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"I MUST BE IN A GOOD PLACE NOW!"She picked up a guitar and she never looked back. Specifically, she picked up a Fender Jazz Master. Aside from BONNIE RAITT and NANCY WILSON from HEART, there weren't too many girls at the time willing to strap on an ax and let it rip. ROCKWIRED didn't bother asking what her real namewas but we know this rockin' blues mama as PEACH and if we do say so ourselves, her CD THE REAL THING (BLUES ROCK RECORDS) is certainly the most optimistic collection of blues songs ever committed to disk. In short, THE REAL THING is real sweet! Not syrupy or saccharine. Just sweet, and it doesn't get any better than this.
PEACH TALKS TO ROCKWIRED
FINDING HER GROOVE
STEM CELL RESEARCH
AND HER STUNNING CD 'THE REAL THING'
INTERVIEWED BY BRIAN LUSH
THE REAL THING, like the blues itself, is a celebration of life. So, it's no surprise that this music comes from a woman who's all about celebrating life. Aside from the music, PEACH is the co-founder of ROCK N CURE, an organization promoting awareness and raising funds for breast cancer and stem cell research for CEDARS SINAI MEDICAL CENTER in Los Angeles.
But enough about philanthropy. It's the music that has brought PEACH to the attention of ROCKWIRED and to the attention of music fans(PEACH was recently honored with a South Bay Music Award for Blues Artist of the Year) THE REAL THING is an event starring PEACH, great songs and ace blues men REGGIE McBRIDE on bass, AMOS GARRET on guitars and a guest appearance by the legendary TAJ MAHAL. This is music with soul and a huge heart
ROCKWIRED had the chance to talk to PEACH over the phone. Here is how it went.
Congratulations on your South Bay Music Award for Blues Artist of the Year.
Yeah, that was great.
You CD 'THE REAL THING' is probably one of the most optimistic blues albums I've ever heard in my life. How did it all begin for you? Music, I mean.
Actually I sang in chruch back in Indiana and my mother played piano. She didn't play piano in the church but she played honky tonk piano at home. Actually, she played her own styled of blues- Stride piano. She always wanted me to explore all kinds of music. She was always trying to take me to this lesson and that lesson and then I got into the guitar at a pretty young age. And I got into electric guitar. I had an electric Fender Jazz Master when I was 12.
That's better than my SEARS & ROEBUCK Stratocaster at 12.
It was pretty odd that that was what I was attracted to. i mean, I've had other guitars over the years but I really love the electric sound.
And not meaning to sound sexist, but it must have been different for a girl to be strapping on an electric guitar at the time.
It was odd especially then. And in many of the bands that I played in later, they didn't really want me playing guitar and I was a pretty good guitar player at a very young age. They really didn't wan that at the time. It just didn't fit the format of what was being done. Unfortunately, in a lot of the bands that I played in, I worked as just the vocalist and then I'd work in the afternoons from five to eight, as a solos=artist, which was a lot of work. It's a lot of guitar work when you're by yourself. I really don't play much solo anymore. I pretty much play with a band or a rhythm section.
Growing up in a scene where there were no "girl" players, who did you look up to?
The only woman I had ever known who was musician was this woman who played on this TV show called the "GRAND OL' OPRY". She was an up-right bass player and my father always thought that I should play bass. Later, as got further into playing guitar, it always upset him that I wasn't playing country music but my mother was the jazz person. For many years I played jazz and that was pretty much the road that I went down when n I was right out of college. I think sooner or later, you figure out where you belong. I realize now that I like playing blues. If I could play blues six or seven hours a night, I'd be happy. That's how I realized that I'm a blues player.
I was struck by a comment on the bio page of your website (www.peachmusic.com) about how CONDOLEEZA RICE didn't expect that she would be a National Security Adviser and how at the same turn, you didn't expect to be a blues musician.
She(CONDOLEEZA RICE) was at the same school of music as I was.
What school was that?
The University of Denver. she was a piano major I believe. She was my accompanist. I did these really horrible renditions of these art songs and Italian arias. I was completely miserable in music school. I didn't have much of a classical background at all and I didn't know enough to know that you don't land in music school and not have a classical background. It was pretty rough. What was funny was whenever there was ever a call for any kind of commercial work for a vocalist, they would always pass it to me. I was the only person in the music school that wasn't headed toward the opera or the symphony. I sang for the jazz bands because they wold do these different versions of songs of the day, so I'd sing for the jazz band ensemble, but other than that, I was just a fish out of what. But CONDOLEEZA RICE was a major great piano player. She was pretty much who she is today. I was peacenik girl and she was this straight up kind of girl. we used to rehearse at her parents condominium, a kind of lush plush place. It was really a shock later on learn that she had left music (laughs!) She could've ended up a broke musician just like everybody else, but it didn't happen. And here I am doing shows every week at the RUNAWAY BAY in Torrance, CA.
You've got a bunch of events coming up. One of them is th HEP-C INTERNET TELETHON.
Yeah, to find out more about that you can got their website at www.hepcaware.org. The telethon is going to be Saturday October 21, 2006 and it'll be broadcast on KBMDTV.COM, running from noon to 8:00PM that day. It's great organization put together to make people aware of how you can get Hepatitis C and how you can avoid getting it. It's really great organization. This woman named Kelly Z puts it together and she started to put together this telethon and every year it gets bigger and bigger. I'll be doing it around 1PM that day.
You are also the co-founder of ROCK N CURE.
It's a support group for CEDARS SINAI MEDICAL CENTER and it's a group of people raising money and awareness for stem cell research and my co-founder passed away of an unrelated situation so our next ROCK N CURE should be a big event. We do them ussually at the HOUSE OF BLUES and it's whole night affair with an auction and the whole bit. I'm really an advocate for stem cell research.
Has cancer touched your life at all?
This friend of mine had cancer and a lot of people with different types of cancer can have what i call a "modern day bone marrow transplant" If you were unlucky enough to have a child that needed a bone marrow transplant one of the transplants that they might need is a stem cell transplant. It's modern day way of re-growing bone marrow by implanting these cells into your blood stream. They find their way back into the bone marrow. Some patients use their own stem cells. They don't use donated cells.There needs to be a lot more education on stem cells and stem cell research. It's not what people think it is and it's not what people think.
What do you think is the biggest misconception that people have about stem cell research?
People think that stem cell research has to do with embryonic stem cells which is not at all the case. My best friend had cancer and I sat with her as she was hooked up to this machine , it's almost like a dialysis machine, and it filtered through her blood and extracted stem cells from her blood. Then they gave her chemo and a few days later they infused those extracted stem cells into her body. So you see they has nothing to do with embryonic stem cells. Later when she and I were trying to raise money, it was strange because a lot of people would say that they were opposed to stem cell research because of religious beliefs. They really didn't understand the mechanics of the procedures unless you wouldn't want someone to take their own blood and put it back into their own body. It was frustrating the stem cells became associated with embryonic stem cell research and that's just out there in the general media and I don;t know how it's ever going to get turned around.
On THE REAL THING, you've got this amazing roster of musicians helping you out. How did you get 'em all together. Was it by design or by chance?
It was by obsession and insanity. We started out with the rhythm section that we knew we wanted. But then we thought about getting GARY MALLABER who played drums for VAN MORRISON on a couple of tracks. The problem was, we just got carried away with ourselves. We wanted to duet with someone and then we realized that we could get TAJ MAHAL. TAJ would be in an out of town in LA and we thought we were going to record that session in San Francisco, but one day he was in town and we heard about it the day before and we were like "Wait a minute, he could come over tomorrow night!" so we didn't have to go up to San Francisco. One of my favorite guitar players in PAUL BARRERE who plays slide. He was in town and came over. The main rhythm section was REGGIE McBRIDE on bass and AMOS GARRETT on guitar. AMOS came down from Canada and spent the week in a hotel near where we were recording. AMOS is on almost every track. The producer was MARTY GREBB and someone should've come in and reeled us in a little. The whole experience was a thrill to have people that I've always admired come in and play my stuff.
With THE REAL THING finished and aloof the experiences that went along with making it, how do you fell about it?
I love the CD. It was what I needed. I set out make a recording like that and I did. I'm going in a slightly different direction now. I'd like a funkier, crazier mix. These days I'm into a little more craziness. A more D'ANGELO direction if you will. But at the time, the sound on THE REAL THING was exactly what I wanted.
What do you want a listener to walk away with after hearing your music?
I would hoe that they wold just like the music and relate to the lyrics, you know. I know that 's a pretty old fashioned, archaic concept these days. I personally find comfort in music. I like music that makes me feel good. I would hope that people will like the music.