Peter Asher, whose “Peter Asher: A Musical Memoir of the ’60s and Beyond” show plays Sunday through Tuesday at the Rrazz Room in San Francisco, says returning to London in June to perform for Meltdown Festival 2011 was both scary and fun. This year’s show came 38 years after his last show there with Gordon Waller of Peter & Gordon.
“Gordon and I were never able to recall exactly which was our last UK show before the 38 year hiatus began. But certainly I had not played any of those songs in London for several decades. And any show in front of friends and family and in a venue as illustrious as Queen Elizabeth Hall is sure to be a bit scary! But once I got up there and start singing and storytelling, it settled into a groove and I was OK. I really enjoy doing the show and love it when people react with enthusiasm. I find myself remembering new bits and pieces to add as it goes along so I have fun every night,” Asher told us.
He also performed the show for over 4,000 attendees at the Fest for Beatle Fans in Chicago, a contrast from the intimate club settings he usually performs in.
“They were a great audience. As Beatle fanatics, I got the impression they already knew some of the early story of course and I had to dredge up some interesting Beatle-related details they had never heard before . And they joined in the songs with great enthusiasm,” he said.
Asher is producer of a new Buddy Holly tribute, “Listen To Me: Buddy Holly,” which features a great lineup of musical names paying tribute to the rocker, including Ringo Starr, Stevie Nicks, Brian Wilson, The Fray, Natalie Merchant, Patrick Stump, Jackson Browne, Chris Isaak, Cobra Starship and Pat Monahan of Train. The album will be released Sept. 6. Asher had nothing but praise for the new interpretations.
“The new recordings are simply further proof that the better a song is the more versatile it is. One can approach it many different ways and the essential excellence and originality of the melody and the lyric still shines through. I had the luxury of taking the time to carefully “cast” each song and sculpt a concept and arrangement for each one to suit the particular artist.”
But asked to compare Holly to others, Asher refuses.
“You are never going to get me to venture into the territory of top ten lists or any kind of ranking! Clearly Buddy is one of most significant composers or the rock and roll era – all the more remarkable in light of the brevity of his career,” he says.
(In part 2 on our Beatles Examiner page, Peter Asher tells how he convinced Ringo Starr to contribute to the Holly tribute.)
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Stan is the author of the Beatles Examiner (joltleft.com/x-2082-Beatles-Examiner), Paul McCartney Examiner (joltleft.com/x-34954-Paul-McCartney-Examiner), Vintage Rock ‘n’ Roll Examiner (joltleft.com/x-19248-Vintage-Rock-n-Roll-Examiner) and TV on DVD Examiner columns on joltleft.com (joltleft.com/x-10254-TV-on-DVD-Examiner).