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When & where were you Born?
Buffalo,New York April 5, 1954
When did you begin to play music?
My mother bought me a Micky Mouse ukelele with green stamps -must've been '58 or '59. I got serious about it in 1965. & again in 73,84 & 96.
What were your ambitions?
To make it big like Elvis Beatles, or to be an itinerant bluesman...either one seemed fine.
What was your education?
I finished the 9th grade ,then dropped out to play music & travel. I'm an autodidact( but only autodidacts seem to know what that word means). Recieved an GED diploma in New York State that no ones ever asked to see.
What do you see as your greatest musical influences?
My big sisters Susan & Phyl played rock & roll records around the house-when i was just a toddler-it was the rock n roll era: early Elvis Presley (Jailhouse Rock, Hound Dog etc.), Everly Brothers, Chuck Berry, Fats Domino ,Link Wray, Richie Valens ,Ray Charles etc...Phyl played piano in the stride style, ala Fats Waller: standards,boogie woogie etc...i loved all of that.. the first record I bought myself was a Beatles single...then Sue came back from school & we were all listening to Dylan..."Mr Tambourine Man"-the whole folk & folk rock movement hit me in a big way...in 1967 or so i heard Mississippi John Hurt on a Vanguard album I found at a local library... "Today"...that one changed my whole outlook.. when I was sixteen I hitch hiked over to Boston & saw Lightnin Hopkins play... local blues scene in Buffalo (guys like piano-rocker Stan Szelest,who'd been in the Hawks with Ronnie Hawkins)..when I came out west... I fell in with street singers & guitar players in San Francisco.,circa 1973...like Mike Wilhelm (of the original Charlatons) & Tom Hobson..songwriter Jack Lee (of the Nerves) was up to something..punk was beginning...I was involved in putting on the first punk rockshows on the west coast. in 1977, the PUNK ROCK INVASION shows in Hollywood(Hollywood Punk Palace etc...) ...I dug Reggae in 73 ...was at Bob Marleys Matrix Ballroom show in SF 73 or 4...Doug Sahm was a hero...T-Bone Burnett & Bob Neuwirth helped me out at one point...& there were a million other things that moved me & hit me hard etc...especially a lot of friends.
Who are your favorite singers?
Muddy Waters Lucinda Williams John & Paul Sleepy John Estes Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan
What are some of your favorite songs?
... Raglan Road Milkcow Blues Pair of Brown Eyes Paperback Writer One of These Days Far Away Eyes 19th Nervous Breakdown Graceland Stones In My Passway Payday Blue Wing I Was Made To Love Her Mr.Mudd & Mr.Gold The Boxer Desolation Row Banks of Ponchartrane Still A Fool Smokestack Lightnin' Caress Me, Baby Schooldays...Big River...Mystery Train...the Parting Glass...
Who are your favorite writers?
Pablo Neruda Henry Miller & Shakespeare.
What is your guitar tuned to?
Ususally C-G-C-G-C-E. I sometimes use a capo.
What do you play it with?
I use a pick on my thumb & two bare fingers.
Are you a folksinger, a rocker, a punk ,or what?
I tell people now I play folk-rock, & they seem to understand ...but the whole truth is more complex: I'm a singer/ songwriter that uses all the American styles to get my stories across : Blues. Rock.nRoll. Country. Soul. R&B ...& Folk..plus some rhythmic influences from around the world. I'm trying to forge my own style out of those inherited materials...I've always been into dynamic emotionally charged music you could use to tell a story or paint a picture.
So in other words, yes.
Are you tired of being billed as ex-plimsoul Peter Case?
Yes. I've been solo for seventeen years now, have played a couple thousand solo gigs, I've been Grammy nominated as a solo artist, had a solo record named album of the year in The New York Times, put out eight solo cds to the Plimsouls three, won over audiences all around the world in places where the Plimsouls have never heard of...been played on the radio, had songs covered...etc.......whatever...I'm proud of the band, but I've done a lot more & a lot better since then.
What are you doing now?
I'm writing songs for a new Vanguard album, due out early next year; releasing the acoustic album recorded last summer in San Francisco while David Perales & I were on tour; It will be available only here at the site & at gigs, & is entitled "Thank You Saint Jude". I'm producing "Avalon Blues: a tribute to Mississippi John Hurt", for Vanguard, for release in June 2001. It features myself as well as Dave Alvin ,Taj Mahal, Lucinda Williams, Beck, Gillian Welch & many other artists performing Hurt's songs. Lately I've been leading "Songwriters Sliderule": a weekly series of songwriting workshops at McCabes Guitar Studio in Santa Monica; I'll performing in Los Angeles & on the road through out the year, putting together a new band; & writing a book about music.