Not long after he went solo, mid-‘80s, we met and became instant friends. He even lived for a while with me in the house I was renting in Santa Monica at the time, in one of my kids’ bedrooms while they were away at college.
The first night we hung out at home—where I had a rented upright piano in the dining room—he pulled out his acoustic guitar and we jammed on some tunes we both knew, including, if I remember correctly, our own version of the sung “Our Father”—which as I remember it came out of a deep discussion about our own fathers.
I loved the music we made together that night, and I loved the guy who brought that music out of me with his superior talent.
Since that time, he’s put out several solo CDs, which remind me of the best outlaw or “alternative” poetry books from small presses that thrilled me when I first discovered them as a kid and gave me that bohemian boost that I needed to have faith in my own efforts back then.
His latest CD is LET US NOW PRAISE SLEEPY JOHN, partly an homage to the great bluesman Sleepy John Estes, but mostly an expression of Peter’s enormous creative talent and wit, as well as spirit and heart.
I can’t do him justice here. You have to hear him. So here’s a link to a video of him walking down Pico Boulevard in L. A. at night, strumming and singing a couple of numbers from the new CD.
The video is the kind of art object I wrote about in my post Ray DiPalma and My Matchbox Madeleine, it’s so uniquely individual, so peculiar to this one unique happening, it transcends all the copycat motions of any “industry” trying to make a buck and instead expresses the purity of creating out of necessity, and a deep belief in and commitment to the power of “art”—any art—to bridge the gap between pain and redemptive release (if that isn’t too abstract).
Ah, just check the video out or go to iTunes and download some of his songs and hear for yourself.