by Shelley Sharp
Did you know that your stay at the Tucker House Inn or Harrison House Suites can include a house concert with the male half of our innkeeping team, Patrick Klausen? Not only is Patrick Mr. Fix-It and delivers a mean breakfast tray, once a week he entertains guests with live music in one of our cozy spaces around the property. We asked how this ex-radio-guy-turned-hotelier incorporates music into his innkeeping gig at the San Juan Island Inn Collection, and how he got his start over 40 decades ago in the L.A. area.
Q: How did you get your start playing music?
A: I always loved music as a child. My father was a tenor guitar player and singer who played in a folk music combo called The Unbearables in the early to mid 70s in Southern California. He used to drag me to rehearsals at his bandmates houses and to his gigs at pizza parlors, senior centers, and house parties. I was very shy and I remember that tagging along and hearing him play was a great way to escape in my head. I started noodling on my dad’s ukulele when I was little…and then on his guitar when I was nine or 10.
When I was in high school, I made friends with a couple of guys who played every Friday and Saturday night on the Huntington Beach Pier. They asked me to join them and we later formed a band who mostly just practiced called, “The Rolling Donuts.” Playing on the pier during those years is where I became more comfortable performing in front of people.
Q: Who influenced you in those early days?
A: My older teenage sisters were my main influencers and introduced me to all of their favorites. Early on, The Beatles, of course. Motown, James Taylor, Jackson Browne, and Neil Young as I got older…oddly, even pop music like The Jackson 5, The Osmonds, and the Partridge Family. In grade school, I remember sleeping with my transistor radio beneath my pillow and listening to A.M. radio stations well into the night. My mom hated it. I really liked Linda Ronstadt and Carol King too. I’ve also always appreciated singers who write their own stuff and play too. Don Mclean’s Solo album got a lot of heavy play in my bedroom.
Q: Did you ever have any paying gigs?
A: When I was a senior in high school (and after), I was in the band The Fabulous Kings. We played in bars and nightclubs and recorded our songs (see Patrick’s website to hear one). The Kings were an electric bluesy rock-‘n’-roll band with a guitar, bass, drums, and harmonica. I played the bass and sang. We wrote most of our own music, and played some covers like The Thrill is Gone by BB King and Cold Shot by Stevie Ray Vaughn. When I moved to Spokane, Washington in the early 1990’s, I joined the band Laffin’ Bones as a singer and electric and stand up bass player. We made the rounds playing blues and Grateful Dead covers at local clubs and blues festivals.
Around 2002, a radio host who has his own bluegrass radio show asked me if I’d like to get together and jam with a few of his friends. From that hookup the acoustic band Big Red Barn was born. We had a vision to be a bluegrass band but branded ourselves as “Rhythm & Bluegrass” — I moved to the standup bass/singer and the other guys played acoustic guitar, mandolin, and banjo. Sometimes added the fiddle and Dobro. Big Red Barn recorded and sold two CDs and played gigs and in festivals all around the Pacific Northwest until I left Spokane in 2015. I loved that band and those guys.
Q: Do you write your own music?
A: When I was learning to play guitar, one of my favorite things was just making up what I call “noodles.” Some of these turned into songs that I recorded later on. My most popular song Pacific Coast Highway (also on his website) was one of these. To some of these noodles I added words and flushed out the music like adding bridges and extending the choruses if the lyrics led me there. Like a lot of song writers my most creative time happened when I was young and in-and-out of depression…18 to 30 or so. Thirst For Mercy is one of these that I still play today.
In 2015, my wife Shelley and I bought a used RV and went on a year-long road trip around most of the Western and South Western United States. I found myself having the time to noodle more and Shelley began writing lyrics. We hope to collaborate on making music together as we find time. My plan is to record some new material, add it to some of my older stuff, and produce a CD of my “greatest hits.” I guess that’s my major resolution for 2019.
Music Venues On-site
Currently, the weather outside is cold and blustery. Our guests of the San Juan Island Inn Collection enjoy Patrick’s Americana set by the fireplace in the central living room. In summer, Patrick entertains on the large shaded deck between Jennies and Lizzies Cottages. In both venues, a nice selection of Washington wines and beer are offered for sale. This casual time, is a great way to meet other guests and relax before a wonderful meal at Coho Restaurant (owned by the Collection) or one of Friday Harbor’s other fine restaurants. One of Patrick’s favorite parts about being an innkeeper is to play for guests. Be sure to ask about his weekly music night when booking your room or checking in.
To learn more about Patrick, listen to some of his tunes, or see songs from his set list, visit: www.PatrickKlausenMusic.com