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Reader Spotlight: Patrick Rowling

Patrick RowlingWe first heard about bassist Patrick Rowling when we covered the news of his novel Funk Machine back in August. Now we get the story behind this musician and author. His story of how he started on bass is one of the most entertaining ones we’ve read in a while.

Patrick is No Treble’s reader in the spotlight for the week of December 9, 2013.


I’m a 47 year old self taught musician who has been playing the bass guitar for over thirty years, and singing since before I could talk. I love music, and have many favorites performers and bands in practically every style and genre. Most dear to my heart is soul and R&B from the mid ’60s through the early ’70s, a period when my little transistor radio was glued to my ear. I am currently in the process of relocating and starting a new life in Brazil, learning a new language, discovering an entire new world of music, and enjoying all the opportunities of this crazy, electric megalopolis of Sampa.


São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil

Day gig:

Teaching English, though I worked as a bartender in the States. I also wrote a fictional novel about Jamerson’s bass, titled appropriately: “The Funk Machine,” which is available as a pay-what-you-want download. I am hoping to get it on Amazon soon. I have been working on writing a biography of my bass hero, Duck Dunn.

Years experience:

32 years, which leaves me no excuse as to why I don’t sight read!

Bands & Gigs:

I was in a lot of bands over the years, but ten years ago started a successful jump/swing/roots act called Three Button Deluxe. We had a great run, but it came to a close when I moved from the states. Now I am really looking forward to meeting musicians in my adopted home and making some music soon!


  • Roscoe LG3005: “Forest Thump”
  • Parts bin ’51 Precision copy: “Slabosaurus Rex”
  • TC Electronics BH250
  • Various cabinets
  • Korg Pandora PX-4B

Why I play the bass:

I played trumpet in school band as a kid for a few years, but I would always lock into the bass lines of the songs on the radio and in TV themes like “Sanford & Son,” “Barney Miller” and “Good Times.” However, it was listening to the playing of John Deacon, Ross Valory and Bruce Thomas that really got me thinking about it seriously. Some friends and I decided to start a band and we drew straws to see who got to pick which instrument. I drew the third straw, and since the first two guys chose guitar, I picked bass. There was no way I was lugging around – or paying for – all the pieces of a drum kit!

My bass superpower/claim to fame

I can play almost any style authentically, from blue jazz on an upright, to a rocking Zep tune, to funk, country or metal. But the thing that always got me gigs was the ability to hear the whole band, lock in with the drummer, and PLAY FOR THE SONG. It also never hurt that I sing lead vocals and harmonies while holding down the bottom. And I have great dance moves.

My influences

Just about everybody that I have ever heard. But primarily, the great work of players like James Jamerson, Jerry Jemmott, Bob Babbitt, Lee Sklar and my all-time favorite, Mr. Donald “Duck” Dunn … I actually took up smoking a pipe because of him!

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