TICKETS TORN IN HALF: AUGUST 29,1998: PETER GREEN’S SPLINTER GROUP @ TRAMPS. Immediately after this show I wrote a review which was published in a general fanzine from New Jersey and another one in PETER GREEN’s fan club newsletter out of England. To paraphrase my lengthy heartfelt item: “I went with great trepidation knowing the history of PETER GREENBAUM during his FLEETWOOD MAC days and the subsequent mental illness issues which made him virtually and literally disappear from the music business for years. He, Peter is THEE MAN who founded what was first known as PETER GREEN’S FLEETWOOD MAC, yes, the entire name, his upfront, aka The star of the show, “a guitarist’s guitarist”. The first album blew me away. While mainly listening to TEN YEARS AFTER (their debut) at the time along with a few other “British blues” collections, the first PG’sFM album stunned me”.
“ThoughtCo.” described the album as an ” inspired mix of blues covers”, and placed it in the top 10 “The Best Blues-Rock Albums Of The 1960s”. “Guitarist” (UK magazine) placed the album in “101 Essential Guitar Albums”, and John Tobler considered the album to be one of the “100 Great Albums of the 60s”.
I scooped up FLEETWOOD MAC the summer of 1968. While looking to purchase CREAM’s “WHEELS OF FIRE”, the salesman in the record store told me “this is the guy who replaced CLAPTON in Mayall’s BLUESBREAKERS and he is so good”.A few weeks later I took his recommendation, purchased the item and never looked back. As a matter of fact, I also bought JOHN MAYALL’S “Hard Road” featuring Peter Green.
The song “The Supernatural”, well, classic Green.November 22, 1969 I saw FLEETWOOD MAC live at FILLMORE EAST and he/they were better than advertised. Jaw dropping good. What a band, what a great guitarist. Then, before their scheduled 1970 show at FILLMORE EAST, Peter quit the band, his band, and started his “disappearing” act. Over the subsequent years I collected most everything I could regarding Peter Green, especially his/ their live stuff (mostly bootlegs): Mayall’s BluesBreaketrs, Fleetwood Mac in Boston, jamming with The Dead and Duane Allman at Fillmore East, etc. Forty plus pieces of sheer joy.
So here I am in TRAMPS on a hot August night in New York City 1998, twenty-nine years hence, not knowing what to expect. This small but quaint venue is sparsely populated tonight,plenty of elbow room so I am stationed upfront when the lights dim. “Peter Green’s Splinter Group” is the announcement to light applause.Peter looks, well noting like Peter Green of old, in fact, he looked old and very nervous. The band kicks in and Peter plays a few notes, mostly rhythm guitar, at best, and his guitar is obviously turned down real low. He doesn’t truly sing either as the other guitarist did most of the lead playing and singing.I was crushed. A few songs in,”It Takes Time”, “Homework”, and then “Black Magic Woman”, finally Peter arrived,somewhat. The sweetness could be heard coming out of his amp. He looked as if he was concentrating so hard to play the notes, but he nailed it, for me anyway. My buddy hated it. “Albatross”,”The Supernatural”, ”The Green Manalishi”, oh my, the line in Manalishi rang true “making me see things I didn’t want to see”, his playing was tentative but worth every second.
B.B. King once commented, “He has the sweetest tone I ever heard; he was the only one who gave me the cold sweats.”
I made it back one more time to see Peter Green in September of 2000 at B.B. King’s in New York, John Mayall’s Blues Breakers and Peter Green’s SPLINTER GROUP. Peter was so much better this time, more relaxed, and did an acoustic set of tunes. After the show Peter signed our ticket stubs and spoke to us about (true) The NY FOOTBALL GIANTS. Yes, he did.
Recently, I saw a documentary about Peter Green and his struggles with mental illness. His medications seem to be under control and he is articulate, humorous, and willing to speak about the band, his music and his life. God bless him. He still has a strong distaste for the “music business”.
(1)November 22, 1969: JOE COCKER and THE GREASE BAND/ FLEETWOOD MAC/ KING CRIMSON
(2)August 29,1998 8/29/98 PETER GREEN’S SPLINTER GROUP@ TRAMPS
(3) September 7,2000 PETER GREEN’S SPLINTER GROUP@BB Kings