Allow me to quote, word-for-most-accurate-indeed-word the shrink-wrapped stickerhype affixed to Mono-Tone Records’ The Cosmic Genius of Big Boy Pete 1965-1977, the very first of two (so far!) volumes of audio esoterica culled from the great man’s already voluminous discography:
Like an English Kim Fowley produced by Joe Meek or a one man Barrett era Pink Floyd, Big Boy Pete is the unsung hero of the sixties! This first ever vinyl compilation features his best 60s stuff on one side and seven unreleased gems from the 70s on the other – ranging from wild and fuzzy garage to psych pop and freaky country-rock!
What more could ever I hope to add to that?? So instead then, Let’s let the Big Boy speak for himself:
1. Munsters or Addams Family: Which one’s for You, and Why?
The Addams Family.
Because Lurch has the answer to all questions, problems and diseases. Furthermore, he perambulates with the echo of morning flatulence.
2. Who in the world, living or dead, would you most like to play a game of Twister with?
What the hell is Twisters?
3. How many Sid King & The Five Strings records do you own?
As many as I can find.
4. If you had been working the front gate at Graceland that night back in ’76 when a drunken Jerry Lee Lewis showed up, shotgun in hand, to “put that damn Elvis outta his mis’ry,” what would you have done?
5. “Ginger” or “Mary-Ann”: Which one’s for you, and for How Long?
Rogers or Baker? Definitely the one in the song: “There was a girl named Mary-Ann, and Mary-Ann was all the world to me.”
For as long as her legs will last.
6. What single song, living or dead, do you most wish you’d written… and Why didn’t you?
Because I can’t play the sax.
7. Whose Warblerama™-worthy guitar would you most like to be reincarnated as?
8. In 2000 words or less, more or less: Your hopes, aspirations and goals, musical or otherwise, for your life, your country, and Whatever Else you can think of?
Someone – not sure who, probably a mangoose, said Big Boy Pete was the only act ever to open for both The Beatles and The Stones, and it was him on padded xylophone. But it was actually someone else billed as Big Boy Pete because I refused to tour under such a stupid name. I wanted Bog Boy Bleat.
When I released my first single as “Miller” in 1965, I was backed by the Mammary Tabernickle Squires, who must have had only fifteen crumpeters at the time. Members of this clandestine clergy kept me out of tune with reality for most of my Z-rated performance, but I soldiered on tirelessly until the local farmer trolled me down with his muck-spreader. So I re-connected with the chorus via an errant pigeon who was banned from Trafalgar’s Triangle because he pooped on the warrior’s wigwam once too many times. We kept in touch.
“What was it about touring I didn’t like?” I’ve been asked myriad times. Answering stupid questions like that is my answer. With my baritone pecker in hand, and typographical errors forever potting the cosmic road into nirvanic, pustular orbit, I created quite a lot of psychedelic plop-rock. You might also ask if I was inspired by LSD and other psychedelic drugs? If so, when did I take my first trip?
Contrary to unpopular belief, I never took LSD. What happened was – I got into my mother’s medicine cabinet and purloined her anti-Viagric smear lotion. She had the really good stuff – it made a wonderful cocktail with a can of Campbell’s tomato (pronounced tomato) soap.
It was the 1906 earthquake that prompted my move to San Francisco. When I got here, I worked as a producer/engineer for many years. Some of the acts that I recorded were: Mozart, Beethoven, Trump, Queen Elizabeth – she was the best. Didn’t even have to use an auto-tuner – her steeplechaser rode her higher than a kite.
I have often been accused of tawdry behavior. A condition that I obliquely deny. I blame the flaming nuns from Swanton Morley for painting me into their cloisters without due tendence, and neglecting to defrock before dementing which, of course, led to my early retirement.
I consider my greatest accomplishment in music was quitting.
And now, at great expense to the community at large, I will valiantly propagate the answer to the question I would never dare ask of myself: How would I colorize my self? Henceforth, I shall peel off the stage face, douse my limpid limelight with marsh gas and gently nettle myself.
Outwardly, I may appear to be a sparkling non-entity but deep inside I have a purpose, maybe even a reason. Maybe. Divesting me of my privacy and secrets in order to make me suitable for public consumption is permissible by virtue of poetic license and ample residual royalties.
I are a certified, organic, one-piece rock and roller from the green cow pastures of East Anglia – a largely rural area which sits sodomly, like a milk-muddled, wallflower maid about 100 miles east of London Town. That in itself should speak volumes. But let me disenfranchise this North Sea backdrop further:
Lamentably, these pongy pastures dealt this prophetic priest buckets of poetic injustice by way of my bumpkinness. With an accent thicker than peat moss, and a muddy lingo broader than the village bike’s arse, I strove to be unstriven. ’Twas hard, forsooth, but still waters don’t creep. Stilly as a comatose mouse, I squeaked my way through every slender vestibule in every flint church and thatched cottage, trying not to step on the medieval mousetraps that were really just impotent fodder for filial defrockments beneath a fleet harvest moon.
I first met myself while apple-picking on a farm one summerteen long ago. Who would have guessed that it would lead to shagging and sharing barley strippers in a bogus gentlemans’ country club with a fervor driven by the barren backbeat. But there is far more to these tawdry beginnings that meets even the most perspicacious of tyrannical eyes.
This step-out guitar player quickly learned how to swallow opportunities alive before anybody else could even smell them. MInd you, through the haze from the preponderance of these inscrutable smoking catacombs, even I more than likely missed a carrot or two.
I tend to be breezily duplicitous at times – just a tad. An imperial tad, not an American tad, I hasten to add. Even the measliest possibility of financial furtherance is quickly stashed into my cerebral repository. Take no prisoners and do it clandestinely – like the passing notes from chord to chord that nobody else hears, except Ray Charles. My first job was in a windmill and my father was a will-writer – you do the math. Facts or fakes? Friends or flakes? And I secretly cheated on all of my school exams – and still failed.
Talking about my father – he lost her legs to a Japanese mine but found them again with the loving help of my mother. She was a Quaker who grew up alongside the Seminole tribe in the Everglades – on the Fakahatchi Strand where the rare Ghost orchid grew. She taught me how to love classical music. I taught her how to love me. What a seamstress she turned out to be. But let us not digress.
But it’s good to digress – keeps you regular.
They say I are the quiet one. I thrives on neglect. The logical loner – the scientist – except when it comes to sharing my discoveries. A jealous spoiled brat – and brats always hold grudges – sometimes for a lifetime. At all times I carry with me a little black book from which there is no rubbing out. Dismissing my tantrums or reasonings as childish or trivial will only earn a repeat performance – this time without the accompaniment of justification. My soul is magnetized by such vanity as is only embraced on the darker side of a druid’s witchfest. Insignificant or supercilious flattery of legendary proportions will be batted away or captured in a butterfly net and framed. The remainder will simply be shredded.
Nobody should blame my parents, except maybe they should have produced a brother upon whom I could have practiced my hissy fits – a sibling who could have slaughtered my brattishness, with brute force if necessary. But Elvis had a twin brother, did he not? And sadly he did not survive. Would we have had Jailhouse Rock if he had?
When Elvis burst onto the scene, I was instantly married to him – musically. We remained harmonic partners most of the time but visceral venom could split our symphonic planet into a starburst of preludes, circled by discordant Saturnic rings at the slightest hint of a wrong note. But when the smoke cleared, our music was as cohesive and inviting as a twin bed in a Mississippi motel, hidden deep in the cotton fields off Highway sexy one. Our love for each other was deeper than any woman could provide, albeit it was always a woman that instigated our not infrequent divorces. But only briefly.
Musically, there is nothing that can bond two heterosexual males more than their choice of notes, as long as they both embrace an insatiable propensity for variance. But you cannot put two alpha lions on a tour bus with a single lioness without the excrement making physical contact with a hydroelectric powered air current distribution machine. It’s a mess. And one more thing – we both pursued band rehearsals with a fervent aversion, which annoyed our drummers intensely – especially when it came to working on their original songs. Made them feel slighted.
But right now, I am approaching one of the many mental checkpoints along the road so I’ll defoliate my other two dishonorable but distinguished axes at a less toe-twitching time. There is still an eternity to go before the moon says anything. Let’s take a tea break; cucumber sandwiches, sliced quadraphonically. Not to mention the wurzels. They told me not to mention wurzels.
Very little was barfed after tea so this might be a good time to pick up where I left off, with more psychic quack scrutinizations and less redactions. Let us consider the leanings and deficiencies of my remaining tendencies. Not every nook and cranny perhaps, but at least the admissible and non-committable quirks relevant to this tawdry tale.
Remember, that I was conjured up during The War years so you should not necessarily blame my parents. However in my case, I truly believe my mother must have been about fifty years old when she dropped me – on my head. It always takes me thrice as long as anybody else to accomplish anything at all – checking, double-chocking and triple crackling.
Forthright and honest, I are a bit of a grumbler at times, also a simple but highly organized unmusical clerk. At least compared to Shoshtakovich. My childhood was doggedly jarred by religion from a Pentecostal nut-farm of preachers known as the Plymouth brethren, a highly disciplined sect whose beliefs were bizarrely strict and isolationist. They held very outdated views on the roles of women – almost all marry young, deliver large families and never go out to work. Sound familiar?
I courted, but unlike my mirror homages, never brown-nosed, lucrative avenues of carpet bagging – for which I should be applauded – bearing in mind the frugal childhood of peat miners’ poverty I endured.
Care of the Home for the Bewildered, was where I grew up; conceived of parochial, one might even say native parentage. Had there been a reservation in my grassy-eyed county, I would have been quite at home flipping dominoes in a buffalo-skin tepee and hunting or fishing the trio of rivers that dissected the green but pleasantly pongy pastures of Narfuk – an Eire of greens for most of the year.
Finally we come to my knees. Should I denigrate them myself? Well here goes: I thinks I can quickly dispose of my indiscretions and transgressions with a few petite world-numbing confessions: They say I are an eloquent stoner. I consider such testimony to be the sincerest form of flatulence, but I want to point out that I are a fully paid up member of the procrastination society. I never, ever, under any circumstances wear underwear and I have a propensity for shagging in the middle of cornfields, churchyards and golf links. Spreading without bedding is what my probation officer calls it.
Although I was blessed with a formidable education at a private all-boys’ school from which I graduated with sinking colors, my choice in ladies is usually, and I say this with all respect – the stupid ones. LIfe should be fun and non-confrontational on every level, especially when it demands significant intelligence upon or near any mattress, either vegetarian or fabricated. An affair should certainly not be politically motivated, economically induced, or in any way argumentative. Sex is sex and love is love and ne’er the twain shall meet. Geronimo!
Although my father worked at Blenheim Palace for MI5 during The War – which probably gave me a different way of looking at things, I have a less than stellar history when it comes to historical matters. And by that I don’t mean memory. In fact, I kindle and fondle all perplexities until each and every one is mashed into a pulp and completely or irrevocably resolved – at least to my own stickling satisfaction. Furthermore and notwithstanding, I are perhaps naive when it comes to skullduggery or general malarkey of any kind, but I do believe that anyone caught stealing my stash is treasonous – it warrants the death penalty – nothing less. I have the patience of a saint – even suffer fools. In fact I quite like most of them, possibly because I own the complete collection of Laurel and Hardy escapades on 8 mm.
Sometimes I wonder: Having gone to the all-boys’ school, perhaps that is why I are voluntarily and quite willingly abandoning all my scruples and making up for lost time in the poontang department. Quite right too.
So, notwithstanding how absurd I may appear, and not to belittle my unmusical musterpieces beyond redemption, I should point out that I eventually ended up in the actual Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio—for what that’s worth. I won’t tell you where, but it’s neither the toilet nor the graveyard. Somebody has already bought me a plot in the East Hudson.
So there you have it – that’s Big Boy Pete stripped nearly naked. Not exactly a radical revolutionary but nonetheless he has his own little cubicle in space. Will he come out of it alive? And why in heaven’s vast scheme of things is he still groveling around in this spirit-saken paradise? No firking idea. All he knows is that it is one hundred percent better than that mundane, sewer-clogged, brainless, flee-pit of a life he fled from.
Are we there yet?