We Built This City

I feel most alive and in the moment when I’m seeing one of my favorite bands perform live. Of course there have been amazing and wonderful moments in between concerts, but I usually feel happiest surrounded by live music. Knowing that everything in my life has led me to being there at that moment fills me with purpose and my soul just floats on Cloud 9. It’s always felt like more than just a hobby for me and those that also love it understand, which is why I’ve met several of my closest friends at a concert or through a favorite band. I wrote this paper 7 1/2 years ago which really blows my mind because if feels like yesterday. So much has changed since then, but also so many things, like my admiration of Copperview and Jeremy, has remained the same. Copperview recently announced a REUNION SHOW IN ST. LOUIS and it rekindled my need to listen to their music 24/7 and fall in love all over again. This specific paper is on the drummer, Jeremy, but let it be known I hope to do a future one on the bassist Dave, who has become such an awesome friend of mine. They really are the best! I thought I’d share with you this interview now so that maybe you could see partly of why and just how much I love this band and its drummer ♥

I’m standing in a dim murky room while a rich violet light guides my eyesight to the faces of the restless people around me.  My palms begin to drool when I see the announcer approach the microphone.  Hushed whispers heaped on top of each other die as the announcer finishes his speech with the words, “All the way from St. Louis…Please put your hands together for the band Copperview!”  The shrieks that follow flow through my ear and cradle my eardrum.  The band starts to play and the lamenting guitars soothe me.  My heart pounds to my own rhythm in anticipation of the drummer’s thrashing to his own pulse.  My heart stops and picks up again to the beat of his time.  For the half an hour he is on stage he controls everyone.  He gives movement motion.  And even when the concert is over his mammoth drum beats resonate in my hammering head.  Upon meeting this drummer, Jeremy Patterson, you can’t help but to instantaneously like him.  And upon leaving him you can’t help but to want to learn more about him, which is why he was the very first person to emerge in my mind when contemplating someone to interview.

I first met Jeremy about two years ago in Milwaukee.  The band that he was in at the time, called Gunderson, was recommended to me by a good friend of mine who organized their promotions team.  Their songs had been on repeat on my iTunes for months before I actually had the opportunity to see them live.  My expectations were set high, but they still exceeded them.  I was hooked after the first show.  The rest of the year I couldn’t help but to splurge all of my cash and time on the weekends to travel and see this band over and over again in a handful of different states.  With every show I went to my love for this band multiplied as did my admiration for Jeremy.  He could make anyone laugh, people flocked to his personality, and there’s just constantly been something about him that swirls people’s curiosity.

“Driven” is a good word to use to depict Jeremy.  “Passionate” is better.  He’s passionate about playing the drums.  The earliest time I really observed this was over a year ago, before one of his shows in Chicago.  We were all meandering around downtown and while walking next to him I noticed that Jeremy was slightly limping.  Worried that he had hurt himself recently I asked if his leg was okay.  Without wavering he explained to me that he and his mom had been in a pretty serious car accident with a drunk driver when he was about 16 years old. He said that his knee has been messed up ever since and that some days, like today, were worse than others.  He wasn’t even allowed to do some activities in school, like participate in sports.  Before I could even think of a sensitive response to this he turned toward to me and said in all genuineness, “I think it’s made me a stronger person though, you know?” I nodded my head. “I mean, I honestly believe that everything happens for a reason… And I could still play the drums. That’s all that matters anyway.”  My reverence for him as a drummer has grown every time I’ve seen him since then.  Even on stage you can’t help but to watch his hands glide across and clobber the drums.  His body sweats eager energy.  How could I not want to know more about his life with music and his drumming past? I had to. So I did.

Jeremy Patterson launched his drumming career as early as between the ages of four and five.  While happening across a program on MTV, Jeremy was directly drawn toward the thumping of the drums.  Even later on that day, he yanked pots and pans from the shelves at his house and began using chopsticks to attempt to impersonate what he had witnessed earlier.  For his fifth Christmas his mother bought him his first Toys R Us drum set, which was promptly worn out by his motivation to teach himself to play it.  For his seventh Birthday his mom then got him his first real $2,000 drum set.  His mom also had a vast record collection and from there he began modeling his drumming off of legendary bands like Led Zeppelin, The Who, Rush, and Pink Floyd, with the first song he ever learned being Jefferson Starship’s “We Built This City.”

When asked about drumming and music’s meaning for him when he was younger, Jeremy begins by explaining that in his adolescence his family moved around a lot.  With each new location he had to create new friendships and start over at new schools, and drumming was his way venting all of his frustrations and anger from his day into something else.  “Drumming always felt as something that was constructive to me,” he affirms.  At the age of fourteen Jeremy stumbled upon his first band, Spineless Minds, and since the first day of practice with the group he knew he wanted to pursue drumming professionally.  In college he was in a cover band to help make ends meet, and after being in several other bands, including the former band Gunderson, he found himself playing with his recent rock band, Copperview.  Music’s meaning has increased in his life since he was younger, he explains, it means more to him now.  Now he’s playing the guitar a bit and even writing songs.  He also says that even if he’s having a terrible day, he really looks forward to band practice afterward, because then he can just drum that much harder.

When people talk about musicians “living their music everyday” I repeatedly associate this expression with Jeremy.  He always appears to be thinking about drumming.  His hands are relentlessly beating a cadenced tempo across tables, chairs, his lap, and even on his chest when he’s standing.   It’s one of his most charismatic characteristics.  In reaction to this Jeremy says that certain things will make him formulate a drum beat and he’s constantly trying to remember them by drumming them out.  Even though, he admits that 90% of the time he can’t usually recall it.  Sometimes, he also confesses, he’ll call his own voicemail if he has a good decent pattern going and beat-box it into the phone so he won’t forget it later.  “There’s always a song in my head,” he says, “Say you and me were to listen to the same song, like, ‘LoveStoned’ by Justin Timberlake.  While you’d probably be listening to the words and the lyrics, I’m listening to every nuance of the drums.  When I listen to songs that’s the first thing I hear, is the drumming.”

With being in any band, a musician is destined to hit a couple of drawbacks.  “What keeps me going,” Jeremy hesitates before announcing, “And as cliché as it sounds, it’s true…Is that it’s always been my dream.”  Afterwards he relates to me that when Gunderson was first opting to go on tour all of the guys had to resign from their current jobs.  He had a worthy salary, but he ditched the job in a heartbeat.  “It wasn’t even a question for me,” he says, “I’d rather make minimum wage doing what I love to than sitting in a cubical.”  When asked what his favorite thing about being in a band is, Jeremy resolves that it’s a tie between performing on stage and traveling.  Although he’s devoted to performing, he also desires to travel so it’s not on the same stage every night.  Fair enough.  And besides the lack of rest, his least favorite thing about being in a band is the fact that it’s really challenging to make any money.  He was always broke.  He still remembers the days where he would check his bank account and barely have two dollars left in it…just enough to purchase a hot dog to tide him over for the day.  “But that’s the sacrifice,” he emphasizes.

Whether he’s playing before a crowd complete with 3,500 people while at St. Louis’s major music festival Pointfest (opening up for bands like Breaking Benjamin, Sum 41, and 3 Days Grace) or playing before a crowd of 35 people, Jeremy’s dynamic energy never waivers.  His music has been there for some of the most ecstatic times in my life and for the most trying times in my life.  It’s been my constant.  And even to watch him play live you can feel every ounce of vigor and enthusiasm that he pitches out into the audience.  I think Jeremy is living proof that passion still pounds through the backbones of those enduring enough to let it drive them.  Come to think of it, to quote Wayne’s World, I’m not worthy.

Just a few of my favorite videos of them:

LOVE this song:

But really though, seeing them live was the best. They will be doing a final reunion show at the Ink Spot Block Party in St. Louis on August 22nd. More info can be found here: Ink Spot Block Party

Also if you are a concert lover like I am I would highly recommend reading my friend Rebekah Bryan’s book called “Front Row.” Here’s the synopsis:

Rachel and her friends have one goal – to meet their favorite band, The Out of Towners – and with some luck and a lot of persistence, they have the opportunity to do just that. As all of Rachel’s dreams, and some of her nightmares, are coming true, she has to learn how to balance the fun of nightly concerts and a new crush with her responsibilities. After some questionable choices, Rachel’s life unravels in front of her, and she scrambles to pick up the pieces.

You can buy “Front Row” on amazon here: FRONT ROW 

I love this book and urge those that are interested to check it out!!




6 thoughts on “We Built This City

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