We were very sorry to hear the devastating news this morning that renowned Irish keyboard and piano player Pat ‘Fitzy’ Fitpatrick had passed away after a short illness aged 60.
Originally from Belfast, he studied at the Royal College of Music in London.
Fitzy’s 35 plus year music career saw him play with an array of the island’s best rock groups including Katmandu (1980s), The Music People (mid 1980s), The Fountainhead (late 1980s), Swim (1980s-1990s), The Blades (1983-2017), Something Happens (1990s-2010s) and Aslan (1990s-2010s),
He also worked with Van Morrison, Mary Coughlan, Phil Coulter, Anne Bushnell (RIP), Colm Wilkinson, the RTÉ Concert Orchestra and Lúnasa.
Fitzy joined The Blades on tour in late 1983 not long after they released their iconic single ‘Downmarket’.
He played keyboards on one of the “most iconic piano intros in Irish rock history” – ‘Parachute’ by Something Happens which was released in 1990.
In terms of film credits, he performed on the soundtrack to ‘The General’ (1998) and is listed as being a keyboard player in the restaurant band in ‘Agnes Browne’ (1999).
Christy Dignam, lead singer of Aslan, said today:
Fitzy has left a huge hole behind in our lives both as a musician and a friend.It wasn’t just music, Fitzy was a lovely human being. He played with such feeling.
Tom Dunne, lead singer of Something Happens, was “devastated” to hear the news and told The Irish Sun:
He was a beautiful man and the only piano player I know who could play ‘God Only Knows’ by The Beach Boys (properly).
Brian Foley, bass player with The Blades and formerly of The Vipers, wrote:
He was classically trained and had attended the Royal College of Music in London. Still I suppose nothing could have prepared him for the nights of mayhem that ensued in ‘ The Baggot Inn’ ‘the TV club’ and many a country venue where Pat was confronted with the heaving masses of mods and disaffected youth that engulfed the stage during those raucous, riotous early gigs.
Not forgetting his early training he would throw in a snatch of Mendelssohn’s wedding march before the start of ‘the bride wore white’ or at a soundcheck he might play ‘the Liberty Bell March’ (theme from the Monty Pythons’ flying circus).
Once, he even gave us a tutorial on how alike the chords and structure of the mod anthem ‘Heatwave’ was to the old 1930’s song ‘the Charleston’!
That skinny kid from Belfast had music coursing through his veins. I remember one time out in RTE, we were sitting in the dressing room where there just happened to be a piano. Invariably, we would ask Pat; ‘can you play this song or that song’ and he’d play the requested song no problem. Then it would all get silly and we’d ask him to play different advertising jingles. Which of course he could. All note perfect!
Still, barely three weeks ago, even though he was very ill he insisted on playing with us in ‘Whelans’ and that was the measure of this beautiful man. A musician to the very end.
May his gentle soul rest in peace.
Though he was extremely ill, he managed to play his last gigs with The Blades in Whelan’s on 31st March and with Aslan in the Cork Opera House on 8th April.
Come Here To Me! offer our sincere condolences to his wife, family and friends.