If you heard the news from a few days ago then you know that Patrick Adams has left this earth. We got to know him back in 2008 when we interviewed him for our fledging webzine Tothedisco.com. We never got a chance to finish the interview so we only have the first part from his early years. We tried to connect years later but never had the chance to finish it. Patrick in my mind was the Jimi Hendrix of disco music. An inventor of sounds, an innovator, and much more as well as a kind gentle soul. RIP Patrick Adams!
Let's start from the beginning. When did you realize you wanted to work in the music business and how did you get your first gig?
As a kid I went to Catholic schools. In grade school and high school I always
sang in the choir. I started picking up the guitar when I was 12. By age 15 I was
beginning to pick at the piano. My younger brother had an electric bass and a drum set. Our father bought us a sound on sound reel to reel tape recorder. Together we would learn all the parts of recordings we liked and would try to duplicate them on our own. We actually got pretty good at bouncing tracks back and forth and singing harmony parts.
What was going on at the time musically and who influenced you?
This was during one of the riches musical periods in history. We loved the Beatles, Motown, Hendrix and Bacharach. Everything was fair game and as music exploded we followed. When I was 16, I got into a band called the Sparks and we appeared in the Warner Brothers movie "UP THE DOWN STAIRCASE." By the time I was 17 our band was opening for the Commodores, The Young Rascals and others.
What was the initial spark that made you realize that Black Ivory was an amazing group and more so that Leroy Burgess had potential to become a musical genius?
Leroy was always a musician of extraordinary perception. I am proud to have contributed to his growth. I am even happier that I had the good sense to let him experiment and I knew when to get out of his way. I was always supportive. I let him do the string arrangements on "If I Could Be A Mirror" on the first album. And of course a great deal of the vocal arrangements were his and the group.
What was your role with the group?
By the time I was 19 I was managing and producing Black Ivory. I never was a
great vocalist. Leroy Burgess was the perfect vehicle for my writing. I knew he was a star the day I met him. I kept the group wood shedding for six months before they performed in public. Three times a week we worked on choreography and harmony. Their first public performance was at a talent show in the Bronx. They blew everybody else off the stage. It was pure pandemonium. The girls rushed the stage and they rest is history. I asked Bobby Schiffman if the group could get a week at the Apollo. They were fabulous. Gene Redd manager of Kool & The Gang took us under his wing and allowed the group to open for them for a while.
How did you get to become VP of A&R at Perception/Today Records? How old where you?
Everybody told me they (Black Ivory) were not ready to record. So eventually I took the group into the studio and cut some demos. I first went to Today Records because they released a Thom Bell produced record by the Odds and Ends. We all were huge fans of the Delfonics. After a few hits I was given carte blanche at the label. I got to work with Bobby Rydell, James Moody, Astrud Gilberto and the Albert Hotel which was the precursor to the Brecker Brothers. Boo Frazier who hired me at Perception was instrumental in hiring Quincy Jones at Mercury records a decade before. I learned a lot from Terry Phillips the president. He had come out of the Lieber and Stroller production camp. Later I partnered with Detroit veteran David Jordan which gave a a grittier edge. We co-produced J J Barnes and Debbie Taylor.
-From interview with Patrick Adams in October of 2008