It's not easy being fourteen. You're just beginning to learn who you really are and shaping who you're going to be. J.C. Patterson was no exception. Having already tried school athletics, his dad suggested he take guitar lessons from Gary Hutchison. "I knew Gary back in the day," Darian says. "I knew he was the best teacher around."
J.C. agreed and began taking lessons the next week using a cheap guitar his dad bought at a pawn shop. "I didn't want to get anything expensive until I knew he would like it." He shouldn't have worried. J.C. took to it right away learning the Jimi Hendrix classic, "Purple Haze," almost immediately. With J.C. having grown up listening to mostly hard rock, Gary exposed him to a wider range of genres, like the blues, further shaping the young man's style.
J.C. was eighteen when Gary told him he'd done all he could for him as an instructor and suggested he join a band. Even Darian was surprised when the normally shy J.C. went to the bulletin board in Sigler's, found a flyer posted by a group looking for a guitar player, and took down the number.
Jay Lane started playing the drums when he was twelve years old on a kit he describes as a "pawn shop special." He was named both all-region and all-state while playing in the high school band. "It was always rock 'n' roll for me," he says, naming John Bonham of Led Zeppelin, Bruce Crump of Molly Hatchet, and famed jazz drummer Steve Gadd among his influences. After graduating in 1984, he played in a number of local bands, the best known being the Caney River Band and the Snipe Hunters where he served as both drummer and lead vocalist. It was later that he joined forces with bass player David Mattas.
David Mattas came late to playing his instrument. He was already an adult, already married, when he got his first bass from a church friend, a Fender JP-90. "I took lessons for a month from a Kirk Hammett fan," he says. "After that, I bought a book and started learning on my own." With contemporary Christian music being his main genre, he began playing at church in no time. Still, even with the Christian influence, he was also a fan of classic rock naming both Ronnie Cates from Petra and Gene Simmons of KISS among his influences. He and Jay had been playing together for a while when they received a call from J.C.
To say J.C. was a bit disillusioned after that first contact would be understating it. "The drummer's your age," he told his dad. "They're going to hate me." "Just play 'Eruption' and 'Ghost Riders' and it will be fine," Darian assured him. And that's just what he did. "He came in, this kid with a crew-cut and acne on his face, played for us, and then just stood there looking at us," says Jay. "I said, 'I think you've about figured it out.' He was great." Jay and David took the young man into the fold and, along with vocalist Andrew Moore, Sacred Heart was formed.
Billing themselves as a contemporary Christian band, Jay recalls their first photo shoot as a group. "J.C. is the only person I know who will show up for a Christian-based photo shoot wearing an Ozzy Osborne shirt." "It had a cross on it," J.C. counters, quick to defend himself. The band went on to play various venues gaining enough popularity to release a CD. But, as the old cliché goes, every good thing eventually comes to an end. David takes the brunt of the blame for their split saying, "It was a combination of things, my job, my ego, that brought it down. It was all my fault."
With the band officially over, Jay decided that after a lifetime of playing music, he'd finally had enough. He sold all his equipment and settled into a day job. Both J.C. and David moved on to other projects, David served time playing red dirt music with Matt Garland, J.C. worked with a number of bands including Floodgate, Airplay, Kutting Ties, and Praxxis which also featured David for a short time. And the years passed... until six years later, when out of the blue, J.C. received a call from a certain "blast from the past," Jay Lane.
"I had sold all my equipment and was out of it," says Jay. "Then, just last year, I ran into a guy who was trying to sell a 1968 Ludwig kit with 1972 Zildjian cymbals, just like the one designed for the Doors' drummer. I couldn't pass it up." He bought it and started playing at home. It didn't take long for him to get the desire to jam with some other live musicians. His first call was to J.C., who was happy to take him up on his offer. When they decided to look for a bass player, it was Darian that suggested they call David.
It felt right. It felt like it was meant to be. The old chemistry they shared before egos got in the way was still there. They played through several songs before deciding this was more than just a typical jam session, this wasn't the rebirth of a band, but the start of a whole new magic, something the three had never found in any other combination. "We really are going back to square one," David remarked, giving this new band its name. They discussed looking for a singer when J.C. said, "I'll just sing it." It was his first time ever at the mic, and yet there was something there, something worth working with. J.C.'s dad was the most surprised of all.
"When he came home saying he was going to sing, I didn't believe him," Darian says. "In fact, I called Jay just to be sure." Jay laughs. "Darian asked, 'Are you sure about this,' I told him there's definitely something there." So, a new weapon was added to the arsenal, and a new era was begun.
With a full repertoire of songs ready to go, both classic and new, from Johnny Cash to Alice In Chains, the band has already been featured on rosters with other bands for some local showcases. Now they're looking for some gigs of their own. For booking information contact David Mattas at 479-883-9774 or J.C. Patterson at 479-806-2059. You can also find them on Facebook (CLICK HERE).
For a unique perspective on the group's chemistry you need only turn to Jay Lane. "It's the 'Cracker Theory,'" he says. "Dave and I are the cracker, the Triscuit, the Ritz, whatever cracker you like. J.C.'s guitar is the Cheez-Wiz, you know the spread, the swirl, the pile. The vocals are the olive you put on top. Together, it makes a pretty good snack."
A pretty good snack indeed. Be sure to check these guys out.