Three Dog Night - Pat Bautz

Pat Bautz believes in having fun, no matter where he is or what he is doing. Three Dog Night's drummer since 1993, Pat takes great pride in the band and in his role in holding down the rhythm. He is very serious about his mucis, but he doesn't take himself quite so seriously, as you will discover in this 2001 conversation, literally transcribed just the way it occurred.

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So, have you found any good websites lately ...

Gosh ... What can I tell you ...

... that we can talk about in a family publication.

Oh, right! (laughs) Now I'm going to have to go sit at my computer and take a look. I've been looking at boats lately ... Since last time I saw you, my wife and I are moving from lovely Nashville to Florida.

Oh, really?

Cocoa Beach.

What brought that on?

Oh, a lot of things ... We own a bunch of rental property down there. And it's just such a pain, every time you have to evict somebody or do something, I have to hop on a plane and go down there ... you know, it's just such a pain to keep going back and forth. I guess that's the reason. And we just got a great house on the water, at a great price, too.

So you're a water person?

Oh, man! Absolutely. Cory and I are the fishing guys of the group. For me it's saltwater. Cory's the freshwater fisherman and I'm the saltwater guy. I'm the guy who loves to catch redfish and all kinds of fun stuff. So I'll be right on the Intercoastal (Waterway) there, and four blocks from the beach, so it'll be a great thing. And I'll be able to see the launches from the (Kennedy) space center from the beach.

Cory's buddy Rob Grill (of the Grass Roots) lives down there near Orlando, too.

Yeah, Rob doesn't do much fishing anymore. The last time I talked to him about fishing he said the lake he lives on, everyone's fished it so much that it's hard to catch anything there anymore. You know, that kind of stuff happens. You show them that little pink lure for so long until they decide they don't want to eat it anymore.

Were you always a drummer? Is that what you started with?

Absolutely! My older brothers are drummers also, so it's kind of a family tradition. And the first gig I can ever remember playing - boy, this is embarrassing - I was "The Little Drummer Boy" for Christmas. And when was this - I was ... oh, man ... six.

I thought you were going to say this was about six years ago.

(Laughs) Well, that could be it too, couldn't it?

So were your brothers your main influences or who?

Oh, I was a huge Buddy Rich fan. I was a huge Rich fan. And a little bit later on I was a huge Billy Cobham fan, which no one's probably ever heard of ...

Oh, yeah; I know him.

Yeah, except jazz guys would know who he is. But, yeah, I was a big Cobham fan, Lenny White, I was pretty much a jazz guy in my early days.

You didn't go back to Gene Krupa?

You know, I did listen to Krupa, but he was just a bit before I was a huge drumming fan. I remember the day Krupa died ... and of course I saw the Sal Mineo (movie) version of his life.

Do you remember the female lead in The Gene Krupa Story?

Now that's a thought, isn't it ... No, I don't.

Jimmy would probably know, since he's the movie trivia guy ...

Yeah, Greenspoon would know that, and a lot of other things, too (laughs). He knows who did every song from, like, '65 to '80. That guy knows who wrote it and sang it.

Well, I thought EVERYBODY knew that, or SHOULD know it, anyway.

I don't. But who was she ...

That was Yvonne Craig, "Batgirl."

Oh, really! I did not know that. Wow! That's a bit of trivia. But I thought that was a pretty cool movie. I thought it was pretty amazing that someone actually made a movie of a drummer's life ... and people actually wanted to go see it! But I didn't know that was her. Maybe that will be on, like, the AMC (American Movie Classics) channel or something and I can see it again.

She's a great lady; she and I talk via e-mail all the time. Her sister is great, too. But yeah, I think most people remember her as Batgirl, or the dancing green woman from Star Trek or from the Elvis movies she did.

Which ones?

It Happened At The World's Fair and Kissin' Cousins.

Wow ...I was a staunch Batman fan. She was Batgirl? Oh, wow ... I think I dug Batgirl back then; I think I was really digging her. I didn't dig Catwoman because she had too much of an attitude.

Well, actually there were three Catwomen. Julie Newmar was the first one, and then Lee Meriwether and, the third season, Eartha Kitt.

I guess there probably was. You know, there was a time when I really dug Batman and The Andy Griffith Show, which was my favorite show when I was a kid ...

It still IS my favorite comedy show ...

Absolutely! But it's gotta be the black and white ones, because, like, in '66, when they went color, Barney was gone, and ... and ...

The whole dynamic of the show changed.

Yeah! Who's that guy ... I never could stand it when he was on there ... Howard. I had to turn it off when Howard was on there. He's an irritating guy. Or, who was the guy after Barney ... "huh, huh?"

That was Jack Burns as Warren. He lasted one season.

Yeah; I didn't like him either. But what a great guy, Don Knotts. The Ghost And Mr. Chicken, what a great movie. One of my all-time favorites, actually.

How To Frame A Figg ... Yvonne was in that one, too.

Yes. My favorite ones were The Ghost And Mr. Chicken and The Incredible Mr. Limpet. THAT'S a great movie (laughter). It's scary that those are my favorite movies. Actually, that's what I named my boat, "The Limpet."

What kind of boat?

Oh, it's just a little bass boat, but it's called "The Limpet."

Does it limp?

Well, only at certain times. But a little boat Viagra gets it going. THAT'S another story (laughs).

So, when was the first band?

Oh, boy, here's a story for you. My first actual gig was in a club. I was 15, and I played with "Earl and The Blue Denims." Of course, I was a Blue Denim. It was probably the worst band I ever played in in my life. But, hey, I was 15, and I got paid 20 bucks.

And where was this?

In Florida; Melbourne, Florida. I was so young, my Mom had to drive me to the gig, and I made her wait for me outside, so I wouldn't be embarrassed that my Mom was taking me to the gig. (Laughs) I think I played with old Earl ... not too many times, because ... his favorite song to play was "That Good Old Mountain Dew."

Ah, yes; I remember it well.

And Earl couldn't play "two" and "four" for very long; he'd suddenly be over on "one" and "three." I don't know ... he always changed it around ... that was the start of my actual musical career (laughs). But, yeah, that was my actual first paid gig. But, I played in the jazz band in school and ... I was a big band jazz guy in those days.

So, when did you make your transition from jazz over toward the rock and roll stuff?

Well, I went to college, and I was a big band player, and, to make some money, I played in just whatever bands were playing around town. And then I moved to Texas after that, probably when I was ... oh, gosh, I'm not sure how old I was ... I moved to Houston. I did do a lot of jazz work there but that's when I started doing a lot of sessions. I did a record for Freddy Fender back in those days, I worked with Mickey Gilley back in those days - the country guys ... and I actually worked at Gilley's recording studio for a long time.

As a session guy or an engineer?

As a session guy, and an engineer, but mostly as a session guy.

Is that another big interest for you, engineering?

Ah, I did a lot of engineering in my day. But, yeah, I do like the technical end. I like creating sounds and all that kind of stuff. But I did that, and then I moved to Los Angeles ... and, God, I was the backup guy for every oldies act on the planet. You know those, where they kind of shuffle the guys through ... You play with everybody and their brother, the Little Anthonys of the world. There's a guy in L.A. when I first moved there, and he was the one who hooked me up with that circuit. I played with Peter Noone ... I played with 'em all (laughs). Actually, it was a lot of fun, because it was a very heavy reading gig. Each guy would do, you know, four or five tunes. So you show up in the afternoon and they throw, like, twenty charts in front of you, and somebody counts 'em off and you just start playin' 'em, and they just shuffle the guys through. It's a lot of fun. I really like reading it. It's kinda like driving in a real fast car ... around corners (laughs). Drivin' too fast.

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