By LA Weekly
By Henry Rollins
By Weekly Photographers
By Shea Serrano
By Nate "Igor" Smith
By Dan Weiss
By Erica E. Phillips
By Kai Flanders
On the page, his lyrics can be excruciatingly sad, and he never lets himself off easy: "I'm the open sign that's always busted/I'm the friend you need, but can't be trusted," he sings on "Something Pretty" — and you believe him. But something about his live performance saves his songs from defeatism. It's his guitar playing, which is always lively. It's his singing. But mostly it's Park's melodies, where he places all the hope he can't express in words. It's as if he's saying, I'm going to overcome this shit through sheer beauty.
He's learned a lot about melodic poignancy from his heroes the Zombies: "I definitely associate myself more with old music," he says, than with the alt-country scene mentioned in reviews of his first EP, The Basement Tapes. He wants to be thought of as a more '60s-style songwriter, grounded in the blues and gospel, and inspired by the poetry of Dylan, the intensity of White Album-era Beatles and the romanticism of the Zombies' Argent/Blunstone; his forthcoming second EP features a cover of Blunstone's "Caroline Goodbye," which makes a seamless fit.
PARK RECORDED A FULL-length recently, and in September signed with Hollywood Records. Keep your fingers crossed he gets the treatment he deserves. At least now he can buy groceries instead of making tomato soup from stolen ketchup packets and eating a calzone out of the trash. ("It was my trash," he clarifies.)
Even in the worst-case scenario — say, Hollywood ruins his record and drops him — Park seems likely to land on his feet. He just doesn't have that far to fall. "People say to me, 'Wow, you must be really excited, you signed a record deal.' But it doesn't feel real. I don't believe it when people tell me how my life is going to change. It just sounds like they're full of shit.
"Meanwhile, I'm just doing what I've always done, which is stay home and, you know, write songs."
Patrick Park plays the Hotel Café on Friday, December 6.