We had the good fortune of connecting with Patrick Boylan and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Patrick, what role has risk played in your life or career?
Risk has always been a part of my life. I went to school for acting originally, then changed to sociology but still wanted to be an actor… what riskier thing could you do!? Kidding of course, but yeah, I think that risk has always been a thing I’ve been comfortable having in my life. You have to trust your instincts when you take a risk. Sometimes it looks like luck when it succeeds, sometimes it looks like a well thought out plan. Truth is, it’s usually just a gut instinct and thankfully 99% of them have been correct. Story time: I was a waiter and semi-professional actor for 5 years here in LA before I started moonlighting as a pianist/accompanist/singer at Tramp Stamp Granny’s, Maggiano’s, and Larsens. I always had some piano love in me (I moved out here with furniture, clothes, and my half ton upright piano). It never left me. But when I decided to pursue acting, I needed to find a day job, and piano wasn’t that in my mind, it was waiting tables. So I did that for 5 years, got super bored and depressed cause acting wasn’t hitting the way I was hoping (a few national commercials, and a CryptTV series-regular does not a professional actor make), and then my girlfriend said “why don’t you try to play piano for a living?”. I poo-pooed that, saying “ugh, but it’s too close to my heart! I don’t want to bastardize my pure love for it,” not realizing how hypocritical that was for me to say when I was trying to be an ACTOR. Needless to say, she convinced me. Partially cause I was super depressed and desperate not wanting to wait tables any more, but also because she was right! And thankfully, I was good enough and immediately got returns. A month went by as I threw out some emails and calls to friends, acquaintances, and random strangers. An accompanist friend of mine got me a job at California School of the Arts accompanying a few musical theater classes, and then the rest was luck in my opinion… where preparation meets opportunity. I met a guy at an audition who knew the lead pianist at Tramp Stamp. I asked him if he could introduce me. He did that day. They were auditioning, I went in, I got the job! Maggiano’s, same thing. My girlfriend’s sister worked there for a few months, she found out they were hiring, asked me if I wanted an intro, I said absolutely, she asked the manager, I went in for the audition, and I booked the job! Larsen’s was a bit different. I knew the manager there and was playing piano for free at a friend’s party that he was at and he came up to me and said ” wait, you play jazz?” The rest was history. Anyway, this all goes back to risk. I put myself out there as someone who wanted to be a pianist instead of waiter. Thankfully I had the talent to prove it, and boom. There you go. I took the leap. I quit my serving job once I booked Tramp Stamp. That was 4 months after I decided to pursue piano. That might have been premature. I wouldn’t know though. I’ve never made a budget. I didn’t know if that income would sustain me. But I did it. I took the leap. Thankfully it turned out alright. It’s just a part of the nature of this beast. Being a freelance pianist and actor here in LA is a weird business. It takes a risky personality to do that. And I’ve never been super averse to risk.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
So my sister and I grew up in a creative house hold. My dad took us on the L (elevated train) in Chicago to O’Hare airport just to walk on the moving walkways and get Garrett’s popcorn. He made us “cavemen dinners” where he put a plastic tarp down on our butcher-block kitchen table, made a HUGE slop of noodles or a stew, poured it onto the tarp, stripped us down, and said “here’s dinner!” And we just went at it! Conversely, we had very proper dinners too – tuxes, dresses, 8 course meals, so much cutlery, conversation, and all the manners. Learning the spectrum of what a human life could look like from an early age was amazing, and I attest growing up in the city and my father for giving me such an amazing childhood like that. It really allowed me to make my own decisions on how I wanted to live and who I wanted to be. That freedom shouldn’t be something that’s a gift, it should just be. But unfortunately, I have to say I know I was lucky to have such an upbringing. I’ve always had this Ravenclaw spirit in me where I see how something is done, then say to myself, “there’s got to be a different way. If not better, then just simply a different way, and maybe I’ll like that better.” When something doesn’t work, try it a few more times, if it fails again, don’t be afraid to change. I always try to remind myself that when I’m in a funk. I don’t want to say this is my brand, but I got cast in a commercial recently where I felt like the part was made for me. They were looking for corny, classic, confident, and charming. If ever I had a “brand” that’d be it. I try to ground that a bit more… less flighty, more fun and confident… but yeah… if ever I had a “brand” that’d be it. Throughout the pandemic I was lucky enough to have unemployment from my years of serving and this big commercial I got at the end of 2019. I tried a bunch of stuff during covid to occupy my mind – Weslie, my girlfriend, wrote a podcast, I starred in it and I found all the sound effects for it (shameless plug: but if you haven’t listened to Private Detective Randy Randy you can find it wherever you get your podcasts). After that, there was this gap where I made a painting, started embroidering, and did a bunch of other random stuff, and then I got into narrating audiobooks. I’m on my 7th book right now and making a bit of cash! It’s been a fun journey! I wouldn’t say I have a specific medium I prefer to work in, I’ll do anything that I’m drawn to. Where my heart does lie though is acting. Music is where I make most of my money, but acting is where my heart lies. I’ll keep pursuing that until I don’t want to anymore, then I’ll find something else to occupy my time. Really my whole idea of a human existence is “just try to make the best of it.” There will be suffering, you can’t get away from that. You’re human, there will be struggles. But we can choose to struggle well and with vigor, and with some dignity too. “Strive to be happy.” – The Desiderata, Max Ehrmann, 1927.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
You’re asking a type-A personality here, so I’m going to just give you a nice DAY, if that’s okay. Whenever a friend comes to visit, I spend hours on their itinerary, planning, revising… so much fun for me :). Best. Day. Ever: Breakfast at Alcove in Atwater, hike in Angeles National Forest (or beach day at Leo Carrillo), home to shower, midday siesta, dinner and drinks at The Abbey in Weho, then end the night at the piano bar I play at, Tramp Stamp Granny’s in Hollywood. Uber there, drive and park there for $10. Plan to stay a few hours and spend about $50. It’s a journey you won’t forget. If you’re a musical theater lover like myself, it will be a night to remember. Thus, the importance of that siesta in the afternoon. You want all your energy when you join that party. Go there with anticipation, leave with no voice cause you’ve sung your heart out. THAT’S Tramp Stamp. And THAT’D be an amazing day.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I mean yeah. I probably wouldn’t have pursued being a pianist in lieu of being a waiter if it wasn’t for my love, Weslie Lechner. She planted those seeds so early! Year 2 we were coming back from her parents place after the holidays. Her parents have a piano that’s never touched and I have to play any piano that’s in anyones home, so I spent some hours with that thing. On our way home, she said her mom was baffled I wasn’t playing piano professionally. Then year 4 (she really played the long game here), when she saw me getting depressed and frustrated, she said “you should pursue piano!” And when I said “ugh it’s too close my heart,” she said “f#)$ you and your insecurities, go do it!” And you know what, she was so right! Couldn’t have done it without her. We’re still together. Living here in Glendale. We have a dog. Going on 5 years strong. She never ceases to amaze me and make me laugh. So yes! Thank you Weslie! Love you so much! xoxo And also my mother and father, Mary and David Boylan. My dad is this hyper creative individual with so so so much love and empathy. He raised my sister and I, working at a dinner theater in Chicago while my mother worked in news. My mother then became a freelance script writer for docu-series’. She won an Emmy for her work on American Justice. Her freelance spirit and ingenuity mixed with my dads passion and love of life really are key in making me who I am. They’re absolutely mentors and people I want to give a shoutout to. I go to one of them when I have a question about something, and they always give good advice. Whether I take it or not, they’re always solid people to bounce ANY idea off of. Really turned from parent to friend in my opinion. Amazing people. Also they grounded me if I didn’t practice piano, so that’s also something. I humbly acknowledge that I wouldn’t play as well if it wasn’t for their threat of punishment.
Bike pic – Jared Kahn