Reader Spotlight: Patrick McCarthy

Patrick McCarthyMeet Patrick McCarthy, a bassist from New York who believes guitarists shouldn’t have all the fun (amen!). Patrick is our player in the spotlight for April 26, 2011.


With over a decades worth of experience as a professional musician, bassist Patrick McCarthy chalks his ability up to hard work, patience, and the love of music.

“Whenever I get a chance to take part in any sort of music, whether it’s listening to it, going to shows, or performing, it’s just a great time” said the Connecticut native.

When creating or performing, Patrick explains it is the song that matters most. “If I take the time to sit back and think about each tune carefully; where it should go and what it should say, the payoff is immediate.”

It is this success that has helped McCarthy perform with some of the biggest names in the industry at some of the most prestigious music venues in the country. To date, Patrick has shared the stage with rock music heavyweights Breaking Benjamin, Yellowcard, Better Than Ezra, Nine Days, The Pat McGee Band, Rusted Root, Robbie Krieger of The Doors and Evans Blue. Moreover, Patrick’s work with Lily Holbrook has led to performances with Brian Wilson of The Beach Boys at the Hammerstein Ballroom, at the All Points West Festival (featuring Radiohead, Jack Johnson, The Roots and Ben Harper).

But Patrick’s interest in music does not stop with live performances. Since 2006, Patrick has recorded seven full-length albums, along with many single and EP releases with various artists including Jennings, LC, Echoing August and Mike Morello. Music that Pat has played on can be heard on MTV, NBC, iTunes, XM, Sirius and many radio stations nationwide.


New York, NY, USA

Day gig:

I have my degree in design and work as a freelance graphic artist. This definitely helps out with creating promotional material, album covers, videos and sites for groups and artists!

Years experience:

About 15 years

Bands & Gigs:

I am always working on new projects with new artists and submerging myself in musical inspiration. Currently I am wrapping up an album with Jennings and on a road tour.

I also perform with many artists in the NYC area including:


  • Musicman Sterling 4 string
  • Custom built 4 string Jazz bass
  • Fretless Yamaha 4 string
  • Ampeg 610HLF cab
  • Ampeg SVT450 head
  • Ampeg 115 combo practice amp
  • All sorts of fun effects. Favorites are:
  • 105Q Cry Baby Bass Wah
  • DE7 Digital delay
  • SansAmp pre amp DI
  • Zvex Woolly Mammoth

Why I play the bass:

There is nothing like the bottom end to get a room moving. I’ve always loved music for its ability to make people feel – whether it be happiness, sadness, joy, nostalgia etc. When people are really feeling the music, they move. The low end groove of a sweet bass line is the catalyst for that movement. Who wouldn’t want to play the bass?

My bass superpower/claim to fame

The bass is a crucial part of the foundation of a song. It’s imperative to keep the groove going, feel the pocket and lay down a solid line.

That being said…

Who says that guitarists should have all the fun? Not me!

I started playing music because it is fun and I love to do it. When I perform, I let the music take over and try and project the vibe of the song to the listeners in the audience. Unless the gig calls for it, I am rarely the bassist that sits in the back unnoticed. While I, and all other fellow bass heads, am responsible for the back bone of the groove, it doesn’t mean I can’t play a part in the melody where appropriate. It can be tasty to throw in some harmonics or to tap out a melody while holding down the low end. Of course, it all depends on what the gig calls for. Regardless of what kind of music, which venue, or how many, I put my all into every note I play.

My influences

I listen to a wide variety of music. Greats like Jaco, Bootsy, Jamerson, Clarke and the like have taught me to get creative with my playing and to have a degree of fearlessness when feeling out a groove. As a professional musician, I think a lot of my influences are the other musicians and artists that I play with everyday. Each has a different background with music, a different way of writing, structuring and developing a song. Whether we realize it or not, the people we rehearse and perform with on a regular basis, help mold our approach to music and what we bring to it, all while making us more versatile players. This is why I love writing and performing with many different types of groups and artists.

More on the web:

Want to be featured in an upcoming Reader Spotlight? Just fill out the interview questionnaire.

Get daily bass updates.

Get the latest news, videos, lessons, and more in your inbox every morning.

Share your thoughts

  1. Thanks so much! is the best! :)