Les Pattinson in September 1987 backstage at the Greek Theatre – Berkeley, California
|Birth name||Leslie Thomas Pattinson|
18 April 1958 |
|Genres||Post-punk, alternative rock|
|Years active||1978–1999, 2009–present|
|Labels||Warner Bros. Sire. Zoo. London.|
|Associated acts||Echo & the Bunnymen|
|Fender Jazz Bass|
Leslie Thomas "Les" Pattinson (born 18 April 1958, Ormskirk, Lancashire) is an English musician, best known for his work as the bassist and co-writer with the Liverpool-based band, Echo & the Bunnymen, along with vocalist Ian McCulloch and guitarist Will Sergeant. He was raised in Aughton, Lancashire and attended nearby Deyes High School in Maghull, where he became friends with classmate Will Sergeant.
Pattinson met up with Will Sergeant again in 1977 at the legendary Eric's Club in Liverpool. They were both regulars of the Eric's crowd, attending the club several times a week. Pattinson called himself 'Jeff Lovestone' and formed a band called The Jeff's, in which all the members were called 'Jeff'. He later formed another imaginary band called 'The Love Pastels' which consisted of lots of girls, all on vocals, and himself on vocals and bass. He also read poetry and bent neon lights on stage, going by the name of 'Neon Poet'. The poem 'Sand Man' that later appeared in the song 'Over The Wall' came from the 'Neon Poet' era.
During the early days at Eric's, Pattinson and Sergeant had befriended Ian McCulloch, another Eric's regular, who'd been in various bands which had rehearsed but not gigged. Sergeant and McCulloch began hanging out together and formed a band called Echo and the Bunnymen. They were offered a spot playing at Eric's alongside another Liverpool based band that had formed out of the Eric's crowd, called The Teardrop Explodes. Three days before their first show, Pattinson was asked to join Echo and the Bunnymen, despite having never previously played the bass. He'd bought a cheap Grant bass for £40 with only 3 strings. He would later replace that with the blue Fender Jazz Bass that he still uses.
Echo and the Bunnymen were now a 3 piece band with a drum machine, consisting of Sergeant on guitar, Pattinson on bass, and McCulloch on vocals. They played their debut show on 15 November 1978, at Eric's. Although the gig was short, it was received very enthusiastically. Bill Drummond and David Balfe, of Zoo Records, were in attendance that night and signed the band to the label. They were later signed to Korova, on the major label Sire/WEA. In 1979 Echo and the Bunnymen replaced their drum machine for drummer, Pete de Freitas.
Over the next several years Pattinson helped write many of the band's Top 20 hits, such as 'The Cutter', 'The Back of Love', 'Never Stop', 'The Killing Moon' and 'Seven Seas', and also 'Lips Like Sugar', 'Bring on the Dancing Horses', and 'Silver', which made the Top 40. 'The Killing Moon' would appear in the opening credits of the 2001 Richard Kelley film, 'Donnie Darko', and would later be used in an Audi commercial to be shown during the 2012 Super Bowl Game in America. In 1987 they recorded a cover of 'People Are Strange' by The Doors for the soundtrack to 'The Lost Boys' film. The song was produced by Ray Manzarek, keyboardist for The Doors. He also played keyboards on the track as well. Manzarek would later perform the song live on stage with The Bunnymen in New York during their subsequent tour.
After five studio albums, McCulloch left The Bunnymen in 1988 to pursue a solo career. The three remaining members decided to continue working under the name 'Echo and the Bunnymen' and brought in ex – St. Vitus Dance vocalist, Noel Burke, to replace McCulloch. After De Freitas' death in a motorcycle accident in 1989, Pattinson and Sergeant added Damon Reece, ex Spiritualized drummer, and Jake Brockman, keyboardist and long time friend of the band to continue with the recording of their album, 'Reverberation', which was released in December 1990. The band later formed their own label called Euphoric Records and released another two singles, and had also done several international tours, before disbanding in 1993.
In 1994, Pattinson was approached by Terry Hall, ex lead singer of The Specials, to play bass on his critically acclaimed debut solo album entitled 'Home'. Pattinson also played bass for Hall's coinciding European tour.
Meanwhile, Sergeant and McCulloch had been working together again under the name Electrafixion. In 1996 they disbanded and reformed Echo and the Bunnymen. Pattinson agreed to rejoin the band. Together, they co-wrote The Bunnymen's seventh studio album entitled 'Evergreen'. Released in July 1997, the album was greeted enthusiastically by both the public and critics, and reached number 8 in the UK charts. The single 'Nothing Lasts Forever' also reached number 8 in the UK charts. In 1998 Echo and the Bunnymen teamed up with the Spice Girls and members of Blur as 'England United' to release the official song of the FIFA World Cup – '(How Does It Feel To Be) On Top of the World'.
Despite the band's successful return to the live arena, Pattinson decided to leave Echo and the Bunnymen in 1998 for personal reasons.
In 2009, Pattinson was asked by lifelong friend, Paul Simpson, to play bass for the newly reunited Liverpudlian '80s band, The Wild Swans. They performed two shows at the Static Gallery in Liverpool in July of that year, and another in December. Pattinson also featured on The Wild Swans' album, 'The Coldest Winter for a Hundred Years', which was released in the summer of 2011, followed by a tour of the UK and the Philippines, where they also performed live for a special appearance on the 'Eat Bulaga!' television show.
Pattinson is still a member of The Wild Swans, and is also a busy session musician.
In 2013 Pattinson and Will Sergeant, ex-guitarist player with Echo & the Bunnymen, formed "Poltergeist" with former Black Velvets drummer Nick Kilroe. They have been playing live and released an album called "Your Mind Is A Box (Let Us Fill It With Wonder)" in June 2013.
Pattinson is self-taught, drawing heavily from sixties film and television theme tunes and soundtracks. Lounge and Psychedelic music were also a big influence on his playing style. His playing style ranged from pulsating-looped bass lines like in "Over The Wall" and "All In Your Mind" to playing in the higher register of the neck like in "Bring On The Dancing Horses" and "Heaven Up Here" to strumming 16th-notes in "Nocturnal Me" and "The Back of Love". Throughout his playing career, Pattinson has always favoured a blue Fender Jazz Bass and later an Olympic White Fender Jazz Bass, playing mostly through an Ampeg 1×15" combo amp in his early career and an SVT head with an 8X10 cabinet in his later career. This equipment and playing style gave a distinctive sound to Echo and The Bunnymen. The Pattinson and De Freitas rhythm duo were once cited as 'The best rhythm section in the world'[by whom?]. Mike Scott, of The Waterboys, once placed a classified ad in the '80s, while searching for a bassist, saying that applicants must be able to play "Les Pattinson 'Back of Love' style". Pattinson has always played with a pick.
|1980||Echo & the Bunnymen||Crocodiles|
|1981||Echo & the Bunnymen||Heaven Up Here|
|1983||Echo & the Bunnymen||Porcupine|
|1984||Echo & the Bunnymen||Ocean Rain|
|1987||Echo & the Bunnymen||Echo & the Bunnymen|
|1990||Echo & the Bunnymen||Reverberation|
|1997||Echo & the Bunnymen||Evergreen|
|2011||The Wild Swans||The Coldest Winter for a Hundred Years|
|2013||Das Poltergeist||Your Mind Is A Box (Let Us Fill It With Wonder)|
Pattinson helped writing songs that were featured in the following film soundtracks: 'Bring On The Dancing Horses' was in the John Hughes film Pretty in Pink. 'The Killing Moon' was featured in the films Grosse Pointe Blank and Donnie Darko, and in Series 2, Episode 4 of the E4 series Misfits. A cover version of The Doors song 'People Are Strange' was on The Lost Boys soundtrack.
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Reynolds, Simon. Rip it Up and Start Again: Postpunk 1978–1984. London: Penguin, 2005.
Fletcher, Tony. Never Stop: The Echo & the Bunnymen Story. London: Omnibus Press, 1987.
Villiers Terrace.com The Ultimate Echo and the Bunnymen Resource
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- Frame, Pete (2000). Pete Frame's Rocking Around Britain. Music Sales Group. p. 176. ISBN 0-7119-6973-6.
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- "Poltergeist – 'Your Mind Is A Box (Let Us Fill It With Wonder)'". NME. 21 June 2013. Retrieved 3 November 2013.