Up-and-coming West Michigan-bred rocker Patty PerShayla took time out to take Local Spins behind the scenes of her hectic touring schedule, from favorite foods to the downsides of being on the road.
Editor’s Note: Local Spins resumes its occasional — and occasionally quirky — Q&A series, “Tour Texts,” with West Michigan-bred musician and songwriter Patty PerShayla. PerShayla has had a busy season lately, fronting her rock band Patty PerShayla & The Mayhaps, lending lead vocals to the Rush tribute band YYNOT, and hitting the road with The Accidentals on bass – all while finding her footing in her new home of Nashville.
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While on a recent East Coast tour with YYNOT, Patty PerShayla volleyed a few text messages with Local Spins writer Enrique Olmos to discuss the recent move, musical happenings and the unavoidable adventures mishaps that occur on tour – which include but are surely not limited to: late night jams, a towed vehicle and a tap dancer.
Local Spins: Can you tell me about the move to Nashville? Anything you miss about West Michigan?
Patty Pershayla: The band moved down to Nash in mid-June on a 100-degree day. It was as humid as Satan’s butt crack. We unloaded everything and within 24 hours I hopped on a plane back to the Midwest to play with The Accidentals. I spent most of the summer away from home with either The Mayhaps, The Acc’s, or YYNOT and it was probably the most restless period of my life. I did enjoy myself, though, and I was grateful for the work since my new city was going to take time to build a presence in.
I did get to spend more time in Nashville over the fall and winter and I gotta say, it’s nice to get sunshine all year round. We even got some snow on Christmas down here and that made it feel more like home for sure. I also caught a drag show on New Year’s Eve and it was a completely different level than anything I’d seen in Michigan. It’s really inspiring to be immersed in an artistic community. I thought it’d be a lot more competitive than Michigan (and I’m sure it is in some pockets of the city), but everyone I’ve encountered has been quick to share resources and recommendations with me.
I visited Grand Rapids over the Thanksgiving holiday and it was nice to know that the music scene is still thriving and my favorite spots haven’t been turned into apartments. I still get invites to shows all the time and I’m especially bummed to have missed The Crane Wives’ reunion shows. I’m determined to see them in the next year. I also feel like I’m still finding my spots in Nashville, and no taco compares to Tacos Don Betos back in Alger Heights. Period. And of course I miss my family. My mom, my brothers, and I are really close and I even have a new nephew I have yet to meet.
Ultimately, our goal with the move was to break out of our comfort zone, and I think there’s been a lot of growth in that. The Accidentals and their manager, Amber Buist, have been so pivotal in helping me navigate Nashville, and our booking agent, Rae Jean Erickson of Black Oak Artists, is helping us bridge the gap between Tennessee and Michigan so we can have a regular route back and forth.
Local Spins: What’s your favorite/least favorite thing about touring?
Patty: I love getting to see new places and keep track of where the best Thai curries and Earl Grey lattes are. We’re headed back to Toronto next week and that’s our all-time favorite city to visit. And it’s always a joy to meet the dogs and cats and chameleons at our hosts’ residences.
My least favorite things are gas station lunches/fast food and leaving my dog, Geddy Lee, behind. He’s a beagle/basset hound who’s almost 12 years old and it’s always in the back of my mind that I could possibly be leaving him for the last time. He’s been a road dog once or twice before and he does love getting to sniff new things (especially since his vision and hearing are on their way out), but it’s just not always an option.
I’m actually on a flight from Jersey back to Nashville right now and I can’t wait to see him and Lucas when I get back. Thankfully, Lucas (my partner and guitarist for The Mayhaps) does get to come along with me most of the time. He broke his collar bone in October, though, and had COVID during one summer run in 2022, so it really sucked to be away from him when I was on tour with Alec and our guest guitarist.
Local Spins: Any day-of-show rituals/routines?
Patty: Day of show, I drink lots of water and try to eat non-spicy vegan foods that are gentle on my body/voice. I try to get some good local coffee/tea but I also have a weak spot for my custom Starbucks London Fog recipe. I make sure I wear comfy clothes for whatever drive or load-in I’m in for that day. I like to listen to audiobooks (“All About Me!” by Mel Brooks currently), podcasts, or heavy metal music (if I’m having a bad day) while I do my makeup and get dressed, which is about an hour-long ritual.
I also like to walk around the stage a lot before the venue doors open so I can get a vision for the evening’s performance. I had a moment singing out on a ledge with no banister and no harness at a YYNOT gig in Des Plaines, IL recently, which was the result of taking a tour around the venue and spotting an opening. I love exploring those spooky old theaters, especially. (I really just love hot beverages, lol.)
Local Spins: You recently received a Kitchen Aid mixer I saw (on the gram). Been cheffing anything up?
Patty: Yeah, that was from Lucas’ parents. I always make cookies for like, the whole month of December. I did three batches of chocolate chip cookies already and then on Christmas I made some crepes with a cream cheese filling.Damn I enjoy crepes. Made some recently!
Local Spins: What are a few artists you’ve been listening to lately?
Patty: My top listens right now are Madison Cunningham, Alanis Morissette, Larkin Poe and Beyoncé.
Local Spins: What are some memorable moments from this East Coast run?
Patty: Lol, we are currently in an Uber to retrieve our car that was towed because we misread a street sign. 😩
We were doing a bar crawl last night and there was a woman smoking in front of a small bar we were checking out. She asked where we were from, I said Nashville, and she got really excited and invited us to an open jam. I ended up tapping in and singing on stage with a bunch of strangers and later on, a frickin’ tap dancer stole the show. It was amazing.
Local Spins: I love that tap dancing happened. Bummer about the car. Did you get it back?
Patty: Yes, we did, and we had a great show with a kickass femme punk band afterward.
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