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Peter Case remembers hitch hiking and playing with the Ramones

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While Peter Case put on some of California’s punk shows in the mid ’70s when he was in his first band, the Nerves, and even opened for the Ramones, he insists he’s not a punk.


“I put on some of the first punk shows, but the Nerves didn’t play punk music. It actually was a lot like what I’m doing now,” said the legendary folk/ bluesman Case froPeter Case plays the Geomatic Attic, Sept. 15. photo submittedm his Los Angeles home.


 He spent a lot of years hitchhiking all over the United States and up north into Canada, then down to Mexico and playing music on the streets.


 He will be bringing his solo electric show to the Geomatic Attic, Sept. 15.


 He is about to get back on the road, beginning a tour on Thursday, Sept.  8 in Anchorage, Alaska, after taking most of August off to teach music.


“I’ve never played Lethbridge before, but I’m looking forward to it. I’ve toured Canada in winter, so I’m glad it won’t be winter. And it will be nice to be in Anchorage when it isn’t winter, ” he said.


“I play an electric guitar and a big old 12-string. I’ll be playing material from all of the years of my career.

The Buffalo born musician remembers hitchiking in the early ’70s to take in Toronto’s burgeoning ’70s folk scene as well as bluesmen like Lightning Hopkins.


 “ He was one of the first old bluesmen I saw live. I wasn’t influenced him so much musically as it was by the way he handled himself. He kept making new blues music,” he said adding he was more influenced by folk music and ’50s rock and roll.


 When he ended up in San Francisco in the ’70s and formed the Nerves, he never considered himself part of the punk scene.
 “ We weren’t a punk band but we were friends with a lot of the punks. And I put on some of the first punk shows there,” he said. That eventually lead to opening for the Ramones.


“We played fast and hard, but we were super excited to open for the Ramones. They were like the Beatles of their era in 1977. In 1977 they were very fresh. They were playing for 150 people and we had never played for that many people before. Those were big shows for us. They were pretty great,” he said. Case later went on to a degree of fame and popularity with  the Plimsouls.
 But that’s in the past. In the meantime, he has released “Case Files,” a new CD of numerous uncut  songs and outakes from throughout his career.


 “People are treating it as a brand new album rather than just scraps. These are songs that fell through the cracks, that never get recorded for an album. They are songs that were recorded  in between albums. And sometimes that’s when the best stuff happens because you are looser,” he said.


“ I had a lot of different stuff I wanted to get out. I like the blues songs on it the most. I have a lot of stuff, I probably have enough for two or three more of these albums,” he said.


 He will return after a busy September and October tour schedule to record a live CD in Los Angeles in December.
 He said it is diffcult to explain his songwriting process.


“It’s different everytime, sometimes the music comes first, sometimes the lyrics come first. But I write a lot of other stuff too,” he said.
“Songs are tricky. You can’t force it,” he said.


 He has written a couple of books, “As Far As You Can Get  Without a Passport,” which includes stories of his days playing music on the streets of San Francisco and hitchiking across the U.S and down to Mexico in the early ’70s and is working on another one—  and exchange of letters between him and friend, Texas based writer David Ensminger.


“He’s a punk poet, so this is  some of our letters, stories, angry stuff about the government,” he said.
The show begins at 8 p.m. at the Geomatic Attic. Tickets are $25 members, $27.50 non and $30 at the door

— by Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
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Last Updated ( Monday, 12 September 2011 09:39 )  
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