Desert Island Discs with Patti Rothberg

Written by Desert Island Discs, Music

I asked New York-based singer/songwriter Patti Rothberg for a contribution to our Desert Island Discs series and a few short weeks later, I received the following note which cleverly came floating my way in a bottle. Although the ink on the envelope had smeared slightly, the words inside remained intact.

Dear Matt!

I definitely wanted to attempt to contribute to your Desert Island disc collection…

It will actually be impossible to do without first clarifying something: I just put out my 4th CD, Overnight Sensation…and I already have a 5th one brewing in my mind. If I were on a desert island and water being the conductor of electricity were somehow channeled to charge my Ipod on the island effectively, I would want to listen to my own CDs… not narcissistically, but as the ultimate reflection upon where I’d been thus far in my life! Akin to bringing my favorite photo album..to jog the memories.

I would space them out of course, listening plenty to the sounds of nature in between spins. But I know how SICK one can get even of the most loveliest, most rockingist and raucous kick butt songs over repeated listenings! So that said, the names of my 5 CDs are *(will be)

1. Between The One And The Nine– Whirlwind, songs written in Paris my Jr. year abroad for no one..straight from the heart, “discovered” playing for fun in the subway on 14th st NYC suddenly get huge record deal and worldwide recognition practically overnight! Art student, I incorporated all the self portraits I’d done in previous years to become the album cover. There were exactly 9 of them which fit like a missing puzzle piece on the cover which folded perfectly into a square booklet. This kind of glove-meets-hand happenstance really gets me going:) Though all the songs were written on an acoustic guitar I wrote them up to be punk (“Flicker”= “Nausea” by X) funk (“Forgive Me”=”I’ve Got a Feeling” by the Beatles) showing everything I had in one shot playing many of the overdubs myself on keyboards, bass, electric guitar..not knowing I’d have four more and then some to come!

2.Candelabra Cadabra– Secure in my position as musician who had toured the world and even been on T.V. I was ready to make an experimental album. All I ever wanted to do was be in a band, so I put one together and they played most of these tracks, then LOTS of walls of guitars and overdubs. Reverb, vocal effects, there was no holding back for this one…the cover was the John Waterhouse painting The Lady of Shallot. The back was my monochromatic sepia version of the same painting. Worlds within worlds tied this cd together with its predecessor. And it rocks:)

3. Double Standards– Hard rock anthems meet heartfelt acoustic ballads. Lots of wordplay and situations that make you go “hmmmm”.

4. Overnight Sensation– A reference to my first CD experience with 1&9 and also a joke on how much actually goes into making a CD just to be fleeting and ephemeral (but see above how much music can MEAN to one person!!!) The first 5 tracks are shameless pop dance music but with lyrics that read as a poem and not just guttural sounds and nonsense….the rest of the cd is more singer songwriter rock and roll that runs the genre gamut from rock to ballad.

5. Ulterior Motives– My experience in the music business and in general has led me to want to explore this topic! I like the way it goes with Double Standards as a whole concept album in a single based sales model right now. I like music to show me a world!!!!I have more than enough songs to create this world in particular, and more than anything I hope this leads me to a desert island where I can relax and enjoy some of the coconuts of my labor!!!!!!

So that’s the story so far. My off the cuff, gut reaction to the question!?

[Editor’s Note: Purchase Patti’s music via her official website!]

These would be the CDs that bring me back to the strongest feeling (good and bad) I’ve ever felt, and that would be love.

Jane’s Addiction-Nothing’s Shocking. This Cd travels to the very depths of my soul. I was first turned onto it by a blonde chick named Jill with a ponytail, from California like, fully rad, y’know!? My illusions (delusions) of grandeur were at their peak, as I was about 16 and going to music festivals, meeting tons of people all the time with blue hair and piercings..which represented possibility and freedom to me. I had a close friendship turn romantic briefly with a friend of mine who had none of the outside garb but grabbed me from the inside out. I had never felt like that before and doubt I ever quite will that same way again. I still hear the opening bass notes and that HUGE primal scream with the warm guitar chords ringing out and it’s like listening to the power of the sun. It’s also the feeling of having your heart both engorged with adoration for someone and then ripped out from your chest. “I wanna be like the ocean, no talking and all action”. YES!!! But my favorite song is “Summertime Rolls.”

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The Beatles-Abbey Road. Imagine your ultimate fantasy crush that you had for 10 years admitting they have a crush on you too and then putting on one of the best albums ever made staring into your eyes and loving you for the duration of the whole thing. “And in the end, the love you take is equal to…”a really really bittersweet memory. “Something” is definitely my favorite. And “I Want You She’s So Heavy.”

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Led Zeppelin III. Peaks and valleys in all the right places. I used to play “Tangerine” in my bedroom on the guitar with my lava lamps, door beads, incense burning, candles lit, ceiling fan, and long haired teenage gentleman callers!!

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Juliana Hatfield- Become What You Are. When I was touring the US in support of my first record, Between the One and the Nine, I had this Marine follow me around in a tiny car he named “Betty”. He had made me this mixed tape with a picture of a squirrel on it and no song titles!  I fell in love with it and listened over and over. When I was on tour with The Black Crowes in Europe that tape got me through some of the darkest hours of my life!!! I was later reading an article in which they compared me to Juliana..so I checked out her CD and lo and behold…it was that magic unmarked tape from my Marine!!!!!

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Judas Priest- Sad Wings of Destiny. I love the echoing guitar fade in of this CD. I picture a sea of denim clad gorgeous metalheads, arms folded, perhaps chewing gum listening to this (I’m sure Rob Halford would approve of this fantasy! LOL) I grew up listening to Queen and the sound of a male voice who can really sing high ALWAYS appealed to me. I used to play the song “Epitath” on the piano when I went to B.U. and the football team which was residing on the same floor would pass by, worlds just completely colliding. This is my favorite metal CD from beginning to end.

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This question is like saying “what is your favorite organ in your body!?” You need them all, you might have a romantic favoritism towards some (heart, crotch etc..) but when that last boat is leaving in a hurry and you have to choose, you do it with your gut.

Thank you:)!!!

XO

Patti Rothberg