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The best kept secret in music


"ROCK CITY NEWS Vol. 21, No. 6"

Energy, charisma and utterly exceptional talent encompass the rock-and-roll extravaganza known as BLACKBIRD. I have seen these guys rock the Catclub before and I swear they just get better and better each time they play.

The line up consists of Arlie Patton (Vocals), Gabe Patton (Drums), Shawn Gatlin (Bass), and newest member Billy Layne on (Guitar). Four rock solid players who ooze with depth and personality as they perform.

The band opened with "Unstoppable," a tune that grabs you by the seat of your pants from it's first chords, (a sure fire way to reel in any skeptical onlookers). They effortlessly float into "Turn Around," an upbeat number full of harmony and a killer groove. Next up is "Slower Suicide," followed by a personal favorite of mine called "Never Enough." Laced with melt in your mouth choruses and guitar riffs that will ingrain themselves into your head, you'll walk away humming this one for sure.

Lead singer Arlie Patton swaggers and swings like it aint no bodies business and commands your attention from his first notes. This guy is never afraid to walk right up to you and get in your face. Bassist Shawn Gatlin's personal playing attack seeps with vigor, passion and a definitive edge. Drummer Gabe Patton pounds his kit as if he was born with sticks in his hands and does quite a remarkable job upholding his self proclaimed title of "Drunken Drummer." Billy Layne being the newest Blackbird rounds the band out with a graceful playing style and finesse.

Blackbird ended the night with "The Hell (You put me through)," "The One" (think power pop rock with a radio ready twist) and the grand finale "In Love with Insanity" which seems to be the story of my life these days! I was bummed the guys didn't have time to play their Plimsouls cover of "A Million Miles Away" cause it rocks so hard! But hey that just leaves room for me to catch another show around town again soon. You'd be wise to do the same, log onto for the latest scoop. - Noele Shannon


The opening track on this five track EP is Unstoppable. Let's hope they will be.
With catchy little riffs, simple lyrics, and melodies that you find humming while in the lav,
this three piece American band have a lot to offer.
Especially if you were into the British 'student' scene of the early nineties.

A couple of the tracks have a kind of 'Irish folk' feel to them,
the style being very reminiscent of some of the livelier tracks byThe Levellers,
whilst The One shows the bands musical diversity, as they have a bit of a dark storm cloud moment. However, lightness comes once again as they finish with something a little heavier in the rock department that, with a little spit and polish in post-production, could even end up as the Radio track they need. It's got the guitar solo and catchy chorus bit, and a singer with a pretty good voice. So they're at least in with a million-to-one chance. (And as everyone knows, million-to-one chances occur nine times out of ten - so the odds are pretty good ~ for all you TP fans out there!)
So, if you're in a bit of a Happy Larry mood then check them out at: . - Lorena Woodfine


BLACKBIRD - Last Of the Rockstars (EP)

(Self-Released - 2003)

Another band it seems impossible to fit into a single channel of genre but then so many bl**din' bands are like that, aren't they. Blackbird's brand of alternative-bridged lightweight mainstream rock n' roll is pretty much a digestible product. Drawing influences from either side of the eighties but without touching that most fashion-loathed of decades itself, they combine elements of young pop-punk outfits of this day with melodies of the type you'd once hear every time you put on a Slade or T-Rex record (unless you still do).

Another aspiring group of lads deserving high fortunes in the future and at the moment unsigned, getting these five pleasant little tunes about should cement them a contract before the end of the year.

8/out of 10 - Dave Attrill

"FRESNO XTREME, July 2003"

In 1999 brothers Arlie (vocals & guitar) and Gabe Patton (drums & vocals) united with Shawn Gatlin (bass & vocals) to form the quintessential rock n roll extravaganza known as Blackbird.  After a few interchangable guitarists, ala Spinal Tap's exploding drummer woes, the core remains this lustrous trio, who incidentally, understand the potency of turning it to ELEVEN.

In 2001 Blackbird released their self-titled CD. 4 tracks of undeniable power that introduced them to the world and to me. At first listen, I was sucker punched by a fist full o' musical validity, wondering where they'd been hiding all my life. Needless to say, any A&R Rep with a brain would lament the same thing.  Each track reveals the various sides to this packs' song writing agenda. Imposing, fun, trashy ('In Love with Insanity'), tear-jerker-desolation-angel ballads ('Destination Nowhere'), raw pop refinement ('Slower Suicide') & an amazing cover of one of my all time favorite songs, The Plimsouls' 'A Million Miles Away'.  Dirty, crunchy guitars & shards of stained glass- in- Absinthe vocals, all sewn together with the thread of lavish, melodic conviction.

Arlie Patton fuses the soul of Sam Cooke, the charisma of Paul Stanley, with a "larger than life" personality that soothes and excites simultaneously. His appreciation for these musical icons as well as newer artists like the Manic Street Preachers is evident.  Gabe Patton was never one to sit idle behind the drum kit. A combination of frenetic & kinetic, he borrows Pete Thomas' groove and Keith Moon's flamboyance. With an amazingly tasteful yet hard hitting style, he makes his presence known on stage.  Shawn Gatlin, who idolized Gene Simmons as a child, grew up with a heavy measure of so. cal. punk rock, hardcore, goth & new wave only to develop an aggressive punk playing attack paired with a horror-ambiant darkness.  His volatile chic and "fabulous-disaster" stage presence entices their audiences as much as it scares them.

2003 saw the release of 'The Last of the Rock Stars'.  Call out the coast guard, the flood gates have been blasted by a Gibson Les Paul... LISTEN. Literally, hands down one of the most essential releases by an UNsigned, UNmanaged, UNrepresented band of 2003 & perhaps beyond. It certainly pisses from a great height on a plethora of signed/alterna-rock-mainstream acts without question.  It has all the captivating elements of what any rock n roll band should represent- passion & sincerity, urge & strength. Its an innya-face proven rock n roll dominion deserved of critical acclaim. No shit motherfucker. This is the Crown, the Zenith, the last of what great rock n roll used to be & was somehow abandoned until recently & finally recaptured by Blackbird for a long overdue reintroduction. Hard-metallic-pop-glitter-trash-punk-laden-rock n roll.  Saw dusted pub floors, a Harley & pounding with a healthy portion of bad attitude ('Unstoppable' & 'Never Enough'), sweet razor sharp poppy sonnets to scar your heart with ('The Hell (you put me through) & 'The One'), positively manic & radiantly punky ('Turn Around').  All exhibiting a righteous amount of guitar heat, a divine pulse, vodka-chased-with-contempt vocals (lead & backing) & a massive dose of ultra cool.

Praises abound for the ingenuity that is Blackbird. Their following on the West Coast is adoring where their shows are aplenty. However, this best kept secret has reached beyond the borders of Death Valley to the East Coast as well, just on a lighter scale. With a little elbow grease & some gorgeous team work, Sonic Bids of Boston MA ( has spotlighted the band in their Sonic Spotlight.   Also, our heroes have been getting plenty of spins at WLFR 91.7 FM Pomona, NJ (choice cuts are "The Hell (you put me through") & "Never Enough").  Pending East Coast shows as well.   Having said that, someone with a clue, enthusiasm & plenty of dead presidents needs to wake up, sign these kids & send them out on a full-scale tour pronto. Allowing a semiprecious stone like Blackbird to go by unnoticed is blasphemous.

With their stage showmanship and devastating instrumental power, Blackbird have set the standard for blistering live shows and excellent song writing.  Rock n roll bombast, depth, pop sensibility, stunning hooks and a brilliant all-encompassing street punk rock n roll attitude mingled into an elegantly debauched group of talented delinquents.   Blackbird are a yet-to-be discovered gem; the desperately needed kick in the trousers that the music industry has been lacking for too many years now and the true salvation of Rock 'N' Roll.  Trouble never came in more desirable package.  - Christiana D. Pironti

"Blackbird opens for L.A. Guns"

By: Click

It's a rare thing these days when an opening act can impress me. Often the first band of the night is a group the headlining artist took pity on and decided to let play. Or some band that the person booking the show had no other place to stick…. Blackbird, though, was definitely an impressive group, even though the drummer came off a bit full of himself. The whole band was full of acutely talented band members who really know their instruments.

Groups like The Murderdolls have set such piercingly high standards, but Blackbird, with some time, could easily come close. They are a great band with lots of stage presence, though that night they lacked the energy and vibe I've come to expect. Given that all of the band members were sick with the flu or just coming off of being sick, I asked when the next performance was coming up: I want to see them when they're in their top form and performing with full energy.

Their set was 9 songs long...too short of a set if you go by the demands of the audience
for "more songs!" The set included "In Love with Insanity," "Unstoppable," "Turn Around," "Never Enough," and "Voices in the Sky."

After the performance the lead singer, drummer, and bassist were out on the floor and out in front of the Key Club greeting and socializing with the crowd. Arlie Patton approached me out front and sat to talk for a bit. He’s a very warm and friendly frontman...hardly what one would expect from a lead singer. Later on, back in the club, I ran into Gabe Patton (drummer) and Michael Nightingale (bassist). Both were friendly and I chatted with them briefly before going back up into the restaurant area for the L.A. Guns performance. The band’s other member, whom I didn’t see out schmoozing, is guitarist Shawn Gatlin.

Be sure to check them out at their official site: . They’re at Fresno’s Club Fred March 19th, and down at The Gig on Melrose April 2nd

"Last of the Rockstars Review"

When this CD started playing, my first reaction was that I had mistakenly placed a Rolling Stones CD in the player. The first song of this five song CD is titled Unstoppable and has a Rolling Stones sound to it. The music and vocals are melodic and catchy. This CD grows on you fast. The third time I listened to it I knew that this CD would need to go with me in the car. Blackbird reminds me of The Rolling Stones, Elvis Costello with a little Nick Lowe mixed in, and that’s a good thing! I would definitely buy this CD. Each of the five songs is great. The production is fine tuned to draw your attention to the vocals/lyrics while rocking guitars lay down melodic hook after hook. Shawn, Arlie and Gabe don’t hold back and leave you wishing this was an eleven song CD instead of a five. These guys ROCK! Keep your eye on the look for them to perform at a venue near you. Check them out at and buy the CD! 5-15-2004 -Harvey - Twin Dragon Records

"Last of the Rockstars Review"

Can I have your attention cuz I’ve got something to say…it’s final, the applause has faded in the distance, the smoke has gone down and the price for best opening song I heard in the first semester of 2004 has now been officially awarded to “Unstoppable” by Blackbird.
Look no further my rocking friends cause it’s all here: cool lyrics, nice harmonies in the chorus with a very high sing-in-the-shower factor and smokin’ riffs. And it doesn’t stop there. What we get here is just a résumé of what’s in stock for the full album later this year and it’s very promising indeed.
This is a yet to be uncovered gem and if you want to be one of the first and have that ‘I told you so’ feeling while talking to your ignorant friends at the local pub, now is your chance.
Blackbird embodies all that you ever wanted in a rock ‘n’ roll band: flamboyant attitude, charismatic looks & songs oozing with amazing hooks. If you’re up for it, they’re ready to rock your world, so stand back and let the games begin! (KVK)
- Rock Report-Belguim


2005 - VIDEO "Crashing Down":
2005 - Living is Bleeding EP
2005 - "Jetboys of Babylon" New York Dolls Tribute CD - Trash
2004 - VIDEO "Unstoppable":
2003 - The Last of the Rockstars EP
2001 - Blackbird Self Titled EP


Feeling a bit camera shy


BLACKBIRD arent about bios. Theyre about music.
Arlie Patton (vocals/guitar), Gabe Patton (drums/vocals), Shawn Gatlin (guitar/vocals) , Michael Nightingale (bass/vocals) are the imposing forces collectively known as California's Blackbird.

MUSIC: 2001 self titled & 2003 Last of the Rockstars. Instrumental power, strong hooks, melodic, raw, fun. This is what great rock n roll used to be but was somehow abandoned. We've recaptured it for a long overdue reintroduction.

MISSION STATEMENT: Its all about the music & todays music is crap. We're here to change that.