Introducing: The Dick Peddicord Band

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My first memories of Dick Peddicord are from 1967, when I fell in with his band of gypsies which became known as The American Television Theater Inc., or T.A.T.T.I.  It was a raggle-taggle band, with several drummers, several bass players, and a small army of guitar players.  We soon became known as the band that changed at every performance, since our lineup was constantly morphing, and the loudest bunch in normally quiet downtown Davis, California.

Later, I played lap steel with Dr. Dick and his Yolo County Road Show, featuring the Whole Earth Angels, a miniature choir of pretty young ladies under Dick’s watchful eye, and the metaphorical baton of choir director Jack May.  That led to some demo tapes, recorded in San Francisco’s China Town at the Roy Chen Recording Studio, which I produced.  Dick was so pleased with the demos that he hired my band, Osgoode, to produce an entire album of his songs in the relatively new 24-track format.  One of the high points of that album was a completely new version of “Oh Pleasant Hope”, which had already been recorded once by Blue Cheer, and became the title song of the album on which it appeared.

Together we played in several other short-lived bands, and after a longish hiatus, started making music together again in early 2011.  We’ve been keeping busy with several CDs of the Dick Peddicord Band since then: first, Change Of Heart, then Savannah, then Castaway, and finally another one which has no name as yet, but is over half finished.

Dick currently lives in Ashland, Oregon, and works for the U.S. Census Bureau as a field representative. Having retired from college teaching years ago, his time now is spent on music and family. After receiving a Ph.D. in mathematics in 1965, he taught college for forty years, at the University of Alberta, University of San Francisco, and Southern Oregon University.

I spoke with Dick about his musical interests:

Why did you choose to go into music and/or songwriting?

My mother was a concert pianist, so we always had a piano. It was natural to sit at the piano and make up songs. I just kept on doing it, and have never stopped.

How did you get your start as a singer/songwriter?

I never did get a start; it’s something I’ve always done. During the fifties and sixties I was inspired by so many great musicians and songwriters that I did “step on it” and tried to keep up. In 1967 I started writing for Blue Cheer and my first band, Davis Tower, which featured Joe Louis Walker on guitar.

Who is your role model and why?

Bob Dylan mainly. He was a lone writer, like myself, and played acoustic guitar while he sang.  Simple and direct.  Plus he was a great writer.  The Stones were my favorite band.

What is your favorite instrument to work with?

Acoustic guitar and piano.

Where do you find your inspiration?

Mainly from still being alive at 74. Working with you these past few years has given me a lot of new ideas.

If you hadn’t become a musician, what might you have done instead?

Well, I never was a professional musician; it’s always been a hobby, and a good one.

If you were writing your epitaph, what would you say?

Smart but lazy, good with people and animals.

Where is your creative place?

I have a small shed in the back yard just big enough for my keyboard, mixer and laptop.  That’s where I do my basic tracks. We rehearse in the back yard.

If someone was thinking of becoming a singer/songwriter, what advice would you give to them?

Work on backing your vocals with a suitable instrument so you can show your songs to others.  Write as much as you can, and keep at it. Don’t let anyone discourage you.

What is your “super-power”?

I get most of my power from marihuana, red wine, chocolate, sugar and saturated fats.  Dog the Bounty Hunter is also an inspiration.

You had a unique relationship with the band Blue Cheer.  Any anecdotes you’d care to share about that?

Well, Dickie (Peterson) and I go way back, and we had some good times in Santa Rosa.  Once on their rehearsal barge in San Francisco Bay, Leigh Stephens let me play his guitar while he took a break.  He had a stack of about five Marshall amps. I felt just like a rock star!

More songs from The Dick Peddicord Band can be found on their page at Sound Cloud.