Bass/vocalist Dickie Peterson is a founding member of Blue Cheer,
who made a big impact on the music scene with their debut
album, `Vincebus Eruptum' (recently re-released with `Outside Inside'
by Track Records). A real rock 'n' roll survivor!
(Thanks to Dave Clarke for setting-up the interview)
What have you got planned for the rest of the year?
Well I am currently working on songs. We're going out on tour I
believe in October to England, Scotland and Ireland. Right now Track
Records are coming out with a double CD of the first tow albums we
recorded, in '67 and '68. There is a CD Rom on it as well. The tour
will feature all the classic Blue Cheer songs. There will also be a
live in Tokyo coming out as well on Track, which was recorded in 2000
and it represents the band well.
Who is in the band now, beside yourself of course?
Paul Wayliss and Duck McDonald on guitar whose been our guitar player
for seventeen years.
How did you come-up with the unique sound of Blue Cheer?
We were very young men and wanted to explore music, we added more and
more amps. A lotta people loved us, a lotta people didn't. Our music,
you either like us or you don't. We're a rock `n' roll band.
Why do you think the critics had a go at the band, whereas the fans
were really into the band?
When I first got the bad reviews it did rattle me up. We were young
and you're lacking in self-confidence. We were used to people
saying `Hey, you're great' and then you see bad reviews plastered all
over newspapers, it was really shattering at first. After awhile you
started getting callous to it and knew that these critics slammed all
the music that I liked. I knew that if that critic didn't like it I
I think critics nowadays play to their own market. Critics can
wield a lot of power and if I took to much notice I would have quit
music a long time ago.
Do you hear your sound in newer bands?
No bands copy us, Nebular sound a bit like Blue Cheer at times. A lot
of bands sight us an influence, which is really flattering. It's
something special to be considered that. One of my main influences is
Otis Redding but there is now way we sound like Otis Redding, but he
influenced me. Flea from Red Hot Chilli Peppers said I influenced
him, but I can't hear it as this guy is a genius bass player. This is
personally a feather in my cap.
I asked Muddy Waters for advice and he asked what I played and I
said bass. He told me don't play more than you have too. Give it
space in the music.
Which bands have you most enjoyed appearing with?
One of my fondest was with Traffic - Steve Winwood, Ginger Baker.
They were really great guys do show with.
Which Blue Cheer tracks do you still enjoying playing live most?
`Summertime Blues'. After 30 years man, I've had love/hate
relationship with this song but in the last 10/15 years I've really
gotten to appreciate this song. Now you'd think after all these years
I could do this song without blinking. This is the one song and I
walk up to the mike and I can't remember a single word. Not one
single word. It takes Duck walking over to me and say `Well' and then
I am off.
We do some new stuff as well which I like.
How did you choose `Summertime Blues' as a cover? It's so far removed
from the original.
We kept changing it around and adding/taking bits away. It also has
to do with large doses of LSD. (Laughs)
Did the whole drugs culture of the late 60's/early 70's help the
music along in anyway?
I think the drugs culture did some good but it became bad. I abused
the Hell out of drugs, don't get me wrong I am against drugs and
don't condone the use at all. I don't think it's a good idea but at
that time it opened channels in my head that prior to that time were
not open. It did change my life. I don't know anyone who killed
themselves with LSD but I know plenty who did with heroin and
When you took LSD the music took on a whole new perspective and
the whole sound changed, that's part of the reason why it became so
big as it did.
Highlight of your career to date?
I've been really lucky in that so many good things have happened. On
a personal level I've been over to East Germany before the wall was
down and as far as Poland. It was very decimated and people didn't
know how to rock `n' roll at all. I came back right after the wall
came down and there were people were dancing. I went back a third
time and people were carrying on like they were doing it all their
life. I feel really privileged to have seen this. I don't know if
that is a highlight or not.
Two shows with Jimi Hendrix was a highlight, Janis Joplin was a
highlight. I guess our first album.
We haven't been paid! We don't get royalities. Ian (Grant at Track
Records) is helping us out. I just want a straight answer to who did
it and why.
Any unreleased tracks to see the light of day?
There are a couple of unreleased tracks but I have to fight to get them
I am interested in this tour with Second Wave productions. Next in
my heart is a new studio album. That takes a bit of money. To spend
more than a month in the studio I'd consider a waste of time. I
believe in good, honest, strong rock `n' roll.
How did you first get into music?
I think I've known since I was eight years old I wanted to be a
musician. My mother played piano, my father played trombone and
guitar, my brother the flute. There was always music in my house.
First wanted to play drums. My mother got me a tinys et of tin drums.
Didn't settle on bass until I was 13 years old.
Any new bands or music you've been listening to at all?
Not really, I don't pay much attention. I don't come home and put on
music. If I do it's classical or blues.
What do you do in your spare time?
Motorcycles. There is a lot of girl watching to do here in Germany.
The German men aren't doing enough and I feel obligated to do more.
Your first UK tour for years?
Yeah bar a Leeds date where no-one came bar a local bike chapter the
Street Rats. A real dead gig. But this time I am really looking
forward to it with a full stage and light show.
Message for your fans?
I hope everybody hangs in there, we're coming. Keep on rockin!
Interview © June 2003
Related>> Vincebus Eruptum/Outside Inside CD review
Related>> Live In Japan CD review
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