Dayton drummer joins Son Volt on current tour

Mark Patterson, who honed his craft as a teenager in both Colonel White High School’s Red Beret Drum Corps and Dayton’s first punk band Toxic Reasons, recently signed on as tour drummer for pioneering Americana act Son Volt. CONTRIBUTED
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Mark Patterson, who honed his craft as a teenager in both Colonel White High School’s Red Beret Drum Corps and Dayton’s first punk band Toxic Reasons, recently signed on as tour drummer for pioneering Americana act Son Volt. CONTRIBUTED

Mark Patterson started playing drums when he was 10. As a teenager, he developed his chops cutting heads in Colonel White High School’s Red Beret Drum Corps. He played on Toxic Reasons’ “War Hero,” the first punk rock single out of Dayton, before establishing himself as the go-to timekeeper for a variety of bands and rootsy songwriters.

Patterson, who relocated to Austin in 1989, is now on tour as the drummer for pioneering Americana act Son Volt. He was in Dallas recently when he called to discuss his new gig with Son Volt, the role of the drummer and the Dayton music scene.

CALLUS-BUILDING TIME

“We’re still working some kinks out, but Son Volt is a great band. It’s great to play those songs. The new album is a bit of a return to form for the band. I’m hearing from a lot of friends these days that are huge Son Volt fans and a lot of them say this is their favorite record since, ‘Trace.’ I’m building up my calluses again because Son Volt plays a little louder and harder than some of the people I’ve been playing with.”

THE SONGWRITER’S FRIEND

“I’ve always been drawn to songwriters and people I could help with their vision. I’m a sideman. I’m in a support role. In fact, if I could pick an epitaph it would be, ‘Songwriter’s friend,’ because that’s what I really try to do. I’m not there to solo. I’m not there to do anything but to support the song and make it the best it could possibly be.”

BACK IN THE DAYTON GROOVE

“I’ve been back in Dayton helping out my folks since December. I’ve really enjoyed being back here. I’ve been to see shows at Yellow Cab and Blind Bob’s and been able to catch up with people. I’ve hung out with friends and gone to UD games, which has really been a pleasure.”

A RICH LOCAL SCENE

“The Dayton music scene is really cool and always has been. There’s still a lot of talent and a lot of good bands. The cool thing, as always, is it’s out of the limelight so people can do what they want without having a lot expectations attached to it. That’s absolutely how we get the distinctive bands that have come out of there. It’s not like there’s a Dayton sound or anything, but being out of the spotlight of major media centers gives people time to develop their own sound. Dayton has always been really supportive of that.”