8:30 - 11:00 EVERY MONDAY
Leytonstone Ex-Servicemens Club, 2 Harvey Rd E11 3DB
Admission: £2 for jammers / £3 for audience
 Blues Jam Profiles
Pete Speller
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Pete Speller
Are you local?

Geologically speaking, yes. Currently ensconced in Honor Oak Park, which is between Forest Hill & Catford.

Where are you from, originally?

That's a long one. My dad was in the Civil Service, so I was born in Singapore (64), raised in Winchester (67-73), schooled in Hong Kong (73-76), then hoiked back to Taunton (77-80), flung to Hong Kong again (80-82), back to Somerset (82-84), college in Bournemouth (85-86), moved to Bristol (87) & then escaped the West Country for the bright lights of Neasden (87). Went saafov varivvah around 1990 & I've kinda stuck.

See? I warned you. Serves you right for asking.

What's your tipple?

Mild for preference. Otherwise any 'real' bitter. Failing that, Guinness. For spirits, either Jack Daniels or Lamb's rum. Wine: a full-bodied Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon.

What's your earliest memory?

It could be the Fruit Bat that roosted on the washing line in Singapore when I was 2 or 3, but that might be based on a photo. It was all a long time ago. I can definitely recall a boat trip on the SS Oronsay to either Durban or Dakar when we came back from Singapore in 1967 though. I'd have been 3 then.

What was the first record you ever bought with your own money?

Either "The Best Of Cliff, Vol. 2" or the soundtrack to "The Towering Inferno". Shut up - I was 9.

...and do you still have it?

Probably, though thankfully not to hand.

Any hobbies/interests?

Quite partial to bit of woodworking, and I do like a set of wheels - especially if they're about 6ft diameter, made of cast steel & flanged.

Signwriting too. Reasonable rates, no job too small:

Pete Speller signwriting

Do you remember the very first gig you went to?

Port Vale Heavy Metal Holocaust, 1981 - Frank Marino, Ozzy with Randy Rhodes ('cause Sabbath chickened out) & Motörhead. Quote of the day from Lemmy: "750,000 watts & you want me to turn it up?" It was bloody awesome. Followed it up with Monsters of Rock at Donington the same year (AC/DC & Whitesnake).

Worst job you've ever had?

All of them? If I had to pick one it'd be one of the several minicab/courier firms I've worked for. A couple of them were very bent & one was a cross between Monty Python's Vercotti Brothers, the Krays and the BNP!

What's your claim to fame (not necessarily musical)?

Got presented to Princess Anne. She sent me back.

Been playing/performing long?

Playing since 1982. Nothing serious stage-wise until I started doing these jam things in 2008. Looking for a gig though - what yer got?

Been in any bands?

A few, but with one exception they all died after long, drawn-out rehearsals. The exception went titzup after a rather odd acid & tequila-fuelled gig at a free festival.

What first got you interested in the Blues?

Stuart Colman's show "That's Rock 'n' Roll" on Radio 1 in about 1978/79.

What other types of music do you like to listen to/play?

A bit of NWOBHM (New Wave Of British Heavy Metal), & I'm not averse to Prog, some classical (Bach), a bit of Jazz (provided it makes sense). Going back to my roots at the moment & listening to a lot of Rock 'n' Roll/Rockabilly. It seems the notion "less is more" may have some merit.

Favourite Blues artists?

Mostly the British Invasion lot: Bluesbreakers, Peter Green's Fleetwood Mac, Ten Years After etc. For the originals it'll be the Chicago/Chess lot: Howlin' Wolf, Elmore James & that. Then there's the 'Revivalists' like Dr. Feelgood, Rory Gallagher, SRV, George Thorogood, Gary Moore and so on.

Favourite artists (any other genre) ?

ELP, Deep Purple (& spinoffs), Sabbath, Zep, AC/DC, King Crimson, The Beatles, Motörhead, Brand X, Bach (J.S.), Beethoven, Mussorgsky.

Ever been lucky enough to meet or share a stage with one of your musical heroes?

Had a good chat with Colin Hodgkinson a few years back at the Great British Beer Festival in Earl's Court. Nice bloke. Drinks real beer & smokes Camels.

Favourite instruments and/or equipment?

Early 80s Aria Pro 2 all the way. I'm lucky enough to own three of them:

Aria Pro 2 SB-900
Aria Pro 2 ZZB Custom
Aria Pro 2 SB-1000F
ZZB Custom

SB-900 - Built in 1980. Re-wired but otherwise essentially original
ZZB Custom - Built in 1984. Apart from the strings, it's completely original.
SB-1000F - Likewise built in 1980, heavily modified by me and de-fretted. This is the one you'll most likely see me playing onstage at the Blues Jam.

Otherwise, slight hankerings for a Rickenbacker and/or a 51-style slab-bodied Precision, oh and a Hammond C3. Not over fussed about amplification, just so long as it's poky enough (although I wouldn't object to a Fender Bassman 4x10 combo).

If you had to sum up your relationship with the Blues using just one word, what would it be?

In breach of my restraining order. Yes, I know that's 6 words. Live with it.

Who would you pick (past or present) for your dream band?

Most supergroups don't work, but I'm intrigued by the idea of the Hendrix/Emerson collaboration that was actually mooted. If you're going to push it, though:

Hmmm. Possibly a bit fusion-tastic.

Most embarrassing moment?

Having Johnny B. Goode stopped halfway through as it all went terribly wrong.

What do you most enjoy about the Blues Jam?

A good crowd of nice people, great players & superb organisation.

If you could travel back in time to be present at one moment/event in musical history, what would it be?

Either the Isle Of Wight in 1970 (both Taste and Hendrix's last gig, ELP's first). Tempted to have talked SRV into letting Clapton have his seat back in the helicopter, and being in Arkesden on the 20th April 1991 to make sure Steve Marriott had put that bloody fag out.

Who would they cast to play you in the movie of your life?

Boris Karloff

Marmite: - Yes or No?

Ooohh yes. Yes...YES!

If you were invited on "Desert Island Discs", which 8 records would you choose?
  1. 21st Century Schizoid Man - King Crimson
  2. The Lemon Song - Led Zeppelin
  3. Lazy - Deep Purple (the studio version on 'Machine Head')
  4. Bullfrog Blues - Rory Gallagher (the 'Live In Europe' cut)
  5. The Night Was Dark And The Ground Was Cold - Blind Willie Johnson
  6. Knife Edge - Emerson, Lake & Palmer
  7. Bomber - Motörhead
  8. Some Kind Of Wonderful - Grand Funk Railroad
...and what would be your luxury item?

Felicity Kendal.

What is the most important lesson life has taught you?

Shit happens.

Go on - tell us a secret!

The 39 Steps is an organisation of spies collecting information on behalf of the Foreign Office of...

(Gunshot. collapses)