Pat Travers was born and raised in Toronto, Canada. Soon after picking up the guitar at age 12, he saw Hendrix perform in Ottawa. Inspired by Hendrix, as well as other artists including Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton and Jimmy Page, Travers began playing in bands early in his teens; his first bands were The Music Machine Red Hot and Merge, which played in Quebec-area clubs. While performing with Merge, he was noticed by rock artist Ronnie Hawkins, who invited Travers to perform with him. Travers moved to London and landed a deal with the Polydor label in his early 20s.