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Old 05-16-2008, 10:31 PM
michelej1 michelej1 is offline
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Default Bath Chronicle 2002 Interview

Live Music, Bath Chronicle July 26, 2002

HEADLINE: A man of the world;
Live Music

Bluesman Peter Green is one of the greats and he's here for the guitar festival. He spoke to Matthew Zuckerman about his music

WITH a legend as rich in drama as the one that surrounds Peter Green, it is easy to lose track of the central issue - that Green is a superb musician who has spent his life making and sharing music with the world.

From his early days with John Mayall's Bluesbreakers and Fleetwood Mac, through his troubled solo years in the 1970s and 1980s, to his re-emergence with the Splinter Group in the last few years, Green has shunned the limelight, but became a star all the same.

He was so self-effacing that although he was lead singer, songwriter and lead guitarist of Fleetwood Mac, he named the band after drummer Mick Fleetwood and bass player John McVie. And yet, as he mentioned in passing when I chatted with him and Splinter Group colleague Nigel Watson, even John Mayall used to call him Boss.

Peter Green and the Splinter Group will be playing at the Bath Pavilion as the headline act in the Bath 2002 International Guitar Festival.

"I played here with Fleetwood Mac, " he said. "And I also played in Bath in a special group made up just for the Bath Festival with John Mayall and Aynsely Dunbar, and also John's brother, Sam Mayall on the organ. That would have been in the early 1970s.

"And then we came here with the Splinter Group a few years ago, " Nigel Watson adds.

They have known each other for 35 years. "It's been a long 35 years" Watson laughs, "ups and downs, ins and outs". He is clearly protective of his friend.

The Splinter Group have been recording together since 1997, and their most recent albums, Destiny's Road and Time Traders, feature original compositions by Watson and other members of the band, except, that is, for Green.

"I've been learning something else, " Green says, "and not getting caught up in writing." As the creator of such compositions as Black Magic Woman, Albatross and Man Of The World, it would be sad to think that there are to be no more songs from him.

"Nothing is permanent, you know, " Green adds. "I may write again, but I haven't for a while, it's true."

What he has been doing, is regaining his guitar skills, as a listen to 1999's excellent Soho Session, recorded in Ronnie Scott's, will confirm. To this day, few can play the blues like Green.

"The first blues record I ever heard was a song by Muddy Waters called Honey Bee, " he says.

Green soon became a fan, then a student, and then a master. "After that, the first blues I actually heard was probably by John Mayall and Eric Clapton. And then there was Buddy Guy, Jimmy Rodgers and BB King."

As much as he loves to listen to the blues, Green is not so keen on hearing his own recordings.

"I don't listen to my own music an awful lot, because I'm not satisfied with the sound they get on me, " he says.

"They don't seem to be able to catch my guitar sound, although we got a good sound on Milk Cow Blues (from the recent Hot Foot Powder). I was happy with the sound on that."

Despite his frustrations with the recording process, he is to many the greatest of all the white blues guitarists, but to Green himself, he still has a lot to learn.

"I've been studying the guitar, " he says simply.

"I need to know more in the major keys. I've always been all right in the minor keys, but I've got to balance it up with knowledge of the major keys.

There's a lot of work to do, a lot of studying to do."

The name Hans Theessink may not be as big (or as pronounceable) as Peter Green's, but he is another impressive guitarist who will be playing in Bath during the guitar festival.

Theessink is a Dutch musician who has been playing the blues ever since he was captivated by the music of Leadbelly and Big Bill Broonzy back in the 1960s.

Since then, he has toured the world and recorded a number of impressive albums, the most recent being 1998's Lifeline.

He will be appearing at the Michael Tippett Centre in Newton Park on Thursday.

Elsewhere . . .

Barrelhouse Blues will be bringing their rousing mix of jug band music and prewar blues to the Kings Arms in Monmouth Street this Sunday.

Morganfield will also be playing at the Devonshire Arms on Tuesday.

The following week, the Kings Arms will be playing host to two more fine bands, The Skeeters on Saturday and Morganfield on Sunday.

In Saltford, Lee McRory and Eddie Denny are playing at the Jolly Sailor tonight, while in Corsham on Monday, Paul 'Tuxedo' Slim will be playing with Pigsty at the Two Pigs.

Morganfield will also be playing at the Devonshire Arms on Tuesday.
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