“Louder Than God”: Rush’s Neil Peart Remembers Blue Cheer’s Dickie Peterson

October 21st, 2009 by Rolling Stone Leave a reply »

Photo: Michael Ochs Archive/Getty

Rush drummer and Blue Cheer fan Neil Peart wrote the following in memory of singer/bassist Dickie Peterson, who died after a battle with liver cancer on October 12th:

In the summer of 1968, I was going on 16, living in a small Canadian city (St. Catharines, Ontario), and had been playing drums for a couple of years. I owned a small set of Rogers drums, a plastic AM radio that I played along to, a tiny mono record player, and 12 LPs. On the bookshelf in my room, facing my drums, I stacked those LPs with the covers facing outward, rotating different ones to the front.

Both fans and haters of my future work with Rush would find those LPs telling, and nod their heads or roll their eyes accordingly: The Who’s My Generation, Happy Jack and The Who Sell Out; Are You Experienced? and Axis: Bold as Love by the Jimi Hendrix Experience; the Grateful Dead’s and Moby Grape’s eponymous debuts; Jefferson Airplane’s Surrealistic Pillow; Fresh Cream and Disraeli Gears; the first album by Traffic (called Reaping, in a Canadian-only variation, the cover showing the band posing on a Massey Ferguson combine); and Vincebus Eruptum, the first album by “the world’s loudest band,” Blue Cheer.

Tiny articles in early rock magazines said Blue Cheer were so loud they had to record outdoors — part of their second album, Outsideinside, was recorded on a San Francisco pier — and the drummer, Paul Whaley, played so hard he had to wear golf gloves. Blue Cheer had a fortress of amplifiers, cannonades of drums, forests of hair, were managed by a former Hells Angel named Gut (who described the band’s sound as: “They turn the air into cottage cheese”), and they were hated by grownups and rock critics alike. Of course I loved them!

Blue Cheer’s version of “Summertime Blues” was a good-sized h...

Article Source: Rolling Stone : Rock and Roll Daily


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