J. Willis Pratt and We're Bionic

February 24, 2013

How It Began

Filed under: —— Stephanie @ 12:16 am

I got my first guitar in 1973-74, I asked the kid if he was sure he wanted to trade he said he was sure but it didn’t take long for him to change his mind. I told him a deals a deal. I didn’t take music to serious back in the old days, never gave rock stardom a thought until I traded a mini bike for a stack of vinyl witch included the Beach Boys, Led Zeppelin, Grand Funk, the Stones, the Eagles, the Beatles, 10cc, the Cars, Dr. Hook, Cream, Clayton, Boston and many more.

On August 23 1980, I left Maple Hill, a group home I lived at till I was 18. Got my first apt in Plainfield VT. The first job I had was as a stage hand & prop person for the two penny circus .a vermont based theater group. Then I worked at McDs for 6 months then I mouthed off to the boss and got fired I still think I was in the right. Then I worked at 2 different burger kings I lived on streets for about six years some times I only eat a box KRAFT macaroni & cheese back then a 40 only coast $1.00.

I know people say you should get your priorities stright, i would say feeling good is high on my list. You should try living in a car for a while I worked at a egg farm for a week or two. Would you believe they fired me because I smelled bad ? I didnt have place I could shower every day some times I would go to the Goddard pool room to stay warm I got pretty good for that table; after years of odd jobs,this nice couple came to town. I stacked fire wood, hung plastic & odds n ends for them. Once I went to eat at licky-split and tom asked if I wanted do dishes in exchange for food so I did, they liked the way I worked and asked if id like to take the job full time I said yes, that job lasted 2 -years. I worked at Lums about 2 years, then got fired.

They were wrong how it all began 4/4/98, rock it happened a long time ago when a band named phish came to Goddard and played in the Hay Barn. I didn’t care for the music at first I think the guys were feeling good. It was the third time I though they sounded – ok but its not really not my type of music. me and fishman always argued about who was great and who sucked I still say kiss is better then ac/dc but I love ac/dc to. He calls me a prolific song writer. Well, any way I walked up and talked to the band and played wild on tray’s guitar they got a kick out of it especially fishman.

Lucky for me two of the band members decided to go to Goddard. When people saw me coming they know I was going to ask have you seen fish, he was a hard guy to track down we practiced in Goddard’s music building. We talked about making an album years before the Lost Paradox, my first album, came out. I played mean on tray’s guitar, once at Nectars i also opened for the dude of life. Back when I played roady for phish I lived in fishmans dorm room a whole semester while he stayed in his girlfriend’s room. I called myself the none student student.

Now years later I met my keyboard player, drew gatto. He lived down the road from me for at least a year be we became band mates . but after the frist time we practiced in my apartment I liked the way we sounded then I told drew i wanted to start a band so we did we had a guitarist jon Nevill but he didnt fit in so for live shows we did not have lead. Because I always forget my lryics but we put on good show. My bassist John Kasiewicz was at a friends where he heard the Lost Paradox. He just had to come and meet me he brought a couple 40s, that was cool. We hung out a bit but it was a year or so before he became a band member.

We don’t have a permament drummer I’ll take the fishman as long as he’s available for the studio. I’m the singer song writer. My second album Bleeding in a Sharks Tank, came in the late fall 1997, and the band is called J WILLIS PRATT & WERE BIONIC. The new album is in the making Rhythm of the Sun, I’ve played club toast a few times with and without a band, i prefer the band.

We opened for phish in albany ny on dec 13th 1997.

Now a story by art edelstein: Jon Fishman helps J Willis Pratt toward musical fame. Making sure willis has all the opportunities any rock star could ask for. willis and his band “were bionic” recently opened up for phish in albany — one of americas top jam bands. No small feat for any musician that hasn’t play out much at albany concert jon fishman introduced j willis as one of greatest and most prolific song writers in the world. So visible is willis be coming that his name is bandied about the phish net news group (rec.music.phish) as if he were a member of the band. He is also mentioned as a road and spiritual adviser in the phishing manual willis recently released his second album bleeding in a sharks tank. Willis thanks jon fishman for helping his career, and being part of the band. Willis and fishman have been friends since the mid 1980s. Willis’ music has fresh innocence that savvy musicians look for. It is a style he described as punk metal its aggressive but not ignorant or with a bad attitude.

Willis says my music is more positive and humorous. It was this quality jon liked. I played my song wild for the band fishman liked it. Somehow we connected. Willis is self taught. Willis has many songs to be recorded his talent is not playing other peoples music.

“I decided to write my own its more fun.” he said, “I don’t put the words down some times I forget my lyrics I didn’t think musicians could follow me, I’m supposed to have weird timing.”

He has played in burlington at club toast and nectars & gallaghers in waitsfield. However, fishman who plays on all his albums, likes the wildness of his music. In a article in Modern Drummer magazine fishman listed willis’ albu, The Lost Paradox, as one most representative of my drumming above all the phish albums he has recorded.

John Kasiewicz, base player for j willis Pratt and were bionic says willis’ style the music is a series of elements that form a different show every time. About performing with willis, i’s a game of follow the leader it develops my listening skills I have to watch willis. The music he plays is a little bit of intuition and a ton of magic. Willis said he like to play more shows this CD, it is not on any record label, it’s in a few local stores. Already he is working on his next album. He believes his connection to phish could push cd sales willis said he hopes fish doesm’t forget to mention his albums in the news letter he believes word of mouth from the albany show and all talk about him on the internet should push sales and help book concerts. Willis said he hopes CD sales and a few local bookings will help bank roll his first us tour.

Until then I’ll keep writing songs and developing my unique playing style.

— J. Willis Pratt

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