NHOR : As you still have that blues base to the music, do you keep up with the blues scene much still?
DP : Oh yeah, I still follow the blues scene. Blues scenes can be very localized. The Oakland blues scene, San Francisco, the east Bay blues scene is great. John Lee Hooker was out of that scene. All over the place there's blues going on. I pay attention to Robert Cray, Joe Louis Walker, Lucky Peterson...I pay attention to these people. Some nights I'll go out to Slim's or Biscuits and Blues in San Francisco. But there's a lot of great blues players coming up in San Francisco. Billy C. Farlow from the Lost Planet Airmen, he's putting together some things, and he's a very good singer and harp player. Richie Kirch from John Lee Hooker's band...I've done a few shows with him. He and I are very good friends. Slim's and The Boom Boom Room are great blues places in San Francisco. The Boom Boom Room was John Lee Hooker's club, and Slim's is Boz Scaggs'. Every year they have The San Francisco Blues Festival, which I try to get to every year. They usually have some really good talent.
I lived in Europe for a number of years, and there's a lot of American blues bands who go over there because there's still a big appreciation for the blues over there. They have clubs over there that don't cater to anything else but the blues. I've heard several bands from all over the world. There's some good ones out of Texas. The Mighty Sam McLain now lives in Stuttgart, Germany but he's from the South originally and he moved over there. I even heard a band from St. Petersburg, Russia that played the blues like you wouldn't believe.
NHOR : After recording two albums with the original band, Leigh Stephens left, and you brought in guitarist Randy Holden, with whom you toured for about a year and recorded several tracks for the 'New! Improved!' album. What was the reason that Randy left the band? He's gone on record as saying he left due to there not being any money. Is that how you recall it?
DP : Randy was with us for eight months. He had a way of working in the studio and with the band which was totally non-conducive to Blue Cheer at all. That's why we let Randy go. I've never told my guitar player what to play. When he says, "What do you want me to play?" I'll say, "Something good." Randy's method of working was that he had to be in control of every note, of everything that was being played. That's just not the way we work.
My main reason for not desiring to work that way is when musicians play a song the way they feel, and help create it, they have a vested interest in that song. Therefore they play it better. I'm not challenging Randy, I have no intention of doing so. But Randy and I never saw eye to eye. We still don't. I've talked to him, but it's not something where we're ever going to play together again or anything like that. I doubt that very seriously.
NHOR : So, in your opinion there isn't any chance you'd be up for recording anything else with Randy then...
DP : No. Not unless he changed his whole attitude about how to record.
NHOR : I conducted an interview with The Lizards' Randy Pratt a couple of years ago and he mentioned that he had helped Randy trademark the Blue Cheer name so that Randy could use it. What are your feelings on this, and what's the current situation in that regard?
DP : They were attempting to do this, and I talked to Randy about this. I let him know that it just wouldn't be dealt with in court. That I'd deal with it, but it wouldn't be in any court, and he'd better back the fuck off my band. Common sense will tell you that he doesn't stand a chance. I started this band, and I was the only musician in it. I'm the only one who's been in it all along. I'll be in Blue Cheer until I die.
NHOR : During the early 70's, the band went through various personnel changes. Looking back, was the drug usage a factor in your opinion for so many changes in the lineup during that time?
DP : I think drugs were a factor in everything that happened during that time.