The White Bitch Arrives
Written by Dominique Minor
Wednesday, 06 August 2008 16:30
Bywater resident Michael Patrick Welch, 34, is a veritable Jack-of-all-trades. He is a musician, a teacher, a painter, former magazine columnist, accomplished author and journalist, and primary caretaker to a pygmy goat named Chauncey. He is celebrating the release of his debut album, The White Bitch's Prey Drive –a day in the making for more than 15 years.
Taking Welch's multiple areas of expertise into consideration, it's no surprise that his musical style is wide-ranging: it' s equal parts alt-rock, funk, indie-pop, and abrasive punk. Through stuttering, clicky pre-programmed beats, jangly guitar riffs, and psychedelic atmospherics his songs come together like jagged pieces of glass that fall together like a row of dominoes.
“Because I have a high voice, typically, a lot of people tell me I sound like Prince or Jeff Buckley,” He said laughing, “But they don't give me credit for ripping off more!”
A big influence growing up, he said, were hardcore punk pioneers Shudder To Think.
“I've only recently started thinking about it.” He said, “When I heard they were playing Voodoo Fest I almost shed a tear. One their albums –called Pony Express Record-- is an album I've never listened to more. I've never admitted that to anybody.”
As a teen, Welch was a devoted follower of the rock scene in his hometown of Tampa, Florida, eventually becoming a part of the scene himself.
“Even though I'm just now releasing my first album, I've been writing songs and playing shows since I was fifteen.” He said, “My dad had to drive me to shows, and help me bring my equipment. I didn't know how to tune my guitar [by ear], and I remember being so frustrated. Older people had to come out of the crowd and tune my guitar for me.”
Since then, Welch has continued to perform concerts monthly, crafting his unique sound and earning his stripes as a proficient performer along the way.
After high school, Welch went on to the University of South Florida, where he majored in painting and English. Upon graduating, he worked as a part-time staff writer and editorial assistant for the St. Petersburg Times for three years before moving in New Orleans in 2000.
In a foreign city, fueled with a desire to quickly resume his regular concert regiment, Welch began looking at ways to reconfigure his sound.
“I was in bands all throughout college, and I had one band [Americar Underworld] that was really great.” He said, “However, I realized I had to figure out how play totally by myself, or there may be a chance I would not be able to play if I was [waiting for other musicians to perform with], and that would have been unbearable.”
He continued, “The only time I ever took a break from performing was when I first moved to New Orleans, and I didn't have a band.”
It was at this time, Welch began experimenting with pre-recorded loops and a drum machine to supplement his need for a backing band.
“That's how I came up with The White Bitch idea,” he said.
Within six months, he had resumed his regular gig schedule as one-man show, eventually playing with numerous acts, such as TV On The Radio, Girl Talk, Of Montreal, Quintron, Trans Am, The Fucking Champs, and Tilly and the Wall among many others.
However, getting there was not easy.
“When I started doing this thing by myself, it wasn't all that good for the first few years.” He said, “I knew I had to keep doing it. Eventually, I figured out how to write the kind of songs that sound good when I'm playing alone. It took a long time though.”
His dogged determination through adversity later became a theme in his writing. After evacuating for Hurricane Katrina, he was briefly exiled to Houston, Texas where he was hired as a staff writer for the Houston Press.
While there, Welch wrote extensively about other displaced musicians, as well as detailing his own tumultuous journey evacuating the city with his beloved pygmy goat in a pet carrier.
Before leaving Houston, he was offered a permanent job at the Press, but turned it down. He knew his heart was in New Orleans.
Upon returning to the city in October 2005, he played alongside local noise-rock purveyor Ray Bong (of The Bongoloids), and became the first musical acts to play at One Eyed Jack's after Katrina.
“Ray and I played in the lobby [of One Eyed Jack's] to a crowd of six people. We did it because we were just crazed, and it was one thing we wanted to do to keep the blood pumping.”
Over the course of the next three years, Welch developed a strong musical bond with Bong, continuing to work with him during concert performances and the recording of his album.
“Ray Bong has taught me a lot about making music,” he said. “Typically, when I play my songs they're the same way every time, and they’re always the same length and same time...he adds an intangible varying aspect [to my music].”
Welch also expressed his gratitude toward another all-important source: “Dell [Computers] accidently sent me an extra computer that was set up to be an recording studio after Hurricane Katrina.” He continued, “The fact that Dell sent me that computer was amazing, I even thank Dell on the back of CD!”
He added, “If you've seen me play before and it wasn't that good, you should see me play now...It's been a lot of public trial-and-error...there's lots of sounds I couldn't have gotten on the album if it wasn't for me [having time, and access] to experiment; it's something I've worked towards for years.”
* * *
For more info on The White Bitch, please visit: http://www.myspace.com/thecreamywhite bitch.
|< Prev||Next >|