Present location: Brisbane, Australia.
Peter is well known in Rhodie Music folklore as a founder member of such notable bands of the VAMPIRES and VERTIGO. After leaving the VERTIGOS in the sixties his music activities went into hibernation for a time although he kept a guitar close by. Moving to Malawi he did a couple of sporadic gigs before finding his way to Australia, via the United Kingdom, where he joined the Queensland Police in 1972. In 1973 he was posted to Monto, a small town in central Queensland where he was introduced to Australian country music which made an immediate impact on him. Pete was soon providing solo backing for country artists on stage and soon met local bands, including Netz’s Silver Comets, who invited him to join after learning that he could play bass.
The band’s line-up was quite a novelty, given Pete’s previous experiences, and included two saxophones, trumpet, trombone, clarinet, rhythm guitar, drums and piano. He recalls that the pianos one would find in country halls were often pretty close to disrepair. The situation was so common that their piano player would be permanently equipped with a “repair kit” of wire, string, drawing pins and chewing gum to carry out running repairs on any instrument that required attention. On one occasion they picked up a piano to move it across the stage and were left holding the outer case whilst the pedals and works stayed where they were! Undaunted, they managed to put the piano back together again and used it for the gig. Sometimes the tuning on this instruments was so bad the pianist just had to strike the key with the nearest sound. Luckily, none of these gigs was amplified.
The band often travelled 200 km’s to gigs. Most country hall gigs did not allow alcohol to be served but the food was exceptional. A modest entry fee was charged and ages ranged from 2 to 90 making these events real family affairs. The band’s repertoire included everything from old-time dance numbers through rockabilly to modern rock, all by memory and, in Pete’s case, little rehearsal! He quickly cottoned onto watching the brass players and worked out that “one upraised finger meant key of F (one flat), two meant B flat (two flats) and so on!”
Five years later he moved away from the country hall music scene to a completely different environment in Brisbane. Pete soon started to pick up club and cabaret work. He also undertook some jazz studies during this period to broaden his chord work and improvisation skills. During this period highlights included playing Christmas street concerts on the back of a truck in small towns, playing to 50 000 at Lang Park Stadium (now Suncorp Stadium where rugby test matches are played) and taking a Police Variety Show around Queensland.
For some years Pete had a family band called Vintage Brew. He has now returned full circle to Netz’s Silver Comets and old-time music again. The band now comprises only brass, keyboard and guitar.
Pete also continues to support and collaborate with old friend and professional muso, Stan Lenz, who lives close by. Stan was, at one time, lead guitarist for The Five, one of Brisbane’s best bands in the 60’s. The young Bee Gees would often support The Five before they headed overseas to seek their fame and fortune.
Now retired, Pete works at producing backing tracks on his computer and has a mini-studio for solo performance.