Creative Quarantine: Writer Pat Thomas

Writer Pat Thomas

1.     How are you holding up?

Well, I’m not in jail and I’m not hospitalized, so that’s a plus! This is some weird-ass shit, but I’m thankful to not be in the jungles of Vietnam in 1968 or in New York City in September 2001. It’s mentally draining for sure, even without actually being sick.  

[I’ve gotten some interesting work lately]. In the early 1970s, Motown Records started a political & militant sublabel called Black Forum – I explore it here and I just interviewed Black Panther member Aaron Dixon about 1968 vs 2020 Black Lives Matter! 

Well, I’m not in jail and I’m not hospitalized, so that’s a plus!

2.     Has COVID-19 had an effect on your work? If so, in what way?

Everything is moving in slow motion, every damn day!  What should take 2 hours to complete, can take 5!  Everything is dragged out and one day just blends into another.

I have been creative – but it takes a lot of effort!

Everything is moving in slow motion, every damn day!

3.     Is there anything you’ve added to your practice that you’d like to keep after this is over?

Yes, I no longer take anything for granted – especially food. First time most of us have had to wait in line just to get some milk and bread (here in Los Angeles).  That’s humbling, in a good way for many of us, I think. I hope.

I no longer take anything for granted – especially food

4.     Of the artists you follow, who’s handling this well?

Steve Wynn of the Dream Syndicate seems to have a positive attitude and done some nice house concerts via Facebook live – Especially good are the home video concerts on Facebook by Burton Cummings (of the legendary Guess Who).  Speaking of Facebook “live” videos – I’ve taken a different route. Rather than do music – I’m doing spoken word and reading! Not just from my own work – but tons of other authors. Check out this video on Facebook (you don’t need to log onto Facebook to watch!)

Pat Thomas

Pat Thomas is the author of the book Did It! Jerry Rubin: An American Revolutionary an oral & visual history of the infamous Rubin – the first biography of the co-founder of the Yippies, Anti-Vietnam War radical, Chicago 8 defendant, and social-networking pioneer.

Thomas is also the author of Listen, Whitey! The sights & sounds of Black Power 1965-1975 (which examines the relationship between the Black Panthers and music of all genres) and the co-curator of Invitation to Openness: The Jazz & Soul Photography of Les McCann 1960-1980 (all three published by Fantagraphics Books).  

He is co-editor (and co-author) of  My Week Beats Your Year: Encounters with Lou Reed – an anthology of interviews with the iconic musician (published by Hat & Beard Press)  and a contributor to The (Original) Adventures of Ford Fairlane: The Long Lost Rock n’ Roll Detective Stories published by Rare Bird and a contributor to Kerouac on Record: A Literary Soundtrack published by Bloomsbury.  

He was a consultant to the PBS documentary The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution and  compiled the 3 CD box set The Last Word On First Blues for the Allen Ginsberg Estate, released by Omnivore Recordings.

Current book projects include a compilation of writing and drawings by comedian Ernie Kovacs (to be published by Fantagraphics), editor of actor of Russ Tamblyn’s autobiography and co-curator of Allen Ginsberg’s archives at Stanford University to be compiled into a book. (these two books currently do not have a publisher).