Peter Case

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    YOGANANDA STREETFIGHTS A few days later, after nearly burning through all my dough, I checked out of the Hotel Edward and hit the streets of the city for real. The Indian man at the Edward said I could leave my duffel in a closet for a few days—he was very fine with that—so I just took my guitar and split. I had no real idea where I could stay, just a couple of vague notions, but I wasn't too worried about it. Something would turn up. I traipsed across town under the overcast, checking out all the usual
NICKELS AND DIMES  “Fixin’ To Die.” “Bury My Body.” “Yer Blues.” “Roberta.” “Heart-break Hotel.” “See That My Grave Is Kept Clean.” “The Teenage Death Blues.” This was my repertoire and my specialty. I was out on the wharf, singing at the top of my voice, fading away into it. I heard a jangle or two and opened my eyes. Someone had tossed a quarter in my open guitar case, as they walked past, without slowing down. Tourists in white shoes and flowered shirts passed, staring at me as if I were standing out there in my underwear. A couple of teenage
THE EDWARD DAILY/WEEKLY RESIDENCE HOTEL  I couldn’t stay at Steve’s pad long, they had a full house. I was only there a couple nights, then I split for my big sister’s place, north of the city. Sue was the first rocker I ever knew, a world traveler, and she had even turned me on to folk music, way back in ‘64. But Sis was living with her boyfriend now, a “hip” businessman named Hank, and I didn’t get on with him, so it was back to the city in a couple of days. I could hardly believe I was in
WEST  MARCH, 1973 It was my first time in Chicago and my first trip West. “Well shot with a beer back!" That’s what I heard a guy in the bar ordering, so I did the same, an’ I threw the drinks down, pretty quick, workin’ my way through that little pocketful of folding money they'd given me as we said goodbye, at the Buffalo Greyhound Bus depot, less than 24 hours before. I was 18 years old: legal rock and roll cannon fodder, across the street from the Amtrak station, workin’ up my nerve. The bus had to push through
                                                    AFTER THE FIRST GREAT PSYCHEDELIC ERA  JANUARY, 1970  "There are no stars because there is no sky." It was bleak, the wintertime in Buffalo, and all the world looked flat, as if it was.projected on a movie screen. Nothing looked real, and I was the first kid on my block to notice. I'd walked out of Hamburg High School a few hours before, and I swore I wasn’t going back. The fear had come
[audio mp3=""][/audio] [caption id="attachment_467" align="alignleft" width="2400"] Los Angeles, California: Peter Case in his studio (Photo: Ann Summa).[/caption]
[audio mp3=""][/audio] In New York City, the club was the Bottom Line, over near Washington Square Park. At The Bottom Line, dressing rooms were small, but the mirrors were ringed by bulbous white lights, like you would imagine seeing in a Broadway backstage. The Bottom Line equals "making it in the big town." The Village Voice gave my show a pick, New York magazine raved about the new album, the writers were out front, even the reviewer from the New York Times. All the DJs were there from Fordham University, and KNBC. Paul from The Nerves showed up, with a
Peter Case left home when he was 16, taught himself to play country blues on the streets of San Francisco, and was in a couple of signal L.A. rock bands: The Nerves and the Plimsouls . For the last 25 years Case has worked as a singer-songwriter, building a lauded catalog of songs and a reputation as a musician’s musician. Springsteen and Prine and Ely are fans. Sir George Martin tapped him to play Beatles songs at the Hollywood Bowl. He returned from open heart surgery with 2010′s Wig!, a pummeling collection of blues, punk, and garage rock. We talked after a
[audio m4a=""][/audio] The Nerves played the Daryl Starbird Hot Rod Show at the Cow Palace in early 1976. The place was huge, it was one of our first gigs, and we were anxious, even though nobody was paying any attention to us—they were all there for the cars. But Daryl Starbird himself gave the introduction to the crowd, in a loud, clear voice, over the PA, heard throughout the hall, “Ladies and Gentlemen, now, on our main stage, I'm proud to present, for your listening pleasure, THE NERDS!” I just about fainted. The other guys were looking at me like