Music legend Pat Dailey plays Toledo concert Jan. 25Written by Jeff McGinnis | | firstname.lastname@example.org
The Coolest SOB in the World.
For decades, legendary musician Pat Dailey — the bawdy balladeer of Put-In-Bay — has been introduced to fans all over Northwest Ohio using that moniker, and most anyone who has attended Dailey’s raucous and wildly entertaining live performances would find it hard to disagree with the title. But where did the nickname come from, exactly?
“It came straight from the horse’s mouth,” Dailey said with a laugh during an interview with Toledo Free Press Star. “I just started saying it, introducing myself before every show. And sometimes, there weren’t even that many people there. But I just like saying it, you know?
“You know, it’s funny, the owner of Sloppy Joe’s [in Keywest, Fla.] — who’s since passed away — the first time he heard me play and say that, he catches me after my show. And he was a really cool guy —movie star quality guy, you know, Errol Flynn-type. ‘I just want you to know, I’ve been saying that I’m the coolest son of a bitch in the world. I heard you say it. But after watching your show, I gotta agree!’”
Dailey has that effect on people. It’s hard to watch one of his concerts without a big grin on your face. The veteran frontman’s infectious style has made him a musical institution in the area for more than 30 years, with his regular performances at Put-In-Bay the stuff of local entertainment legend. Dailey returns to the Toledo area with a show at the Premier Banquet Complex — the former Gladieux Meadows across from the Stranahan Theater — on Jan. 25.
“If I have a good live crowd, I feel like I didn’t ever have to work that night,” Dailey said. “Conversely, if you have a dead crowd that’s doing nothing, it’s like pushing a truck uphill all night. But when the crowd is with me, they kind of pull me along and I kinda float on their energy. It’s just so wonderful. And I get that most of the time, no matter where it is.”
Dailey has been singing as far back as he can remember, yearning for the chance to perform practically from his earliest days growing up in Kirkwood, Mo. When the young Dailey reached high school, he formed a band with classmates inspired by some of their musical heroes — Ricky Nelson, Chuck Berry, Bill Haley and, of course, the King himself.
“Before Elvis, the guitar was not a big instrument. Of course, it was used a lot in country music and all that. But boy, once he came along, it was like everybody had to get a guitar, everybody had to learn to play one. It was just a big movement, you know. My friends — we had a rock ’n’roll band in the ’50s in high school, somebody said something like, ‘You guys are real followers of Elvis.’ And I said, ‘I correct you — we’re disciples.’”
After serving in the military, Dailey began his musical career in earnest, performing all across the country, a traveling troubadour of good times. But it wasn’t until he first played the Great Lakes area in the late 1970s that he knew he had found his home base.
“Once I came this far East, I was pleasantly surprised at how welcoming the crowd was to everything I was doing. They weren’t afraid to show their love, they were having fun. I found the crowds out west to get more and more reserved — they just really didn’t let loose and have a good time. You’d think, hey, wild and crazy California, but it’s not that way — the people are not nearly as much fun as they are in this part of the country, or even down in Florida.”
Nowadays, most of Dailey’s time is divided between his local performances and gigs in Key West, where a large chunk of his fanbase travels to see him perform, as well. His show in Toledo on Jan. 25 will be Dailey’s last in Northwest Ohio for two months, as he’ll be down in Florida beginning Jan. 31.
Dailey has big plans for the rest of 2013, including the release of a new live album, which he has wanted to do for quite a while. However, until recently, he’s never been satisfied with the quality of the recordings he’s done.
“I recorded the last year at Sloppy Joe’s and at the Boathouse, and got the best live recordings I could get of myself, and had a real good engineer put ’em together and all that. And so in the summer, I’m gonna come out with a live album recorded in both those places.”
With the rich musical legacy Dailey leaves in his wake, it will be a sad day when the Coolest SOB in the World decides to hang up his guitar. But to hear him talk, that day remains far in the distance.
“About two years ago, I had a serious talk with myself about retiring. And I realized I can do it, if I wanted to. And I really thought about it, because I’ve been doing it all my life, and I thought how nice it would be to not have any obligations, and I could just let myself get all fat and lazy.
“But then I thought about it. And I thought, ‘Gee, I only gotta go out a couple of hours a couple times a week, at the most.’ And I’m loving it now, because I have realized that after a certain number of years, I don’t have to worry about if I’m doing the ‘right thing’ anymore — ‘Do they like me?’ anymore. It’s proven itself. It’s kind of past tense. It worked. And so now, I’m in the gravy days, where I can go out and totally enjoy myself every show, without any of those worries that you have when you’re growing up about ‘Am I doing the right thing? Is this cool?’
“So I thought, ‘There’s no sense in retiring from this.’ And I’ve thought about it since, and I thought, ‘Boy, if I’d have retired two years ago, I’d feel silly now.’”
For more information or to purchase tickets, call (419) 473-3003.