Volaré Exposé Interview
Issue No. 14               Winter 1998
Interview by Warren Dale, Photos by Linda Shulman

I just barely caught up with  Volaré after their very exciting set during ProgDay 97. They were very busy, not only helping out Finisterre with borrowed equipment (Patrick Strawser lent his Rhodes, analog synths, and vintage keys rigs, and Steve Hatch (guitar) lent his E-bow), but Pat and Brian Donohoe (drums) very capably sat in with French TV, and then Brian played with Glass Hammer during their respective sets. Elated after the warm reception the Prog Day audience gave their great performance Pat, Steve, Brian and Richard Mark Kesler (bass and sax) were in the perfect mood to talk about their music and their history as a band.

Pat: (motioning to my finneus gauge tee) Nice Shirt! I still haven't seen them yet; I'd really like to - I hear they're great.

You guys put on a great performance yourselves today. I really enjoyed it. The crowd seemed to especially like 'Blitz' - it was the song that received the most applause. Great soloing, Pat, on the analog synths - it was really cool.

All:  Thanks!

You guys made a big splash at the Eclectic Electric Event (July 96) but that was the first time most of us had heard anything about you. Have you been together in various forms for a while?

Pat:  I meet Steve in late Nov. of 93. He answered an ad I put up...

Steve:  ...illegally...

Pat:  Enough tragedy (to follow one band)...

Mark:  Tell your British readers, ...we're very sorry...

Steve:  We'll send you a card.

Mark:  Yeah! No kidding!

Brian, you sat in for Walter (Moore, drummer for Glass Hammer) when he played acoustic guitar during their set today. (Later that day Peter Renfro dubbed Brian the 'Most Valuable Player' of ProgDay 97 - he got around...)

Brian:  Yeah. We have a lot to thank the Glass Hammer guys, Steve (DeArqe) and Fred (Schendel) for. We recorded (our CD) at Sound Resources in Chattanooga owned by Glass Hammer. We think Fred has one of the great set of ears in Progressive Rock.

What happened to your Cellist (Rob Sutherland)?

Pat:  He went to Oxford. He's a Rhodes Scholar actually. Well, really. we didn't agree musically with him on much.

Brian:  He wasn't a rock and roller, he is a Classical musician. He wasn't cut out for it.

Mark:  He left on good terms; there was a mutual understanding. This was a separation that was inevitable.

Pat:  ...on the University of Georgia campus, so it's been a while.

Steve:  I saw the ad before it was torn down two days later.

Pat:  The three of us (including Brian) got together in February of 94. I guess the first incarnation was that March when we found Jon (-Fredrik Nielsen) our first bass player.

Brian:  We tooled around locally; we basically sounded like a bad funk band. We took the summer off then got back together that Fall of 94 and kind of got serious. Jon was with us for another year maybe before our second bassist Dave Denkman joined us. It was really not until probably Fall of 95 that we started getting good gigs and real good tunes we liked a lot and we took ourselves more seriously.  We found a cellist, then an another bassist, Mark, who plays saxophone also. Then we somehow nailed the Eclectic thing.  I wrote (Steven Roberts) a letter when I read in a magazine that it was going on.

Richard M. Kesler

Brian:  Yeah, he was going to leave anyway.

Pat:  His main contribution was on last year's five song tape, (in an announcer type voice) which can still be purchased from Volare at P.O. Box 591. Winder, GA 30680 (laughter)

Mark was a nice addition on bass; he's a fantastic sax player besides. How did you find him?

Brian:  How did we find him? 

Pat:  I meet Mark and Rob about two years ago or so in a Jazz class at UGA. Rob actually played trombone in the class.

Steve:  And he sucked!

Pat:  He was a terrible trombone player, but he a fine cellist. 

Steve:  He just couldn't play a variety of styles.

Mark:  We got a lot of help from Mike Sary from French TV on that one. He really help hook us up with that gig.

Brian, you and Pat played during French TV's set today...

Brian:  Yeah. Contrary, to what the program says....

Steve:  The program's wrong; it also says we still have a cellist..

Brian:  Their drummer lives in Nashville and couldn't practice with them. There was also some question about whether the guitar player was going to be able to make it, so Pat and I tried to learn as much as we could. It wasn't quite enough but hit it pretty close.

Yeah I think it came off very well. You fooled us.

Pat:  (Laughter)  Well that's good

I didn't think Louisville and Athens were that close?

Brian:  They're not and yet this is the fourth show Volaré  has played with French TV. They came down to Athens, then we both played at Orion Studios in Baltimore together.

Steve:  They're "festival partners".  This is also the second festival where some kind of ot disaster of some sort  has happened.

Brian:  The death of Princess Diana today and on the same day of the Eclectic gig was the Centennial Park bombing.

(" Twilight Zone Show" Theme sung.)

Pat:  I was intrigued because I overheard him asking the teacher if he could bring his cello into class. Who the hell plays cello in a jazz class? I thought it's got to be better than his trombone playing. So, anyway, I called him.

Brian:  Mark was in the same class playing sax.

Pat:  Yeah. That's another twist to the story. There was another project we were involved in.

Mark:  An interim band.

Pat:  That's right, that I'm not at liberty to really discuss, 'cause it's kind of embarrassing.

Steve:  (as a cough. hand over his mouth) Cover Band!! (Laughter)

Pat:  We recruited Mark for that job in Fall of 95. About February 96 David left and I asked Mark if he'd like to play with Volare'. It took him about two weeks to earn the stuff and that was that.

Mark:  A long road to get here.

So you guys play in (cough) other bands, what do you do to make money?

Pat:  I just just got out of school about 2-3 weeks ago. I'm in a couple of other music projects, but I don't make any money as of yet. Right now I'm volunteering at the Food Bank.

Steve:  He's earning Karma

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