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Interview:
It's Not Too Loud -- Or Too Old -- For Blue Cheer
 

By GARY GRAFF
Of the Oakland Press

» See more SOUND CHECK

The adage that “if it’s too loud, you’re too old” takes on new meaning with Dickie Peterson of Blue Cheer.

He’s 61, but the singer-bassist is still leading the San Francisco band, which is one of rock’s loudest concert acts, after more than 40 years. The trio released its first new studio album in more than a decade, “What Doesn’t Kill You ...,” earlier this year and has a litany of archival projects planned for the near future.

“I’m living proof that life is not over at 30, guys,” says Peterson, who’s also planning to record a solo album in the new year. “It’s only over when you decided to overeat and get fat and get sloppy.

“Me, I plan to go on ’til I drop at the microphone. I have absolutely no intention of giving up. We’re not built like that. I’ve had kids go, ‘How old are you?’ When I says ‘61,’ they just go ‘Wow ...’ ”

But Peterson wants fans to know that the high volume for which Blue Cheer — which also includes founding drummer Paul Whaley and longtime guitarist Duck McDonald — is celebrated is not just a gratuitous grab for attention.

“It’s not just volume,” Peterson explains. “It’s something you have to do right. We’ve had bands that we’ve played with who had it in their mind they were gonna blow us off the stage and be louder, and they go up onstage and play their regular sets, but they turn their amps to 10 and it sounds (bad).

“When you’re gonna play at that kind of volume, you have to play less. What makes it work is your overtones, the space in-between the notes. That’s what makes it sound full and right, not just a lot of noise — which is what most bands get when they turn it up.”



Blue Cheer and Scott Morgan’s Powertrane perform Tuesday (Nov. 13) at the Magic Bag, 22920 Woodward Ave., Ferndale. Doors open at 8 p.m. Tickets are $15. Call (248) 544-3030 or visit www.themagicbag.com.

Web Site: www.themagicbag.com

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