Rides, Rallies and Events Recap

Mickey Finn Band

Written by  December 31, 2005

What the hell am I doing on the Plaza? Kansas City’s version of Rodeo Drive needs me about as much as I need it. Well, that’s the price you pay to be a high-paid photojournalist. Stephanie and I recently stood outside of Tom Fooleries on 47th Street waiting for our good friend Paul Greenlease and his band, The Mickey Finn Band, who were playing their weekly gig at this local bar and grill. We had waited until the last minute to interview Paul, Nate Dean, and Mike Patrum, so the Plaza location was our only chance to get some one-on-one time with these musicians if we wanted to make our deadline. Although we are more accustomed to seeing this group at some of our favorite biker bar hangouts, we were willing to endure the Plaza long enough to record some comments from our good friend Paul and his band members.

We hope you enjoy this new monthly column, Band Reviews, where we will feature a different local band each month. We have been following Paul through the local music scene for several years and couldn’t think of anybody better to be our first victim.

By way of introduction, quoting from their web site, www.themickeyfinnband.com, “The Mickey Finn Band has been part of the music scene in Kansas City for over five years. They are known by area music enthusiasts as one of the premier “musician’s bands” in town comprised of some of the top live and session musicians in Kansas City. The individual players in the band come from diverse professional musical backgrounds and the band plays many different styles with expertise. If you are a serious music connoisseur, or if you just like to dance and have a good time, you will love the Mickey Finn Band.”

CC: Who are your musical influences?
Paul: Led Zeppelin, older blues guys, Stax Records, stuff like Sam and Dave and Otis Redding and stuff like that.
Nate: Eric Johnson.
Mike: Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, I like Chicago, Earth Wind and Fire.

CC: What bands have you played with previously?
Paul: Vocal bands, I’ve played with Neon Blue, Bob Harvey, Max Groove, Cobalt Project, Percy Sledge and Zig Medeliste.
Nate: I’ve played for a lot of people. I played in a band called the Broken Cowboy. They were a big country band here. I lived in Nashville, and I played with for a lot of country artists down there including Larry Gatlin, Keith Norris and Reese Wynans. I’ve played for a lot of cool people, so it’s hard for me to pick out just a few.
Mike: Kerry Livgrin (of the band Kansas).

CC: What genre of music do you play?
Paul: We play really hard rock, new rock, classic rock, a lot of blues, some country, some R&B, just depends on the genre.

CC: What is your favorite out of all those to perform?
Paul: Whatever people want to hear. We kind of like stepping it up into Alice in Chains mode sometimes.
Nate: Whatever people like.

CC: What CD is in your car right now?
Paul: I’ve got a bunch of CDs in my car. I just went to Best Buy and bought a bunch of country CDs because we’re playing at Harrah’s at Toby Keith’s, so we had to learn a whole bunch of country to keep the gig.

CC: What were you listening to on your way in?
Paul: Talk radio. I listen to talk radio in my car. I don’t listen to music usually.
Nate: Gavin McGraw.
Mike: Talk radio.

CC: Why did you choose the Mickey Finn Band as your name?
Paul: Because years ago when my friend and I started this band, we don’t do any psychedelic drugs, so we had a hard time thinking of a cool band name. That’s really the story. He had that band name, The Mickey Finn Band, and we thought that’s a lot cooler than any name we could think of. It’s almost by default we thought of it. Or should I say that we had like a psychic experience at a séance at the crossroads by the pale moonlight? Ghrrr…(growls)

CC: What prompted your decision to leave the Bob Harvey Band?
Paul: Sexual harassment. (laughing). Actually, since Nate has been in the band, we’ve had so much interest in having this band on the weekends and stuff, and this is the strongest lineup that we’ve had, I thought this would be a good time to make the break.

CC: Is it scary leaving a band that is that established in the area?
Paul: Yes it is, but it’s also exciting too because of new opportunities.

CC: What local venues can we find the Mickey Finn Band playing at?
Paul: The best place to check us out is www.themickeyfinnband.com and also we’re going to be playing at the Landing in Liberty, Nick’s Tavern in Independence, Jerseys in Independence, Blayney’s in Westport, Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar and Grill at Harrah’s Casino.
Nate: Our weekly gigs are at Tom Fooleries on the Plaza every Wednesday night and Tom Fooleries at Zona Rosa every Thursday night.

CC: What are the band’s strengths?
Paul: Me. (laughing). Our strengths are we can really play our butts off. We really have a lot of instrumental prowess. We’ve got pretty good singing, but the biggest thing that we have is we all are really super heavy on our instruments.
Nate: We can play almost anyone into the ground.

CC: Mental note: Paul just said the word “prowess.” Let’s see if he really knows what it means. Does the band have any weaknesses that you can think of, other than the fact that you need more exposure?
Paul: Yes, we need more exposure, but that’s being remedied right now by your online magazine. I really can’t think of any weaknesses really. I feel really strong or otherwise I wouldn’t have left such a good band as Bob Harvey’s band to do that if I felt like this band had any weaknesses at all, other than Mike (laughing).
Nate: Dropping the beat (laughing).

CC: OK, for each one of you, what is your musical background with reference to training?
Paul: I had a lot of private lessons. I also went to Musicians Institute in Hollywood, and I studied there, and then I got back and I studied a lot of jazz improv and stuff like that.
Nate: I grew up playing. I did a couple of years in Nashville, so I played a ton there professionally.
Mike: I had a lot of private instruction, and I went to the University of Kansas.

CC: This is for Nate and Mike. Do you guys think that you can get that kind of fame and popularity even though you are dragging Paul along with you?
Nate: Paul is dead weight.
Mike: Sure we can.
Paul: We’re going to replace Paul with a younger and skinnier guy.

CC: Since this interview will be in a magazine geared toward motorcycle enthusiasts, what can you offer as a band to this crowd?
Paul: We’re really high energy. We play good rock. We don’t play sissy music, you know. And we play stuff that people can dig.

CC: Tell us about your most memorable experience on stage.
Paul: I think at the Mule Run when they had the Miss Mule Run Contest… well, I can’t say that in a magazine. Actually, playing with Percy Sledge. That was really, really cool. It was like having 50 orgasms. (Don’t repeat that part.) Playing with Percy Sledge was probably the coolest thing I’ve ever done.
Nate: One time when I was playing at a honky tonk in Texas and this June bug flew in and hit me in the face and I freaked out like a pussy.
Mike: Somebody fell into my drums a while back.

CC: Where do you see the Mickey Finn Band in five years?
Paul: Like with really expensive hookers and on “Behind the Music.” We will have gotten hooked on drugs and then have gotten clean and then we’ll be on “Behind the Music.” No…. In five years from now… We’re starting to record original songs. Nate writes really good songs, and I’d like to see us playing a lot more high exposure gigs and stuff like that although we’re fine just playing at bars, but we want to take it as far as we can really.

Interview and Photos by Loney and
Stephanie Wilcoxson