One of the most varied and versatile drummers in all of music, Pat Mastelotto celebrated his 67th birthday on September 10. Artists as varied as Hall & Oates, Al Jarreau, Eddie Money, Matthew Sweet and Kenny Loggins have availed themselves of his skills. His work spans many styles, but the unifying characteristic that ties it all together is sophistication. Here are five tracks featuring the peerless percussion of Pat Mastelotto.
Martin Briley – “The Salt in My Tears” (1983) from One Night with a Stranger
British guitarist and songwriter Martin Briley debuted on record with 1981’s Fear of the Unknown. But he’s best remembered for this song, the standout track (and single, and MTV hit) from his second LP. Featuring Pat Mastelotto’s propulsive drumming, this catchy exemplar of melodic power pop made it to #36 on Billboard‘s Hot 100 record chart.
Mr. Mister – “Kyrie” (1985) from Welcome to the Real World
A quartet with Mastelotto on drums, Los Angeles-based Mr. Mister followed a career path similar to Briley’s: their first album sold only modestly, but their sophomore release broke in a big way. The Grammy-nominated Welcome to the Real World was a smash thanks to its three hit singles: “Is It Love,” “Broken Wings” and this song. Both “Broken Wings” and “Kyrie” made it to the #1 spot on the Billboard singles chart.
XTC – “Mayor of Simpleton” (1989) from Oranges and Lemons
Art-pop band XTC followed a career arc similar to the Beatles: They started out as a live touring band, but eventually retired to the studio, where their music became more deeply textured and ornate. But they always remained melodic and accessible. The studio-era band didn’t have a permanent drummer, and for the band’s 11th studio album – including this delightful single – they enlisted the talents of Pat Mastelotto.
King Crimson – “Heroes” (2016) from Heroes – Live in Europe EP
King Crimson mainstay Robert Fripp lent his distinctive guitar work to the original recording of David Bowie’s “Heroes” in 1977, so it made sense that his group would pay tribute to the Thin White duke after his passing in 2016. The so-called “seven-headed beast” lineup – featuring Mastelotto as one of three drummers – recorded this performance in Berlin, the city where the song was first recorded.
Stick Men – “Danger in the Workplace” (2022) from Tentacles
The music of King Crimson – especially in the 21st century – was always challenging, powerful and foreboding. And for this side project, Mastelotto and Crimson bassist/Chapman stick player Tony Levin (joined by guitarist Markus Reuter) took things even further. Stick Men’s instrumental approach is sometimes called “prog noir,” which is as good a description as any.
With a background in marketing and advertising, Bill Kopp got his professional start writing for Trouser Press. After a stint as Editor-in-chief for a national music magazine, Bill launched Musoscribe in 2009, and has published new content every business day since then (and every single day since 2018). The 4500-plus interviews, essays, and reviews on Musoscribe reflect Bill's keen interest in American musical forms, most notably rock, jazz, and soul. His work features a special emphasis on reissues and vinyl. Bill's work also appears in many other outlets both online and in print. He regularly hosts lecture/discussions on artists and albums of historical importance (including monthly events Music to Your Ears and Music Movie Mondays), and is a frequent guest on music-focused radio programs and podcasts. In Spring 2023 he taught a history of Rock 'n' Roll at UNC Asheville's College for Seniors. He also researches and authors liner notes for album reissues -- more than 30 to date -- and co-produced a reissue of jazz legend Julian "Cannonball" Adderley's final album. His first book, Reinventing Pink Floyd: From Syd Barrett to The Dark Side of the Moon was published by Rowman & Littlefield in 2018, and in paperback in 2019. His second book, Disturbing the Peace: 415 Records and the Rise of New Wave, was published in 2021 by HoZac Books. His third book, What's the Big Idea: Great Concept Albums will be published in 2024. Read even more about him here.