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Speaker: Peter Jefferies: Time and the singular man

19 Responses

  • philipmatthews,

    Really great piece, Campbell.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2007 • 656 posts Report

  • Barnard,

    Thanks Campbell, lovely piece.

    Great to see Peter back playing, & I hope he makes it to Wellington at some point.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2012 • 72 posts Report

  • Campbell Walker, in reply to philipmatthews,

    Thanks Philip. Been a while since I was writing for you at Capital Times... and delivering the damn thing some weeks too.

    Dunedin • Since Dec 2013 • 14 posts Report

  • Diane McAllen,

    Great to hear that Peter Jefferies performing again. Like you, Campbell, I often listen to his songs. Fantastic that Amanda Palmer has had such an influence on persuading him to get on stage again - not an easy feat I imagine. I have often wondered whether his new life - teaching kids music - perhaps something more rewarding than "introspective self-interrogation" - would be a good reason to revive the documentary we never completed. I remember him saying to me once how he had moved on ... that those songs represented who he was 20 years ago ... this was something I felt I related to, and respected. Without pressure, it would be great to hear new works in the old medium.

    Wellington • Since Jul 2014 • 1 posts Report

  • Don Reid,

    Wonderful piece, thanks for writing. Peter (and Graeme)'s music has been seriously undervalued for 30 years. Before I left NZ in April I did my bit with a TKP song in the 'Best Song Ever' segment of Jim Mora's RNZ show. But it's great to hear Peter's later work also.
    Cheers, Donald Reid
    PS. I'm also a Capital Times alumnus.

    Hobart, Tasmania • Since Jul 2014 • 16 posts Report

  • philipmatthews, in reply to Campbell Walker,

    Feels like it was only yesterday.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2007 • 656 posts Report

  • Paul Rowe,

    Thanks for this reminiscence and reminder about such a great musician, and thanks to Peter for getting back on the performing horse.

    My brief Xpressway period coincided with what seems to be one of Peter's most active times as a performer, back in the mid 90s. I saw him play in Hamilton for some reason (we drove down from Auckland) and at Squid in Auckland performing with Mecca Normal (Squid must have been the last one, because it's the only time I saw him play piano and drums and sing at the same time), must have been 1994ish. Best was seeing the 3-gig tour put on by Peter, Alistair and Sandra Bell, in New Plymouth, Palmerston North and Wellington. Fabulous nights, all the more because it was so hard to see those acts live in the North Island at the time (I never saw the Dead C for instance). I met him at Squid and Alistair at Palmerston North, both lovely chaps. Alistair in particular seemed very touched that we had travelled from Auckland to follow them around the country. Alistair & Peter put on a brief Plagal Grind reuinion for us in Palmy, after I asked if they'd thought about it.

    It's a bit sad, though I understand the reasons, that TKP records will change hands for $200 or more these days, with the artists not receiving anything at all, beyond the $7 they'd sold the original vinyl to Flying Nun for back in the day.

    If there's a petition to get Peter and Shayne and the rest down to Dunedin, add my name to it. The irony is not lost on me that back in the 90s I aspired to live in Otago for the music, but by the time I moved down 20 years llater they would be playing in Auckland.

    Lake Roxburgh, Central Ot… • Since Nov 2006 • 574 posts Report

  • Campbell Walker, in reply to Diane McAllen,

    Hey Diane! Yeah, Peter said he'd talked to you during the interregnum. We talked about the possibilities of looking again at what we had shot sometime, so there are conversations to be had...

    Hmmm, I think I still find introspective self-interrogation pretty rewarding at times too, but I see your point. Possibly an interesting tension to be explored around that too. Wish I could be going up to film this one, but barring last-minute miracles, I think it's looking unlikely. Living among the precariat has its pleasures, but not so much security...

    Dunedin • Since Dec 2013 • 14 posts Report

  • Russell Brown,

    I finally have a moment to tell the story. Yes, I helped put Amanda Palmer in touch with Peter Jefferies.

    She and I were both part of Webstock in 2012 and the moment I arrived at the speakers' dinner the night before the conference, Keith Bolland rushed up to me to ask if I'd heard of this New Zealand musician Amanda was asking about and no one else had heard of.

    Why yes, I said, I used to flat with him in Grey Lynn.

    (To be precise, it was me, the Jefferies brothers and Chris Matthews, which wasn't as intense as it might sound, although I sometimes thought Peter and Graeme regarded me as a slightly wayward influence on Chris. They completed A Beard of Bees during the time we all lived there. I remember the brothers coming back from mastering it in Wellington, where a kindly engineer pointed out to them that the recording was out of phase and helped them fix it up. )

    So I had a chat to Amanda. All I knew was that Peter was back in Taranaki and wasn't making music any more, but I put the call out on Twitter and Simon Woods, then at Amplifier, replied. He had an email address for Peter, which I passed on to Amanda and they got together.

    Quite apart from the music, it's going to be great just to see Peter again after all this time.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report

  • Campbell Walker, in reply to Paul Rowe,

    Hi Paul, cheers, I was at a bunch of those gigs too. I remember talking to Alastair at Palmerston as well - I bought a copy of the very short, very beautiful Cluster 7" off him in exchange for a double whisky, at his request ($5). The piano-drum turned up in about 1996, I think the Auckland gigs were at the Temple and at Herzog? Both venues are long gone of course...

    There is still a decent lot of music down here in Dunedin, but both money and audience numbers remain as scarce in supply as they would have been in the late 80s. You can live cheaply down here, and have exceptionally interesting friends with rich histories though...And amazing new music continues to be made. Ian Henderson of Fishrider records has done a great job pushing the indie pop end of things into the world, but the experimental post-Xpressway bands are still present here too. Older projects like Eye (Peter Stapleton, Peter Porteous, Jon Chapman) and Gate (Michael Morley's still vital solo project) co-exist with newer bands like The Ladder is Part of the Pit (Richard Scowan, Motoko Kikkawa, and a shifting line-up mixing strings and electronics, and for my money the best live band in the country at the moment) and Wolfskull (Clayton Noone, Dene Barnes, Brendon Philip, others, a gloriously erratic sludgey noise band). Dene Barnes solo project LSD Fundraiser has been getting a lot of deserved attention too. But all these gigs tend to take place to pretty small audiences, and it seems hard to get bands coming through... So something else that hasn't changed..

    Dunedin • Since Dec 2013 • 14 posts Report

  • Campbell Walker, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Yes that's great! And yes, the wayward influence on Chris that can no doubt be traced all the way through to the Headless Chickens...

    Dunedin • Since Dec 2013 • 14 posts Report

  • Grant McDougall,

    Seeing Peter solo and drumming for Cyclops around Dunedin in the late '80s and early '90s was one hell of a privilege - he always delivered.

    He was one of the first musicians I met down here in early '89. At a party at Bob Scott's place I drunkenly told Peter "You should be like Syd Barrett and make a really good solo album".

    He replied "I already have" - and viola! Last Great Challenge came out as a tape (!) later that year.

    I was also lucky enough to see the first three Dimmer gigs, with Peter drumming; their debut was at Shayne Carter's sister Natasha Griffiths' 21st, then a Fri and Sat at the Empire the next week.

    My friends and I in '94 were really into Electricity as well, to the point we'd drop it into routine conversations: "I'm going to the shop to buy the paper, some milk and some Electricity, the doctor said I've got too much of it inside me..."

    I'd be completely fine if Peter doesn't release any more new music - he's clearly got whatever he's had to get out of his system and he has a great body of work already.

    Dunedin • Since Dec 2006 • 760 posts Report

  • Alan Perrott,

    nice, it's a Capital Times reunion. which pub are we meeting in?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 438 posts Report

  • philipmatthews,

    We'll need Braunias, Paul Shannon, Simon Vita, Dan Slevin, Mark Amery, David Cohen, Bronwyn Trudgeon ...

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2007 • 656 posts Report

  • Alan Perrott, in reply to philipmatthews,

    sounds like a mighty night to me.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 438 posts Report

  • Renee Jones,

    That is a really interesting read. People might like to know that Peter Jefferies will be visiting my radio show tomorrow for a chat - and he'll be bringing his band and playing a song! Very exciting!!! It'll be around 3pm Saturday, on 95bFM.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 17 posts Report

  • Don Reid, in reply to Alan Perrott,

    I remember drinking at a neon monstrosity on the corner of Kent Tce and Majoribanks St - the ground floor of the Clemenger Ad agency I think. Plastic palm trees and blue cocktails - just the place for arts reporters who wished they were tough.

    Hobart, Tasmania • Since Jul 2014 • 16 posts Report

  • Mark Amery,

    Beautiful piece from Campbell, and kinda interesting how influenced we have all been by Peter J! The connection with Capital Times? Well I guess what's interesting about the reunion idea is that we weren't there together - i.e. its more about finding one of the few slender vehicles for being paid to write about culture and to an active readership - however strained.
    Perhaps next time you're in Wellington Philip?

    Paekakariki • Since Jul 2014 • 1 posts Report

  • Campbell Walker, in reply to Mark Amery,

    Thanks Mark. Yeah, I have to say I have no especial fondness for Capital Times - I was a longtime City Voice contributor, and felt it was a much more meaningful project to be part of... and never really appreciated CapTimes' fairly hardball tactics in terms of advertisers, which did eventually play a pretty major role in killing the paper, especially for what was by it's very nature a fairly anodyne alternative.

    Less contentiously, I won't be there tonight, and would appreciate any reports anyone wants to make...

    Dunedin • Since Dec 2013 • 14 posts Report

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