WHO? My name is Pete Grant. I am 56 years old, 57 soon. I was born in Whetstone, England, but lived most of my early life in nearby Finchley. Something of a skinny kid, I made up for that in later life. I was given my first “45” in 1962, “Speedy Gonzales” by Pat Boone, my first guitar aged 12, and my first LP that didn’t feature the Flintstones in 1971. I loved guitar from the start, and now and then it even loved me back. Although obsessed with music in general ever since I saw grainy images of Buddy Holly and Hank Marvin on TV in the late 50s, and with the music of Peter Green and John Martyn in particular, I tried the expected route of college (it didn’t take) and various career and otherwise jobs (they didn’t take either.) By the 80s, I was struggling to be accepted as a session and gigging guitarist when by chance I got involved in small scale touring theater.
At first this was just as a Musical director, song writer and musician, but later I also acted a bit as well. In the kind of theater I was involved in, you had to act, stage manage and do anything else that was needed in order to stay almost on budget. After years of that, I returned to the whole partially successful musician thing, and was only interrupted by severe illness that put me on the sidelines for four years in the 90s.
Rather than go back to square one yet again, I decided to get some formal Theater training and went to Uni on a Theater Studies course. I got my degree, and some kind of teaching career beckoned, but fate was determined to mess with my mind with another change of course. On my last day of lectures, May, 1998, I went to see Peter Green Splinter Group play at Dingwall’s Dancehall in Camden Town. Through a series of events that I will save for another day, my party ended up sharing a table with Peter’s manager, Stuart Taylor. I had been doing a personal website for a while which featured sections dedicated to both Greeny and John Martyn, and the long and short of it was that my friend Bill and I were invited to Stuart’s Camden office a few days later to create and run Peter’s web site. Bill withdrew soon after, but I continued with Peter’s site for five years or so, and in that time fell in to the wacky world of music biz. Web sites for Cream lyricist, musician and producer Pete Brown and Sax maestro Dick Heckstall-Smith followed, and in 2000, I became Dick’s manager. In 2004, Dick and I had “Blowing The Blues: 50 Years Playing The British Blues” published by The Clear Press. It consisted of Dick’s earlier book, “The Safest Place In The World” which detailed his career and issues it raised up to 1980, plus a 96 page essay from me bringing the story up to date, as well as various biographical pieces on albums, etc.
2004 was a landmark year for me for other reasons too. I had fallen in love and married for the second time. My wife, Karmen, was based in Porterville, CA, USA, and for various family and economic reasons, it was agreed that I would move the the States. In the months that followed, my exile from the music business became more final than I wanted, with the deaths of Dick and then Stuart Taylor. However, Karmen had woken something within me, and I started playing guitar in earnest again, not to mention in local bands. At my Porterville peak, I was playing three or four gigs a week, earning quite well and having a mostly great time in bands like The Stepsons and Blues Central. I also recorded and put out a Christmas album with Monte Reyes as “The Sun Kings” during this time.
In the last few years though, health problems have emerged again which have curtailed my music making. This year, I have only been able to do three shows with my current band, “Pete Grant & Friends”, and at the moment I am not up to gigging.
WHY? In the last few years, I have worked on a book of my own, “Right Notes, Wrong Order” This is a book about what music can mean to people, what it means to me, illustrated by various stories from my childhood, right through to my skirmishes with music through the years. I had a publisher lined up, but the changes that they wanted me to make would have meant a fundamental shift in the nature of the piece, and in the end I wasn’t prepared to change it from my original aims to what would have been little more than a “slightly famous people I met once at a party” anecdotal book. There were always elements of that involved, but I like to think there is something more at it’s core. So, I have decided to self publish, but although the book is just about finished, I am holding off till a) I can afford it, and b) I am well enough to market the crap out of it. I do hope that will be sometime this year, but we will see.
So, in the meantime, I thought of doing this, a blog where I can talk about the music I love, even that which I don’t, and maybe feature excerpts from the book, and in general have a place to rant and rave.
Where? Right here, right now…