This "5 and Dime" interview was conducted in person with musician Peter Cooper via a few e-mails we shared on June 8th, 2005.
Tell me about your yourself.
I was born and raised in the Bensonhurst section of Brooklyn, NY and grew up in a very musical household with my father always playing old records and my sister playing piano and organ. They also listened to and had a very extensive record collection. I followed that path because of absorbing all of that external stimuli. I did not get truly serious about music until I graduated high school, but my feeling is that there have been many accomplishments since then. Touring, recording, acting and modelling among them. I'v also studied classical voice at Southeastern Louisiana University and placed as a semi-finalist in one of the regional NATS competitions recently. I can play different styles and hate getting stereotyped into one thing because after all, music should transcend itself.
Tell me about your band's current, or soon to be released CD, its musical direction, where we can hear it, and where we can buy it.
The last album released was "Magic" back in 2003. When I do an album I try to have some sort of cohesive theme to it y'know? Some sort of underlying feeling throughout that connects it all together. On "Magic" it was very bluesy, and when I come to think of it that blues feeling always seems to come through anyway. Not in the traditional sense in all cases, but the riffs are usually along that road in one form or another. Listen close and you can hear it. I did covers of Cream's "Politician", Jimi Hendrix's "Who Knows" and "Stormy Monday" which is a blues standard, so over all the direction of the record is a bluesy rock feel. "Waterslide" is an original that has kind of a Jimmy Page esque feel to it. But like I said before, I hate getting put into one category. Other songs like "Comforting the Dead" has classical and flamenco feeling guitar on it with spoken word style vocals. As you might imagine, it is hard to market stuff like that because the labels say "How can we market this? It does'nt fit into any category." I think the music business is in the worst shape it has ever been in at this point in time because as long as we pigeon-hole everything into formats, artists won't be able to flow creatively without obstuction. My music is not set into any style because I have so many influences that they all play a role in the final result, so it is transcendent in many ways. If I had to say though, it is a rock record. You can hear and buy it at TowerRecords.com, cdbaby.com or petercooper.biz along with my other band releases "Inferno" and "Dysphoria."
Tell me about any live shows scheduled for the Summer or Fall of 2005.
I've just come off the last leg of a three week tour from New Orleans to Seattle. I'm on vacation now in Alaska and may have a date in Anchorage in July which is not confirmed yet. I will also be performing some solo appearances at Southeastern Louisiana University in the fall doing arias and art songs.
What else do you have in store for your fans in the next 12 months?
Alot! A new record will be released by the spring. I will be just my six and twelve string acoustic guitars and my voice. I want to do a totally unplugged stripped down album to show the core of my being. No flash or frills but expect some very heavy cool acoustic guitar textures and counterpoint. Some people were very disappointed when Led Zeppelin III came out becasue they were like, "What is this? This isn't Zeppelin. Why are they doing acoustic stuff?" But like Wayne from Wayne's World says "Led Zeppelin didn't always write tunes everybody liked. They left that to the Bee Gees." I'm not trying to alienate anyone, but I need to go
with my heart and what I feel like doing musically, and musically this is where my heart is right now. I really do hope people like it and enjoy it becasue that is always a question I have in the back of my mind when I do a record, but it does not dictate what kind of music comes out of my hands. The title of the record will be "Man". There are also some movie things in the works. If I can make the time, I'll also start writing for Space Junkies Magazine again. All I can say is that in 2006 The Peter Cooper Band will be back with a vengence.
Feel free to promote your website or anything else you'd like that applies.
www.petercooper.biz will be updated in the fall 2005 with all new photos of live performances and new mp3's of some stuff that I have not released yet. Stay tuned for that as well as other updated on the site such as direct links to where you can buy Peter Cooper on Tower Records. Right now you can go to www.towerrecords.com and just type in Peter Cooper for a search and there you go! I'd also like to plug some other bands that I love such as www.motorbaby.com , www.lezwarner.com and www.grooveassault.com.
Please share your thoughts on Dimebag Darrell.
When I first heard about what happened I was initially very sad. Then shortly after when I got the details of what happened I was pissed. I mean what the fuck is society coming to when a band can't even play a gig without some crazed asshole coming in and shooting members of the band. It is about as uncool as anything you can imagine. That is not what rock n roll is about. The first time I heard "Cowboys From Hell" my jaw dropped. It was so heavy and the shredding was great and exiting, but very tasteful. I know that Pantera was a band that was around a few years before "Cowboys" but it was that album that defined them as a true entity in metal and Dime's playing kept the faith among what was going on at the time that yes you can be a spectacular guitar player, and be appreciated for it. When that album came out Vanilla Ice was all the rage and the Seattle grunge thing was right aroung the corner, but that record was what kept metal heads alive and gave them some hope that metal was not dead. Dimebag Darrell had the same exact influences as I had growing up in Ace Frehley, Eddie Van Halen and Randy Rhoads and like those guys Dime's influence will forever be felt. He is immortal now and he can now help musicians in a way that was never possible in this world. God bless him and keep him.