I generally don't do much recording now. I know I should, but I prefer a live performance, and it's done, however good or bad. I was asked by a pal to do a jazz rhythm track to compliment his Hammond B3.He's making a C.D., so when he sells it, shortly, he'll have a record of how great it sounded. All the instrumental work was done, even an original guide track I'd put on, but it was an ad lib track that was O.K., but could be better. So, I listened & wrote a chart, that I hope compliments the arrangement. What to use ? Well, I was going to take my 575,but at the last minute, I opted for the Gibson L5,because we are both Jimmy & Wes fans, and when I played in his organ band, that's the guitar I played. Decision 2...what amp ? Well, again I had my Fender London Reverb lined up, but last weekend, it developed a fault on the input. I can't believe it.. I only bought it in 1985/6.So,I pulled out a trusty Fender Tremolux head I have, mated it with a smaller Fender 2 x 10" cab and Bingo.. great sound...Jimmy & Wes roar again ! The job was done in 2 takes, then the reminiscing started. The studio was Fairview in North Cave, East Yorkshire, U.K. This is the studio where Mick Ronson ( who I knew) did his early recordings,Heatwave (Boogie nights etc) demoed their first album & singles, with Rod Temperton, Trevor Bolder ( Spiders) Bill Nelson ( Be Bop Deluxe) and many more used to record. So, the owner Keith Herd & I go back right to the beginning ,50 years ago. He's compiling a C.D. of some of the best tracks, which will be released shortly. So, today I had a different project. A couple of friends round to learn some of the Great American songbook....Night & Day, Under my Skin, I Remember You, My Funny Valentine, and Milton Nascimento's 'Bridges' were chosen. Me on guitar, this time the Heritage 575,through a Guild acoustic amp, my Tremolux was used by the keyboard man on his Nord setup, and our vocalist. Yes, we need a bass & drums, but we are working arrangements currently .So, more recording on a portable to hear what works. Tomorrow, I'm in a Rock 'n Roll band, playing a local pub. This is a pub I first played on Monday, May 6th,1963..true.I have my diary. It's a great venue for me, as I was resident there for a couple of years, all that time ago....and....there are still some of the customers who used to watch my band of the day ( Tony Martin & the Mods) play there. Incredible.
Well,nice to be back where I started from.Hope you all had a great New Year's Eve. I was playing bass with a Rock a Billy band.It was one of those gigs where the young 'uns are telling me how the songs they are about to perform go,I was thinking 'No they don't ',but I was all ears,because I have to know how THEY do the songs I have been listening to for over 50 years. All went well.We were playing a venue that I've played on & off for over 50 years.It's about to close & become yet another supermarket.Another gig vanishes into the mist of time.I left the gig limping.I'd been paid,and sat on my wallet ! NYE.always a good paying gig .
Well,guys...I don't believe it !I finally hit 70 years of age recently.The cards arrived.I thought they were for my dad ! I looked in the mirror...I am my dad !! How did I get here so quickly ?
I started playing guitar in 1957.I'd been shipped off to a private school by my dad.It was like 'Tom Brown's School Days' .( An English book about private schools ) What was I going to do ? The answer revealed itself when I went into a small common room,used by the boys at the school.There was a roaring fire,a crowd of boys being entertained by 2 guys,playing guitars, who were about to become my friends.A real magic moment,and a life changing one.During the school holidays,I nagged my dad to buy me a guitar.I met with some resistance,but eventually,he bought me a starter guitar.I also arranged lessons off the school campus,so I also got a night on the town thrown in !
When I left school in 1960,I sought out other players in my then home town,and a band was formed.We did a limited amount of pop gigs.I also secured a job with a local jazz type band,so I was away.
Disaster arrived when my parents moved city. Luck was with me.I already knew some guys in a band there,and I got a job with them.Things started to move,and in a short time,we were doing well paid gigs in various towns & cities in the area.A change of singer,and new agent,and we were further up the ladder.By the end of 1963,we'd started to support well known U.K. acts,Freddie & the Dreamers,Dave Berry & the Cruisers,Jimmy Powell & the 5 Dimensions.These were bands just bubbling under the top liners.!964 came,and we were supporting the Rolling Stones,Joe Cocker,Peter & Gordon,Marty Wilde & the like.I thought there was no stopping us.All it took was a 'No' in the wrong place.We were offered a recording deal.The deal was we had to sing a rather awful song by Chris Andrews.The good thing was we could choose any song for the flip side,and that could be the 'A' side.Our singers said no way,and that side of my playing career was over.
I moved to London for a while,then returned home,and joined a function band.The unit did great paid work,and a greater variety of music.Perfect.
Things were changing in the music scene.I started working as a house musician in clubs,and once again,I was backing the U.K. stars of the day.
I've had a great run for my money.Got some mega guitars & amps,played with some great people,and guess what ? I'm still doing it. Last week...Saturday, a band called 'Mean Eyed Cat',in an open air gig,and yes they are a country band (bass guitar),Wednesday...Dr.Jive & the Sick Notes,a 50's 60's Rock 'n Roll band (Bass guitar),Thursday, an all day recording session,putting rhythm & lead guitar lines on a Hammond B3 recording ( 1953 Gibson L4 CC & 1988 Fender Strat. plus Deluxe,through a Peavey 'Decade' with Jensen speaker,straight into the mixing desk,via the pre amp out). Saturday...A great pub gig with a pop band I play with regularly,with me at the front sharing the singing & playing bass.Today...the phone rang..can I play guitar with a Rock a billy band...yes..that's a job for my 575 !
I can't believe the fun I've had.What a life.Long may it continue !
Sad to report another death.Jackie Lomax,who was singer & bass player with the Liverpool group 'The Undertakers',sadly passed away on 15th Sept,2013.I remember Jackie well,as my band,'Tony Martin & the Mods' supported the Undertakers in Hull,England,on November 19th,1963, at the Gondola club..They were a great band,played well,looked great,and had a superb stage presence.They should have risen higher up the fame ladder,but competition was fierce in those days...Beatles,Stones,Kinks,Who...we all know the ones that made it.I notice in my diary entry that our band got a £4 (about $10) fee for this gig.There was an agent there,and the lack of money was soon made up with better paid gigs all over the U.K. that this guy provided.I also noticed the infamous date of Friday,22nd November 1963...Ring any bells ? The day Kennedy was shot. I,as a 19 year old,was far more concerned with our gig at the Chomley Club,Hull U.K.,and the fact our performance was O.K. Another first for us that week,was a trip to Manchester,to the Lyndale Ballroom in Eccles.A favourite venue for us,and the £18 (about $40 ) fee.As we were an R & B type band,we went well.Others who fared well there were Dave Berry the Cruisers from Sheffield,and The Rockin' Berries,who had a U.K. hit with 'He's in Town'.Another viisitor to this venue was 'Herman's Hermits',of whom the ballroom manager said were O.K.,but would never get anywhere...Ha !
( I tried to upload a photo,without success,will try again later )
Sad to report the death ( 21st May,2013 ) of Bowie's bass man from the 'Spiders from Mars',Trevor Bolder.Trevor had been suffering with Pancreatic cancer for some time.His younger brother,Andy Bolder also died only a couple of months ago with a throat problem.I got to know Trevor when he played & produced some tracks with his brothers & friends at Fairview studio in Willerby,East Yorkshire,U.K.( the same studio that demo'd Heatwave's first album,Boogie Nights etc ),in the 1970's.His later playing career was with U.K. band 'Uriah Heep'. A very sad loss.
Did a gig this week at our local City Hall ( Kingston upon Hull,East Yorkshire England ) I decided to take my Heritage 140 (1986) as it looks great,plays great,and sounds mega ! It handled the mostly rythmn guitar gig excellently,adding a snap to the very limited soloing that was required for the gig. I had to laugh.The 10 piece band,(piano,bass,guitar drums + 2 trumpets,2 saxes & 1 trombone + singer ) were only required to play 6 tunes.We'd had a band rehearsal,as we needed to shorten the scores to fit in with some dancers that were performing their routines to our music.Of course,there were no guitar charts,so I photographed the piano score,then wrote myself the relevant charts...Great ! Turn up for the gig..all change.Different tunes,still no music,so I had to busk the lot.Fortunately,it was all simple stuff I'd played before.How the host managed to stretch 20 minutes,or less music into a 2 hour show was a work of genius.We live & learn. I played the Heritage through a Fender London solid state amp.I knew it was a long carry from the elevator to the stage,so my little folding buggy did the honours.
I have long been a fan of rocker Charlie Gracie.I recall going to my local record store around 1958 time,and buying his then current E.P. ( Extended Play, 7" vinyl disc,usually with 4 tracks for those newer members to the planet !) Not only did I constantly play the 4 tracks of the E.P.,but I oggled the Guild guitar on the cover,with It's 3 P-90 style Pick ups,and a row of tone switches to die for ! Charlie had many hits both here (U.K.) & in the U.S.A, and he was right up there with Elvis,Buddy,Eddie & Gene.Fast forward to 2012 ( Time DOES fly ! ).I never,ever in my wildest dreams thought I would not only share the stage with my old idol,but be backing him too ! Not only that,but he still uses that Guild guitar,and, I GOT TO PLAY IT ! This is a guitar that has been played by most of the great, early rockers,so it's hallowed ground indeed. I have seen & chatted to Charlie before,but this topped the lot.Charlie gave us all his hits,and some great songs from others too.I hope I get that job again !
Now,the technical :Charlie played his Guild through a 1968 Fender Twin Reverb,that I'd borrowed from a pal for him.The bass player used a Gibson EB0 from around 1970 time,through a Mark 2 x 10" bass combo.I was sorely tempted to take my Heritage 575. Two things stopped me.1) Charlie was playing an archtop,and I didn't want to clash so,2) I played my Fender U.S Strat plus De Luxe ( 1988 ) with it's 3 Lace sensors,through a Fender Conert top from 1985 ( A Rivera design ) & a 1 x 12 " cabinet.When I'm unsure of things,I take a Strat ! All sounded great to me.
Today ( 3rd March,2011),I heard from an old friend that a local bass player (Hull, East Yorkshire,U.K. ) had passed away at about 63 years old.When I hear news like this,I generally think over how our lives interacted.Stan Saye was the bass player in a local band called the Hammer.I made a couple of records with this outfit,before Stan was a member.When the original band split up,it reformed with Stan,singer John Parker,Another John on drums,and probably,most importantly,Rod Temperton on Keys.This unit toured the U.S.Airforce bases in Germany,and there,Rod met Johnny Wilder,whose band , Johnny Wilder's Chicago Heatwave,recruited him into their ranks.My next encounter was at Fairview studios,near the city of Hull in 1973/4 time,when Rod & Heatwave arrived to put down the demo's that would lead to their hit records,and international recognition for Rod.The sessions went very well.They were well rehearsed,so a minimum of retakes were necessary,when we had the sound balance.To hear song like 'Boogie Nights','Always & Forever' going down onto tape was a thrill I'll never forget.The demo's were every bit as good as the released versions.I remember talking to Rod,and him saying to me that when he gets to America,he's going to find Quincy Jones,and work with him.Glenn,a friend & I told Rod about a knockout U.S. band called 'Seawind' we were big fans of,and played him some tracks.Later,Rod used the Seawind Horns on some of his American stuff.Was that us ? I wonder.My big mistake was not joining the band when Clay,their New York guitar player quit,and I was asked to join.I was about to get married,and couldn't commit myself to touring.So,what was Rods biggest hit ? Thriller,by Michael Jackson,as well as hits for George Benson,Patty Austin,Bob James,Michael MacDonald,film music for the Color Purple to start with.Rod's still writing & producing great music.If this sound far fetched,remember,people generally are not born famous,and their lives touch others on their way up.I am grateful for my encounters with both Stan & Rod.
Peter Alton Green.
Just realized I haven't added anything to this blog since last August ! Must be the fact that I joined Facebook ( As Peter Alton,with the same cartoon badge.There's a million 'Peter Greens' & they all play guitar ) I have a collection of old band photo's from the 50's 60's etc.of groups & entertainers in my area of the U.K.,and I wanted to get them into cyber space.If anything happens to me,they would be lost forever,now anyone can view them.They have been widely viewed by many people,memories have been activated,and I've had loads of nice comments from both new viewers & older people who are in those photos.I have added new photo's of course,the newest were taken last Saturday ( 26th Feb 2011 ) Some musician friends & I put on a Rock 'n Roll night at a local Pub/Restaurant,to try to raise money for our soldiers wounded in war zones.It went very well.There were 5 guitarists ( including me) bass,pedal steel,keys,2 saxes,drums & various singers. The venue was packed,and we all had a ball,playing old Elvis,Carl Perkins,Stones,Hendrix material.No rehearsal,just play it as you remember it.We raised about $1000 for the worthy cause,and had a good time too.Now,gear freaks,what did I use? I knew the venue would be crowded with the audience in very close proximity to the players,so Mexi Strat got the job.If it gets trashed,it's only a few hundred bucks,as opposed to a few thousand if I took the Heritage C140CM.I played this through a Fender Concert head & 2 x 10" speakers.Worked very well.The following night,last minute,I was asked to fill a vacant guitar spot with another R 'n R band.Another packed venue,with audience in close proximity again,same set up,except this time I took a 2 x 12" Fender cab,and a small pedal board. (Compressor,Chorus,Digi Delay & Tremolo ) The magic combination ! What a great sound that was.I was elated by the end of the night.I now have to learn the stuff for my new band,with whom I'm the bass player,for our first gig on April 1st.Lots of Tom Petty,Bad Company,Creedence etc,and also Guitar parts for a big band show in July at our local City hall !
Peter Alton Green
I was visited by my old friend Ian Bolder,brother of Trevor recently.I'd shown him the entry I made on the Spiders From Mars,and the photo I took of his brother in ASDA ( Wall Mart ) Hull.He dropped by again,and left me this photo of his band playing a local pub in Hull called 'The Good Fellowship' Inn,towards the end of the '60's.
L to R, Mike Wright ,drums,Paul Sutton on a Gibson 330 guitar,Trevor Bolder on a Burns Trisonic bass,Singers name forgotten ( Sorry ),and Ian Bolder on a Vox Phantom teardrop guitar.Just a little bit of pre history.
Peter Alton Green.
It's amazing who you bump into in supermarkets.I was in a Wall-Mart supermarket ( Asda U.K.) in Hull,East Yorkshire,recently,and I bumped into my old mate Trevor Bolder and his son.Trevor,all you Bowie fans know,was the bass player in the 'Spiders from Mars',with Hull born guitarist Mick Ronson. Mick,in his early days,occasionally used to come & watch me and my band play. I am a little older than he was,and by 1963/4,I'd already been playing about 6 years,so at that time was more advanced.That rapidly changed later,of course,as he progressed in a pop blues style,and I sidetracked into jazz and middle of the road stuff.Mick started out,as we all do in local bands.I remember him joining a band called the 'Mariners'.probably so called,as Hull city is a sea port.He was in strange company there,as other band members were much older,and it was a club/rock type band,perfect to learn with.Next up came the 'Cresters' ( as I remember ) This band were,musically,more advanced,and by now he was getting good.The band had an experienced rythmn section,and 2 great local singers,Eric Lee and Johnny Hawk,who had both been in other local bands.After that came the Rats.The Rats were formed about 1964.Benny Marshall,the singer,used to come to see my band in a local pub,and would get up and sing with us.He was much better than our singer,but our loyalties were strong.We knew of a band that was looking for a singer,so he joined them.That band ,eventually had a minor hit in the U.K called 'Spoonful' Mick Ronson was not on that recording,or the follow up. I was in the studio in London when they made it.Mick did some private recordings at local recording studios,'Fairview'.I remember listening to these,as Mick tried to come to grips with whole tone bends and distortion,and play like his hero,Jeff Beck. I rather lost track of him about this time,but he was joined by drummer,John Cambridge,who was in the first Bowie line up.As it so happens,last new years eve ( 2009 ),John was the drummer in the band I was playing with.We've done many gigs together over the years,and as well as being an excellent drummer,he has a great sense of humour ! Trevor now player with U.K. rock band 'Uriah Heep'. Mick,unfortunatelly,is no longer with us.
The photo's I've included here are 1) Trevor Bolder & son in Asda supermarket, 2) John Cambridge at the 2009 New Years eve gig,posing,of course ! 3) A line up of the Rats, L to R, Jeff Appelby ( bass),who joined Ian Hunter's band,breifly,Benny Marshall ( singer & harmonica ),Mick Ronson ( guitar ) and Jim Simpson ( drums ). 4) a picture that came to light when I visited a friend's house.He'd been in a band with Mick,and someone had taken a photo.I had it copied,and chopped out the other members.The photo was taken at the 'Half Way House' public house,on Spring Bank,Hull.On the board behind Mick is an advert for a band called the Small Four,who went on the have a minor hit in the U.K. with a song called 'One Up On Me'.John Small,the singer,eventually emigrated to the U.S.,his wife was American,and now lives in North Carolina.
Sometimes things happen that you're not aware of at the time,and you find out later,sometimes with pride,sometimes with shame,but seldom,both at the same time.My Gibson L5 was wearing on the frets.I live in the North of England,and in the early '70's ,there were very few luthiers up here,and none I knew personally.So,I had to look to London.Now,I'd been using Emile Grimshaw for many years,but for some unknown reason,I decidied to take my L5 to Ivor Mairants,in the West End of London,probably so I could take in the other guitar shops at the same time.I arranged to meet Ivor Mairants at his shop,and his appraisal was that I needed a re-fret.So,I said O.K.,and went for my wander around the shops,then home up north.Some time passed before I got the message to collect my repaired instrument,and down to London I went.I was greeted at the shop by a very nice chap who informed me that my guitar had been used by Joe Pass to do a seminar,in the shop,to a select ,invited audience.I was very proud to be told this,and I didn't mind a bit.He then pointed out that the large,stick on flower I had placed on the scratchplate had caused Joe Pass to remark " What sort of a son of a bitch would do this to a guitar of this quality ". Instant shame. I scrapped the flower off,and never considered sticking anything on my guitar again.I've no real excuse.I'd been on a trip to Switzerland,and,at the time,everthing was covered with these stick on flowers,so I did the same when I got home.Needless to say,my other guitars with them were rapidly deflowered !
The three photo's I.ve uploaded are Joe using my guitar,with flower,taken from a magazine article in 1974,(2) The guitar today,without flower & looking lovely, & (3) A close up of the Van Epp damper that has been there from the start in 1968.As this guitar has a resonant frequency in the bass on the 'B' note,it's very useful.There are only so many times you want to start a tune like the Beatles ' I Feel Fine "
Just been searching through some old photos,and I came up with on of a band I was with in 1968.We were called 'Quadrant',and we did jazzy latin stuff & pops of the day.If you take a look at the photo I posted in my album,I'm playing a Gibson L5 that I had recently purchased.I still have this guitar.I loaned it to Joe Pass for one night to do a seminar in London in th '70's .I was playing it through a 2 x 15" Fender Showman cab,& a 'Bandmaster' head.Instant 'Wes' ! The guy with long hair & his back to the camera was the great country picker Albert Lee.Also on the gig that night were 'Traffic',with Steve Windwood,Jim Capaldi & Dave Mason,Chris Farlow & the Thunderbirds,& the Mike Cotton Blues Band.This took place in the northern U.K. city of Hull.I've talked & gigged with Albert Lee several times since that gig,and I've figured out why he was watching us.At one time,Albert had bought a Gibson Super 400 to gig with,thinking it would do everything.Well,it does the jazz & rockabilly,but he was having difficulty with everything else he had to do.I reckon he thought I'd made the same mistake. I was a mad keen Wes Montgomery fan,having seem him a couple of times in London.He'd brought out the 'Moving Wes' album with a stock L5 on the cover,and I had to have one.It worked very well for me,though the Showman was a bit over the top !
You know when you get the impossible phone call,out of the blue,totally unexpected,and unbelievable. Well,a couple of years ago,I was home & the phone bell rang.'Hi,is that Pete?' 'Yeah,who's that?' 'It's Tommy Allsup' 'The guy who played with Buddy Holly ?' I asked. I went dumb,but fortunately Tommy said ' I'm playing over the river ( Humber) tonight & I'd like to meet you. We had a pleasant chat on the phone,& I rang a couple of pals. My good pal,Paul Downing was over from the States.Paul emigrated to the U.S. in the '60's,and has played with a stack of bands there.He's currently playing with the re formed 'Standells',who he worked with in the late sixties.Paul already knew Tommy,as he'd met him at a Cricket's gig in America.We had a whale of a night.Kevin Montgomery was the singer in the band.His father,Bob had also been associated with Buddy Holly.I have to report the phone call I got was a set up from my pal who plays pedal steel,and had supplied the P.A. for the gig.He got to sit in with the band.I just enjoyed the night.
Hi Guys ( and Gals,if there's any out there ! )
What I'm going to try to do in the blog is tell you what I'm doing (not much,these days ),and what I've done in the past. ( Plenty there )
I'll start with the revelation that on the 3rd May,1964,my then band (' Tony Martin & the Mods' )played the Palace Theatre,Manchester,U.K. Headlining the show were the Rolling Stones ( Honest ).The reason I start with this is not that it was our biggest gig,but I just found a poster from the show on line,and my band are not mentioned on it ! A real downer. We had to back a band called 'The Overlanders ',who we'd only seen once before at a local club.They went on to have a Number 1 hit in the U.K. with the Beatles song 'Michelle'.The girl singers we were supposed to back, 'The McKinlay Sisters',from Edinburgh never turned up.Back to the Overlanders.In those days,I detuned my Gretsch Tennessean to 'D',to get the open guitar key chords,so we borrowed another Fender Bass ( I was not required to play guitar ) to tune to concert for the Overlanders. Before we went on stage for our solo spot & 5 minutes of fame,we instructed the Overlanders to tune up the spare bass.Yes,you guessed it.They didn't.So everything they played in 'A',we backed them in 'G'. To my knowledge,only one person in the audience noticed.This was a guy we made a record with 3 years later ! To be fair,there was that much noise from the audience,it probably didn't matter anyway !
Other memories of that gig were to set up before.Our bass player had a wonderful piggy back,blonde Fender Bassman amp & cab that Bill Wyman took a fancy to.Because the Stones had a deal with Vox amps,that's what they had to use in public. Brian Jones begged a spare pick off me,and Mick Jagger was busy shouting at some girls who could just see him through a crack in the emergency exit door.The two performances were fantastic,never to be forgotten.
More later .
Peter Alton Green
Just located the poster for the above gig. No,I'm still not there !