The Ron Kane Files

Writing About Music

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Peter Green

1-9-08 Peter Green

I recently found an “authorized biography” book of Fleetwood Mac founder Peter Green. Having been an original Fleetwood Mac fan, as well as a fan of his initial solo work “End Of The Game” – this book was of interest to me. I have read a number of ‘blues rock’ biographies over the last few years – books about John Mayall, Eric Clapton etc. For music that was once so popular, it has taken a while to get some decent literature into the hands of fans.

If you are not already familiar with Peter Green’s works with Fleetwood Mac – you should be. “Oh Well”, “Green Manilishi” etc. are well worth your time – sitting comfortably with the works of Cream, Jimi Hendrix etc. I can’t recommend the Fleetwood Mac album “Then Play On” highly enough.

I bought Green’s solo debut, “End Of The Game” when it came out – as an expensive British import LP. I absolutely loved the cover, the snarling tiger / leopard / big cat. The record was not what I expected – a lot of high powered jamming – no ‘songs’ per se, but some very forceful stuff – if a tad meandering. I think I like it better now than I did then; I bought the world’s first CD issue of it, from Japan – sounds just fine.

As a youngster, I regularly read NME and Melody Maker – and I followed the trials and tribulations of Mr. Green – the British press painted a picture of a conflicted rock star – doused in drugs and ‘hippie thinking’, a guy trying to un-do his fame, giving away all of his money to charity etc. Stuff that was difficult for a young mind to comprehend.

The book clears this up – and if you are able to put your mind back to the 70’s – it makes a bit more sense. He was disillusioned with the “music business machine”, he didn’t want to be a rock star – he just wanted to play his guitar and give away all of his “excess cash”. Institutionalized, Green did very little on record for the rest of the decade; by the time of his ’79 – ’81 albums, I had moved on – similarly, I was, by then, no longer interested in the works of Eric Clapton (at least until his style changed a bit).

It’s interesting to me that a style of music such as “white-boy-blues” from England can have such staying power! Witness the recent return to the stage of Led Zeppelin. You could argue that the old British “guitar argument” was over and done with, but…that was sure a lot of people who wanted to pay lots of money to see Led Zeppelin in ’07.

I was told by Cream lyricist Pete Brown that Mr. Green “had it together” again. I have yet to hear any of Green’s recent “Splinter Group” recordings – but I am sure it’s interesting. As far as I know, he has yet to play live anywhere near me.

So, long live British “white-boy-blues”, flashy guitarists, re-unions, “classic rock”, concert ticket prices, guitar legends, Peter Green, and all of our silly love of musical genres!


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