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Pat Scanlon

“Banjo Picking Folky”

A native of Philadelphia, Pat moved to Massachusetts in 1971 to attend college after serving a three-year stint in the Army. He spent the year of 1969 as an Intelligence Analyst at MACV (Military Assistance Command) Headquarters in Saigon, South Vietnam. Pat joined Vietnam Veterans Against the War upon returning to U.S. He participated in numerous demonstrations helping to bring the war to a close. Pat is married, has two wonderful children (adults now) and lives in Andover, MA. Pat has two college degrees, a degree in Sociology from Merrimack College and a Bachelor’s in Nursing degree from Boston University.

Pat’s career and passion has been in the recycling and environmental field for over 45 years. He served on the Board of Directors of the National Recycling Coalition for five years and is the founder and past president of MassRecycle, the Massachusetts Recycling Coalition. That organization awarded Pat its prestigious Lifetime Recycling Achievement Award in 2000.

Throughout college Pat developed a love for folk music. He would attend folk music performances and festivals all over New England. He was especially fond of any banjo picking. After college a friend bought him a banjo and before you know it, he was plucking away, writing songs, and playing at peace, anti-nuclear and environmental rallies all over New England and beyond. As an organizer for the Clamshell Alliance, he became a fixture at Seabrook, NH Anti-Nuclear Power rallies.

Rounder Records released Pat’s first album in 1984 entitled “Songs for Future Generations”. That album was co-sponsored by the international environmental organization Greenpeace.

Being a father and working full time in the recycling field and simultaneously serving on the board of directors of four recycling / environmental organizations, something had to give. His music took the hit and was put on the back burner. Though not actually playing himself, Pat was able to keep active in folk music, by providing a wonderful venue for other musicians to perform. He is one of the founders of the Crossroads Coffeehouse at North Parish UU Church, North Andover, MA. For over seventeen years Pat did the booking of the acts and MC’d the monthly concerts.

After the release of “Songs for Future Generations” (1984), Pat’s music took a back seat to all the environmental work he was doing. In 1998 he realized he was losing a skill he passionately loved, that of playing music and writing songs. After more than a ten-year hiatus from performing Pat began writing and singing again culminating in the release of his second recording in CD form “We Can Do It” (1999). Pat is accompanied and performs with some of the best and talented Boston musicians and backup singers.  

After the start of the Iraq War Pat got involved with Veterans For Peace a national veterans organization dedicated to the abolition of war. Pat wrote, “Where is the Rage” shortly after the beginning of the Iraq War, being outraged that this country was going to war in Iraq, a repeat of the Vietnam debacle. He was outraged but did not see the rage on the street. A small group was leading this country to war. War, especially this war, was not personal to most folks. Without the draft it certainly was not personal to students, their parents and loved ones across this country. Pat wrote “Where is the Rage” in an effort to bring the experience of the fallen soldier, based on his personal experience and loss, just a little closer to home, making it a little more personal. That resulted in a two song CD, the second song being, “I’ve Got a Feeling I’ve Been Here Before”.

After John Kerry’s loss for the presidency in 2004 Pat wrote “Blue State Liberal” (2005) and a new CD of the same name was born that included some new material and some older songs off of the “Future Generations” album. (It should be noted the Pat was very involved with the Kerry campaign and developed the recycling program for the Democrat National Convention in Boston. Also, a first, within twelve hours Pat took all wastepaper generated inside the convention on the first night of the convention and turned it into 30,000 Official Convention Posters. On Wednesday morning at the delegate’s breakfasts each state delegation received boxes of posters. The posters were signed by john Kerry and John Edwards and was made with the trash the delegates threw away on Monday night (first night of the convention).

In 2007 Pat helped organize a large rally and march in Kennebunkport, Maine opposing the war in Iraq and was M.C. for the rally. The night before the rally there was a fundraising concert featuring Emma’s Revolution along with Pat and his musical friends. This concert resulted in the CD “Kennebunkport Songs of Peace” (2007).

In 2011 Pat produced a music video, “War is Not the Answer”.

See the video at: on this website. Pat wrote the song on the 30th Anniversary of John Lennon’s death. The song contains the word Imagine.

Pat was the Coordinator of the Boston chapter of Veterans For Peace (Chapter 9), the Smedley D. Butler Brigade for five years (2010 – 2014). He also served on the BOD for several years. This is one of the largest and most active chapters in the country, subsequently limiting the amount of music playing and song writing. Pat did pen a new song titled, “Extremists for Peace” . Pat wrote this song as a result of the Boston police spying on area peace groups. In documents uncovered by the Mass ACLU Veterans For Peace was labeled (by the police) as an extremist organization. Another song was born:

“They call us all Extremists cause we’re out here in the street

How unpatriotic, Veterans For Peace

They say we’ve got to watch them, like never before

Cause there’s nothing more dangerous than Veterans Against War”

This also resulted in Pat’s fifth CD entitled: “Extremists for Peace” (2016). This CD is made up of new songs, some older songs that were remade and some songs off previous CDs.

A music video of the same name was created and can be seen on this website.

Pat has recorded two newer songs also on this website and available as a free download.

“Safety Pin” and “Simple Song of Freedom” (a remake of Bobby Darin’s song with new instrumentation and verses).

This Musical Bio would not be complete without a heartfelt thank you to all the wonderful musicians and vocalists who contributed their time and talents to make all these songs sound so wonderful. Most of the musicians either went to Berkley School of Music, teach at Berkely, or are of that quality. Which results is a very professional and enjoyable listen. Special thanks to my friend and musical producer on all my CDs, Willie Sordillo. Also, a special thanks to Chuck Green who produced our two musical videos and Eric Kilburn, owner and chief engineer at Well Spring Sound.

I’d also like to thank Pete Seeger who was my inspiration to play the banjo and write meaningful topical songs and a cherished mentor. I especially appreciated Pete’s feedback on numerous projects over the years. Pete Seeger – Presente

Last but not least a big thank you to all those who have contributed financially to making all these CD’s and Music Videos possible over the years. My music is free to all, as my contribution to peace in the world and at home and for much needed environmental change in our country and world.

The video for Extremists for Peace had it’s debut at the VFP National Convention in Berkeley, CA. VFP chapters, members and friends from across the country funded this musical project – THANK YOU ALL.