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Name: Adam Bernard
Home: Fairfield, Connecticut, United States
About Me: Entertainment journalist with 15+ years of experience. Supporter of indie music. Lover of day baseball, fringe movies, & chicken shawarma. Part time ninja. Nerdy, but awesome.
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Artist Of The Week - Living Proof
Monday, January 04, 2010

I like things that are funky, which is why when I first heard Living Proof, a band that’s self-described as “The Black Eyed Peas meets Earth, Wind & Fire,” I was immediately hooked by their vibe. The band consists of (from L to R) Leonard Patterson, Jeff Libby, Marc Latney, Jessica Patterson, Larry Beiswenger, Gary McCary and Teddy Patterson, and their mix of funk and hip-hop makes for some truly feel good music, which is probably why they named their latest album Feel Good Music. This week I caught up with three of the members of Living Proof to find out more about the group, including how they got together, how they nearly lost a member to a runaway golf cart, and their exploits in thievery involving Morris Day’s trailer.

Adam Bernard: Start me off with the Living Proof story. How did you all meet and come together as a group?
Leonard Patterson: The roots of Living Proof actually go back to September 11th, 2001. I wrote a tribute song about the tragedies that day and started singing it at local churches, but I found it didn’t really have the right feel singing over produced tracks, so I asked some friends to get involved and form a small band. Two of those people were Jessica, our female lead singer, and Larry, our trumpet player. During that time I discovered a friend’s relative that I knew personally lost their dad at the Pentagon in the attacks. They started a memorial fund in his name and all of a sudden we had a purpose to play. I put together a six song EP in my home studio to sell at churches and concerts and donated all the proceeds to my friend’s memorial fund. We did 20 performances over the course of the next year, ending on the anniversary of the attacks, September 11th, 2002. By that time we realized we wanted to keep playing out. I landed us a spot on a local band showcase in town, and on November 2nd, 2002 Living Proof was born. We were playing all original music, but in the spring of 2003 we decided to start playing some covers to lengthen our set, broaden our fan base, and most importantly, get paid. Jessica and Larry were still down, but others started to drop out, so through auditions and replacements is how everyone has come to be a part of Living Proof. Jeff, our keyboard player joined in 2003. Marc, our bass player, joined in 2005. Gary, our drummer, joined in 2007. And Teddy, our sax player, joined in September of last year. Our soundman Joseph Dixon has been with us for a couple years, too, and makes us sound great every time we play.

Adam Bernard: With such a large group, do you ever clash creatively? If so, how do those disputes get resolved?
Jeff Libby: Of course we do. None ever deteriorate to fist fights, but we have some heated discussions occasionally. Leonard is our leader and the Executive Producer, so when it comes to a final decision, he gets to make it. He is very good at taking in all opinions and making the best overall decision that advances the band’s mission - World Domination!

Adam Bernard: In your effort for world domination you just released an album, Feel Good Music. Break it down for people, why is this album going to make listeners feel good?
Jessica Patterson: When you hear a solid groove paired with energetic horns and powerful vocals you have a combination that makes you want to move and makes you feel good.
Jeff Libby: The band’s overall mission, when playing live, is to create a party, fun, leave your cares at the door, atmosphere. We have a very positive vibe that comes off the stage when we play and we tried to capture that positive vibe in the recording. All the songs have an upbeat message. We worked hard at not wallowing in any negativity. I think we’ve done a good job of representing the diversity and multiple talents of the band while capturing the fun, funky, vibe of Living Proof.

Adam Bernard: As you mentioned earlier, you also perform cover songs. What are some of your personal faves to perform and are you working on anything especially ambitious right now in terms of covers?
Jeff Libby: My personal favorites to perform are “Deacon Blues” by Steely Dan, “My Prerogative” by Bobby Brown, and “September” by Earth Wind & Fire. We’re currently working on a Michael Jackson medley/tribute that I think will be particularly fun for the audience.

Adam Bernard: What have been your best, and worst, concert experiences as performers?
Jeff Libby: My favorite was the Sky Concert a number of years ago. We started playing with just a handful of people in the crowd and as the evening went on, and it got darker, more and more people showed up to see the fireworks at the end of our show. When we finished there had to be 30,000 people screaming in the dark at our performance. It was a total surprise and very cool to have this wave of applause and appreciation come out of the dark night.
Leonard Patterson: The best for me was a Battle of the Bands show we did several years ago. After we started playing covers we were labeled strictly as a cover band, which internally was a source of frustration, so we entered this battle in hopes of dispelling that stereotype. The night of battle had to be our tightest 25 minutes on stage. At the end of our set that night, the place ERUPTED! That several minutes of applause carried me for a while.
Jessica Patterson: The worst was an audition for a big program. We all had our own individual mess-ups that multiplied into the worst two and a half minutes in Living Proof history. Wrong notes, lips busted on mics, keyboard stands collapsing, awkward brass vibrato... you get the idea.
Leonard Patterson: In case you were wondering, we did NOT get the spot in the show from that audition.

Adam Bernard: It sounds like you’ve had some interesting times on stage. Why don’t you close out this interview by telling me about an especially wild moment that happened at one of your shows... or backstage after one of your shows.
Jessica Patterson: Leonard almost got taken out by a golf cart. We were setting up at a show and all of a sudden a golf cart came charging towards Leonard who was standing at the front of the stage. He dove out of the way just in time for it to smash into a stone wall. Turns out, a tub of ice had slid off the seat onto the gas pedal. A golf cart might not sound that scary but that thing was moving, in fact, it actually caused a couple thousand dollars in damage to the building.
Jeff Libby: Another time we opened for Morris Day & The Time and meeting Morris after the gig was pretty cool. He is a character.
Leonard Patterson: We stole some cookies from Morris’ trailer. I’m sure he’s “Cool.”

Related Links

Website: livingproofmusic.com
MySpace: myspace.com/livingproofband
Twitter: twitter.com/livingproofband


posted by Adam Bernard @ 7:15 AM  
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