Permission to land granted
In 2003, shortly after we released This is a Stickup we were in a seriously dark place. Brian Stoor, our drummer for many important years, left for personal reasons after the late Dave Post had done the same. Jeff and I were distraught.
I think this band has lasted as long as it has because the other members have been more than bandmates, they've been brothers. We've bonded in ways that only other touring bands can understand. So, when we parted ways with Brian and Posty, not only were we in danger of losing the band that meant so much to us, but we were losing family.
Years before all of this we had played with a show with a band called Dira. I was immediately taken with drummer Patrick Fusco’s energy. His joy behind the drums was infectious. So when we needed to replace Brian, I knew I wanted Pat. There was only one problem: Pat had moved to San Francisco and he LOVED it.
I knew Pat was a Milwaukees fan, and being from Jersey I’m not shy, so I called him anyway. I said “Look, it's really nice that you love Cali but Brian is out and you are in.” Point Blank. Pat took a long pause. As fate would have it, he had started dating this girl out there (Kara) and he was bummed because she had recently left to work in NYC. He told me he didn’t want to leave California but he felt like the Universe was calling him home. He said he needed a couple days to think about it. But I told him we had a US tour kicking off in a couple weeks and that he had better be ready. He was.
We got in the van with Pat and Chris Spanninga (also from Dira) and left on a tour that took us all the way across America. We bonded over that 3 weeks and Pat became family. Chris left the band we were lucky to find Donovan Cain on bass. Together, Pat and Donovan are magic.
I have always known the key to a killer band is the rhythm section. Pat and Donny, along with Jeff's evolving guitar playing provided me the band I’ve always wanted. They can play anything and often times, I’ll bring in a song and they have it polished in 2 hours. I'm humbled by their belief in my songs.
Pat and his wife Kara, along with their 2 kids, are moving out west to San Diego. His journey with us is coming to an end. The universe is calling him back out West but our time with him will always be a part of me. This guy moved 3000 miles to play in a band that he believed in. There would be no American Anthems 1 and 2 without Pat.
There are so many highs and lows when you play in a band. The lows are seriously fucking low. It takes a gang mentality to pull each other through. Pat, Donny and Jeff did that for me over and over again. It's the only reason I still play. It's the brotherhood. This year we lost Posty for good. Pat’s chapter is closing but he will always have a place behind the kit with us.
We have plans to record a new album in the Fall. I don't know what the future holds for The Milwaukees—I’m not focusing on that right now. I'm choosing to focus on Pat’s time with us and our friendship. He saved this band. I'm gonna miss him along with his wife Kara and their kids. We are losing one of our limbs this week. It's not easy. But it makes it easier knowing that everything that he came here for, he accomplished. Permission to land granted, Pat.
Your friend and musical brother,