Patrick Nehoda

Ex-firefighter Spreading Like Wildfire

Patrick mixes early 90s grunge and Americana music to create his unique “grungicana” sound, picking up momentum in unlikely places

Radio tuned into local Lightning 100, driving down a brown tree-lined road in chilly yet still somehow humid Nashville November, an ad for HOME popped on, listing all the amenities we have to offer (including unlimited free coffee).

Patrick Nehoda, a 6’7 giant puppy, urgently pulled over to the side of the road to fill out an application to become a HOME member (I picture him driving a classic red pick-up, but I’m not sure what kind of car he drove). Lo and behold, a couple months later, Patrick is a fellow homie, hopping on board the awesome music community dream train.

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Before coming down to Nashville about 2 years ago, Patrick lived in artsy, rainy Seattle for 3 years, and before that he lived in super Red Sacramento, CA. For those of you who have seen the movie Lady Bird, which takes place in Sacramento, the writer of the film, Greta Gerwig attended the all-girls sister school of Patrick's High School.

The first time Patrick visited Nashville was back in 2007/2008; he was instantly impressed and immediately sensed it was a great and affordable city. Ten years later, though the city is not as affordable, but it is still a terrific place! The siren song of the music scene coaxed Patrick into our town, but not the country music scene, specifically not country music. For him, it’s beneficial to not be part of the majority, so he came to join the rock side of the city, influenced by the local domicile of Jack White and Alabama Shakes.

Patrick’s tendency to swim upstream began as an adolescent. About age 10, Patrick experienced a monumental musical epiphany.

Nirvana’s Nevermind album had released mid-September, including their hit single “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” One particular weekend night, young Patrick had stayed up way late watching Alt Nation on MTV; sitting there in front of the screen, he witnessed the first airing of the hit single’s legendary music video. That game-changing video hit a chord in Patrick’s music heart. Having listened heavily to smooth 50s and 60s pop on account of his parents’ tunes of choice, the sweet buzzing whine of the grungy electric guitar was a sound he had never experienced before, and now he could never get enough of it. From that moment on, his ears sought the music of Smashing Pumpkins, Eric Clapton, Lenny Kravitz, Cream, and of course Nirvana. The specific rock music he listened to was almost feminist, especially when compared to the objectifying and misogynistic songs of hair metal. Respecting women in lyrics was logical to Patrick, thanks to strong influential women raising him, such as his mom and grandmother.

More fun facts about Patrick, he was a firefighter in Northern California for several seasons.

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He became a firefighter when a band he was in during his early 20s started falling apart. His mates were getting married, having kids, and pursuing other careers, so he decided to choose a different path as well. He attended and graduated from a firefighting academy and paramedic school to become a trained and certified firefighter. On good days, the gig was like being paid to go camping with friends, but on bad days it was like facing the Grim Reaper. After risking his life fighting a natural forest fire nowhere near any residential neighborhoods, Patrick took a step back to evaluate where he was going in life; he decided fighting non-civilian life threatening fires was not worth the risk. Also, the difficult and backbreaking work was something he couldn’t picture himself continuing into his mid-50s.

Patrick felt replenished with life when creating art, but he chose to be a firefighter instead to make his dad proud.

Caring only about what made Patrick happy, his family encouraged him to pursue his music again, so he flipped a coin to determine the fate of his fresh start: tails to visit New Orleans or heads to visit Seattle. The coin landed on heads, so he packed his bags to go up travel northward to the tippy top of the West Coast, where he instantly fell in love with the city and was undeniably certain he wanted to live there after only a week and a half. And of course three years and one album later, he moved to Nashville to continue his music career!

In his music, Patrick experiments with combining sounds that people don’t often hear together, such as old school western mixed with 90s grunge.

Some call it “grungicana.” Interestingly enough, his American-rooted music has a large following in Europe, though that didn’t happen by accident. The story begins when Patrick met Elles Bailey, a contemporary blues/rock artist from England, and Elles insisted he share his newly recorded music with the masses. So by her request, he sent to her an email containing a short bio and all the music he had, to later find out she submitted everything to hundreds of rock & roll/blues stations across the entire European continent. One particular FM station in the West England city of Gloucester, the host town of the Rhythm & Blues Festival, played his over-7-minutes-long song “Devil’s Bitch.”

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Towards the end of 2016, the radio station hosted a contest to determine from a list of frequently played songs, which included some Stones stuff, their “Best Track of 2016,” using call-ins and emails from listeners to vote for the most popular radio tune. In early 2017, his radio dialed to their frequency, Patrick’s surprised ears heard each individual word as the station announced his song had won the contest! The international radio victory led to an open invite to play at the Gloucester Rhythm & Blues fest in July, so Patrick along with his music partner in crime/guitarist arranged a July 2018 European tour. Though he had never been to Europe before, he knew from experience and word of mouth that folks across the pond had a certain appreciation for blues and Americana music that we Americans don’t seem have as much of here.

Fast-forward, Patrick is scheduled to play Sunday evening July 22nd at the Fountain Inn for the festival!

If you happen to be there at the particular time, I strongly suggest you show Patrick some love!

Meanwhile at HOME,

Patrick was the first homie chosen to participate in a Homie Makeover, where one of our producers chooses one of our artist’s songs and re-records and re-produces it according to his vision. So our dear Matt picked “Anymore,” a song previously recorded in Seattle with a raw and retro sound, moved and shifted things around and Nashvillicized it by recording it nice and crisp and clean and ready to be all done up in the studio to make it shiny and perfect sounding.

Check out the makeover results when they come in, and let us know what you think!

Also, Patrick just released his album, Don't Forget The Hat, on Spotify, so be sure to give it a good listen!!

Interviewed and written by Andra Ingram