stephenhero is Patrick Fitzgerald, former singer/bass player and co-songwriter with Kitchens of Distinction. KOD were sonic constructionists from the early 90's UK Indie scene, who, over 4 albums on One Little Indian Records, mixed the roar of stratospheric guitars with the ache from Fitzgerald's big gay heart. Following their implosion in 1996 Patrick went on to do more music. And more.
In 1997 came Patrick's first solo album, 'Hark at Her' under the guise of Fruit, a riotous pop affair featuring collaborators from his London music mates David McAlmont, Miki Berenyi, Isobel Monteiro and legendary producer Pascal Gabriel. In 1998/99 he collaborated with another London friend, 4AD singer/songwriter Heidi Berry, on the Lost Girls - a hybrid of ethereal folk pop and sneering rock. They released one favourably received single 'Needle's Eye' and recorded an album yet to be released. One day?
In 1999 Patrick moved from London to the Irish wilds of Connemara to purify his soul and pursue the heart of noise. Here he wrote and recorded the first two stephenhero records and released them on his own Ragoora Records. 'Landed' was released in 2000 and 'Lullaby' in 2001. These took the bare bones of KOD's songwriting hallmarks and moulded them anew with drum machines, samplers and, of course, effected guitars. His themes moved from an isolated urban anger to a search for new shores, away from a world that had merely shrugged rather than fallen truly in love.
In 2002 came 'Darkness and the Day' a full-length album on Artful Records. Here were 13 intentionally pop and populist songs that featured once more the dulcet tones of David McAlmont along with American friend and cohort Mark Mulcahy.
Inbetween there were explorations in theatre and film music. Firstly, Patrick collaborated with Welsh experimentalists Volcano Theatre and scored two shows. He then co-wrote and performed in Volcano's 'This Imaginary Woman' with Volcano founder Fern Smith. This was selected for inclusion in the month-long British Council showcase at the Edinburgh Festival 2003 and toured the UK, Ireland and Malta. He then scored an Irish play, Christian O'Reilly's 'The Good Father' produced for Druid Theatre Company by TONY award winning Garry Hynes, which received wide critical acclaim and toured Ireland to sold-out houses before being broadcast on RTE1. In film he scored maverick video director John Hardwick's debut full-length feature '33x around the sun' - an unworldly nightmarish update of Orpheus in the (East End) Underworld - before scoring Paul Catling's robot-sex film 'TOMO' which won Best International Short Film at Sundance 2004.
Patrick returned to the Long Player format with 2007's critically acclaimed '57 stars of the air almanac'. With this album, his first for five years, Patrick spliced the trademark sound of Kitchens of Distinction with a new musicality garnered from his successful work in the Theatre and Film industries. Driven by the piano influences of 1970's Elton John, swept through and embellished with his own trademark acoustic/electric guitar sounds and lyrically continuing to explore Patrick's esoteric path of stellar interests, poetic references and dreamlike realities that have made him one of the UK's finest and most highly regarded independent songwriters, the album marked a truly welcome return to one of the UK's original maverick heroes.
In the period between these two releases Patrick had kept a secret from the general public - due to a hereditary genetic condition he was in end-stage renal failure and was now on daily dialysis for his failing organs. Living in his beloved property in remotest Western Ireland and performing live and touring had became an impossibility and so he took a hiatus from music world and re-entered the world of his former self as that of a medical Doctor back in the UK. Never able to fully give up his musical twitches, however, he found the time to work with a few of Manchester's local bands and musicians and even produced a couple of EP's for two of them. He was also keeping his hand in at writing his own music when the phone-call came - a kidney had become available and on September 21st 2008 Patrick had a kidney transplant at Manchester Royal Infirmary. Twelve months later, fully recovered, he has a new record ready to go. The music for Apparition in the Woods was largely written pre-transplant, whilst on dialysis, the lyrics have emerged since and take Patrick's love of writing/re-writing a good story to the next level.