The latest edition of The Downbeat podcast welcomed guitarist Pat Sheridan from modern brutalizers Fit For An Autopsy for a lengthy conversation just ahead of his performance with the band in Glasgow.
The mood of the exchange was lively from the get go, with Sheridan expressing his excitement about being back in the UK for the first time in three years. Only the second tour back from the pandemic pause and the first international run for the band in years, the guys had to start by framing the significance of the shows by looking back on the silence.
The Toll of the Pandemic
Sheridan spoke in no uncertain terms about the toll that the pandemic took on the band. He explained that not only did the band get sick, wrapping up a tour in early 2020 themselves, they would eventually be forced to cancel some seven different tours in the months and years since.
Going into detail of the financial fallout from such a catastrophe, Sheridan explained that the loss of revenue nearly killed the band - but the support of the community that follows the band was what ultimately came through. He explained that the cancelation of their first tour alone resulted in some tens of thousands of dollars in debt - a burden that the fans helped shoulder by buying every single item of merch the band had in stock. It was a show of solidarity that Sheridan said frankly, saved Fit For An Autopsy.
Dark Times, Silver Linings
The guitarist spoke more about the silver linings that came from such a dark time. Touching how people found the ability to pivot, be more creative, become more self-sufficient and explore new means of fulfillment, Sheridan said that obviously people also become more locked into music, film and art. He quantified that by explaining that while Fit For An Autopsy has been making records for over a decade, it was only during the pandemic that the albums that have been in existence for years had finally started to turn a profit. It was yet another fitting tribute to the community that truly showed their support for the band during the most bizarre of times.
Romanticizing, sort of, about getting back to playing shows again, the guys got into the lineage that Sheridan came from. He recalled going to his first shows at all of 10 going on 11 years old and instantly becoming a lifer. Starting with a local Jersey thrash metal show, Sheridan just a few days later would see Exodus and D.R.I. and knew his path from then on. By his early teenage years Sheridan was jumping the train to get to C.B.G.B's and well entrenched in the hardcore community - and remains still.
The genius of Will Putney
Given their shared connection with super producer and songwriter Will Putney, the guys spoke highly about the contribution and the creative force that he brings to the table. Serving as the primary songwriter for Fit For An Autopsy, Sheridan explained that he wanted to argue about Putney being the sole writer for the band, but it's impossible to argue with perfection.
He reiterated that many bands function the same way, with one primary songwriter, and to have a talent like Putney as part of the equation, ultimately makes each member of FFAA a better musician for it. Owning his role in pounding the pavement of Putney's ideas, Sheridan spoke to evolution of the band and feels they are in the best place they have ever been because of the personnel they have and the understanding of everyone's contributions.
Past Trauma and Personal Growth
On a personal level, Sheridan confided about his own growth and evolution outside of his professional career. Having earned a reputation as a personality with a sometimes rough exterior, Sheridan opened up about being an angry person - saddled with the trauma of an abusive childhood and ostracized early on for being an overweight kid.
He explained how his upbringing and instability really led him to develop a thick skin and a confrontational disposition. He also shared how life experiences have ultimately led him to place where he doesn't haver that same kind of anger and how his close circle has challenged and supported his new outlook - pushing him to be more of more pragmatic than pessimistic.
Sheridan's dream festival
Closing out their time, the guys get indulgent for the dream festival portion of the Downbeat. In a segment that has now become a staple of the show, host Craig Reynolds asks his guest to piece together teir dream gig - with no detail too opulent. From gourmet chefs to early 90's era Pantera holograms to puppies for all guests - nothing is off limits.
So where did Sheridan take it - Steely fucking Dan. Channeling the spirit of departed founding member Walter Becker, he explains that Fit For An Autopsy would serve as direct support for a reunited Steely Dan with Becker performing - summoned by a pre-show seance. Grass skirts, beach balls, a parties on yachts in Cancun, Mexico, the guitarist gets wild with the details for his dream gig in a breakdown you gotta hear to wrap your head around.
Get the new album from Fit For An Autopsy Oh What the Future Holds - HERE