Peter Beckett’s Player To Perform At The Whisky On The Sunset Strip
The legendary Peter Beckett’s Player will be making an appearance at the Whisky A Go Go on March 6th, performing at the world famous Sunset Strip venue for the very first time! Expect Player to enrapture the audience with songs spanning a vast and epic career, including their Number One hit single Baby Come Back as well as selections from their recently issued Too Many Reasons album on Frontiers Music! Highwire Daze Online recently had the opportunity to chat with the one and only Peter Beckett about their upcoming show at The Whisky, the landmark Baby Come Back song and how it has stood the test of time, witnessing The Beatles performing an early show at The Cavern, and a whole lot more! Read on…
First of all, what are you looking forward to the most about playing the iconic Whisky A Go Go on the Sunset Strip?
Well I’ve never played The Whisky. I’ve been in LA since 1974, which is when I came here from England. I used to go to The Whisky quite often – and The Roxy and The Rainbow and all of those places when I was younger. But I’ve actually never played there, so it’s going to be interesting. I’ve played a lot of places in between, but I’ve never played The Whisky – so it’s a first.
What could one expect from a live Peter Beckett’s Player show?
Over the years, I’ve pretty much written 97 percent of Player’s music, so they’ll be a mixture of the hits – obviously Baby Come Back, This Time I’m In For Love, It’s For You. And I had a solo album out in the early 90’s, and I regard it as my best work writing wise – and so we do several songs from that. And we had a new album out four years ago called Too Many Reasons, which was a Player album. There’s some great songs on it – we do a few things from that and we do a couple of well-known covers that everybody loves to dance to. It’s going to be a fun night.
Who is in the current membership of Peter Beckett’s Player?
We kind of dwindled since the old days. The original guys were myself, J.C. Crowley – we formed the band and wrote Baby Come Back together. And then later on we were joined by Ronn Moss and John Friesen. I’m actually the only original in the band now. You know, like all bands who have been around for 40 years or so, we’ve had legal issues, hence Peter Beckett’s Player. So who we have now – we have me – our bass player Mark Winley used to play with Johnny Winter. We have a guy called Buster Akrey who’s worked with Steely Dan. And we have Burleigh Drummond, who is actually the (original and current) drummer for Ambrosia.
Has Ambrosia and Player ever done live shows together? Or is this something you’d like to do?
They’re coming up! We have done things before. We do some of the rock cruises and both bands are on. Burleigh has to work hard because he has to do two sets – he plays with us and he plays with Ambrosia for an hour, so it’s hard work on him. He’s a hardworking dude and he can hack it. And especially with the whole Yacht Rock Movement. Since that thing has been happening, all these bands play together quite a lot. I was in Little River Band for eight years from 89 to like 97. And all these bands now work together. There’s a tour coming up – Little River Band, Player, John Waite, Ambrosia, Firefall, Orleans, Stephen Bishop, Al Stewart, Robbie Dupree, Elliot Lurie – all of these people are considered Yacht Rock people. There’s different combinations of all those people and we play together quite a lot.
What was it like working with the legendary Robert Stigwood and RSO Records on your first album?
We only officially ever met him once. He didn’t work on the album – he was the owner of the record company. We were actually signed to RSO Records by a guy called Al Coury, who was the head of RSO Records – he was the guy that signed everybody. And it was an amazing time. We had been shuffling our songs around LA for quite a while with not much success. And Crowley and I – we would go into people’s offices with acoustic guitars – play and sing harmonies. And then one day Crowley and I came up with this song Baby Come Back and everything changed. The first place we went and played, we’d do a couple of songs and then we’d do Baby Come Back and the eyes would widen. And then as we started playing to people, we started to get a lot of interest. Dennis Lambert and Brian Potter signed us to Haven Records and then they sold that label and put us on RSO. They put us with Al Coury on RSO and they put out the first Player album – and before we knew it, we were number one.
Do you still enjoy playing Baby Come Back after all of this time? And what do you think about the ongoing legacy of that song and how it makes people feel?
I do still enjoy it. It’s a good song. It’s stood the test of time and it’s a song that I personally don’t get tired of singing. There’s been a lot of covers of it and everything. I think it’s stood the test of time because it’s a heartfelt song. It comes from true emotions. I’m guilty as everyone else of writing corporate songs where I come down in the morning and turn on the machines – get the drum machine going and at the end of the day I’ve got a song. I’ve done that a lot for movies and TV and other artists. But Baby Come Back is a true muse song. That day I had had a breakup and J.C. Crowley had had a breakup. We were sitting trying to write a song and we came up with it – and the minute we did, we knew we had something and it was real. And you know, there’s been a lot of love making in the back of cars that’s been done to that song. And a lot of making up as well.
Is there any story behind the title of the recent Player album Too Many Reasons?
It’s a song that I wrote for my current wife – and it was called Angel My Way originally – which is in the chorus. My wife is an angel by the way, so I wrote it for her. When we were sifting through the titles to give the album a title, it’s just the one that rung true. There was Too Many Reasons for Player to be back. So that’s kind of what it was.
How do you think Too Many Reasons compares to the classic Player albums?
Well it’s totally different. It’s digitally recorded for one. It’s way in the future. I also would say that I think the production of the first and second Player albums – it was very markedly 78-79 from that era. Everything was not swamped in echo and reverb – it was a very clean recording. I think that’s why it’s stood the test of time and it really sounds great even right now. And that’s why it still gets played. But obviously, I got into ProTools and all that and I produced Too Many Reasons and most of the albums before that. Digital sound is different – it’s thinner. I actually think the Too Many Reasons album sounds real good – but it is different, there’s no doubt about it. It’s not as warm of a sound as the earlier stuff. It’s just the way it is – modern times…
What do you think has kept you so passionate about Player after all of this time?
I’ve got a great answer for that. It’s all I know how to do – because if I didn’t do this, I’d be screwed basically (laughs). It’s all I’ve ever done since I was 16. I’m from Liverpool and I actually got to see The Beatles play a couple of times in The Cavern when I was a young kid. I was too young to go in there, so somebody snuck me in past the bouncer. I actually saw The Beatles playing a lunchtime session for the office workers. This was when they were just becoming known – they had just come back from Hamburg before they had a hit. I mean, I was so blown away by what I saw – and that was it for me. I went out and got an old guitar. And that was it, since I was 16. I was professional at 17 and playing all over Europe – so it’s all I know how to do. So I’ve kind of honed it and now I’m an old man and I’m still doing it. (Laughs) I don’t know how to do anything else.
Do you have any messages for Player fans who are reading this right now?
I would say to anybody that likes Player – we are playing at the Whisky A Go Go on March 6th on the Sunset Strip – my band Peter Beckett’s Player – and you’ll hear all the Player hits plus a bunch of new stuff actually. We’ve got a great show – we’ve got a really good band and we’ve got a really good set. So come on down and you’ll hear what’s going on now…
(Interview by Ken Morton)