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patrick thompson

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The best kept secret in music


"Councilman knows how to rock"

Councilman knows how to rock

Friday, September 17, 2004
Staff Writer
HIGHTSTOWN - Don't let the suit and political discourse fool you - Patrick Thompson knows how to rock.

Thompson, who joined the borough council late last year, is reviving his rock 'n' roll past with the CD "5 Winter Afternoons," a collection of new and old songs penned over the years.

The interesting contrast between his persona as local politician, director of sales at McGraw Hill Construction and spirited musician doesn't faze the 33-year-old Thompson.

"I didn't even think about that," he said. "I'm sure I've considered it, (but) it's sort of who I am. I am comfortable with different aspects of my life. They tie together more seamlessly than one might imagine."

Thompson, in fact, sees his life as an interesting balance.

He said he has been able to apply the skills he's learned as a musician to his responsibilities as a member of council and director of sales, including managing a large group of people and bringing creativity to the corporate environment.

"Certainly standing in front of a full room of people doesn't intimidate me," said Thompson. "The only thing that would intimidate me when I was playing music was playing to an empty room, that was the worst thing. A thousand people, a million people - that's fine. Three and the bartender, that's agony," he said with a laugh.

Asked if he was concerned about some of his songs - like "Chief?," where he questions some of the president's policies - conflicting with his role as borough councilman, he said, "There are songs I wrote in my past that I would cringe to hear now and wouldn't want played in a council meeting, but a song like that, I'm very proud of that, so I'm not at all hesitant."

His interest in music kicked in at 15, when his mother bought him a guitar for his birthday. He honed his performing skills in such punk rock bands as "Black Vomit" and ". . . but ugly."

For any raised eyebrows, he reminds that he was young. "(We were in bands) before we learned how to play, which was an interesting way to do it, but none of us knew how to play so it was OK," he said, smiling.

"We had an old boombox and hit records and played songs screaming into the boombox and then would take them to school and sell them for three bucks," said Thompson, again laughing.

He pursued his interest up until his mid-20s. He said, "Up until a point I was extremely serious in that I genuinely believed I was going to make it, not sure what the definition of `make it' was in those days, but that's what I thought my career would be."

Eventually, he realized, "There are other things in life, like the prospect of having a family, that were all of a sudden better than `making it.' "

Now a husband and a father of two, the pressures of "making it" are obsolete for Thompson.

"It was challenging at times to say maybe my dreams won't come true, maybe what I hope to happen is not happening," said Thompson. "(But) I have no expectations around this (album). I think (the album) is good, so I'm pleased with it."

He describes the recording experience as somewhat effortless. Friend John Peluso offered the use of his mobile recording studio equipment at no cost, and friend Mark Hoxit offered to play the drums. Local artist Ryan Rosenberg designed the CD cover. There were no rehearsals. They just set up the equipment and allowed the music to flow. Apparently, it worked.

"The first day went very well. I was a little bit surprised how good it sounded," said Thompson. "As we went through two afternoons, three afternoons, (I thought), hey, I'm going to make an album. I have enough songs to sort of put (it) together and it's something I always wanted to do."

He received the shipment of CDs - 1,000 of them - on Wednesday. Despite being nonchalant about what could happen, he admits it was "pretty cool to take them out of the box, and taking the shrink wrap off one to see what it looked like."

"If I'm able to sell 50 of them and people who listened to it tell me that it meant something to them, that will probably be enough," said Thompson. "If that were to happen, to me that would be success, that's where I put the bar."

Thompson will perform songs from the album 7:30 p.m. tomorrow at the Slow Down Cafe. The artwork of Rosenberg, who designed the CD cover, will also be displayed at the cafe.

Copies of "5 Winter Afternoons" will be available at the Slow Down Cafe until Oct. 1. After that, they will be available at

For information, e-mail Thompson at
- Trenton Times

"Sikorski, Thompson best choices for Hightstown"

Sikorski, Thompson best choices for Hightstown



For the second consecutive year, Hightstown voters should re-elect incumbent Democrats to Borough Council.
There is no contest when comparing Democrats Walter Sikorski and Patrick Thompson to Republican challengers Jim Jurgens and Paul Byrne. Mr. Sikorski and Mr. Thompson each bring a year of distinguished service with them. Mr. Jurgens at times seems uninspired and misguided, while the relatively unknown Mr. Byrne has been absent from the borough throughout the election season.
Mr. Sikorski and Mr. Thompson took a leading role this year in questioning Mayor Bob Patten's proposed Redevelopment Plan. The plan, developed without the council's knowledge through the mayor's Economic Development Team, focuses on the old Bank Street rug mill near the municipal building, and calls for turning the mill building into condominiums, building townhouses along North Academy Street and constructing office and retail space near Main Street. It also allows for a developer to build a new municipal building and police station for the borough.
The original plan contained language that would have hindered the borough's ability to negotiate with developers, and stated that the borough would give its current municipal building and police station to the appointed redeveloper. It appeared to have come from Greystone Capital Partners of King of Prussia, Pa. — the company trying to buy the mill from its owner.
As the mayor appeared eager to push the plan through council, Mr. Sikorski and Mr. Thompson, along with Councilman Dave Schneider, led the opposition. But the three weren't stubbornly objecting for the sake of being obstructionists — they had real concerns, including the plan's fiscal impact, traffic circulation and the surrender of the current Borough Hall and police station. It took some heated exchanges before the mayor realized this. And eventually, the plan was adopted with changes resulting from these concerns.
Mr. Sikorski and Mr. Thompson excelled in many other areas this year as well. They exhibited thoughtful insight on issues ranging from the stray cat situation to the failed Pay-As-You-Throw bulk trash proposal.
Mr. Jurgens claimed to be unavailable to meet with the Herald at any time during each of the eight days offered. Then, during an interview set up at a special day and time, he did not appear prepared to discuss specifics of the Redevelopment Plan, even though he sat on the Planning Board the night it approved and amended the plan.
When asked if he had any concerns about the original plan, he said he didn't understand the question. Then, he said he "didn't want to see excess commercial development." He is the only person who has voiced this opinion; any knowledgeable person would recognize the tax benefits of commercial properties as opposed to residences. Then again, during his unsuccessful council bid last year, he insisted that adding more houses with children to the borough wouldn't necessarily be detrimental to the tax rate — an unfounded claim.
This year, Mr. Jurgens went on to say that he didn't want to see high density residential development either. The Realtor said he did not consider constructing 72 condominiums in the old rug mill to be creating high-density housing. But under any rational criteria, that would meet the definition of high density.
Originally, Mr. Jurgens claimed he supported all of the changes made to the plan by the Planning Board and Borough Council. But Mr. Jurgens opposed a Planning Board measure giving the borough's Architectural Review Committee more authority over the mill plan. He went on to say in his interview with the Herald, "I'm a businessman," and that the architects on the Planning Board shouldn't "impose design views on everybody."
Mr. Jurgens is wrong. Many towns have used design guidelines so that development is uniform with a sophisticated appearance. With the proper rules, even a fast-food restaurant can look upscale — you can see it in Princeton, and it's happened elsewhere. If the borough doesn't want the heart of town to look gaudy, it better set strict design specifications.
On the rest of the issues, Mr. Jurgens has more of a grasp on reality. On topics such as the proposed pay-to-play ban, Mr. Jurgens can almost hold his own against the incumbents. And on one issue — improving ambulance coverage — he outshines his competition. But that is not enough.
We wish we knew where Mr. Byrne stood on any of the issues, but he was unavailable for an interview and has not been in town for much of last several weeks.
For borough voters, the decision Nov. 2 is clear: Re-elect Mr. Sikorski and Mr. Thompson. They are the candidates who will examine every issue carefully, and not serve as bobbing-head dolls to everything proposed by Mayor Patten.

- Windsor Hights Herald


5 winter afternoons LP CD release October 2004.
Recorded during 5 winter aftenoons in early 2004 in my livingroom, kitchen, dining room, and bathroom, combines stinging political indicments seemlessly alongside love songs to my wife and children.


Feeling a bit camera shy


Played extensively from the mid 80's to mid 90's in various rock/punk bands throughout NJ and the surrounding area, my sound has evolved (grown up?) into a richly diverse sound echoing acoustic folk protest music with rock and roll underpinnings.