The following is an excerpt from the forthcoming book "Sideman", written by Boxer drummer, Eddie Tuduri.
Copyright 2001.

Pictured from left to right: Chris Stainton - Keyboards, Tim Bogert - Bass & harmony vocals, Adrian Fisher - Guitar, Mike Patto - Lead vocals and piano, Eddie Tuduri - Drums

Tim Bogert called me in the midst of the ''Hotel California'' tour to invite me to move to England to join this new Boxer Band.  I knew my friend Keith Ellis was in a group called Boxer, but beyond that I really didn't know much about it.  Tim first humiliated me for playing wimpy country rock with a bunch of pansies and then told me to get my ass on a plane.  I was happy to oblige.  The band that backed up JD Souther on the ''Hotel California'' tour had just been signed by Clive Davis of Arista Records, the same guy that passed on the band ''Pieces" with Tim Denver Cross, Steve Perry and me.  None of that shit made any sense to me, and I was anxious to get out of town.  England, yea, why not?  That was about as out of town as I could get.  I passed on the record deal and caught a plane for London as soon as the tour was finished.

Mike Patto was the redeeming quality in the band Boxer.  Mike's incomparable energy and ability to roll with the impassable problems that encompassed the band was nothing short of miraculous.  This version of the band was about as compatible as Bambi and Godzilla.  Spiritually we were somewhere between Goofy and Gandhi. Despite our differences, the record was very well written and played.  I was proud of the music, but that's where anything cohesive ended and the insanity began.

The plane ride to England more or less set the tone that would beset my consciousness for the next year or so.   I always carried a taste of something to take my mind off the trip, or flying in general.  This was a long ride, so I figured I'd go through at least a gram.  I didn't want to take anything through customs, of course, so I would have to do it all before we landed.  As luck would have it, I met a beautiful young blond who was more than happy to share the powder with me.  We were nearly finished with my gram when she pulled out hers. "Well," she said, "let’s get busy with this one.  I don't fancy going through customs holding either."  After that second gram and about ten scotches in a futile attempt to take the edge off, I exited the plane looking like a crazed lunatic.  Okay, I was a crazed lunatic!  The customs officers took one look at me and shuffled me off into a small room.  Here a Bennie Hill looking customs cop asked me to disrobe.  I'd had better offers that day, but this wasn't exactly a request.  It was humiliating, and what's worse it was cold in that room.   Needless to say, I was clean.  I survived the strip search and 20 questions after which they turned me loose.

Nigel Thomas was a pompous ass.  Nigel managed the band.  He and Tim Bogert were there to pick me up that day.  I was a bit preoccupied with my own sanity the moment we met, so the ''Pompous Ass'' sign flashing over this guy’s head didn't register until a few days later.  It's not like I was the best prize in this box of Cracker Jacks, but Nigel had an air about him that smelled like a dump site in an RV park.  We collected my bags and jumped into Nigel’s Rolls Royce.  I thought I'd be taken to the flat where I could get settled and rest before actually meeting anyone, but they drove me directly to a rehearsal.  Nothing like making a good first impression, I always say.  I walked into the room looking like a beat up old sneaker, and the introductions commenced.  Patto was, as always, cordial and accommodating, Chris Stainton smiled and said hello, and Adrian Fisher gazed at me with what became an all too familiar look that said "I hate fucking Americans.  Mutinous, treacherous, disloyal colonial bastards all of you."  "Nice to meet you too, Adrian."  And so it began – a year of living Englishly.  Hash anyone?

I settled into Tim's flat in Chesham Place, downtown London.  It was two rooms on the top floor of this building in Sloane Square.  Lots of stairs, no lift.  I slept in the living room on a kind of make shift bed, more like a bench.  Funny, the younger you are the less inconvenient something like that is.  I wasn't that young.

Rehearsals began immediately – three days on and one off, three days on, one off (etc.).  Tim and I had used this schedule in the past, and found it to work very well.  And so it did in this scenario. The only difference here was the hash breaks, which added up to about half the time we put in.  We'd play two tunes, smoke a splif, play two tunes, smoke another one, play one tune, smoke two.  It wasn't the best way to retain arrangements, but, well, it kept the music loose and fresh.  It's only Rock & Roll...right?

Nigel managed to land a substantial record deal with CBS London – a five album deal worth 1.2 million.   This was budgeted out over five years, and encompassed quite a lot of expenditures yet substantial none the less.  No one ever knew how he pulled that off exactly.  I'm not sure I wanted to.  Here again, that old picture played out to the max.  "Hey kid, you’re gonna be a star, you have a major record deal, lots of money, lights, camera, action! Stick with me...bla bla bla!"  I have to admit, whenever I look back at those days and the record business with its managers and promoters, I had my head so far up my ass I fell for that script more times than I'd care to remember!  Such is life.  Does ''Chidrool'' ring a bell? (Chidrool means cucumber in Italian).

Okay, so rehearsals went reasonably well considering the elements.  The "elements" at this point meaning the incompatibilities, idiosyncrasies, personality clashes, or more succinctly the drug of choice dilemma.  If all else fails, at least agree on the drugs.  Everyone had a different head.  Patto was cool.  Whatever the drug, he seemed to maintain his composure, most times.  Bogert got less tolerant of the rest of us as each day passed.  In the entire course of the Boxer experience, he held the title for ''Most Disgusted.''  He was strictly a hash and red wine guy.  He and Nigel fancied themselves as wine connoisseurs.  Personally I would drink Annie Green Springs and Dom Perignon in the same night.  I'm sure they thought me unrefined, like I gave a fuck!  Chris was totally aloof.  He couldn’t care less as long as he had his piano, a bag of oranges, and a bag of speed.  We would leave rehearsal after the three-day run, take our day off, and return to find Chris still at the piano where we left him.  Adrian, well, I can't begin to guess what kind of drug he was on.  I can tell you this.  Whatever it was, I didn't want any.

Once Nigel secured the record deal, we set about looking for the right producer.  There was talk about George Martin, and much to my surprise he was interested but indisposed and would be for a very long time.  Any down time with this group and we would more than likely wound each other.  Harry Nilsson was in the running but was also unable to work at the time.  We spoke to the executives at CBS in New York, and they made a few suggestions.  The group Boston was hot, and their producer was interested but we decided on Jeff Glixman.  Jeff had just produced the band Kansas, and he was on fire.  Jeff liked the idea of this new Boxer, the line up of players and the music, and he agreed to record us.  As with the producers in England, the studios we were interested in were also unavailable, so I suggested my favorite studio, Sound City in Van Nuys, California.  We signed the deal in New York City at the CBS corporate offices and then made our way out to the coast.  We were lucky with the timing, as Jeff and Sound City were available and no incentive was lost.

I was happy to be home for a minute, and the Englishmen were tearing it up in Hollywood.  We all saw too much of the Rainbow and Sunset Strip.  As fucked up as things got between the business and our eclectic personalities, the fun factor was always pretty high, at least from my perspective.  Patto had this stand up comedian inside him that he would introduce in opportune circumstances. One night in my apartment while sitting around with a few friends, male and female, Patto, feeling a lull in the energy, decided to entertain us with his amazing impressions.  Though his visual aids were not exactly G-Rated (his Genitals), they did serve as possibly the funniest impressions I've ever seen in my whole life.  Once he secured our full attention, he turned his back to us and dropped his pants.  After a moment of fussing with himself he turned facing us as he announced in his most proper King’s English; "Ladies and Gentlemen. ‘Last Chicken in the Shop’.''  We were rolling on the floor laughing, and then one after another: ''Sausage on a Plate'', ''Ducks in Flight'', and then finally ''The Black Hole of Calcutta".  Okay, maybe you had to be there.  It's funny, the shit you remember about being on the road – about Rock & Roll.

The record went down fast.  We had seven basic tracks the first night.  In a world of $250,000.00 budgets for one record, we brought it in for about $27,000.00.  The rehearsal schedule and hard work paid off.  Jeff Glixman proved an excellent choice.  We were extremely happy with the album and prepared for our return to England.  If only that communication we had in the studio could have stayed with us in the months to come, we may have made a better go of it in our live performances.  Sadly, this is where the Goofy to Gandhi mentality took over!

Nigel booked us on a 27-city promotional tour with two other CBS groups that also had new releases.  ''Moon'' and ''Crawler'' shared the bill with us on this trip.  I liked both groups very much.  Moon had a very cool R&B thing, and Crawler was a tight, well-polished Rock band.  Both groups were full of great ideas and good players.  Boxer was full of something, however I never could quite put my finger on what?  With all due respect, we had the potential to really shine on this tour or any other for that matter.  It just didn't happen.   We were our own worst enemies mixing drugs, booze, confusion, and anger with Rock & Roll.  That recipe had been the demise of many a band, and we were no exception.  This Boxer/Crawler/Moon tour was a disaster for us. The band had clearly run its course.

After this tour we put the band to rest.  I regret Mike didn't have a better send off in that this was his last hoo-rah, so to speak.  Mike died of lymphatic cancer in 1979.  This by no means lessened his contribution to the world of music.  His body of work with the bands Patto, Timebox, and Boxer has secured his place in Rock & Roll history.  The album ''Absolutely'' is an exceptional work and one I've always been proud of.  I was also very proud and honored to be Mike's friend.

All rights reserved, no portion of this text may be used without author's permission.

Thanks, Eddie, for previewing this excerpt from your book at the Patto Fan Site!


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