Introducing Peter Getty and The Stone River Band
Peter Getty is a Glasgow based singer/songwriter who has been writing and playing since childhood. Initially inspired by Peter Criss of KISS, Peter was a drummer/singer, and cut his first demo at 13 years old, singing and co writing the track “Here We Call Here We Stand”. After performing in many various bands as drummer, Peter made the decision to move to centre stage and fronted Glasgow band “Exit”. He then moved on to performing solo acoustic before taking an extended sabbatical when his first daughter was born. Returning to the stage a few years ago, Peter once again performed solo acoustic, before hooking up with Mark Robertson on guitar (initially the duo were a three piece, with a mutual friend playing bass). They still performed acoustically, but always with a view to eventually forming a full band to perform the songs the way Peter recorded them. Recruiting Declyn Emslie on drums & Richi Neville on bass, Peter & The Stone River Band, after only two rehearsals, made their live, full band debut at The ABC2, Glasgow, on Saturday 5th May 2012 Following a sudden parting of ways with Declyn, Colin Hunter rocked the drum stool for a show at Stereo, Glasgow, before John Hesford became the band’s new drummer. Multi instrumentalist and multi talented Frazer Mackay joined at the same time. Peter & the band recorded their debut EP in April 2014, and with a full album due in late 2017.
I caught up with Peter about his career in the band.
Hi Peter! Who are you as a band? What makes your sound and where does your inspiration come from?
Sometimes we get called hard rock, sometimes just rock, sometimes ‘roots rock’, but to me it is all just Rock & Roll. All my songs start with me and an acoustic guitar, so they are ostensibly folk and country songs. Then I play them with the band and they become loud folk and country songs! I have been a singer/songwriter for a long time, and I write all the songs.I’m incredibly lucky to have a band that believes in my vision and my work, and that give themselves to helping me bring my work to life. Lyrically, all my songs are stories in some fashion. Some are stories about love or loss, some are funny, and some are social and political commentary. I work hard on my songs; there is nothing more gratifying than someone telling me they relate to a particular lyric or song, or when my work is used to help causes I believe in. I approach our live shows in the same fashion; everyone is welcome so there has to be something for everyone, and the show cannot be one dimensional. I can say what I have to say about the state of politics with ‘Whose Side Are You On?” & “Soul to Save”; I can sing about relationships going wrong and hearts being broken with “Snake Eyes” and Goodbye to You”; I can give my message of hope to my hometown with “Our Town”, then we can have some fun with my 100% autobiographical and true (Honest…) “(I Was A) Teenaged Lapsed Catholic”! Even though I feel I have a message, it is important to remember that hey, it’s only rock & roll! And rock & roll should be fun. In these tough times, it is important to have fun and dance!
Who is in your band? What instruments do they play for Peter Getty and the Stone River Band?
Peter Getty: Lead Vocals, Guitar, Harmonica
Mark Robertson: Guitar, vocals
Richard Neville: Bass
Frazer Mackay: Guitars, Harmonica, Keyboards, Mandolin
John Hesford: Drums, Vocals
I am lucky to have such a great band. I wouldn’t swap any of them.
What gave you the idea to start up as a rock influenced band?
As far as The Stone River Band goes, I had been playing solo for years, then Mark and I started performing as a duo. All the demos we were cutting were always full band rock tracks though, and having a band was always the goal. The good people at PM Music booked us to open a four act bill in the O2 ABC2 in Glasgow and Lisa from PM said “why dont you guys put together a band for it?” So Mark called a drummer friend of his (Declyn Elmslie) and we found Richi through a mutual friend, and we played the first Stone River Band with that line up. We had that line up for a while and played some great,great shows. John and Frazer then joined us and we got even better. Then one day short of the band’s second anniversary, we were back at the O2 ABC2, but this time as headliners. My brother Punky was always my main inspiration. He introduced me to KISS and Bruce Springsteen. The first gig I ver saw was Heavy Pettin’ in the Barrowlands, Glasgow. When i saw the crowd go nuts, I knew exactly what i wanted to do. I recorded my first demo that year in our home studio. That was many moons and many bands ago!
What greats would you bring back who have influenced your sound?
Clarence Clemons and Danny Federici of the E Street Band
What are you plans for the future? Where do you see yourself playing and what are your dream events/venues to play?
Really, my only goal is for each show to be the best we can deliver, to leave the audience feeling like they have been part of something special. I’ve played all sorts of places and I give it my best whether it is a little bar or the ABC2 or the beautiful Recital Rooms. Of course it would be awesome to play huge arenas, and I really want to play the Hard Rock Cafe, but you gimme a guitar and an audience and I’m happy! I’d play a pay toilet and use my own change!
What have been the biggest challenges about setting up a band and starting from the very beginning of your career?
Money first and foremost. Guitars and drums and equipment costs money. Rehearsal studios and recording studios cost money. Travelling to and from gigs costs money. As the song says, it is a long way to the top if you wanna rock & roll! I was lucky that I had a brother that was in a signed, touring band, workng with Brian May, KISS, Motley Crue, Ozzy etc,so I had an inside view to the business part of the music business. Folks think that you get signed, get a big advance and off you go, but it is all money that has to be paid back. Being a performing musician is incredibly hard work, but creating music and performing music is what makes the rest of it worthwhile. That is why it is called ‘playing’!
What advice could you give to someone who are looking to pursue their band dream?
If there is anyone out there that wants to start a band, I’d say “forget dreams of mansions and sports cars; learn your craft, work hard and just do it! It is a hoot!”
Any plans or events coming up that your potential new fans can see you play at?
We have a show coming up on May 17th in Ivory Black’s, Oswald Street, Glasgow (tickets £6, which can be reserved by messaging us at our Facebook page!) which will be the start of a run of shows for us, as we get back to it after a period off. We will have a new album coming out soon, our first full length album, and in the buildup to that, we’ll be doing a lot of shows, a well as sharing some acoustic videos on our Facebook Page. We have a lot of overseas fans, especially in the USA, via our Reverb Nation page so we are planning to broadcast some shows via Facebook Live and other streaming services.
Thank you so much for joining me today! It’s been lovely getting to know you guys.
Thanks for inviting us to talk to ya!
by Alisha Meehan / Gigride Blogger, Lead Singer for Aetheza