Monday, February 18, 2008

NHOR : Live, what constitutes a great performance for you?

DP : It's when everybody, the band, the audience, the promoters, the advertisers...everybody walks away saying, "Hey, we did something tonight". Some gigs it happens when you're playing them, they transform themselves from gig into an event. Sometimes that happens in the most obscure places. We played in Pittsburgh at the 31st Street Pub, and it's a very run down club. That night we packed that place, and we turned it into a palace. Everybody was just beside themselves with a rock & roll orgasm. To me, you couldn't ask for more. It turned into something bigger than a gig where we really were part of the audience and they really WERE part of us. We consider ourselves, when we're on stage, a link to an umbilical cord. There's a fourth link there that goes right off the stage. It's something that I can tell you all about it, but you had to be there to experience it.

NHOR : Are there any other bands in the scene that you've seen who have that type of relationship with their audience like you do?

DP : To be honest with you, I haven't gone out and been watching a lot of bands. A lot of the band who open for us are these young stoner rockers. They usually have a pretty good rapport with their audience. You have to consider that they're usually pretty young guys or girls. They're just starting out on a career. So they may not have honed the skills that they will hone. Given the space and time to do that, there's some fine talent out there. We had a hit when we were very young. I had to get a note from my stepfather to sign my contract. That's pretty rare. Usually musicians are hitting their stride in their late 20's and starting to settle into their own groove.

NHOR : Who have you heard that you've been particularly impressed by as of late?

DP : In New Orleans I was very impressed by a band called Suplex.There's a band out of Austin, Texas called The Lions. A band who opened for us reminded me so much of '67 that I couldn't believe it, and they're called The Buffalo Killers. I enjoyed listening to them a lot because they brought me back to a lot of strange stuff. (Laughs) There's also The Black Angels and Dead Meadow. There's a band out of San Francisco called Drunk Horse. I can't really point to any one of these and say that they're favorites of mine. But I can say that these are bands that people like that you've got to pay attention to. Because they're really making music. They're not selling you tennis shoes. They're not shoving a bunch of crap down your throat, they're just playing music.

NHOR : Blue Cheer was at one time referred to as being "Louder Than God", and to prove it, you actually have callouses on your eardrums is that right? How does that come about?

DP : That's true. I was having a physical done, adn the doctor looked in my ears and went, "My God man, what have you done?!" I said, "Why?" He said, "Because you have callouses on your eardrums". I said "I play bass guitar". And the doctor said, "Uh huh...a lot of bass players develop callouses on their ears wheras guitar players will rip their ears". So, yeah, I do have bona fide callouses on my ear drums, just like my fingers I guess. My hearing besides that is pretty intact, although I have developed, and a lot of musicians develop this over the years, and that's selective hearing. Because you're listening to tapes in the studio and stuff, and you're singling out the bass line even though all these other things are going on. Or a horn line, or whatever. So, you hone in on this one particular sound. So I think over a period of time you develop the ability to do this. I can do this, but some times it makes my old lady angry as hell. (Laughs) Because I can just shut her off.

Over the years the one thing which does bother me the most is my left shoulder. I play a very heavy bass, with heavy wood for the tone. Over the years my shoulder will give me many problems. But, I've always seen it through.

NHOR : If you were to encounter someone who had never heard Blue Cheer before, what song or album would you say is most representative of what the band is all about?

DP : Our most recent one. I really would. Not to take anything away from what we did earlier, but if you look on the back of our first album cover you'll see liner notes which were written by Stanley Augustus Owsley. It's a poem called "Now". We live very much in "Now". We don't live in yesterday. We are by no means a nostalgia band. You'll know that from the moment we walk on the stage. We own it. We're not there to be nostalgic. We're there to rock the house down, and that's what we do. This band, at this point in our career do it better than we've ever done it before. So this is what my favorite is. My favorite band is my band. We've been rockers and that's what we'll always be. It fulfills our needs. The time when I'm most at home is when I walk on the stage. Everything else off the stage is kind of a shot in the dark.

NHOR : What do you feel the band's chances are of ever being inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame? Is that something that you're even interested in?

DP : It's not anything that excites us. We'd be more interested in the Rock & Roll Hall Of Infamy. The Hall Of Fame is a strange animal. There's a lot of people that should be in there who aren't, and there's a lot of people in there who I don't know how they got there. But I know this, that you join, and that's how you become eligible to be considered. To me, this doesn't have anything to do with rock & roll. Rock & Roll...the obvious doesn't have to be enrolled to be considered. So, it's not something we don't even talk about. The band speaks for itself. If you want to make it a hall of fame type of band, that's up to somebody else, not up to us. If they think we're going to pay money and try to buy fame, they're wrong. Not to mention most of the guys who get in end up playing Atlantic City, Las Vegas, or they die. We're more interested in the gig tomorrow night than being in the hall of fame.

NHOR : Blue Cheer was just nominated for 2008 Doobie Awards by High Times Magazine for not only "Pot Song Of The Year" for "Rollin' Dem Bones" but also for "Lifetime Achievement" as well. How does that make you feel?

DP : I'm very proud of that. For me that's better than a Penthouse centerfold. I'm an advocate for the legalization of marijuana, so I'm VERY proud of that.

NHOR : At the end of the day, how would you like to be remembered?

DP : As a good, solid, dependable musician. Reliable. I did my job.

NHOR : Is there any advice, if any that you would give to someone just starting out in the business?

DP : If you are just starting out, you have to understand that the odds are totally against you. Right off you have to understand that. If that doesn't dissuade you, keep going. Sometimes it's really hard, and hard to rationalize what you do, why you want to be a musician in the first place. But if you stick it out, you will become a musician. It doesn't mean you'll become rich and famous, but you'll become a musician. And I think that's a very satisfying thing to be. I would also say to young musicians that get involved in any type of business ventures to make sure they have a lawyer. Cover your ass because nobody else is gonna. Not even your guitar player. I'm fortunate in that Duck is my personal and business manager, and he's great. We've been together on a handshake for almost 25 years. I know as brothers we love each other, we care for each other and look out for each other. And that's what it's all about.

NHOR : Is there anything else that you'd like to say to all the fans out there?

DP : I hope that you guys come to a show if we come to your area. We're going to be around all this year, and probably several years to come. Because to really to know what Blue Cheer is all about you've got to stand in front of that stack. You've got to feel it. Because our goal all along has been to not only make it an audio experience but a physical one as well. It really will grab you by the guts.

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