A Visit With Danny and Pat Liston

On August 5, 2002, I had the pleasure of having dinner and visiting with Danny and Pat Liston of Mama's Pride. We met at Danny's restaurant, Seamus McDaniel's. The food was excellent. If you are in the St. Louis Missouri area, be sure to drop in for lunch or dinner.

Danny and Pat were laid back and easy to talk with. They shared many stories of their days with Mama's Pride (some of which I will share here) and also talked about their current music projects. Each of them have non-music jobs during the day, but music continues to be a very important part of their lives.

We began by talking about Mama's Pride and some of the more memorable tours and shows. Pat remembered one particular evening in California when he and Danny were living in a house together. One evening, Danny walked into Pat's bedroom and then into the closet. Danny began rummaging around in the closet for a few minutes. Finally, Pat's girlfriend said to Pat "Is he all right?" Pat said to Danny "Hey, what are you looking for?" Danny walked to the doorway of the closet, pointed at Pat and said "Papa's got a brand new bag!" Danny then left the room and returned to his own bedroom. A few minutes later, Pat looked in on Danny and found him sound asleep. The next day, Pat asked Danny about the night before. Danny remembered nothing since he was sleepwalking at the time.

We talked a bit about Danny's restaurant business. Pat then told how their mother was a waitress. Because of this, both of them have always believed in tipping waitresses. When they were on the road with Mama's Pride, they stressed this with the rest of the group. One of the members decided not to go along with this one particular evening, so Pat said "Then you're not sitting with the band." When the group walked into the restaurant, Pat told the hostess "There's five of us." The hostess did a double take and said "I count six." Pat said "No. He's not with us." So five members of the group sat at one table while the lone member sat by himself at another table.

Another restaurant story occurred in North Carolina. The band had been in town for about two weeks and always ate at one particular restaurant. During this time, they got to know the waitresses and always tipped them well. The last morning they were in town, they went to the usual place for breakfast. While waiting for their food, one of the members of the group, threw a bottle of aspirin across the counter to Pat. After Pat caught it, the manager (who was obviously new and did not know the group) came over to Pat and really let him have it about throwing things in the restaurant. Even though Pat apologized, the manager continued to make a major deal out of it. At this point, the group decided it was best that they leave. As they drove away, Pat looked back in the window and saw the new manager surrounded by two waitresses who were obviously letting him have it for running off some of their best customers.

Meeting and playing as Gregg Allman's backup band was a major event for both Pat and Danny. Even though it only lasted about six months, they both remember it fondly. It was a great deal since they came out as Mama's Pride to open the show and then returned as Gregg's band for the remainder of the show. They also talked about playing as the opening act for the Ringo Starr All Star Band. This was in 1992 at Riverport Amphitheater in St. Louis Missouri. Since Ringo was recovering from a drinking problem, no alcohol was allowed backstage. Danny said "The atmosphere backstage was amazing. It was a real family atmosphere. You weren't afraid or embarrassed to take your wife or kids backstage with you." Pat said one particular moment from this show stands out for him. "I remember being on stage and looking over at Danny and seeing how he was enjoying himself. It was really great to know that he was completely sober. This was so different from how I usually saw him when he was on stage." Both remember Todd Rundgren and other "superstars" in Ringo's band standing on the side of the stage tapping their feet and enjoying the music as Mama's Pride played. The next day, Danny and Pat got a call from Ringo's tour manager asking them to continue on the tour as Ringo's opening act. Two days later, Mama's Pride were in Kansas City Missouri opening for Ringo once again. But they were unable to continue the tour since most members of the band had other jobs and were unable to pick up and go on tour.

The conversation turned to Danny and Pat's solo recording efforts. Danny has just released his new CD "Last Call". He has made two appearances, playing acoustic shows at Border's Book stores in the St. Louis area. He has also appeared on two radio shows in the St. Louis area to promote his new CD. Danny said that he has recorded a promo and that it, along with the CD, will be distributed to over 250 radio stations nationwide. He did note that it is difficult to get airplay at the large corporately owned stations, but he is still looking for a way to break through this barrier.

Pat is continuing to work on his new CD of songs. The CD will primarily contain new songs. But, he did confirm that the CD will contain two remakes of Mama's Pride songs - "Blue Mist" and "She's a Stranger to Me Now". These two songs along with one other track are all that remain for the CD to be completed. He is planning to release it in the Spring of 2003.

This brought us to the question of whether the first two Mama's Pride albums will ever appear on CD as official releases. (Webmaster note: This is the number one question I receive via the site.) The good news is that neither of them have given up on making this happen. In addition, there seems to be a better chance of this happening since ownership of the material has changed hands. The not so good news is that there are a number of legal and logistical issues to be resolved. As has been said on this site previously, the original tapes do exist. Pat also told me that he has all the orginal artwork for the albums. We'll keep you posted on the progress of this effort.

Danny and Pat both noted the power of the internet and the Mama's Pride website. Pat commented "It has allowed people to find us that we never thought we would hear from again." Danny kiddingly added "And some we didn't want to hear from." Pat and Danny both stated how they like to read the guestbooks and message boards. Both frequently reply to fans who have signed the guestbook or posted a message on the message board.

Before the evening was over, Danny and Pat were nice enough to autograph the album covers of the first two albums, the "Guard Your Heart" CD booklet, Danny's "Every Beat of My Heart" EP and Danny's new CD.

Thanks guys. I enjoyed it.

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