This year's Rock 'N' Blues Fest Tour gives Peter Rivera a chance to come home.
A principle member of Motown's Rare Earth from 1960-74, the singer and drummer is a Detroit native who moved to Los Angeles and now resides in Spokane, Wash., and hasn't stopped making music during the interim.
"It's more fun now than it's ever been," says Rivera (nee Hoorelbeke), 70. "I have a band. I'm in charge. they know it, I know it. We get along great and we have a ball.
"I don't write the songs anymore like, 'Hey baby, I love the way you look in your shorts.' I'm older now, a little introspective. I still write love songs, of course, but I also write about how love is unpredictable and how life goes on."
Rivera also still taps into the Rare Earth catalog for hit such as "I Just Want To Celebrate," "Hey Big Brother" and its covers of the Temptations' "Get Ready" and "(I Know) I'm Losing You." The group was Motown's first successful act with the white rock audience, and Rivera remembers there was a healthy degree of skepticism when it began making its first album in 1969.
"Motown gave us a few days to see how we'd do," Rivera says. "They weren't really believers yet. So we went in and did the 'Get Ready' album, and when the record came out nobody played it. But six months later somebody played (the song) 'Get Ready' and it snowballed and took off in the pop market.
"Then they discovered a 21-minute version of 'Get Ready' on the album, and the disc jockeys loved that; they could put the record on and go in the parking lot with the girlfriends for 20 minutes. And that snowballed, too."
The Rock 'N' Blues Fest -- A Tribute to Johnny Winter with the Edgar Winter Band, Vanilla Fudge, Peter Rivera and Savoy Brown's Kim Simmonds
7:30 p.m. July 31
DTE Energy Music Theatre, Sashabaw Road east of I-75, Independence Township
Tickets are $15-$35 pavilion, $15 lawn with a $44 lawn four-pack.
Call 248-377-0100 or visit www.palacenet.com.
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