An Interview with Australian music icon: Peter Head

Janice: Peter, What was your most recent recording project?

Peter: My most recent recording project was one I actually started in 1973 .

Back then I was working with a largely unknown singer by the name of Bon Scott and we both pooled our meagre savings to hire a studio for the afternoon and help each other out by recording a few of our original songs.

One of those was a song I wrote for Bon to sing called “Round & Round”

I kept the 8 track tape from that session, and only last week  took his vocal from then, and then wrote a whole new backing for it, recording all the instruments myself at home ,using “Logic” recording programme  on my home i Mac computer.  I also added my three most current girl backing vocalists for a track each, namely Cora James, Shirley Smith and Heather King . Then also my son Joshua on guitar . Mixed two versions at a tiny studio in the Cross, one with Bon singing all the way through, and one where we swapped verses as a duet.  Purely for the fun of it .

Janice: You've a number of family members also doing interesting work in the music industry.  Have you recorded together?

Peter:  Well, I just mentioned getting my son Joshua on the Bon recording, but before that, a few years back now, I recorded a whole album with my daughter Loene Carmen, and we wrote songs together for it. The album is called “The apple don’t fall far from the tree. “  I also went to LA a month ago, and Lo and I performed some of the songs at a  gig in West Hollywood .

Josh runs a record label called “Personal Best” and often performs with his main band “Professor Groove and the Booty affair. And now my grand-daughter ,Holiday Sidewinder , is doing headline gigs all around the world, and writing her own songs too. 

Janice: When I first met you, you were accompanying Robyn Archer, I believe it was at the Nimrod (now Belvoire Street) theatre in one of her shows. I heard you as integral to that show.  Can you tell us about your working relationship with her.

Peter: Robyn Archer and I have been good friends since we were teenagers in Adelaide . I produced an album for her called “The Ladies Choice” , and worked as her musical director for years on a show called “A star is torn”, which travelled all around Australia, and won several awards. To cap it all off, we were  both inducted together into Adelaide’s music hall of fame in 2016.

Janice: You're one of the most distinctive vocalists in this country, it's a style we acquaint with other storytellers, such as Leonard Cohen and Tom Waits.  Were you into reading poetry as a young guy?  Or particular novelists?

Peter:  I went through a ‘beatnik’ phase in the 60’s  where I enjoyed Allen Ginsberg and company,
I think Lennon/McCartney, Tom Waits , Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan are all fine poets as well as songwriters, and I even like early Australian writers like  Banjo Patterson, Henry Lawson and my favourite CJ Dennis. And my friend Bon used to refer to his scribblings as ‘toilet poetry' .

As far as serious writers go, I know she’s unpopular now, but I discovered Ayn Rand (“The Fountainhead” -Atlas Shrugged’ etc.) at a very early age, and I think her writing more than anybody else’s  gave me the courage to believe in myself as an individual, and decide that I would spend my life dedicated to music, and only live on what I could make from that, and never do a day job. I guess I’ve got to blame her for a life lived largely in poverty ever since, even though I wouldn’t change a minute of it. It’s just what Australians who live in the arts have to put up with generally, even though there are rare exceptions. 

Janice: Please follow the links below and explore the wonderful musical journey of Peter and friends. Over and out Peter.


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