(From Valley Center, Patrick Kelly provided the driving beat behind Legion from February, 1974 through November, 1975. )
When asked to write my bio for the Legiontheband homepage all I could think about was how corny it’s going to sound when I tell everybody I was born a poor black boy in southern Georgia during the winter of the great depression. I mean all the great blues players started just that same way.
My bad. Wrong band. That was from the bio from my “Blue Period”.
This one is supposed to be about my Rock-n-Roll days.
Okay. Let’s try this. I was born in the housewares department of Macy’s in 1951.The beautiful pots and pans on display when I popped out looked like drums to me and I remember thinking “when I’m finally potty trained and can take an extended solo without soiling myself I’m going to bang on some of these copper bottomed pots with a spoon and join other musicians for jam sessions and stuff”.
Well that day finally came and I practiced and practiced on some of the finest pots and pans in the Midwest. Then the inevitable happened, and through a stroke of almost unbelievable luck, I joined the Spike Jones Band in Cedar Bluffs, Iowa, for their swing through the Midwest.
It was the summer of 1956 and I was the youngest musician in the band, possibly in the world. Spike was like an uncle to me and encouraged me to reach out and explore new genres and utensils.
He really liked the sound of my big soup kettle and he liked the way I could lay down a solid bottom with my cauldron and home-made pedal. Those years are just a blur now.
Flash forward 18 years and 3 leisure suits. I was in the Kansas University marching band in Lawrence, Kansas, wowing the crowds with my flashy spinning-sauce-pan-lids technique when the word came up through the drum line – “Kansas’s premier rock band, Legion, is looking for a pot man.”
Well, I’m here to tell you that Pat the Pot Man quit school and was on the first Greyhound to Wichita.
I called the band’s agent, Jon Tanner, and arranged an audition. The guys were kind of leery when I started lugging in my kettle drums and roto-pots, but once I got set up and we dove into “Slide On Over, Clinky” and that glorious metallic clank joined the rhythm section, stuff gelled.
One of the guys yelled “Finally, we got some pot!” And another screamed “That pot will make us sound better”!
I knew I’d found a new musical home.
I got to know the guys pretty well. John, Paul, George, and Ringo went out of their way to make me feel…….hold it.
Sorry. Again. Man, I keep doing that. Anyhow, it was obvious that Steveland (Steve), Richard “Rick”, Bryan (with a “y”), and Robin/Chris had known each other for years and already had established a little “clique”.
They were reluctant at first about having a pot man in the band because it hadn’t been tried in Kansas successfully yet and they, of course, didn’t want to be embarrassed.
But, as time went by and they grew accustomed to the beautiful brashness and crystal clarity brought about by my pot technique, they very soon had made me feel like I was now “one of the Legion guys”.
It all happened so fast. There were the high school proms, the decadence, the limo rides, the beautiful women, the movie scores, the all-night recording sessions, the road trips, our experimentation with “beer” (thank goodness we outgrew that one!), and of course the love and support of our families.
It was a fast, wild time and I’m so lucky to have been a part of it, to have taken that ride, to have felt that feeling that only musicians (and to a certain extent, dancers) feel. My Legion brothers are all still very special to me and we talk almost infrequently now. Richard/Rick is in animal therapy, working with the one particular animal that caused us to invent the car. Robin/Chris is a computer geek of the very first magnitude, responsible for, among others, this web page. Bryan (with a “y”) is the band archivist and can remember every date, time, and place where something memorable happened to him or me or Steve or Robin or Rick.
And I am now chief pot man for a local band called the fabulous Crawdaddies! (motto: Cheaper than Lobster, Better than Crabs). The fact that we all survived the Seventies, are still very good friends, have all completed our sentences and community service, have all had vasectomies, and can remember each others birthdays means that we…….hold it. I can’t back up the birthday-remembering thing. Anyway, we have been very lucky to have worked and played together and the memories will always be treasured by me, at least. We’re also very lucky to have the equipment, time, and ability to be able to write all this down for you and your children and your children’s children.
They teach typing in the big house, you know.