The Peterson Brothers are an exciting young blues group out of the Austin, Texas area. Glenn and Alex are still in their teens and have already shared the stage with music icons such as: Pinetop Perkins, Buddy Guy, Lisa Marie Presley and many others. Although the brothers are still concentrating mainly on their studies with school, they balance their expanding music career very well with it. They even have a residency at the popular Continental Club in Austin. With Glenn on the guitar and younger brother Alex on the bass, they dish out smokin' blues like seasoned veterans. The Bluesmen have just released their first album "The Peterson Brothers" and it has a nice mix of originals and cover tunes. It would be a handsome addition to any blues aficionado's collection. I recently conversed with Glenn and Alex.
R.V.B. - This is Robert von Bernewitz, how are you?
G.P - I'm doing good, How are you?
R.V.B. - I'm doing good. It's a pleasure to talk with you guys. Congratulations on your young career. How do you guys feel so far about it?
G.P. - We feel great.
R.V.B. - It's been a nice ride so far. So Glenn, you're two years older than Alex?
G.P. - Just about, yes sir.
R.V.B. - What made you decide to start playing the guitar?
G.P. - We both started playing instruments around the same time. It was something that we just wanted to try. We ended up sticking with it.
R.V.B. - Do your parents play instruments?
G.P. - No. Nobody else in our family does.
R.V.B. - Was there anything that you noticed about other people that made you want to play an instrument?
G.P. - We just wanted to try it. We did everything growing up. We tried baseball, basketball and soccer. We did that whole thing, but when we first heard the Isley Brothers, Earth Wind & Fire, B.B. King and the Brothers Johnson, it made us want to stick with music. Our taste for music grew from there and we just kept going.
R.V.B. - Alex, you took on the bass and I see that you also play the violin. Did you attempt to play them both at the same time?
R.V.B. - So you didn't start in school? You just started on your own?
A.P. - I had a few lessons at the music store but that was for less than a year. The rest I learned by myself.
R.V.B. - Why the violin and not - let's say the trumpet?
A.P. - When our parents asked us what we wanted to learn how to play... I wanted to learn something that was challenging.
R.V.B. - How old were you guys when you took on your first instruments?
G.P. - You were about 8 or 9, and with the guitar I was about 11.
R.V.B. - Now because you guys progressed so fast... did you feel that all of the practicing that you did at such a young age interfered with growing up in general?
G.P. - I found that when I was practicing, I was always losing track of time. It's even more so now. If I'm listing to something for the guitar over and over and over, I can train my ear better to figure it out on the guitar. Alex probably has a better ear than I do. (Hahaha)
R.V.B. - Glenn... What were some of the first songs that you attempted to play as covers?
G.P. - I remember that "Hideaway" was one of the first. Now we have our own special arrangement of it. It has the Freddie King Shuffle, and when you go over to the "Peter Gunn" part with Kool & the Gang, The Isley Brothers, and then return to the shuffle. I remember learning the solos from the earlier groups that I mentioned like B.B. King.
R.V.B. - Alex... Did you always want to play the bass or did you might want to try the guitar also?
A.P. - I always wanted to play the bass. When I started looking into playing an instrument I realized that I liked the bass. When we decided to take the band thing further, it was the perfect opportunity to for me to play it.
R.V.B. - Alex... What was your first gig and how did it go?
A.P. - It was at 5th Street in Austin at a placed called "Antone's", when we sat in with Pinetop Perkins.
R.V.B. - That's a pretty good first gig.
A.P. - It was great.
R.V.B. - How was that experience, meeting such a great blues master?
G.P. - It was great, especially it being our first experience. It was really a blessing for our first coming out.
R.V.B. - Glenn... Are you studying music in college now?
G.P. - Yes sir.
R.V.B. - How are you enjoying it so far?
G.P. - I'm enjoying it a lot. I'm learning about things i didn't know about music... reading and theory and things like that. They are teaching me more classical guitar and that's a different technique, that I wasn't familiar with before. I'm into blues, jazz and funk. The theory should help me bring something different to the table. I think it's going to be a really cool learning experience.
R.V.B. - Alex... Do you write songs on the bass or do the both of you write the songs together?
A.P. - The two us work together to write songs. As far as the process goes, one of us will come up with a certain idea and then we will just build on that.
G.P. - We have a guy in Austin named Chris, that we use a lot. We play with Brandon and Michael, Miko. There's a guy from Dallas Named R.L. who is up here with us for these Virginia dates. It's a blessing to have all of these great drummers behind us. When you have good people to support us, it adds to the sound. We're all having fun.
R.V.B. - You guys have opened for some really big names like B.B., Buddy Guy and somehow Lisa Marie Presley... After you guys play your set, do you stick around and watch the other acts?
G.P. - If we don't have anywhere to go, we definitely stick around and watch the other acts.
R.V.B. - I know that playing with Pinetop was huge, but is there any other gig that you have played that really stands out?
G.P. - That's hard to answer because every time we go on stage it's a different and unique experience. We're just having fun. We do this because we love what we do... from how we arrange and play the songs. It's different every time.
R.V.B. - You have an album out "The Peterson Brothers". When you play live different things happen and mistakes can just disappear into the air, but in the studio you have to be polished and near perfect. You got to make sure it's right. Do you enjoy the studio work the same as playing live?
G.P. - Oh definitely. In the studio you get to hear yourself back and listen in high quality sound. I think it's another experience, especially when you're new to it. Either one is never going to get old and it will continue to be fun.
R.V.B. - Alex... In the studio, do you and your brother play a rhythm track and build upon it?
A.P. - Normally we both play together and if we need to touch something up or add something we'll overdub here and there.
R.V.B. - Is it difficult for you Alex to go to school and keep up this busy music schedule?
A.P. - No sir. We make sure that we stay on top of our work and plan our schedules accordingly.
R.V.B. - Glenn... Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
G.P. - I see myself out of college and definitely still doing this... jamming with my brother and continuing to play and have fun doing it.
R.V.B. - How about you Alex?
A.P. - I see myself in college and staying involved with music. Then going to law school after that, and of course keeping up with our music schedule.
R.V.B. - I sampled your new album and I circled the song "The Way You've Treated Me". I liked that one.
A.P. - Oh yeah, Bobby Bland.
R.V.B. - "I Gotta Go" I thought had a very unique style. It sounded like "The Peterson Brothers". Are there any of your originals that you are proud of?
A.P. - "Tell Me Everything" is another one we like. We like all the songs.
R.V.B. - Are you playing in Virginia?
G.P. - We're playing at Martin's in Roanoke tonight.
R.V.B. - Very nice. Congratulations on your careers up to this point. You guys sound great and you're off to a good start. Keep up the good work and thanks for taking the time to speak with me.
G.P. Thank you sir for having us. We appreciate it.
Interview conducted by Robert von Bernewitz
This interview may not be reproduced in any part or form without permission from this site.
For more information on The Peterson Brothers visit their website http://www.petersonbrothersband.com/
Photo credits: Dehorah Peacock - Robert Clark
Thanks to Cash Edwards
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