10 Questions With...... Patrick Klein

1. What are you currently up to? (e.g. touring/studio, etc.)
Right now the Lizards are doing some shows here in the US with Uli Jon Roth.
I am also mixing the audio for our upcoming DVD from our 2005 tours. On a side note, I am producing and recording a CD for a band here in the US called Psycho The Clown.

2. Tell us about The Lizards - the style of music you play and how the songwriting has developed etc.
We started out as a kind of heavy funk rock type of band. It has developed into this almost progressive blues riffing kind of thing. When Bobby joined the band we started doing more complicated and difficult changes and breaks. Keeps you on your toes!

Then, when Mike entered the fold, we added a more soulful and bluesy element to the vocals and melodies. You really can hear the influences of each member. A good example is the song “Down”. We had that written before Mike joined the band. He heard what we had and asked if he could try a different vocal approach. He came up with the melody you hear today.


Overall, our writing has developed as we keep trying to push the envelope of our abilities. Bobby still practices drums intensely. So, one has to keep up or shut up!

For all the advances in modern technology, our songwriting approach is very old school. We set up in our rehearsal room and jam. We record everything, every riff or cool idea, on a Sony handheld cassette recorder. All of our CDs to date are the fruit of this very basic process. It’s high tech in the sense that I will take all the riff ideas from the cassette and make a CD of them so we can all hear the best pieces. Then we take those and put them together into songs and do more cassette demos and then move on to the studio.
On a funny side note - Randy was worried because they don’t make the Sony cassette recorders any more. What if it breaks? So he went on eBay and bought as many of them as he could find!

3. How did you first get into the music business? And who was/is/are the biggest influences on your playing style?
Ha, well, I got into the music business the day I played the Rolling Prairie, Indiana street fair in 1981. It’s been a long road since!
I eventually moved to New York City in 1985 when my band was “discovered” by Tony Bongiovi at Power Station studios in New York. I literally lived in an apartment on top of the studio for 4 years. So, I guess that was my REAL start in the business. I would say the biggest influences on my style are Angus Young, Jimmy Page and Ace Frehley.

4. The Lizards have toured recently with UFO, Nazareth, etc., played Sweden Rock Festival, and worked with lots of well respected names in the music business - tell us some memorable moments from the road - any Spinal Tap
stories? What's the most rock 'n' roll moment you've had so far?
Easily, the most rock'n'roll moment was jamming with Robert Plant in his hometown of Stourbridge, England. Definitely something to write home about!

I have also had the privilege of working with Carmine Appice, Tim Bogert and others. I have learned a lot about where all this great music has come from. And directly from the people who were there when it started! I used to rush the stage when the lights went out to get a front of stage view of UFO. So, to get to tour with them is really cool stuff.

The most Spinal Tap moment was when I got stuck in the throat of the giant lizard head that we all climb out of to start the show. My guitar became lodged in one of the beast’s eye sockets. Oh, back to reality…. The real Spinal Tap moments will be revealed in my memoirs. I mean, it’s all a little Spinal Tap, isn’t it? That’s why we love the movie!

5. What have been the highlight(s) and low point(s) of your career to date?
Highs - Jamming with Ace Frehley at the Power Station. Lunch with Brian Johnson (AC/DC) and his wife last summer. Jamming with Robert Plant. My first European tour with the Lizards. Being approached by Victoria’s Secret models after a showcase for Atlantic Records in 1989. Meeting with Paul Stanley after he expressed interest in producing my band in 1988. Landing my first song in a major motion picture, Ron Howard’s “Gung Ho”, in 1986. Receiving my first Gold Record for writing, of all things, a rap song that appeared on a “Fat Boys” record. Touring with UFO. And I hope more to follow!

Low - Losing a recording contract with Atlantic Records in 1990.

6. How important do you feel the internet is for promoting music? And what are your thoughts on the current state of the music business? And on the 'downloading' issue?
The internet is how we all explore, isn’t it? It’s a gateway to discovering music you had no way of accessing just a few years ago. It’s somewhat of an equalizing force. An unknown band can have the same opportunities as a big artist. At least the same basic stuff - professional website, music downloads, video, press. It is very important, in my opinion.

The current music business is in a huge state of flux. The paradigms are changing. The old rules don’t apply. Even the geniuses at the major labels can’t figure it out. The market will dictate how this plays out. At least until someone finds a way to dominate in the new landscape. It’s a lot like a class rebellion. The common folk are going up against the governing class and demanding change! As more bands and musicians get wise to the business and promotion methods available to the average Joe, we could see the fall of the Big Label Dynasty. As soon as one great band has a hit with an independent offering on the internet I think we will see more change. Why would someone sign a deal that gives them 12% and puts them in debt for hundreds of thousands of dollars to a label when they can keep 80% or whatever? It should be the other way around - talent 85% label 15%.
Someone will figure out a way to do it. Then.... lookout!

7. Who are your own musical heroes, and why? And which have been the best bands you have seen play live, and why? Apart from the Lizards (of course!) which up'n'coming bands do you feel have got what it takes to be The Next
Big Thing?
When I heard KISS Alive! I was hooked. It was such a great package! The smoke, the costumes, the music. If you’ve never been to a KISS concert you should go. Paul Stanley is the ultimate front man. He puts out 100% at every show. I saw them last year at Jones Beach where it was a half filled crowd. It was still a larger-than-life performance. No cynicism, no half-assed sulking. Just great spirit and drive. That’s what makes a great show even if the musicians are not virtuosos. I mean, you might laugh when Paul Stanley shakes his ass like a go-go dancer but you gotta love the energy!

I saw AC/DC at Madison Square Garden in the 90’s and that was spectacular. The best sounding concert I’ve been to. They are tight! Angus is another one of those all-in performers.

The Who at Madison Square Garden a few years back. Townsend - awesome! Again, just amazing spirit. If you ever question why some of these guys are as big as they are, go see them live. They have an electricity that the average star-wanna-be does not possess.

I don’t know who the next big thing will be but System of a Down rocked my world when I saw them on Saturday Night Live and heard their latest CD. The song BYOB made my jaw drop.

8. What would you like to achieve by the end of 2006?
After I have brokered world peace, I would like to float on a bamboo raft near a beach in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands. Before that I would like to see the new Lizards CD skyrocket to success and to produce as much fabulous music as possible!

9. What do you like doing in your spare time outside of music?
I like technology, photography, reading. I live in New York so there is a lot to take advantage of culturally. Art galleries, museums, great dining of all varieties. I enjoy going to the gym for a good workout. Keep the old bones in working order!

10. Please give us a message for your fans
Thanks for all your support! Without you we are just a bunch of guys jamming in a basement.

Many thanks to Jason Ritchie at
© 10th May 2006