Pat Thrall

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Pat Thrall was born and raised in Alameda, CA. Starting as a drummer at 11, then moving to guitar at 13, by age 15 he joined the Alameda band “Cookin’ Mama”. The band had some success in the San Francisco Bay Area and released the album “New Day” in 1972. At age 18 Thrall was involved in the first ever instructional book for rock guitar titled “Improvising Rock Guitar Vol 1”. Thrall began attracting attention as a guitarist in 1976 after the release of "Automatic Man" (signed by Chris Blackwell-Island Records), a band that was put together by former Santana drummer, Michael Shrieve. The band recorded their first album in London with Keith Harwood producing (Led Zeppelin "Presence", Rolling Stones "Black and Blue"). Thrall pioneered tape echo technics on the Automatic Man record specifically on the tracks "Geni Geni" and "Automatic Man" that later became the hallmark sound of U2 guitarist The Edge and Eddie Van Halen on the track "Cathedral".

Studio and sideman work in the fusion field followed, with musicians like Narada Michael Walden and Alphonso Johnson. Thrall's guitar is an integral part of Walden's 1977 ”Awakening" and Johnson's "Spellbound".

In 1978, Thrall was chosen for the co-lead spot with Pat Travers. He recorded on three LP's with Travers: Heat In The Street, Go For What You Know and Crash And Burn. Their first hit was "Boom Boom Out Goes The Lights". The latter LP featured the FM hit, "Snortin' Whiskey", which Thrall co-wrote with Travers.

Thrall was singled out by the readers of Guitar Player magazine in 1980 when they named him "Best New Guitarist". Previous winners have included Dicky Betts, Robin Trower and Eddie Van Halen.

Thrall's high visibility and onstage dynamism with Travers brought him to the attention of Glenn Hughes, and the chemistry between the two clicked immediately when they formed Hughes/Thrall in 1981 in Los Angeles. The album was co-produced by Andy Johns and Rob Fraboni. The record was not a commercial success but furthered Thrall's reputation with many musicians at the time citing the Hughes/Thrall record as a major inspiration. Gary Moore gave Thrall a nod crediting him for "inspiration" on the Gary Moore & G-Force album.

After the demise of Hughes/Thrall he moved to New York and worked as a studio musician and as a sideman touring with major artists. He recorded two albums with the legendary Jamaican rhythm section Sly and Robbie. He also played on the Tina Turner album "Foreign Affair" and was featured on the classic "Simply The Best". Among other major albums Thrall recorded as a studio musician was one of the biggest selling albums of all time, "The Body Guard".

In 1988 Thrall toured and recorded with the legendary Jack Bruce of Cream fame. The performance at The Bitter End in NYC was historic as it reunited Jack Bruce and Eric Clapton for the first time since the last Cream concert at the Royal Albert Hall. Thrall traded riffs with Clapton on "Spoonful". The performance can be heard on many websites.

Thrall recorded and toured with Meat Loaf on his 1993 comeback record "Bat Out Of Hell II" which was one of the biggest albums of the year with the hit "I Would Do Anything for Love"

After recording two more albums and after several tours Thrall left Meat Loaf in 1996 and opened one of the first Pro Tools based production suites at Avatar studios in New York City. The technology was in its infancy but Thrall saw the incredible possibilities and put together a mobile system that could be taken to the other studios at Avatar. Once producers, engineers and musicians realized what could be done with Thrall's mobile Pro Tools unit (at the time it was the size of a small golf cart) the work started flooding in.

Thrall found his niche and success as producer and engineer, becoming a technology leader, pioneering the use of Pro Tools for studio recordings . He's worked with artists in all genres of music such as Elton John, Tim Rice, Dave Stewart (The Eurythmics), Bono & The Edge (U2), Tina Turner, Joe Satriani, Dream Theater, Joey McIntyre, Queen and Patti Scialfa (Bruce Springsteen's wife) and has been involved with remixing classic artists such as Miles Davis and Sly Stone, to name just a few. In addition, he's lent his talent and support behind initiatives such as Nelson Mandela's foundation to fight AIDS in Africa. The 46664 concert was a major success raising millions of dollars to fight AIDS in South Africa

Thrall recorded Beyonce and Jay Z on the classic "Crazy In Love" in 2003 and was nominated for his first Grammy.

Between 2007 and 2011 Thrall worked with producers Tricky Stewart and The-Dream who were responsible for the classic hits, Rihanna "Umbrella", Justin Bieber "Baby", Beyonce "Single Ladies", Mariah Carey "Touch My Body" and Jay Z's "Holy Grail".

In 2008 Thrall worked with Michael Jackson on some of his last recordings.

Thrall was also the driving force behind the famous multitrack drum sample library, Toontrack's Superior Drummer 2.0 and EZDrummer. Thrall with legendary engineer Neil Dorfsman and world class session drummer Nir Z created the default libraries in both programs and have also created additional libraries from some of the most coveted recording drum studios in New York. These drum libraries have been used on countless major records.

In 2013 Thrall was nominated for two Grammy's for Frank Ocean's "Channel Orange" album.

In 2014 and 2015 Thrall continues to work on many projects including Demi Lovato's version of "Let It Go" from the movie "Frozen". Celine Dion and Stevie Wonder 's duet of "Overjoyed" and many songs with Jessie J including the duet with Tom Jones, "You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling'

Here is Thrall's discography:

Pat Thrall
Origin San Francisco, California, United States
Genres Rock
Occupation(s) Guitarist
Instruments Guitar, percussion
Years active 1972-present
Associated acts Hughes/Thrall, Asia, Meat Loaf

Pat Thrall is an American rock guitarist. Thrall is a native of the San Francisco area, and began his recording career in 1972. He played guitar, vocals, and percussion with the group Cookin Mama, which also had his brother Preston Thrall on percussion. They released the album New Day in 1972.

Thrall has worked with former Deep Purple bassist Glenn Hughes on the Hughes/Thrall project,[1] and was a member of the Pat Travers Band during the peak of their success. He co-wrote one of Pat Travers' biggest hits, a hard-driving tune entitled Snortin' Whiskey, which became one of the most requested songs on American radio in 1980.

Thrall later joined Asia, and played lead guitar for Meat Loaf during that artist's major comeback in the 1990s. He has also toured or recorded with Jack Bruce, Beyoncé, Elton John, Tina Turner and Dave Stewart.


Cookin Mama[edit]

  • New Day (guitar, vocals, percussion; 1972)

Stomu Yamashta[edit]

  • Go (guitar; 1976)

Delroy Washington - I-Sus[edit]

  • "Generation Game", "Freedom Fighters" (lead guitar; 1976)

Automatic Man[edit]

  • Automatic man (guitar, vocals; 1976)
  • Visitors (guitar; 1977)

Alphonso Johnson[edit]

  • Spellbound (guitar; 1977)

Pat Travers Band[edit]


Sly and Robbie[edit]


  • Live in Moscow (guitar; 1990)
  • Now Nottingham Live (guitar; )

Meat Loaf[edit]

Glenn Hughes[edit]

  • Feel (guitar, co-producer; 1995)


  • Mold (guitar; 1998)

Joe Satriani[edit]

MTV's Wuthering Heights[edit]

  • MTV's Wuthering Heights (guitar, co-producer; 2003)


  1. ^ Rivadavia, Eduardo. "Biography: Hughes/Thrall". AMG. Retrieved 14 May 2010. 

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