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Patrick Meehan: Music is Therapy

How writing and performing music helped Patrick Meehan survive cancer, bereavement and lockdown.

“I went into DJing thinking it was going to be a piece of piss, a complete laugh…”

Patrick Meehan is sitting in his living room, one side of the room adorned with gig posters, another crowded with a collection of guitars. He’s been playing guitar and singing in bands, on and off, since the early 2000s, in bands like The Offcuts, Nana White Pepper, and currently Ginge, but he’s speaking about his recent experimentation with DJing, and how he got into it.

“I thought it’s going to be really, really easy. It’s not. This is new territory. There’s more shit to go wrong, and we have to put an insane amount of effort into getting it right, getting our set together. We work hard. Like five hour shifts once or twice a week. We’ll start at seven and finish at 12.”

It was something Meehan was interested in but never really made the time to actually proceed with. He’s a social animal by nature so nights were often spent out with friends or at local gigs – meanwhile the majority of his days were spent running his business Coastal Key Housing, which specialises in helping 16–18 year olds transition to independent living, based a stone’s throw from Gynn Square.

“I got the cancer diagnosis. I was like right, I’ll have to be in now for a good couple of weeks. So we’re going to get the decks and jump in and just learn how to do it

However, in 2021 doctors discovered that a cyst on his penis was actually penile cancer, an incredibly rare form of the disorder. Fortunately, two years on and he’s in remission, but at the time of diagnosis, he had to force himself to slow down and stay in. He treated it as the perfect opportunity to throw his energy into a new musical project.

Badger Brothers Patrick and Jacob

“I got the cancer diagnosis. I was like right, I’ll have to be in now for a good couple of weeks. So we’re going to get the decks and jump in and just learn how to do it, because Jacob is like a human fucking jukebox for all dance music.”

Jacob Devlin is Meehan’s partner in their DJ act Badger Brothers, who play an eclectic mix, from disco sets to more familiar dance classics. Friends since they were teenagers, DJing gave them the chance to reconnect.

“He was so up for it and he’d just moved back to Blackpool and we were sort of establishing our friendship again. I mentioned it to another mate Jordan (Senha) who’d been wanting to do it for ages, so we all learned together.

“We’d been best mates growing up, all of us. We were a really tight, tight, tight group of mates, schoolmates, and we still are, and this brought us even closer.”

Meehan is a big collaborator, and someone who can’t sit still for long. The 2020 lockdown was difficult for him, he admits, as he’s a naturally social creature, but he channelled his frustrations into a project that would eventually become Ginge.

Songwriting is therapy, songwriting is your outlet

“I had all these demos in lockdown that I learned how to produce, like really amateur-based production, and just sent the demos over to George Perks [Recording Engineer and Producer who’s worked with the likes of Enter Shikari, The Darkness and Skindred]. He is a fucking legend, by the way. You can quote ‘George Perks is a fucking legend’.

“So he liked what I was doing and it was just going to be me on my own: Ginge. I knew he was a drummer. I was going to play all the bass and shit. I was going to do everything on it.”

It was only during the course of jamming with another band of friends that he found he really gelled with the (fellow ginger) bass player, Adam Hobson.

Pat and Hobbo (with Iggy the cat)

“Me and Hobbo really jammed well together, I got a good feeling from him. So I was like look, I’ve got all these demos. Do you fancy having a look at them? And then it just worked.”

Bringing in Jack and Tim, from Bristol-based band The Hideaways who Meehan had previously gigged alongside and connected with, the band was complete. Ahead of their first hometown headline show at Bootleg Social, Meehan is visibly excited to get on stage.

Ginge: Hobbo, Jack, Pat and Tim

“We haven’t played since April so we’re hoping it’s going to be big. The last gig went off, it was fucking mental.”

Meehan loves performing, whether it’s behind a guitar, a microphone or a set of decks. But what exactly does he get out of songwriting?

“Songwriting is therapy, songwriting is your outlet. Just from an idea, or a chord you can communicate how you felt about something.”

He’s talking about the recent passing of his father last year, a man who he was named after and was very close to.

ginge | Spotify
Listen to Father’s Son on Spotify

“Dad had passed away really suddenly. We were due to go in the studio the week after my dad’s funeral so I didn’t know how I was going to be, but I knew that that was the place I had to be,” he says. The band packed up and headed to Vada Studios on the Warwickshire/Worcestershire border. Built in a chapel founded in 1260 and set in over 20 acres of beautiful rolling fields and formal gardens, it provided the perfect setting for Meehan to deal with his grief.

“It was magical when we were there to record the first single I Hate You, because you’re living there and it’s so tranquil, and there’s this beautiful scenery.

“I strongly felt I needed to go there for my headspace. So we had another idea for a song and Hobbo came around the week before we were going and said ‘Actually if we’re fucking doing this, we’re doing this about your dad. Let’s do a homage to your dad. Let’s fucking go in there to get this emotion out.’”

The end result is Father’s Son, a cathartic and emotional pop punk banger. Try to listen to that chorus now without tearing up.

As for advice for anyone just getting started playing live music, Meehan’s biggest takeaway from his years doing it is to work with your peers, not against them.

You need to form your own scene and get it absolutely on the map.

“Don’t use other bands as competition. You’re doing your own thing. Really. Come together as bands in your own town or city, wherever you are. You need to form your own scene and get it absolutely on the map.

“I always remember being in a band when I was 16, it was always a competition rather than being, ‘Hey, do you want to do a gig together? Get all your fans and our fans together and actually do a gig.’ It should be all about helping each other.”

Seems a great an unifying note to end on, unless he’s got any more insights?

“Check your dick. Huge shout out to Orchid Fighting Male Cancer. They were my absolute rock through my journey. I wouldn’t be here today without them.

“So yeah, check your dick.”

You can see both Ginge and Badger Brothers on Saturday 2nd December at Bootleg Social. Buy tickets.

Reclaim Blackpool - Mapping Sexual Harrasment
  • Mully is a writer and musician from Blackpool. Formerly an English Literature teacher, he is currently a copywriter, and enjoys movies, long walks on the beach, and clichéd lists.

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