Interview By: Lisa “Sunshine” Svelnys
Hollywood Rock Journalist
I had the chance to catch up with one of my favorite hardworking people, Patrick Kennison, currently of LITA FORD and HEAVEN BELOW.
He has become one of the most sought after working musicians in Hollywood today.
Hailing from TX, he co-founded The Union Underground who played on Ozzfest 2001 and released an album ‘An Education in Rebellion’ which sold 350,000 copies.
He went on to form HEAVEN BELOW with fellow bandmates John Younger, Lucas Kanopa, and Shad Wilhelm.
LISA: What was the most advantageous thing that you did that led to your success as a working musician?
PK: I took chances. If something felt right, but scary, I did it. I got my first real band major label showcases that led to a record deal.
LISA: Who do you look up to most in rock?
PK: Any artist that can last long regardless of line up changes or even death. . AC/DC, Cheap Trick, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden.
LISA: What led you to working and touring with Lita Ford?
PK: The president of BC Rich guitars recommended me. I showed up to the audition and her dogs ran up and started licking and kissing me before I could plug in. How could I say no to those beautiful little beasts ?
LISA: Your single ‘Renegade Protest Movement’ with HEAVEN BELOW has been getting a record amount of attention nationally. When you write a song is there a particular place or process that is familiar that you draw from?
PK: It varies song to song but many of them, such as ‘Renegade Protest Movement‘ start with a guitar riff that I hear in my head or just comes out messing around. Some songs come from life experiences with pent up emotions. Its so therapeutic to release those feelings in the form of a song.
LISA: What do you want to say with your music?
PK: “Love us our hate us, here we are. Loud, proud and ready to kick your ass!!!”
LISA: Are you planning a tour?
PK: Yep, we’re putting together a summer tour with some of our EPM label mates. Gonna hit Texas first of course ?
LISA: Where will you be playing this summer?
PK: Anywhere that will have us. We only need electricity & beer ?
LISA: How do you pick your guitars?
PK: By sound and feel first, then by looks. It has to feel like a weapon thats an extension of my heart.
LISA: What are you playing now?
PK: I’m playing some killer Schecters. One of ‘em is a prototype V that might become my signature model at some point.
LISA: Tell us about your pedal… where can we find it?
PK: It’s called the “Devil-Drive” its a cross between an Ibanez Tube Screamer & a an MXR Zakk Wylde Overdrive. You can get it at www.Taurus-Pedals.com
LISA: If you could play a show with anyone dead or alive who would it be?.. why?
PK: Pantera. The defined the metal genre through the 90’s and a little beyond.
LISA: When you are looking for inspiration who do you listen to?
PK: Everything from Radiohead to Slayer. I love powerful honest music regardless of style or genre.
In my own humble opinion, I believe Patrick and HEAVEN BELOW may have pulled off the most incredible cover ever made. The first time I heard it I just knew how special it was- you be the judge.
Afterall, if you can get William Shatner to dub “Subdivisions” into a Rush cover… that’s pretty ingenuitive and genius. I want to thank Patrick for taking the time for this interview and please look for Heaven Below concert dates and go out and see Lita Ford!
Enjoy….and always ROCK!
(Pictures provided by Patrick Kennison)