Patrick Lew Band
“Be Yourself. Imitation is suicide.”
This is one of the creeds that singer, songwriter, and guitarist Patrick Lew has lived by in his life, and his music. Born on November 15, 1985 in San Francisco CA, Lew is a second generation Asian-American of Chinese, Taiwanese, and Japanese descent, now based out of Antioch, CA. Whether by fate or coincidence, the eclecticism of Lew’s heritage is mirrored by the path his music has taken. Sometimes it’s credited to his Patrick Lew Band, and other times to his musical pseudonym, The Steel Lions, but the music is always a raw and loose mix of garage punk, grunge, and no nonsense rock and roll. Lew has been spending well over a decade practicing his craft, perfecting his sound, building an internet fan base, and putting himself into a position to take the music community by storm.
The Patrick Lew Band’s story doesn’t start off too atypically, it’s the age-old tale of a young thirteen year-old boy that picks up the guitar and finds out that rock & roll makes life a whole lot cooler than what it was. Flash forward through the years of friends, start-up bands, school, life in general, and eventually Lew found himself playing with his group, Band of Asians before having to invest his energies fulltime into college. Once he enrolled in California State University, going for his B.A. in Philosophy and Music, Lew found himself too busy to keep performing live. His musical talent still flourished in his writing and self-recording, especially partway through college in 2009. It was around this point that he began investing time into the Patrick Lew Band.
While primarily a rhythm guitar player, Lew’s been able to self-record much of his own music with a larger band sound by picking up the bass and programming some drum and percussion tracks to accompany him. Through the magic of the internet and home recording equipment, Lew’s also been able to collaborate with a lot of different musicians over the last ten years, each of them contributing to the library of songs in Lew’s arsenal. The legion of talented performers has included drummers David Arceo and Tommy Loi, basisst David Hunter and guitarists Eddie Blackburn, Greg Lynch and Jeremy Alfonso.
Amongst the reasons why so many musicians have been willing to lend their skills to the Patrick Lew Band and its various forms are the uniqueness and the sheer quality of the music Lew creates. With influences that span four decades worth of music, Lew has developed a sonic blend, inspired by some of the best guitarists and songwriters in the history of popular music. Musicians like Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck, Lindsey Buckingham from Fleetwood Mac, Paul McCartney, Mike McCready of Pearl Jam, and songwriters like John Lennon, Joe Stummer of The Clash, Eddie Vedder, Noel Gallagher; they all have impacted Lew and elements of their work show up in his.
Most of Lew’s material is instrumental, and self-described as well as described by others as “garage punk and grunge meets 70’s classic rock.” When Lew does sing, his voice has been compared to Kurt Cobain’s and Liam Gallagher’s, a compliment held in high esteem by Lew, considering his love for those musicians. Regardless of vocal comparisons, Lew defines himself as an “unconventional yet interesting punk rock musician.” He fully acknowledges that some of his east coast contemporaries may be making music that’s more “radio-friendly,” but stylistically, Lew would, “If presented with the choice, I’d rather be an artist than an entertainer.” Ever since leaving Band of Asians, this is the direction his music has gone in, and the results have been very impressive.
Patrick Lew Band and Steel Lions has steadily been gaining popularity due to the entrepreneurial efforts of Patrick Lew and David Arceo. Popular independent music website, ReverbNation.com ranked the band as the #1 group on the Punk genre charts from the Contra Costa County section of the Bay Area in 2012, and again, in 2016 in Taipei, Taiwan. Similar distinctions have been earned from the continued success of Lew’s music on other musical websites such as SoundCloud and SoundClick. Full versions of several of Lew’s songs can be found on these sites, and the reviews coming in have been stellar:
“I swear when it comes time to hear a tune by Patrick in our Critics Corner contest…I have an odd tingly feeling like you get when you realize the unexpected is happening.” Larry Ludwick – Sounclick.com Critics Corner
“Patrick is a great believer in free music, free thought, and his music reflects that; so it’s best not to expect too much in the way of conventional structure or any of the rigors of ‘normal’ music standards.” Steve Gilmore’s Rebel Riffs (Indie Music Reviews)
“Patrick has good form, direction, energy, and an ability to beautifully convey organize chaos. Great stuff!” Howard Billington’s Indie Music Podcast
“Patrick stands firm in his relationship with his style and nothing anyone can say will sway him. For this, I applaud him.” Gabriel – Soundclick.com Critics Corner
In Patrick’s own words, “I want to be successful in my music career by playing gigs across America and overseas, while making great and interesting rock & roll music in the studio. Then I can help give back to the local music scene that I found my muse in.” That success may have originally been coming in fits and spurts, but the last few years have seen a consistent string of album releases. 2009 brought about the releases of Curb Your Wild Life and Let it Rise and Against. These were followed up by 2011’s Murder Bay, 2015's To the Promised Land and Bubblegum Babylon and 2017's Oakland. And if you want to hear the progression of Lew’s music, you can also find the albums he released with Band of Asians, Band of Asians, Live!, Revenge, and The I Product. All of Lew’s catalog can be purchased through iTunes.
The phrase, “guitar hero” has been tossed around lately with an almost casual disregard, but Patrick Lew embodies many of the qualities one needs to have to truly be a guitar hero. Through the years he’s worked his way up from being a young Taiwanese boy with a passion for music, to a one-man, garage, punk, grunge, hard rock band. By always remaining true to himself, true to his music, and true to his artistic vision, Patrick Lew has created in the Patrick Lew Band and Steel Lions, a dynamic sound, unparalleled in the burgeoning music industry.
PATRICK LEW BAND
FORMED: 2001 in San Francisco, CA
YEARS ACTIVE: 2000s, 2010s
GENRES: Hard Rock, Alternative Rock, Grunge, Punk, J-Rock
Patrick Lew - All Instruments (Or Most)
Madeline Lew - Representation
Tommy Loi - Drums
Eddie Blackburn - Lead Guitar, Occasional Lead Vocals
Jeremy Alfonso - Lead & Rhythm Guitar
David Hunter - Bass
Greg Lynch - Lead Guitar, Keyboards, Occasional Lead Vocals
David Arceo - Drums