The conversation covered a variety of topics. They discuss the influence of Jazz guitar players on Peter’s playing, writing songs, solos, and much more!
Early days of learning guitar (1:40)
Initially learned by ear, at age 12 started to take classical guitar lessons. Did that for 3-4 years, but really disliked it. Helped with establishing the fundamentals, positions, which notes go where. Developed sight-reading skills.
Modern Technology (12:00)
Isn’t opposed to utilizing auto-tune to clean up small bits of a performance. But would be opposed to over-relying on it and overusing it in a track.
“I use today’s technology, the beauty of today is you could have 1000 guitar solos if you want to, choose bits from each. Everyone does that. Usually I’ll do a half-dozen takes and choose the best licks from them…”
Influence of Jazz Guitar Players (13:50)
When the “Blues Breakers” (1966) album with Eric Clapton came out, many guitar players sought to emulate the playing style of Clapton. Peter saw the trend and wanted to go in a different direction. He was drawn to Jazz guitarists for inspiration: Kenny Burrell, Wes Montgomery, Joe Pass, Django Reinhardt and George Benson.
They could sing my solos… (19:20)
“I wouldn’t put myself in a shredding character. It’s about melody and choice of notes…”
“I’ll rip it up a little bit here and there, but speed has never been essential to me…”
“People have said they could sing my solos, because they are so melodic, I take that as a real compliment because that’s what I’m trying to do…”
Writing a song (20:30)
May start with an interesting chord sequence or a feel with a chord, then search for a melody that goes over the top that I like. Then develop the song.
Sometimes a song develops simply from a lick that someone in the band would hear Peter playing in a solo. Take that lick and develop it into a song.
No rules in music (24:00)
“There’s no rules to music, even though you have modes, but there are no rules. Whether you write the words first, the chords first, it doesn’t matter, it’s the end result that matters in the end…”
Favorite ballad (24:35)
“A Whiter Shade of Pale” by Procol Harum
“It’s a perfect song, I don’t know what it is about that song, but it’s just perfect…”
“I’ve never been about volume, small amps to me can sound better than big amps, unless your turn them up…”
Recording a studio album (35:00)
Typically it would take 6 weeks. 2 weeks for tracking. 2 weeks for overdubs. 2 weeks to mix.
Typically will not re-listen to his old songs. If they come up on the radio, will likely change the channel. His perfectionism causes him to always hear something that should have been done differently on the song.
“Playing live you’re all set up to be perfect, but some nights it’s good, some nights it’s really good, but it’s never perfect…”
“I can always find something I don’t quite like in a song I played, but that is what makes you better…”