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ExYUsingles - Istorijat muzike ex YU
  World Of Music


Peter White

...was born in 1954 in Luton, about 30 miles north of London, England. My parents already had a son - John, so I was the second-born in the family. Soon after, my sister Michele arrived, and the whole family moved to the nearby town of Letchworth Garden City, where my father had spent his youth. It was the first planned city in England, where every house had a garden - thus the name, Letchworth Garden City. (I'm not absolutely certain of this, but it sounds plausible!). My younger brother Danny was born a few years later - one of my earliest memories was of my mother returning from the hospital with our new baby brother.

My father encouraged me to play music - I started on the recorder, then the piano, guitar, clarinet, cornet, trombone and violin. I had lessons on all these instruments, except for the guitar. I had to learn on my own. I was about 8 when I first started playing the guitar and I learned by putting my fingers in different positions on the strings and listening to how it sounded. I always liked the low strings and that's all I played for the first few months. Soon The Beatles burst onto the English music scene and I learned to play the opening riff to "Day Tripper". For this you only have to use the bottom 3 strings so it was well within my ability. I was really excited when I saw the film of the Fab Four at Shea Stadium on our little black and white TV set. They were singing, playing and sweating, and the girls were screaming. Even at that early age it seemed I knew just where my future lay. And I noticed that they were playing all 6 strings on their guitars. I had some work to do!

Around the age of 13, I met my lifelong friend, David Visick. We were both pupils at Hitchin Boys School and I would go to his house after classes to listen to his extensive LP collection. That's how I got to know the music of Fleetwood Mac (they were a blues band then), Jethro Tull, Led Zeppelin, Cream and Jimi Hendrix, among many others. These were not bands that were generally played on the BBC radio (Radio One) because it was rock music, not pop, but I loved it. I imagined myself as Eric Clapton playing for thousands of screaming fans! When I saw the film of the Cream farewell concert on TV I became enthralled at the sound of Clapton's guitar. Yes, I was hooked. I thought that perhaps I could be just like Clapton! I had more work to do. I tried to learn every note that he ever played, including the magnificent solo in "Crossroads". All five verses I also started letting my hair grow long, as all rock musicians had long hair at that time.

At 17, not studying real hard, with friends Don Sanders and Dave Woolford. I'm the long haired guy with the hat! My first electric guitar had a very short life. It was burnt in a fire unwittingly set by my brother Danny in the bedroom that we shared. It was in this room that I kept my guitar and also where Danny conducted his experiments with matches. After the smoke cleared I was left with only my acoustic guitar for company, and as a result I started developing my love of acoustic music. In fact now I play almost exclusively acoustic guitar. Thanks, Danny!

At school I slipped away from classes any time I could to play the grand piano in the assembly room at school. My interest in the piano had been rekindled by listening to the music of Keith Emerson (The Nice, Emerson Lake and Palmer). Even though guitar was my favourite instrument at the time, little did I know how important my keyboard ability would soon become.

As I got more interested in playing music, my grades slipped badly and by the time I was 17, I realized that I was going to be out in the world very soon with nothing to show for all my years at school. I started studying at home, and was amazed that everything I needed to know was in the text books to which I had never given more than a passing glance. I caught up with about 2 years of schoolwork in a few months, and passed my final exams in 1973.

I could have gone to college - it would have pleased my mother immensely, but the call of the music business was too strong. I was completely obsessed by rock and roll. I was now 18 years old and on my last day of school I remember thinking "Now what?" I had no plans, just dreams of stardom. So I worked for a few months in a soup canning factory - waiting for my big break. I took the job because I misunderstood the lady at the employment office. I thought she said it was a suit factory. I thought "How hard can that be, making suits?"

My first break came in the spring of 1974 when I was 19. I met an organist who needed a guitarist for his band that was to play at a holiday resort in the south of England. I told him that I was a guitarist and he hired me on the spot, even though he had never heard me play. Thank you Graham - I'm sorry I don't remember your last name! This was my very first professional engagement and I was deliriously happy, playing songs like "Tie a Yellow Ribbon" to holidaymakers! It was not exactly what I had dreamed about (joining Led Zeppelin) but I was nineteen and having the time of my life - living away from home for the first time, playing music, and getting paid for it!

After the summer season ended, I returned home dreaming of more musical adventures. Through the back pages of the "Melody Maker" magazine, I got some auditions, and ended up playing with the psychedelic "Principal Edwards' Magic Theatre" group in London. The band broke up soon after I joined, but the most important thing was that I had found a place to live in London, and I actually had a telephone (We never had a telephone when I was living at home). One day the phone rang - it was Al Stewart's manager, looking for a keyboard player to join Al on a British tour. I had seen Al Stewart perform and liked his music, so I auditioned for him on keyboard. He didn't even know that I could play the guitar, and anyway he already had a guitar player. If I had not kept up my piano playing, I would never have got that gig, and my life would have been totally different.

Playing with Al was to become my introduction to the world of recording and international touring, a gig which was to last almost 20 years. Soon I was playing shows around England and Scotland and then all over the USA. I was starting to feel quite famous! For the first time I was touring with an artist who made records, and had an audience that knew his music! I was 20. And I had made it to America.

I had only been playing with Al for a few months when he started recording the "Year of The Cat" album. I was thrilled to be part of the recording sessions, as I had never even been in a recording studio. I played some keyboard and acoustic guitar (By then Al had discovered that I could play the guitar). Most of the recording was done at the legendary Abbey Road Studios in London, and yes I did bump into Paul McCartney one day in the hallway which was a great thrill for me.

In 1977, after the release and subsequent Top Ten success of the "Year of The Cat" album, Al decided to relocate from England to the USA, and I followed soon after, only to keep my job! I helped Al put together a new band in Los Angeles and so began my life in California. With members of Al's band I formed the group "Shot In The Dark" and we made an LP for RSO Records, who had just released the "Saturday Night Fever" soundtrack, one of the biggest selling records of all time. It didn't stop them from going bankrupt in less than two years however, which pretty much sealed the fate of our band. We did a few more shows but never released another album.

Meanwhile, back in England, my brother Danny (remember the guitar burning incident?), decided to start recording music of his own. He formed a group called Matt Bianco, met up with a lady named Basia, and soon started selling millions of albums. Yes, I was jealous! Luckily he never learned to play guitar so I played on most of their recordings ("Time and Tide", "London / Warsaw / New York" and "The Sweetest Illusion"). I enjoy very much recording and playing on-stage with Basia and my brother Danny. People say that I argue with him too much, but all brothers do - and I just see it as intellectually stimulating discussion.

In the late 1980's I began to get more involved with the Los Angeles music scene, playing and recording with many artists, including Johnny Rivers (the "Secret Agent Man"), Bernie Leadon (after he left the Eagles), Susanna Hoffs (after she left the Bangles), Tori Amos (before she got famous), and Janis Ian ("At Seventeen"). Most of the recordings were for "demo" purposes and never released, but I had fun working with all these artists.

I discovered that my neighbour, Skipper Wise, was also a musician. He had a band called Windows and I played guitar and keyboards on some of their recordings. When Skipper decided to make a solo album in 1988 I agreed to help him. His CD, "The Clock and The Moon", came out in 1989. In return, Skipper helped me record my first solo CD - "Reveillez-Vous" in his Benedict Canyon studio. The title refers to something my mother (yes she's French) said to me very often - it means "Wake Up" in French (I named my second CD "Excusez-Moi" as an apology to all those people who couldn't pronounce the title of the first one!).

The "Reveillez-Vous" CD came out in 1990. I was now 35 and had no idea if my songs would ever get any recognition, but gradually the music spread. My friend Cliff Gorov, a veteran of the music business (www.allthatjazzinc.com) used his influence to get my music played on the radio. I had met him when he was working to promote Basia, and he told me to call him if I ever needed help. Thanks Cliff! I soon found myself doing interviews, talking about my music and my association with Al Stewart and Basia. This was very strange for me, as I was not used to talking about myself to strangers!

I started playing with my own band, and developing my own show. My friend, Steve Chapman, who was a drummer with Al Stewart, put down his drumsticks and became my manager. He has guided me to this day. Since that first CD I have made many more and toured extensively with my own band; with Basia (Basia on Broadway live CD), with Al Stewart, and with many other musical luminaries.

In 1995 I was part of the first "Guitars & Saxes" tour, together with Richard Elliot, Warren Hill and Craig Chaquico. Since then I have played on many other "Guitars and Saxes" tours, as well as doing numerous shows with my own band.

I met Robin, my wife at a show in Cleveland in 1989, where she was living at the time. I immediately was attracted to her spirit and independence. I visited her a few times in the converted loft where she was living. I was impressed - I had heard of people living in lofts but had never seen one first-hand. She soon moved to New York City to work for Time-Warner. We continued a long distance friendship for quite a few years, from California to New York.

Her parents were initially dubious about their daughter becoming involved with a musician, but more than that it was Robin's vow never to live in California that was a problem for us. I did consider moving to New York for a moment but decided that California was better for my music career. A phone conversation in early 1996 changed everything. Robin inquired about the weather in Los Angeles (there was a blizzard in New York at the time). I described a balmy January day (I wasn't even exaggerating!). We were married in Cleveland in November of that same year (during a blizzard).

My father, who started my interest in music, passed away in October 2000, but I have many great memories of him - going to the local pub for a drink, and then to his favourite Indian restaurant. We spent many hours discussing politics, music etc. We should all cherish these moments with our parents if we are lucky enough to still have them.

In the summer of 2001 Robin and I went to China to adopt an 11 month old girl who we named Charlotte. She is the light of our lives - a very lively little girl. I give a special thanks to the members of my fan club, "The Caravan", and especially Joan Lynch (the President) who registered a star in her name, (yes a real star!) They also gave us a telescope with which to find it in the sky. It is in the Ophiuchus constellation, close to Hercules (Right Ascension 18h 21m 14s, Declination 08 degrees 37 minutes - for the astronomically minded). Check it out next time you look up!

My mother is my biggest fan, and loves to see me perform, as I do occasionally in England, where she still lives. My older brother John is married with a daughter - Katie and works for the Social Services Department in London helping older people. My younger brother Danny still works with Basia on concerts and recordings. He is also married with two young sons - Jordan and Niall. I am very close to my sister, Michele, even though she now lives in New Zealand with her husband and 2 daughters, Faye and Rosie. I have visited her many times, and we always go hiking.

In my musical career, I have achieved things I never dreamed of. I have collaborated with numerous other artists, including Boney James, Richard Elliot, Dave Koz, Chris Botti, Rick Braun, Gerald Albright, Christopher Cross, Gato Barbieri, and the late great Grover Washington Jr. I have been lucky enough to meet many of my idols: George Benson, Paul McCartney, Freddie Mercury, Les Paul and Jimmy Page, among others (Some of these encounters are described in the Museum page of this web site).

I play up to 100 shows a year in the USA and also the UK. I always love the diversity of the audiences I see at my shows - all ages and all colours, both male and female. I like that - Smooth Jazz is a microcosm of the world! I receive many encouraging email messages every week from people telling me that my music has touched them and this keeps me going through long recording sessions and rehearsals. Thank you!

I like to stay after shows (wherever possible) to meet people and chat. So if you want to say hi after a show, just be a little patient and I will usually appear. To all of you - my best wishes - I'll see you on the concert trail... PW

You can contact my fan club at "The Caravan" (http://www.peterwhitefanclub.com), named after one of my albums, "Caravan of Dreams".

More info here:

Davor Matosevic - videos
Reklamno mjesto 5
Rock Otocec 2010
Reklamno mjesto 6
Web portal Pljuga
Reklamno mjesto 7

Andjelko Jurkas (HR) - Bez rocka trajanja (Knjiga + CD)
Reklamno mjesto 8
Gary Talley (USA) - Guitar Playing for Songwriters
Reklamno mjesto 9

Hosting sponzor:

Barikada - facebook group

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