Pat Irwin

Pat Irwin
Birth name Pat Irwin
Born (1955-05-17) May 17, 1955
Origin United States
Genres Film score, contemporary classical music, rock
Occupation(s) Composer, pianist, conductor, keyboardist, guitarist, saxaphonist

Pat Irwin (born May 17, 1955) is an American composer and musician who was a founding member of two bands that grew out of New York City's No Wave scene in the late 1970s, the Raybeats and 8-Eyed Spy. He joined The B-52s from 1989 through 2008. He has composed scores for numerous independent films including My New Gun, But I'm A Cheerleader, and Bam Bam and Celeste as well as hundreds of cartoons including Rocko's Modern Life, Pepper Ann, A Little Curious, and Class of 3000. He composed the scores for HBO's Bored to Death and Showtime's Nurse Jackie. [1]


Pat Irwin graduated from Grinnell College in 1977.[2] He received a Thomas J. Watson Fellowship for international study and moved to Paris after graduation. In Paris he attended composition workshops with John Cage. Moving to New York City in 1979 he was a founding member of the no wave band 8-Eyed Spy which included Lydia Lunch and Jim Sclavunos, both members of Teenage Jesus and the Jerks and George Scott III from the Contortions. With Scott, he later formed the Raybeats with other former members of the Contortions: Jody Harris and Don Christensen.

8-Eyed Spy dissolved in 1980 after the death of George Scott. The band released Live on ROIR as a cassette only issue and a self-titled record on Fetish that was completed without Scott. Both Irwin and Scott contributed to Lydia Lunch's solo recording on ZE, Queen Of Siam. Scott was credited as Jack Ruby, a reference to his band before joining The Contortions.

The Raybeats continued to perform with Danny Amis on bass. They released two full-length albums, Guitar Beat, produced by Martin Rushent and recorded in 1981 at Rushent's newly built studio outside London. The Raybeats second LP, It's Only A Movie was recorded in New York City in 1983 and was produced by the band with Joe Blaney and mixed at Electric Lady Studios. In 2013 The Raybeats released The Lost Philip Glass Sessions, a collection of recordings that were started with Philip Glass in 1982 but were never completed.

Robert Palmer, writing in the New York Times, described Irwin as a "mercurial presence on the New York rock scene of the early 80's. The bands he helped found, the Raybeats and 8-Eyed Spy resembled each other only in that they had an aversion to the predictable and the ordinary." He began touring and recording with new wave rock band The B-52's in 1989, playing keyboards and guitar.[3] His relationship with the band began when they borrowed Irwin's amplifier for their first gig in New York City in 1978.[3][4] The band toured steadily through the 1990s and had two Top-Ten hits with "Love Shack" and "Roam".

Irwin's first feature film score was for My New Gun which was shown at the Cannes Film Festival in 1992. He has since then composed the scores for many independent films including But I'm A Cheerleader, and Bam Bam and Celeste. He also composed the scores for HBO's Bored to Death and the Showtime series, Nurse Jackie. He composed the scores for hundreds of cartoons including Rocko's Modern Life, Pepper Ann, A Little Curious, and the Emmy Award winning Class of 3000 (with Andre 3000 from the band, OutKast) His contributions to the SpongeBob SquarePants soundtracks were given ASCAP Film and Television Music Awards in 2011, 2012, and 2013. The Cartoon Music Book referred to Irwin's music as "astonishing musical cues that hold up with the best of Raymond Scott." He did Additional Music on an episode of Bear in the Big Blue House.

Irwin has performed in various venues throughout the world including CBGB, Max's Kansas City, Mudd Club, The Kitchen, Dance Theater Workshop, The Knitting Factory, Radio City Music Hall, Carnegie Hall and Madison Square Garden.

In 2012 Irwin received an honorary doctorate from Grinnell College. He currently teaches a seminar in film and television music at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program.


Filmography (composer)


  1. "The New York Times". The New York Times. Retrieved 2012-01-13.
  2. "Pat Irwin – Soul Full of Heart". 2007-04-19. Retrieved 2007-07-19.
  3. 1 2 "Pat Irwin". The B-52's Official Website. Archived from the original on January 11, 2007. Retrieved 2007-07-19.
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