Patrick Tape Fleming has his hand in a lot of projects. In addition to playing guitar for the biggest rock band to ever come out of Des Moines, The Poison Control Center, Fleming plays in a number of smaller local acts, including alt-country act Dillweed. Probably his most controversial, least understood project, however, is his work with Chris Ford as the performance art duo Gloom Balloon. It’s music that not everyone understands, but Fleming is 100 percent committed to it and considers it his most personal work.
That might all change this week, however, as Fleming unveils his newest project, Pat Fleming’s All Flugelhorn Review.
“The Flugelhorn is a wildly underrated piece of the rock n’ roll landscape,” Fleming said. “I think Prince was the last person to really use it to its fullest potential. I just want to follow in his footsteps a bit and really explore the flugelhorn’s capabilities.”
To do so, he’s recruited no fewer than 30 of the state’s best flugelhorn players to be in his band.
“I’ve never actually played the flugelhorn myself,” Fleming admitted. “So I needed to make sure that I had people on board who could really make it talk and express what I wanted to say. Once I started looking, I realized that Iowa is amazingly fertile ground for flugelhorn players. So I invited them all.”
Fleming’s first problem, as he saw it, was how to go about showcasing everything the flugelhorn can do within the confines of a 60-minute set. His solution is elegant in its simplicity, though admittedly unconventional.
“I didn’t write any music,” he said. “Everyone is encouraged to improvise for the whole set. Some people will probably fall back on some previously written music, but most of the players will be making completely original music. It’s been going really well in rehearsals.”
Much like his Gloom Balloon work, not everyone will understand Pat Fleming’s All Flugelhorn Review. But Fleming has never been one to shy away from potential criticism.
“If you don’t get it, that’s your problem, not mine,” he said. “The flugelhorn is a beautiful instrument, and simple minds might not be able to grasp all of what we’re doing on stage.”
He pauses a moment, staring at a spot in the distance.
“Everyone has blind spots,” he continued. “For some people, that’s the flugelhorn. And that’s a shame.” APRIL FOOLS!