Last Saturday, Novato's Davey Pattison took to the rock & roll stage with a brand new band and he wasn't all that sure how they'd be received. It was the first gig with bandmates he's just getting to know. He's played to crowds of 80,000 and more, but was actually a bit nervous.
But the crowd at the Last Day Saloon in Santa Rosa gave them a generous welcome as they hit their stride with songs from Gamma and Robin Trower — two acts that Pattison has fronted as a vocalist. They were quick to find a groove.
"It did me a lot of good," Pattison said. "I held out the microphone and they started singing along. I thought, shoot, these people know the words. They came to see us play. It's heartening to hear your own lyrics shouted out like that after ... what, 34 years."
That's about how long Pattison has lived in Novato, so he's hoping a hometown crowd also will welcome him June 9 when he and the new band headline the 30th annual Novato Festival of Art, Wine & Music.
Dennis Hagerty, the volunteer music director for the festival, also said the Tubes will receive top billing on June 8, the first day of the two-day, free-to-the-public street festival on Grant Avenue. Other acts booked include Novato's Lara Johnston and Kenan Boyle, LuvPlanet, Shana Morrison and Tender Mercies (featuring members of Counting Crows).
Pattison said he has never played a gig with a full band in Novato. In 1989, he joined the Dave Steffen Band for a couple of songs at the Novato festival.
"I was asked to do the festival a couple of times, but I never had a band at the time," he said.
He met Jim Douglas, a Livermore-based promoter, at the memorial service for Ronnie Montrose last year. Douglas expressed interest in putting a lineup together for Pattison so he could pump fresh life into those Gamma and Trower hits. After auditions, the choices were Dan Buch of Mare Island on drums, Jon Mulvey of San Anselmo on guitar, Van Spragins of San Francisco on bass and Greg Rahn of American Canyon on keyboards.
On a Facebook post, Mulvey wrote, "I am so proud to be playing alongside an amazing group of musicians and backing one of the biggest voices in rock history."
Pattison, a native of Scotland, was recruited by the late Bill Graham to join a metal-synthesizer band he put together called Gamma featuring guitarist Montrose. Pattison fronted the band for three albums from 1979-82, playing to packed arenas and touring with the biggest hard rock acts in the world, and then added a fourth album 20 years later. He made a handful of albums with Trower and toured with him all over the world, then mixed in local solo gigs around Marin and spent a lot of time in the studio with other renowned musicians such as ex-UFO and Scorpions guitarist Michael Schenker.
After all that touring, he's happy to be settling down and just playing some shows around the Bay Area, he said.
"Playing at home is going to be kind of fun," Pattison said. "I could basically walk to the gig and back."
Pattison's only worry with the new band?
"We got more to do — that's just me being me, being fussy," he said. "I'm sure I will drive them nuts. I just like it right."
Hagerty, the volunteer music director for the festival, said he is really pleased with the lineup for the event's 30th anniversary.
"I'm excited that some things we've been working on the past couple of years have worked out," he said. "We're going to have a lot of people excited about seeing these bands."
The festival is a fundraiser for the Novato Chamber of Commerce.