April 20, 2024

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Interview with Peer Gynt: Its hard to break through all the noise in the world and find your audience: Video

Interview with blues – rock guitarist Peer Gynt. An interview by email in writing. 

JazzBluesNews.com: – First, let’s start out with where you grew up, and what got you interested in music.  How exactly did your adventure take off? 

Peer Gynt: – I grew up in a small Norwegian village called Skogn in municipally Levanger. When I was about 5-6 years old I got my first record of Elvis Presley called “Cóme on everybody” (I still have the album). So when the other boys around where playing with their toy-cars, I was listening to Elvis on a portable record player. I didn´t have any instruments of my own yet, but my Mom had an old acoustic guitar that I was playing around with. – When I became about 8 or 9 years old, I wanted a real guitar. An electric guitar.

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Just like the one Elvis Presley was using in the beginning of his “Comeback Special” from 1968. It was a true wet dream to own a guitar. – So one summer me and my parents went to Sweden for a holiday, and there….in the middle of the walking street it was a music store which sold guitars. We went in, and I could not believe my eyes looking at all the guitars on the wall. I was completely paralyzed looking at them. – One guitar catched my eyes. It was a sunburst Duke with 3 microphones and a tremolo that didn´t work. My father bought the guitar and gave it to me. I was the happiest boy in town. I even slept with the guitar in bed for a while. I still have the Duke. I guess all these moments lead up to my decision that I would make music my living no matter what. I was still young and it would take several years before I finally made my first buck out of playing the guitar.

JBN: – How has your sound evolved over time? What have you been doing to find and develop your own sound?

PG: – My first real guitar amp was a Peavey Backstage. It sounded great, but after some time, it became to small to cut through other band mates who played drums etc. So I was on the hunt for something bigger. At the age of 13, I got my first real Fender Stratocaster. It was fantastic.

I had already started to learn some serious guitar chops and knew how to bend strings and hold the tone for a long time along with some easy blues licks.

I always wanted a big Marshall stack, like Jimi Hendrix used on stage. At the age of 14 I got my 50 w Marshall head, a Reverb Split channel with master volume and a 4×12 cab. I was the only kid in town with a Fender Strat and a Marshall rig. It took me some time to experiment with pedals to get a cool sound but it was fun, and I felt innovative. I had heard Frank Marino´s album “Live” from 1977, and I wanted to reproduce that sound, and I wanted to learn all the licks he played. It was not easy. Especially since Frank Marino was using a Gibson SG. Which sounds way different than a Stratocaster.

I practiced every day (and night). But still to this day, it´s hard to play Frank Marino´s licks….:)

I had that Marshall until I was about 20 years old, and I decided to get myself a Rivera amp. I traded in my Marshall stack for a combo Rivera with 2×12. It was the worst deal I´ve done. I never became friends with the Rivera amp. And at that point I had started to tour with my band BoyToy in Norway. We released 2 albums containing blues rock with Norwegian lyrics. I was now a full blown Jimi Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughan-fan, and loved heavy strings and loud amps. During a tour I stopped using my Rivera amp, and bought a Marshall power amp together with a Digitech GSP 21Pro. Remember, at this time a lot of guitar players I read about in Guitar magazines etc where using all kinds of rack units that had lights that blinked all the time, so I thought I needed that to. But that was a big mistake and expensive learning.

After a while I got back to reality and got my hands on a Fender Super Reverb 1963 model Blackface with 4×10. I also got a Silverface Super Reverb, and I toured around in Europe with those two amps a lot. That was back in the days when you could ship your whole backline on a plane without paying much extra. –
In 1995 my friend in Nashville, Redd Volkaert, who is one of the best country guitar players on the planet, helped me get my first endorsement. It was with the string company LaBella Strings in USA. I still have an endorsement with them and have used their fantastic strings since 1995.

In 1996 I got endorsed by Fender in USA and the first guitars they built for me was 2 custom Strats. One sunburst and one red. The red Strat is still to the day my main guitar. It has traveled a lot, and I think I am the only one who can handle it cause its really road worn in every way possible. In 1997 Fender sent me a Fender Vibroking amp with 3×10 and an extra cab with 2×12, which I was using for several years. That amp was fantastic. It got a monster tone and it helped me a lot developing my own sound.

The same year I also bought a white Marshall Super Lead with 4×12 cab. And this was the amp I was touring with the most around Europe at that time. I still have the amp and use it mostly in the studio now. – My biggest surprice, amp-vice, was when I tried a Matchless Chieftain. It killed everything I´ve tried and owned before. I had to get one. I managed to track down a amp top in Denmark, and got it shipped up to Norway. The Matchless Chieftain, together with a 1×12 or a 2×12 is what I use on the road today, and its now my main amp anywhere I go. When I push the amp to the limit it gives back tones I didn’t know existed. Its just a fantastic amp

JBN: – What routine practices or exercises have you developed to maintain and improve your current musical proficiency, in terms of both rhythm and harmony?

PG: – I never went to school to learn music. I had to listen to records and try to learn the hard way. There was no YouTube… – So I was sitting inside my room practicing after other albums. Remember, even to get your hands on an album of Jimi Hendrix was dificoult. Everything I could find of Jimi Hendrix was consumed, the same with BB King, Clapton, Frank Marino, Lead Belly, Robert Johnson, Eddie Cochran, Dick Dale and more, and then we had the heavy rock players I was listening too like Ritchie Blackmore, Eddie Van Halen, Steve Vai etc. – I was digging deep to find more guitar players and to develop my own way of playing. – So that’s what became my daily routine for a while. Listening to any body that played guitar trying to find out how they did their magic.

JBN: – Have you changed through the years? Any charges or overall evolution? And if so why?

PG: – Yes I guess I have changed a lot, and are still changing. I am still looking for that “magic” tone and the perfect guitar lick chorus or songline. So It’s a daily thing messing with things in the studio. I started with Elvis, went on to hard rock and metal, discovered the blues (again) and stayed there. I just love music with energy, passion and feeling. The thing that talks to your soul no matter what style of music it is. I can comfortable listen to the fantastic Billy Gibbons and ZZ Top to Gillian Welch and then move on to nordic folk music. So I am totally open to all kinds of music. If it has “grove, feel and passion” I´m in. – So I guess that’s the biggest change in the years for me. When you are very young, you tend to listen to only a few things, that is for you the best in the world, and then later you discover other types of music that inspires you to enter a new level of your self musically. All this curiosity for styles in music led me to become a guitar player.

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JBN: – In your opinion, what’s the balance in music between intellect and soul?

JBN: – If you can’t answer our main question, then you didn’t understand what the interview was about, sorry.

JBN: – There’s a two-way relationship between audience and artist; are you okay with delivering people the emotion they long for?

PG: – Absolutely. Every concert, and recording session, is a strive to find the key to reach out from your soul to the audience.

JBN: – How can we get young people interested in blues when most of standard tunes are half a century old?

PG: – Its all about being able to reach out to the young audience with music releases and performances that the kids think is cool and like. Even thow its easy to release and distribute your own music nowadays, its not so easy to reach out to a mass audience. It costs time and lots of money, and I think that’s the hard thing in this bizz. It’s a lot of great players, composers and artists out there in the world. Probably more now than when I started out, but its hard to break through all the noise in the world and find your audience. I think that’s the biggest challenge. But there are a few great examples on artists who manages to create a brand out of their name. So when everyone is in the boat rowing the same way, it might be a better chance for success.

JBN: – John Coltrane once said that music was his spirit. How do you perceive the spirit and the meaning of life?

PG: – Wow, great question. I guess I just try to be humble for everything I got, the talent I was given and the possibilities it has given me in life. I try to stay positive and true to what I do and I try to listen to my heart and soul instead of running after everyone else.

JBN: – If you could change one single thing in the musical world and that would become reality, what would that be?

PG: – One channel for all the music in the world, and that channel makes all music equal in exposure.

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JBN: – Whom do you find yourself listening to these days?

PG: – Terje Rypdal, Walter Trout, Christone Ingram, Django Reinhard, The Who and Foo Fighters.

JBN: – Let’s take a trip with a time machine: where and why would you really want to go?

PG: – I´d like to go back to the 50´s and work as a songwriter and guitar player for Elvis, Little Richard, Bo Diddley and others. I would also make sure that Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and the Big Bopper got a brand new tour buss so they wouldn´t think about hiring a plane. That way they would all live a long life creating great music for all of us.

Interview by Simon Sarg

Note: https://jazzbluesnews.com/2023/03/19/useu-jazz-blues-association-festivals/ You can express your consent and join our association, which will give you the opportunity to perform at our Jazz and Blues festivals, naturally receiving an appropriate royalty. We cover all expenses. The objectives of the interview are: How to introduce yourself, your activities, thoughts and intellect, and make new discoveries for our US/EU Jazz & Blues Association, which organizes festivals, concerts and meetings in Boston and various European countries, why not for you too!! You can read more about the association here. https://jazzbluesnews.com/2022/11/19/useujba/

Interview with Norwegian guitarist/singer Peer Gynt - magnificent musical charm and radiant performances – Blues.Gr

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