Interview with Peter Blast; September 2004

This guy has been in the music industry for longer than you could care to imagine. He's partied it hard, partied it tough n' roughed it alongside the likes of Chip Z'Nuff, Stiv Bators and Johnny Thunders; and you couldn't ask to meet a more genuine musician. He's got a love for life and a soul directed toward music. When I was given the opportunity to interview Peter, I jumped at the chance, I just hope you enjoy reading his answers as much as I did.

Q1. Could you give us a brief introduction as to who you are, what you're currently involved with and a brief history into your background?

A1. Well, I'm a guy who plays Old School Blues based Rock N Roll that's just a spit away from Punk, Pop, Glam, Traditional Blues and even some Front Porch County and Western, so there! "Peter Blast, Explode" is my newest CD release that Rocks all the way into Left Field. It has a variety of styles in the material. Destruction Productions and I have just finished up the first Video for Explode, "As Sharp As A Knife" which is Track 1. We're also talking to some Promoter for a possible European Tour. In the late Seventies, I was in "Degeneration" with "Enuff Znuff's bassist "Chip" and was documented as the first Punk Group to perform "The Las Vegas Strip." In the Eighties I pulled together "The Blast Factory" that evolved into "junebug" releasing "Ticket to Hell" on Cleveland's Circumstantial Records/Chicago's Stoney Records. "junebug" did tour dates with "LA Guns" and "Enuff Znuff." I recorded "This Side of Shang-Hi", my first solo release on Stoney Records and SOPRO with "Multimillion Dollar selling Producer "Johnny K" (Disturbed)" and now here we are: "Ready, Set, EXPLODE!"

Q2. Who would you say your musical influences are (past and present)?

A2. Past and Present? WOW! O.K., let's see… Presently I've been listening to "Velvet Revolver." This is the real return of Old School Rock N Pop mentality. I'm also diggin' some of the Distillers stuff and let's see what happens with the "Brides of Destruction", "junebug" did shows with L.A. Guns and Traci was really good to me, I wish him and all the guys the best of luck. I was turned on to Pop melodies by "The Beatles" but ROCKED to "The Stones", the original "Jeff Beck Group", "Zeppelin One & Two", "Humble Pie" and that whole era but you've got also "The New York Dolls", "Stooges", "MC5", "The Sex Pistols", "Johnny Thunders", "The Pretenders" and all that. When I was a kid in America, you have to remember that it was AM Radio with only 2 or 3 stations that featured popular new music of the day such as the first wave of the British Invasion, Motown and Soul, with some Teeny Bopper Rock. You didn't hear a lot of Cool Shit that was being developed until Pirate FM Radio came to be.

Q3. What made you decide to shorten your surname 'Blastiosso' to 'Blast'?

A3. To tell ya the truth, on the music scene I was Blast first. Playing in groups like "The Exit," "Degeneration," and "The Blast Factory." We recorded "junebug's" 'Ticket To Hell' three years before the actual release. So Blast is down south writing and recording some new tracks which ended up being the "The This Side of Shang-Hi" solo CD and I was also freeing myself from a long run of Alcohol and Drug abuse; so I faced my demons as Blastiosso so that Blast could Live on. I mean, Italy was playing the 'junebug' demo unmastered under the name Peter Blast before there was a group called 'junebug.' 'junebug' was just a name pulled out of a hat.

Q4. If you had to explain to prospective band members what it would be like to work with 'Peter Blast', what would you say and how would you describe yourself?

A4. I'd have to say I'm kinda like a Black Leather Clad Killer that's a little bit of a Clown. I'm gonna ROCK till I Drop…Zero to a Hundred in a wink of an eye. I think in a self serving, everybody's a star world; I'm one of the last real team players even when the thing is called Peter Blast. So let's All Rock Out for it can be over real fast. Saying anything else would be a short cut to thinking.

Q5. How do you see yourself and your music fitting in to the music scene today and what's your outlook on the record industry?

A5. Today is only yesterday--tomorrow; obviously 'today' are some real strange times and the world changes with the whole flow whether be good or bad, so these are stories of today.
Witnesses, survivors, losers, maybe - but being driven by some Foot Stompin, Ass Kickin, RNR; I think Peter Blast is quite fine on today's music scene. It's a nice fit. Dreamy, Freaky, Dark and Moody read between the Lines, Lyrics, IN YOUR FACE!
For the "Industry" I can't say the same. Corporation owned Labels with a board of Directors is a conflict of interest. An artist doesn't need a dictator however they may need a producer. The Labels aren't working with their artists to grow and blossom, as an artist should. To build a fan base that stands behind their favorite groups thru thick and thin; you can't do things like - give it all away on internet downloads or not allow the artist grow in their own thoughts because then you can't recoup enough to release new music by your favorite group or artist. So it's like "Here, Next, Gone!" "What's their name?" Huh? LAME! Yeah! But I love a good Dare.

Q6. Would you say the music industry has been kind or unkind to you? Any stories to tell?

A6. I've been lucky enough to have had and have Licensing Deals and have released three CD's on some great Indie Labels. I think today your gonna get more personal attention and get a better shake on an Indie, but nobody's anti having a major deal. There ain't anybody out there, that doesn't want to move up the ladder. I've been called "A long lost cousin to The New York Dolls" and it's been said that 'junebug' was the First Supergroup of the Glam Genre or that 'Degeneration' was the American answer to 'The Sex Pistols'. I've been called a master craftsman of Song, Uncontrollable, and "To Play with me is to play with Fire." So right now as far as Labels and I are concerned, I'm ready for Phase Two and ready to set a Spark. I feel the proofs in the pudding. "Explode" is my testimony. In fact, I'll go as far as to say: "Peter Blast, Solo" is my testimony and "There's no end in sight, for this will be a long, running, movie (Ha)!

Q7. What makes a good song?

A7. I think a good song is any style of music that People can call their own. A catchy melody is a plus -- It's like 'I can't get that Fuckin Song outta my head.' These songs are the ones that stand the test of time. I read a review of my new release "Explode" out of Italy I think it was, and it said "I was writing tomorrows new Rock Classics today. How cool is that? I'm proud of that, but at the same time, if anyone really knew what made a hit, Everyone and their Mother would have one.

Q8. Name three high and low points in you music career to date?

A8. Hmmm, that's a good one. I remember back in the Seventies with 'Degeneration' when we played our first shows on that big stage in Las Vegas, the Lights, the Curtin Call and the MC Screaming "Now Ladies and Gentleman…" that was Fuckin Cool. There was also the realization that we were getting the best restaurant tables in town, never having to sit by the kitchen door or waiting in line. Of course months later we were in California, cooking for ourselves. It was like, one chicken to make 3 pots of soup. Talk about a high and low - that's a real slap of reality. Another would be meeting up with 'Johnny Thunders' at different club dates and having conversations of doing some recording together. Unfortunately I didn't really have a Label behind me at that time so recording together kind of slipped thru my fingers. I also got to see some of the shit that went on back stage with Johnny, that wasn't all that cool. It was great having my first real release with 'junebug' but releasing "Explode" is the real Buzz for me and knowing I've got some new Ass Kickers for a follow-up; by the time 'junebug, Ticket To Hell' was released my head was already in another place so even though it was my first, I already knew it wasn't my best. I just wasn't that same guy anymore, I felt I was bigger that that.

Q9. A lot of newer bands are often in a situation where they need to hire or work with a producer. Having been within the music industry for 27 years, what advise would you give?

A9. Always remember that a producer is supposed to enhance your sound not go & turn you into their sound. Over producing is a problem, if you're a real raw, loose group; then because of over producing your recordings aren't really representing who you are Live. Make sure the producer knows the difference between producing and the right to credits for song writing, in other words are they collaborating on writing a song or just changing things to reserve writing credits. The producer may change the tempo and stuff like that, but that has nothing to do with writing the songs. Everybody has they're own place, don't let em cross that line. It can cost you a lot down the road.

Q10. There's a saying, "You're only as good as the company you keep." How true have you found this statement to be, and do you think it runs true in choosing a manager?

A10. Well, you can be judged by others by who you're hanging out with. You can be guilty by association so get ready for the repercussions and I've found that actions speak louder than words so… go speak louder out there and prove who you really are, be Yourself. Managers are a trip. The saying is that "I'm looking out for your best interest" but I have to question that. So if I ask the manager who I should trust and he rolls his eyes up to the sky mumbling "Trust no one" and you realize your contract really says your only 49% of yourself, then he is already broke the contract didn't he? I mean if we are looking out for your best interest why is he mumbling "Trust no one." You're screwed before you even come out of the box. So I gotta say I've had a bad taste of that in my mouth, but I'm open minded so if there's an honest manager out there, call me.

Q11. Jeremy Arundel once likened your voice to that of Billy Idol; do you consider this to be praise or insult?

A11. I remember Billy with "Generation X" and I wasn't very impressed, but he went from there to "White Wedding" which was a huge hit, so I Thank You Mr. Arundel. You see how an artist like Billy can grow. So it can reinstore your faith in dreams and it can keep you on your toes for round two. I also heard I sound like "Alice Cooper, Keith Richard, Lennon and a few others, so it's a little bit of This and a little bit of That. That makes an artist unique.

Q12. Big Bang Entertainment, Stoney Records, Circumstantial Records, Degeneration, The Blast Factory, Junebug… Which were the best and if you had the opportunity to turn back time; would you and what would you change?

A12. Stoney Records and Circumstantial really gave me a good kick start, but as of right now Big Bang with the release of "Explode" has really been good to me. Explode is receiving more exposer than some of my back catalogue. It has been a pretty good year so far. Ya know junebug had an amazing line up in reality "The first Supergroup of it's genre" cats like "Badfinger's - Kenny Harke, Desi Rexx from D'Molls, Chip Z'Nuff, Phil Bonnano (Eye of the Tiger fame) mixing, Geno Martino and B.W. Bowski - two original members of Enuff Z'Nuff and myself. I've gotta say it was quite the show but I think "The Blast Factory" was the tightest drunken train wreck I've ever seen…HA…What a machine. We should have Rocked on but I guess the whole thing just burnt out and from the ashes "junebug" was born. Looking back at things and wondering about the different ways to go, I've found the path that is straight ahead is lookin good but there were a few sharp left hand turns that should have been avoided.

Q13. Sopro Military Music Dedications… you recorded a Country & Western version of 'Soldiers of Fighting 36th', who were your co-musicians and what were the reasons behind the recording?

A13. SOPRO Records executive Bud Monaco writes and produces military songs in dedication to all American Veterans. SOPRO already had two other versions of the song and found out a lot of the older vets were like in Texas and places like that, so I got the call to try and give this piece a country vibe. I
called guitarist Tony Christiano who played all over "This Side of Shang-Hi" my first solo release (Stoney Records) and we did our thing. The other performers were members of the rhythm section for the Chicago Blues quartet "Lonnie Brooks." Lonnie's a pretty popular Blues cat around here, and in parts of Europe I think.

Q14. I believe you have (or had) in your possession a Roy Smeck Lap Slide Guitar, what other Vintage/Modern Instruments do you own, any other treasures in your collection?

A14. WOW! You knew that? Yeah I've been Smecked. I got all kinds of cool stuff. The acoustic slide on the CD "This Side of Shang-Hi" was all done on a real old guitar with hula girls and a stamp that says "The Richter Manufacturing Company, Chicago, IL" there no other information to be had on this one. I
also have a yellowed white 1970 Les Paul, a 1960 Gibson TV Special Les Paul & and an old Gretch. I like reverb and I prefer to use Fender two 12 Amplifiers or a Fender head with a Vox bottom. It all depends on the vibe of the track I'm doing that day.

Q15. What do you do when you don't play music?

A15. I think music, Lyrics, structures, business stuff and while I'm thinking about all that stuff I'm a bit of a Gardener, I like to give some free time to the yard, with depth & layering of Color, kind of like my music.

Q16. What are your plans for the rest of 2004?

A16. Well Later tonight I'm performing with Enuff Z'Nuff at a benefit in memory of "Derek Frigo." I'm performing "Johnny Thunders, You can't put your arms around a memory." I've recently performed at the Billy McCarthy Book release party of "The Devil of Shakespeare" which is a new release from the ex-
drummer for D'Molls (Billy "Dior" McCarthy), at the Hotel Allegro in Chicago and did a Biker Festival for over 2000 strong. And not to repeat myself but I'm really trying to pull together a European Tour since I may have an in store distribution deal and some really great press. I have always thought I was born in the wrong place. America is really cool but I feel Europe is much more hands on to original music and the musicians that create it.

Q17. What should everyone shut up about?

A17. My mother used to say "If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all" so with that thought in mind, I'll shut up.

Q18. And finally… this is your chance to sell who you are, what you do and your music to our audience. Final Words… Insults… Loving Messages?

A18. Don't start me talkin, I'll tell Ya everything I know (HA). I've been around long enough to know the do's and don'ts though I still like to break the rules, sometimes. On "Explode" there are ten new tracks that I have written and produced doing vocals and guitar work. There's a variety of styles that I think are in conjunction with some of the early Seventies groups that didn't only Rock but gave you a taste of other styles that turned them on and in turn turned me on. Today is only yesterday-tomorrow, with a twist so check out www.peter-blast.com, I'd love to hear from all of you. I'd like to thank all the fans for hangin out with me all these years, through thick -n- thin and to all the new fans, that are growing in numbers, hold on to your hat's cus my train is running full speed ahead! Cheers!

Interviewed by Spice D. Warlock

Visit the Peter Blast Website