Peter Parcek 3 mixes it up at Strange Brew
Friday, January 4, 2013
By GEORGE PELLETIER
Boston-based blues guitarist and vocalist Peter Parcek returns to Manchester’s Strange Brew Tavern on Tuesday, Jan. 8, with bassist Joe Klompus and drummer Richard Malcolm.
Parcek said he’s shooting for a high goal.
“To play music that is influenced heavily by the blues masters but try to put my own soul and spin on it, and writing a lot of original songs which I hope both respect the tradition and carry it into the future,” he said.
He cites Strange Brew owner Mitch Sawaya as an edifying force.
“I’ve been playing for Mitch at Strange Brew and House of Brews in Haverhill for years and years. He’s a dear friend and incredible supporter of live music which if you look around, there are fewer and fewer clubs supporting live music,” he said.
Sawaya owns the club, and books the music.
“He’s an inspiration,” Parcek said. “He’s given me a place not just to play music, but to try out news songs and instrumentation, and essentially to take chances - not a lot of clubs are willing to do that. He’s encouraging me to be original.”
With fewer live venues to perform, Parcek calls himself, “lucky.”
“I’ve got an every other week residency on a Tuesday,” he said. “And you might say, ‘Tuesday? That’s not much of a night.’ But at Strange Brew it’s a great night. It’s really weird. Anywhere that I might play in Boston on a Tuesday, it’s not that desirable. In Manchester, Tuesday is a pretty darn good night. It’s pretty packed most of the time and when we play there and hopefully we’re making new friends with the music.”
The Peter Parcek trio rounds out his singular sound.
“I have a trio for a couple of reasons,” Parcek said. “One, it’s purely economic. It’s harder and harder to carry a bigger band with the finances of the blues community and at least for me, I think you have to break a certain level, a threshold where you can really afford to carry a bigger band. And also, I really like the space in a trio. It’s almost like that’s the fourth member.”
Parcek calls Klompus, “a great bass player and a great guy.”
“I also call him my enabler, because he sends me too many links to guitars and amps that I want,” Parcek said, with a laugh. Malcolm, his drummer, used to play with Luther “Guitar Junior” Johnson.
Parcek said it’s hard to decide which he enjoys more- recording or performing.
“That’s a great question. I love playing live because there are things that happen live, surprises. I’m an improviser. I don’t work out my solos in advance. For me, the thrill and the fun is finding something new,” he said.
He said he still practices everyday but when playing on stage, “you’re improvising, you’re also developing, you’re growing. It’s funny because people say, ‘how old are you?’ And I tell them and they go, ‘you don’t look anywhere near that.’”
Part of the secret, he said, is learning something new every day.
“I think it was Buddy Guy who said, ‘Bending a string keeps you young.’”
With regard to influences, Parcek’s list reads like a veritable who’s who.
“My list is extremely long,” he said. “There are stylistic segments of it. I love to listen to and learn from Son House, Fred McDowell and Robert Johnson, Tommy Johnson, Blind Willie Johnson, Skip James, but I also like to learn from Django Reinhardt and Charlie Christian, Grant Green, and George Benson. And I like to learn from all the Kings: B.B., Albert, Freddie, Earl. Albert Collins and Jimi Hendrix.
“I’m a hybrid. I’m half Polish and half Sicilian, and my music is a hybrid. Now that’s great and I love it and it’s true for me, but what’s a little tricky is sometimes when you get into genres that are revered, like the blues, audiences want it pure. And I’m not pure, I’m a mixture. I always mix it up.”
Strange Brew Tavern is at 88 Market St. in Manchester. For tickets, and 21 and older show time, call 666-4292.