|2 May 2010
Blues is Music of Heart and Soul – Pete Gage
Pete Gage, once the frontman of Dr Feelgood, recently cut a record with the
Finnish band Doctor's Order. "Tough Talk" will be out very soon, complete
with a series of release gigs in southern and eastern Finland.
BluesWebzine.com had a chat with Pete ahead of his Finnish tour. Mr Gage told
about the new album and playing with local musicians; he also revealed his
influences, which just might include some Finnish aspects...
BluesWebzine.com: The release of your new album "Tough Talk" is eagerly
awaited in Finland. What was the recording process like? What do you think
are the factors that make the album as good as it is?
Pete Gage: It was Teppo Nattila (of Doctor's Order) who suggested that I get
some tunes together for an album, and he would do his best to get it released in
Finland. His friend, producer/drummer Juha Takanen, had expressed a wish to
work with me, and to record an album with me in his studio in the city of Vantaa.
I was very happy to receive such an invitation, so I spent 3 or 4 months (early
2009) in e-mail and telephone contact with Juha, preparing demos of the songs
back home in England. I wrote especially for the album, and when the songs
were ready, I came to Finland. We recorded piano and drums live on all the
tracks, and guitarist Archie Hamalainen and Teppo (bass) were live with us on
six of the tracks.
It was a tight schedule, but we worked well together, and it all came together l
very easily. I recorded Gypie Mayo's guitar parts over in England, and Juha
recorded the rest of the Finnish instrumentalists in Finland. I put the vocals down
after a few gigs with Doctor's Order, so we got some good vocal tracks. That's it
The songs are based on standard boogie and blues patterns - simple, but "live",
and it all comes from my own experience. This is why it sounds ok, I believe,
because basically, I tell a story and I am very pleased that people want to hear
You're no stranger to Finland. What is your favourite place to play in the
Well, I have to say that in the wild Feelgood days, it was always Tavastia in
Helsinki. I still have great memories from there.
What is Doctor's Order like as a backup band?
They are good guys. They're my friends. They love to gig and they give 100 per
cent. Also, they keep me in touch with the feelgood factor! And they've made it
possible for me to come on over.
What is your opinion on Finland, Finns and Finnish audience?
I like Jean Sibelius. I've always liked him. In a big way, and I mean very big way.
So it was a thrill for me to get to know the people who lived alongside my
favourite classical composer.
As for the audiences, some of the blokes are right in your face at the shows, but
it's OK, it's normal, I know that their hearts are in the right place. The women are
nice, they like the bluesy stuff, and they are often quietly watching the show
behind the men! The 'bluesy crowd' have good taste. I find that the Finns in
general love to hear the Brits and the American musicians, and they make me feel
The blues has obviously had a major influence on you. What is your earliest
memory of hearing / listening to the blues?
My father liked Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Louis Armstrong. Those great
jazzmen were also bluesmen in their own right, so I grew up blues all around me.
But my first great memory, I was 11 years old, and my Dad brought home “St
James Infirmary” by Jack Teagarden (live in 1947): a great performance of a
great blues song.
The second blues awakening for me was when I bought an Atlantic E.P.
(extended play 45 rpm record) by Ray Charles. I was 14. It was the live
recording of “A Fool for You”, and “I Got a Woman” from the LP “Ray Charles at
Newport”. Now I was hooked forever - that was 50 years ago!
British artists and bands very much fueled the rise of the blues in the 60's.
Have those British bands been your favourites or do you prefer the American
Of course I have British favourites from the past, Chris Farlowe and the
Thunderbirds, Zoot Money and the Big Roll Band, Peter Green's Fleetwood
Mac. But it's Otis Spann, Robert Nighthawk, Leroy Carr, Roosevelt Sykes and
many other black performers who really do it for me. The blues is something I
love and respect. It's music of the heart and the soul for me. It was born the
USA, in the deep south and spread through the world. I am in awe of those great
American black musicians.
You fronted Dr Feelgood for some time. The band is widely popular, very
much so in Finland, too. Any crazy stories from the Dr Feelgood period?
So many great memories, and plenty of good times in Finland, up north at minus
35 degrees, going crazy dancing out in the audience. But many of the real crazy
stories are just not printable! You see, I joined Dr Feelgood in my 40's, and I
became like a young man again. I admit that I pushed the boat out, always
wondering why the party had to finish so early. But we all did, and we had fun
doing it. We were close friends at first, and we laughed a lot.
But I got tired of being crazy all the time. All good things come to an end. And
Is there anything else you would like the local audience to know ahead of
your Finnish tour?
Yeah, I'm looking forward to it. I know we will have fun on stage with the
Doctors. It has all the old Feelgood energy. But also, it would be great if people
come to the piano gigs as well, with Juha Takanen on drums. I want to give the
people some blues piano and vocals, and some piano boogie. I want to talk to
the people and enjoy their company.
INTERVIEW BY PASI TUOMINEN
Links: Pete Gage's Tough Talk @ Goofin' Records, Doctor's Order