This is an interview Peter gave me on November 29, 1999. I'm not fast at transcribing so it's not all here yet. I'll try to
have the rest on here as soon as possible.
A: I was born on September 13, 1952 at St. Joseph's hospital in Burbank.
Q: Why is it I thought you were from Texas?
A: Well, my Mom's from Texas. My ex-wife is from Texas. I...I don't know. Maybe 'cause I'm stubborn, hard headed. I don't know. A funny thing about the September 13th thing was my Mom, she even wrote a poem about the fact that I was born on Friday the 13th.
Q: It was actually Friday the 13th?
A: Well, but it wasn't. She went in Friday night and I came out at 4:54 in the morning. In her mind it was still Friday, but it was really Saturday the 13th, but for years I was really proud. I thought it was born on Friday the 13th, you know I thought born under a bad sign which was a cool thing you know. Then I looked it up and found out it was a Saturday the 13th. My mother had even written a poem about one of the greatest blessings in her life came on a Friday the 13th kind of thing you know. Not! It was Saturday. Which makes me a Virgo, my rising is Leo, my moon is in Cancer, blah blah blah.
Q: You actualy know that stuff huh?
A: Yeah, I'm afraid I do. I followed it for a little while but it's not anything I ... Idon't read my horoscope every day.
Q: I know one of the thing we want to know because we're going to Disneyland Wednesday, which character...
A: I'm Big Al. The big bear. He only sings little short songs. After Thanksgiving you'll see the first one I ever did which was the Christmas show. He'll have tinsel all over him. He's like the star of the show. He's Big Al. He's this giant bear. He's like a five thousand pound bear and I did the voice. That was the first one I did. Then I did Country Bear Jamboree Goes On Vacation where he's got a miners light on his hat and all that stuff, and I did the one that went to Euro-Disney. I did one that was a voice, a Big Al part for one of the videos.
Q: You said you got your first guitar from taking your mom's?
A: No no no. My mother and father are both amazing ... I don't call them piano players, they're pianists. I'm mean they're the real legit thing. My dad was like.... you know, played with orchestras and wrote major pieces and my mom studied like 16 years. I mean you could throw paint on the wall and they could play what the paint is if you wrote five lines for the staff. They sight read stuff that's just amazing. Anything you put in front of them they look at it and they just play it. Get this. At Sepulveda and Oxnard was an old Builders Emporium when I was growing up. We lived down the street on Cego St. which for some reason, patterns of numbers or rhyming or anything like that automatically catches my attention and that's why I remember where I grew up. It was 14940 on Cego St. Which to me it was rhythmical and it rhymed and at five years old I walked out and said "I know what I'm going to do for the rest of my life" when I heard an Everly Brothers tune on the radio 'cause I wanted to be cool like my sister so I'd go to sleep with the radio on which was KFWB I think at the time. Late 50's. It's like '57 and I heard the Everly brother and I knew that's what I wanted to do and I walked out and my parents are thinking "He's going to be a fireman or a cop or what ever." and I said "I'm going to play guitar and sing the rest of my life" and they went "Oh great!" I just don't think they believed me at the time. They just went "whatever". But anyway, we went to Builders Emporium 'cause my mom wanted to learn how to play guitar. Q: At Builders Emporium? A: At Builders Emporium there was this little tiny section that had musical instruments in it. Yeah, not a joke. Musical instruments. I don't know why. It was an arch top, F hole, Silver Tone. Wish to God I still had it. No case, put it in a box, a big cardboard box. The guy tuned it there so at least it was in tune. We got it home, and my mom went to the bathroom. That was the biggest mistake she ever made in her life, she had to go to the restroom. I had that guitar out of the box and I was playing it. She walks out and she goes "Hey, what are you doing" and I go "Check this out"and I'm playing it. It was like this absolute gift from heaven. I mean it was like "This guy isn't gonna be worth a damn so let's just make him a guitar player." It was just a gift. Which brings us to the story of my dad. I went to my dad cause I was really serious and my mom, she couldn't get it away from me. I was globing the guitar constantly. But I asked my dad if he would teach me how to read music. My dad was out of the house by this time. He'd left a couple years earlier. I go "Dad, would you teach me how to read music?" and he looked me dead in the eye and said "If I had to teach you how to read music I'd murder you." Now that he's in his seventies, every time I go down there, that was the end of that whole idea, but now he goes "So when are you going to learn to read music?" and I go "No no no, you cured me of that idea a long time ago." I just picked it up.
Q:When did you start playing with other people as a band or what-ever?
A: Oh, in junior high school I had the surf bands and the whole thing.
Q: You started playing surf music?
A: Primarily. I remember I drove my neighbors nuts. We lived in North Hollywood off Magnolia. There's a bazillion apartments. Outer Limits. I don't know if your old enough to remember the song Outer Limits.
A: Oh, you are? Hey, your pushin' it.
Q: I'm only five years younger than you Peter.
A: If you remember, they had to change the name to Out of Limits because of the TV show Outer Limits and I had just received....this is embarrassing.
Q: Oh no, you know what I'm thinking of? Twilight Zone.
A: Twilight Zone. No. The show Outer Limits and there was a musical piece called Outer Limits and they had to change all the names to Out of Limits because of the TV program. They got sued. But I used to practice with that relentlessly. I had a Mustang, a white Mustang Fender. It's like a three quarter guitar, not a full size. In fact, if I still had it, it would be worth a lot of money. By the way, that Silver Tone guitar became a hippie art object. It was like flourescent yellow and like jewels put on it and all this stuff.
Q: By you or someone else?
A: No, Allen Hamer did that. I really wish I had all the stuff that over the years I had.
But the neighbors hated me cause we lived in an apartment building and I'm going na na na na na na na on the guitar. They would like jump up and down on the roof, the upstairs ceiling, and be yelling out the window "Turn that thing down". I had a VibraVerb amplifier with 115. Still wish I had that except I wish I had the 210 version. They made it in 115 version and a 210. It was a great amp but I kept blowing up the speaker so we finally found one I couldn't blow up cause I kept turning that sucker up. That's why I hear so well.
Q: Do you remember the name of your first band?
A: No I don't remember the name but I went to Milican Junior High School and we used to play for the dances. There was an electronic version of an accordion called a Cord-a-Vox wich we had a Cord-a-Vox player in the band. I can't remember his name. And we had a bass player and a drummer. One of my highlights was stepping backwards off the platform, falling off the stage onto my back. Boom, flat on my back.
Q: Never turn your back on the audience.
A: No, I didn't turn my back on the audience. I was playing and I was into it and I just kept backing up and I backed right off the platform.
Q: So you went off the back side?
A: Yeah! Showbiz.
Q: Over the years you say you've played with a lot of people.
A: Yeah, a bunch.
Q: Like who?
A: I played Tom Waits first album Closing Time.
Q: You know, I saw Still on your amplifier and I found a web site where your listed on the album.
A: Yeah, Wade Berry. That was a great project. Wade is an incredibly talented guy. It was very emotionally draining doing that because he really knew what he wanted and didn't want and it was like trying to play with him riding around on my shoulders. I mean I'd get an idea and I'd try it and he'd go "No, I don't want that". It was literally, I mean I only ended up playing on two songs on that CD and both tract took like six hours because I just...it was so... he just, it was great. It was great experience for me. It was difficult. It was hard. It was very hard but it was some of the best stuff I've ever done even though it was some of the simplest stuff I've ever done. I have a tendency to over play and get way out there and he just kept reeling me back in saying "No, do this, do that." He wanted it perfect and his CD shows it. It's a great CD and I highly recommend it. But both times when I left there I was so emotionally drained I was falling asleep driving home 'cause I was so exhausted from doing mental jumping jacks in the studio. I was really, really exhausted emotionally and physically. It just drains you. You talk about splitting hairs. It's was like right down to ... He got a great sound out of my rig. It was great. I'm real proud that I got to play on it.
But let's see, there was Tom Waits, I played for Delany Bramlin for six years from Delany and Bonnie and Friends. I played for Roger McGuin for a couple of weeks from the Byrds. While with Delany we had the likes of John Bon Jovi, Billy Preston, Mick Fleetwood, Rita Coolidge on stage with us, Phoebe Snow in New York sat in with us , Kenny Gradney from Little Feet. You never knew who was going to show up. It was always just amazing.
Q: Who have you enjoyed playing with.
A: The most fun I ever had was probably playing for Delany, as terrifying as it could be at moments.
Q: What made it terrifying?
A: Let's just say sometimes you didn't know where it was going to land because of certain things that were going on in the band. In thirty seconds it could go from a spiritual experience to "Can I go home now!" I don't want to get in to the words and whys of that but, yeah, it was nothing short , I mean literally, I think there was three different times after we played, it was such a spiritual experience, I mean it was nothing short of a spiritual experience. Three guitar players, two keyboard players, horns, I mean it was like thirteen pieces on stage. It was such a high that after the show I'd put my guitars away and I'd go out and sit in the front row and I'd look at the stage and I'd just start crying. I would just start crying. There was nothing left to do. I was so blasted emotionally. It was such a high. It was an amazing experience. It was spiritual. And almost everybody I've know that's ever been on stage with him says that exact same thing.
Q: What ever happened to Delany and Bonnie?
A: They've been apart for years. Bonnies been on like Roseann's show for a while, Delany still working and writing and playing. I must have played on three albums worth of material for him up at his Rock-N-Roll Ranch up in Shadow Hills. I don't know what will ever become of it. Some situations occurred that, I could no longer stay in the situation and be comfortable.
Q: Part of why I met you is because of Rick.
A: Rick Bysh. He was the greatest.
Q: How long ago was that?
A: I met Rick through Bob Gross. Bob was playing with Rick at the Pumpkin Festival when it was up in, I want to say Chatsworth but I don't think that's where it was. The first Pumpkin Festival. I got to sit in , but that's where I met Rick. It was just an instantaneous bonding. The reason that why it worked so well with him in the band, there was never an argument about "I want to take this solo". I mean I liked to hear him play, he liked to hear me play. There was no ego involved. It was not like "Hey! This is my song. I'm playing the solo. This is my show." There was never any of that, just absolute mutual reaspect.
Q: Bob (Gross) was with you and Rick and Al..
A: Al Lichtenstein. That was my band. Ricky and Bob were originaly in a band called Easy Money with Ace?..AJ?...whatever. I can't remember his last name. Gibson I think. Ace Gibson. And I was in Easy Money with about a hundred and fifty other guitar players.
Q: I remember seeing Rick first playing in Telex.
A: That was a whole 'nother project Ricky was involved with. Telex. He was also involved with Films About Women, which they nicknamed Flix About Chicks. They did like one album. But I miss him. I'm so angry with him at time it's scary 'cause..what a waste. Don't do drugs and alcohol. Not a good place to go. I know. Believe me. It killed my brother. It killed Ricky.
Q: Tell us about that.
A: I um...I experimented a lot. There are certain reasons I can't go into about how I got sober but I was a falling down drunk. I was a drug addict. I was a .. not a heroin addict. I never did heroin or cocaine. Everybody knew about heroin but cocain wasn't even around when I stopped getting stoned, with the help of a large amount of LSD which kind of rearranged my brain forever. It's just not worth it. I mean you think it's funny you know. They talk about all this stuff, you know, pot leads to harder drugs. I believe that it does 'cause you keep... you know. The reason I did drugs and drank is bottom line, I don't really care too much for me. I don't particularly like me and when I'm outside of myself through drugs and alcohol I don't have to deal with me. I'm still learning how to do that, even though I haven't had a drink in over thirteen years and I haven't done any drugs in over twenty, including smoke or anything else. I still smoke cigarettes. Not a good thing to do.
Q: Are you still smoking four packs a day?
A: No I'm down to about two.
Q: That's better
A: Well .. yeah, but I drink a lot of Pepsi's and a lot of coffee and that's my addictions now. It's just, I've seen it distroy so many lives.
This is funny. A friend of mine who grew up with... that ran with a lot of the same guys that I did who's a couple of years older than I who's known me 32-33 years,some where in there, I said "We all ran with the same guys and you didn't do any of that stuff. You didn't smoke pot." I've only seen this guy drunk twice in my life. I mean drunk. The rest of the time it's like...have a little Tody(?) and that's it. A totaly normal in control guy, and I asked him "We all ran with the same people. Why didn't you do all that?" He said "All I had to do was look at all you guys and you guys were a really bad advertisement for doing that stuff." I thought that's about the best statement I ever heard. I mean we thought we were having a great time but oooh! Not a good thing. None of that stuff's good. You think it's good at the time but "Welcome to reality." I've seen people die horrible deaths and found people that died from it and everything else and man it's just not good.
Q: We'd like to hear you play more of your stuff but your always playing for someone else.
A: I'm the hired gun guitar player. The hired gunslinger guitar player.
Q: What have you got planned so that we can hear you instead of just everybody else's songs?
A: Well I actually have a couple things in the works. One way or another you'll hear me 'cause I'll never stay out of the studio. I'll be in the studio doing more stuff like what's at the end of the cd, more of the blues, R&B kind of stuff. That's where my heart lies. One of the reasons why I play country is I not only enjoy country but it's something I did naturally. It's natural to the way I play. I bend a lot of strings and I found out whenever all my friends were paying to play in Hollywood, I was making a living playing the guitar. They were all paying to play for 45 minutes and paying the club to buy ticket that they would have to go shuffle around and sell to get people into the club and then, if you didn't get people into the club, you would never get invited back. While they were doing all that I was playing at Mike's Pizza in Simi Valley supporting myself and other people at the time. So I found out I could make a living playing country music which is really in a lot of ways more suitable to my voice 'cause if you listen to most rock singers they're tennors, not down at the bottom of the barrel with me. But I love singing blues. I love playing blues. I've just always loved it. I got to hang out with Sonny Cherry and Brandon McGee and Furry Lewis at the AshGrove when I was fifteen years old. I mean the real old delta blues guys and I've always been into that whole deal.
Q: I don't know if you started it Sunday or....
A: The blues jam. I was asked by Mike Lippy, God bless his heart, to be in Motherblues. It's the last three Sundays of every month we are at the Universal Bar and Grill on Lankershim, just south of Moorepark on the west side of Lankershim.
Q: Is this a band that you're playing for or you're part of the band?
A: No, I'm part of the band but it's really Mike's band but I get to have so much fun and I do get to sing. I get to sing the blues, the blues man, but this is not like my project. When it becomes my deal which I've got future plans for that, for resurecting what was called the Peter Klimes Band or the Peter M. Klimes Band which will eventually become Warrhorse. Jim Grant, the old owner of the Longhorn, where I used to do concerts as the Peter M. Klimes Band with Ricky, I've got live tapes of that stuff which are just phenominal. I'm going to resurect it and see what I can do. I just have to find the right players. It's really hard to find somebody that fits. First of all, it seems like the better player they are, the nuttier they are, and I'm one of 'em, it's weird. You get all these egos involved and agendas. That was the great thing with Ricky and I, there was never an agenda. He had absolut respect for me, I had absolute respect for him.
Q: Do you still play with Bob occasionally?
A: All the time. I played with him last night. He's in Motherblues also. He's one of the primary players.
Q: Do you ever hear from Dennis or Trish'?
A: Dennis and Trish' of course broke up. Both remaried other people. They both live in Nashville. Dennis is still doing music and Trish' has another kid and is working in a supermarket as a checkout girl.
Q: So she's not singing anymore?
Q: Where you playing with Cochise or with Trish'?
A: I did both. When Dennis was still in the band with Trish' it was Trisha Mae and Calico and I was in the band and then Dennis broke away from her band even though they were still married and started his own band called Cochise and I was in that band. He always had a very deep respect for my ability and my talent and gave me all the room in the world to do whatever I wanted including my originals which I thought was wonderful. It was never like "I'm Dennis. I'm the star. You do what I tell you to do." I'm very proud to know him, he was very proud to know me.
Q: I remember when I went to see you guys play out in Victorville in that little place...
A: The Cocky Bull?
Q: No,it was a little place..
A: The Bootscoot, and it was something else before Dennis owned it with Trish'and the other owners from the...
Q: He was walkinng around with his fiddle..
A: His wireless , yeah.
Q: He came over and went (motioned like I was using the bow)..
A: And he gives it to you.
Q: Yeah, and no matter where I put the bow he played something to it. Then he told me to keep my day job since I know nothing about playing the fiddle.
A: Yeah, I really love that guy. He's a great guy. I'm happy to say he really apreciates what I do. We still talk all the time. I'm always calling Nashville or he's calling me. We bullshit about this or that.
Q: Does he have a band out there at all?
A: Oh yeah. He's playing .
Q: Do you know the name of it?
A: I don't know the name. I know they're playing more rock and roll than country back in Nashville right now. That's the big deal going on now.
Q: And everybody's complaining.
A: Oh well, they got to have something to bitch about back there. They hate people from California. They hate this, they hate that. They hate the weather. They hate...whatever. I don't know. It's their problem. I'm fine right here, thanks.
It's forocious in Nashville. Literally. It's basicaly broken into who's working in the studios and who's going on the road with the acts. I don't know how that all works. It's a bad enough blender being in the blender out here. I don't want to go out there and start all over again. I can't even imagine it.
Q: You've done a lot of studio work haven't you?
A: Most of the time I get a call for studio work because the person knows what I do. Like the Tom Waits gig, Jerry Ester for the Monophone Quartet and the Association and a bunch of other stuff he's done called me to play on that, called me to play on Billy Murnin's(?) album. Billy Murnin now plays for Carly Simon I think, at least that's the last thing I heard about. I have some other stuff that's in the cooker that may be coming up. A lot of stuff I don't want to talk about 'cause I don't want to jinx it. It's like if you talk about it, it never happens.
Q: Okay. Well we'll risk it anyways. Tell us about your new acting career.
A: My acting career! Well actually, I was asked to be in a movie a friend of mine was directing and producing and what not. Apparently I was pretty good at it. I played an evil step-father and I was really good at it. It's funny. Almost eveybody that's seen it, they don't say anything untill I'm about to leave and then they go "and by the way, you're a real son-of -a-bitch!" and that was my job. I was supposed to be a real evil guy and I was real good at it, and then I was an extra on Moeshia. I wanted to get into voice-overs and I got into the logistics of that and
To be continued.
Okay, it was to be continued but some %$#@$%# stole the video camera and bag that the tape was in before I finished transcribing it. Sorry Peter!
Return to main page"