's 50 Progressive Rock Masterpieces, so my partner Markus Reuter and I are motivated to go long – prog long – and are doing a double dittie we call "FACE." Part one should be done in a year or so.
KORG: How does one project of yours compare to the others?
PM: Gosh, man; my sh-ts all over the place. You know I've done pop songs for ages, but somehow along the way I got my dream of a nice home studio, and can record pretty much as I please. Some amazing music and musicians have crossed my life. I've got a project called KTU with Trey Gunn and Finlandish accordion daredevil Kimmo Phjoien that you must see someday. The band is dangerously brilliant.
On the other hand, there is project with Chrytsa Bell, and she is fragile like porcelain. She’s David Lynch's discovery that I've been helping to record for a few years now.
KORG: You mentioned Stick Men were gigging in South America recently; any notable gigs down there?
PM: A gig in Chile that was exceptional. It was less than a week after their earthquake, the concert had been booked for months and we had been getting lots of mail from excited fans that thought we weren't going to make it. But we just keep working on flights and at the last minute were able to find a way thru Peru that meant sleeping that night for 5 hours at the Lima airport so we could get to Santiago in time for show. Totally worth it; it was awesome to feel the energy and see the smiles when we did that gig.
KORG: Pat, how did you get involved with the Wavedrum?
PM: I just like the weird sh-t; always sniffin' around for something new. I got one of the first ones [the original Wavedrum model] back around '94. In fact, while I was in Japan, Korg brought me to the factory and I met the R+D team and saw the mad little room they work in.
KORG: Any favorite features on the Wavedrum?
PM: The pushing after touch stuff you can do; the nuances that can come from playing near the edge when it can get real clang-ey.
KORG: How do you approach working the Wavedrum into your sound?
PM: I just forage for joy!
KORG: Finally, would you care to describe the Wavedrum for us?
Great, Pat! Thanks so much for your time.