He’s a singer, a guitar player and a songwriter who has been entertaining audiences across Wisconsin for several decades.
So what’s still ahead for Pat McCurdy?
WTMJ’s Libby Collins sat down with the Milwaukee icon on this week’s episode of WTMJ Conversations. Listen in the player above.
A portion of the conversation was transcribed below, courtesy of eCourt Reporters, Inc.
LIBBY COLLINS: The interesting thing about you, Pat, is you have continued to grow and to stay relevant, and you survived the pandemic, which a lot of the performers out there didn’t. What did you do differently that kept your game and your talent out there?
PAT MCCURDY: Well, I’ll admit, you know, I’m old, there’s no secret about that. In the fall of 2019, the shows were drying up. It’s just like, where’s there to play anymore that’s fun, you know, I don’t want to just play in summer. I was thinking, maybe we’ll go through the St. Pat’s Day and then call it for a while. You know, because St. Pat’s is very lucrative for an Irish guy like me. And then the pandemic hits on March 13th, all my St. Patrick’s Day shows canceled. And we would — they would have had us, but the optics weren’t good. Like, doctors were e-mailing my manager, Merv, said, “What are you thinking of? We don’t know what this pandemic’s all about.”
And I don’t know if you remember — well, you probably, of course you do — how scary that first couple of weeks was. I mean, I remember we played in Chicago that weekend at an event where usually were thousands of — tens of thousands of people came down for their parade, they canceled the parade.
So, I — but I still had my show, and it was very — my friend road home to her house on the train, and said it was so scary being on an empty train on St. Patrick’s weekend, because normally it would be filled with people going home from the parade. So, I knew, boy, this is just not something — this is scary.
And we got all the shows canceled for the St. Patrick’s Day, and it was like, what are we going to do? And a friend of ours, Paul Jones in Boston, texted me and said, “You should do a virtual show on Friday or Saturday. Willie Porter, another singer, he does them and he’s really successful with them.”
So, in two days, we found — we recruited someone with a camera. We had no clue what we were going to do. We had no clue. Could we have a monitor, would that — would people hear the music wrong if the speaker was coming at me? We had no idea. How do I play to a room of five people in my living room?
There’s a lot of — a lot of worry, you know. And I think the first night we did I think like 55 minutes. And how many people did we have? 1,800 computers. So, if you multiply that by two or three people, every continent of the world, all over the world, and the donations were unbelievable, because people were all scared. They were like, “Thank you. This is our relief of this horrible week.”
And I kept doing that. And we just built it in the — it was like a celebrity come, only on Facebook. We just kept building.
LIBBY COLLINS: And you’re doing it still.
PAT MCCURDY: I do one — whenever we can get one in, because people all over the country, all of the world, they send me requests and I read their names and they send me money. I’ll take that. But they — they said, “Don’t stop doing these. Don’t stop doing these.” Even in the height of summer when Friday nights are, you know, valuable, we still have usually over 200 computers, and you have to multiply that by — people told us that in the suburbs of Chicago, they set up a sheet so they could all be outside. And they would have the whole neighborhood over watching me struggle, you know, trying to make sure I maintain eye contact with the camera.
LIBBY COLLINS: What’s next for Pat McCurdy?
PAT MCCURDY: Well, I have no idea. I’m at a very creative point in my life where this Facebook — I was — I promised I’d write a new song every week, and I’ve been doing it even though I’m not on Facebook every week. So, I have three new songs in the can right now. I learned to play mandolin during the pandemic, and now I’m refining my ukulele skills. So, I’m writing songs on both of those instruments. So, as long as I’m creative and as I can — I can stand up, I’m going to just keep plugging away.