What’s old is new again
“People open their email when the subject reads Patrick and the Swayzees,” said front man Les Greene referring to his band’s name.
Patrick, founding member, is the bass player, while the rest of the six-person band are happily known as “the Swayzees.” The group is less than a year old and rapidly becoming prime entertainment in Key West. Playing a mixture of surf, rockabilly, jazz, be-bop, classic ’50s and ’60s music, they draw dance crowds both young and old.
The band dresses the part with stylish three-piece suits, suspenders, hats and saddle shoes straight from a gangster movie. They have names and personalities to match: like T-bone the Drummer and Claire, the vixen jazz singer. Band founder Jerrod plays a 1957 cherry red Gretsch electric guitar, Patrick with his unruly mutton chops plays the bass, and River, the 18-year-old child prodigy, is the band’s pianist. Lastly, there is Les Greene, the energetic lead singer who had to overcome his stage fright to pursue his music. From all parts of the country, they have made Key West the parent of their dreams.
“Everyone has heard this music at some time (referring to the original Rock’n’Roll they play) and maybe it will be new music to younger kids,” said Les, a mere 25 years old. They are bringing back the oldies but trying to make it fresh, stylish and hip for their generation. All self taught, that era fits to their energy and enthusiasm they bring to stage.
Hailing from South America and working on cruise ships, Les found himself in Key West being called on stage by his buddy Chris Toler at Willie’ T’s. He then found Patrick and Jerrod singing at an open mic night on Stock Island and the band formed its core. Claire, who left St Louis only two months ago to join the band in Key West, said “It’s the nicest vortex I have ever visited.” A reference many locals understand who visited and decided never to leave.
But Patrick and the Swayzees will leave, in order to hit the road and tour. They said their fan base is growing and beckoning them to play in other cities. Also, they are working on their first album and expanding their repertoire of original hits.
See them now
Catch these cool cats at their regular gigs at McConnells Irish pub on Friday nights and The Porch on Saturdays. The band is playing a fundraiser at The Pier House to benefit the Bahama Village Music Program on Thursday, Feb. 11 from 6 to 9 p.m.