Pat Metheny Interview

by Dr. Joe Barth for Just Jazz Guitar

One of the most major figures in jazz music and certainly in jazz guitar over the last 25 years is Pat Metheny. He was born in Lee's Summit, Missouri on August 12, 1954. Pat is best known for his work with the Pat Metheny Group and his Trios. He has also worked with Sonny Rollins, Herbie Hancock, Michael Brecker and numerous others. I met with Pat at his office in New York City for this interview.

Part 1 - Pat's Development as a Musician

JB: When were you first drawn to the guitar?

P.M.: I come from the middle of the generation that viewed the guitar almost as an icon of some sort of youthful revolution. It began in the 50's and continued into the 60's, when I caught the wave. It was most personified through the Beatles, and I was about 7 or 8 when the Beatles began to have hit songs. They brought to my mind a consciousness concerning the guitar that wasn't there before. Even though I come from a very musical family, the guitar was considered kind of a secondary instrument. My older brother Mike, was 8 or 9 and already kind of a child prodigy on the trumpet and my mother's father was a professional trumpet player all his life. I started playing trumpet when I was about 7 under the teaching of my brother Mike, who is five years older. Our family was very serious about classical and concert band music, but we were in Lee's Summit, MO, which is in the center of the country music aesthetic. Around town there were guitars everywhere. I remember at the local barbershop there would be all these guitars hanging on the walls, and when there were no customers, they'd get played. So, my first exposure to the guitar was...


Dr. Barth is pastor of Slippery Rock (PA) Alliance Church and plays jazz guitar as a hobby.

© hepcat1950 TOP last update: October 10, 2005