Stateside Podcast: Shredding guitar with Patty PerShayla
Patty PerShayla, former West Michigan musician, recently came out with the EP “Perpetual Motion Machine” which she released with her rock band, Patty PerShayla & The Mayhaps. The record unveils a new side of PerShayla’s musical style with mixes of punk, metal, and rock.
Music has been a part of PerShayla’s life since she was a child. She has memories of her father playing guitar and singing songs with her family.
“I apparently had a lot of chaotic energy as a really punk rock destructive kid,” said PerShayla. “I think my parents figured out that once I started playing music that it was a really good way for me to channel all of that energy.”
Her musical journey all began when she started playing piano for the church which she described as a “weird origin story” considering where she's at now. She then tried her hand at writing original songs and made parody songs which she performed at Harry Potter conventions. Soon after, she got into cover bands, picked up new instruments, and then found a particular joy in one aspect of performing:
“I just found out that I liked to, like, wail and howl,” she said. “It's been very freeing to get to just like, scream my head off in front of audiences, big or small.”
She moved on to join forces with guitarist Lucas Powell and drummer Chris Thomas and formed what we now know as Patty PerShayla & The Mayhaps.
“Perpetual Motion Machine”
The new EP explores the sometimes hard realities that a touring band goes through. This includes the excitement of hitting the road for the first time, the discomfort experienced as a woman in a male-dominated space, and the burnout that comes with being an independent artist.
The song “I Want It Faster” represents a transformative moment in her career when she took a leap of faith and pursued a career in music using original songs, leaving behind the Rush cover band that she had been a part of.
“It's really exciting to not know what is next. Just to know that I'm making the right decision anyway, no matter what it costs, it was very freeing,” she said.
Her song “Spill" speaks to her experience being a woman in the music industry and having people make aggressive or belittling comments.
“I have all of these, you know, microaggressions building up,” she said. “I feel like you need to call those people out. Otherwise, you know, they're just going to keep saying that crap to people and getting away with it.”
In the songwriting and music-making process, Pershayla uses instruments such as the ukulele, guitar, and piano. On stage she shakes things up; at times only playing a tambourine while singing. One song in particular that has come to life more during a live performance, as opposed to the recorded version, is the song “Ain’t No Damsel.”
“When I have a bass guitar and a microphone, I get really locked into one spot on stage. And when it's just me and the tambourine on that song, I get to move around more and, like, really engage with the audience and … break that barrier,” she said.
Move to Nashville
Patty Pershayla, a longtime West Michigan resident, moved to Nashville, Tennessee with guitarist Lucas Powell last year.
A quote in the song “I Want it Faster” is “Chasing the sun, return like Saturn,” which Pershayla says accurately encapsulates the decision to move from Grand Rapids to Nashville.
“I needed a change because I knew that I just did all of the growing that I felt like I could do at that time. … And I've definitely grown a lot in just a year being away.“
Patty PerShayla & The Mayhaps can be found performing tonight in Grand Haven at the Free Friday's concert series. They will additionally be in Hastings on Sunday, August 27, at the Fairground Festival in the company of Band Friends, The Accidentals.