Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Nerve Ends in Power Lines

Photo: Jonathan Cameron/FairfaxNZ
Last year, I saw musician Amanda Palmer speak and perform at Webstock in February. While she was here, she was trying to track down a contact for one of her musical heroes, Peter Jefferies. He hails from Taranaki, and had a strong following on US college radio in the 1990s. She managed to get an email address for him and got in touch.

This week, as part of her current NZ tour, she visited New Plymouth, and got to play a gig with Jefferies at Vinyl Countdown (the record store opened by the former owner of Real Groovy Wellington). Jefferies hasn't performed live in over 8 years. He works as a music teacher at various high schools in the region.

"If you told me that I would ever come to New Zealand and play with Peter Jefferies I would have s.... a brick," Palmer said.

Jefferies, now a music teacher at Spotswood College, Coastal Taranaki School, and Stratford and Waitara High Schools, said he was extremely flattered to have such a talented musician hunt him down in little old New Plymouth.

"What she does is so great which is why it's special. To know someone who plays as well as her is listening to your music is just great."

Last night's performance was Jefferies' first in over eight years, and also his first time playing acoustic guitar live which he said "scared him more than anything".

"It's only because of Amanda – that's the simple reason why I'm here and why I'm doing it."

Last night, the duo each played a collection of lyrically humorous solo songs to the crowd of about 40, before combining on a number of covers including Oasis's Wonderwall and Wild Thing, a song made famous by The Troggs in 1966." From Taranaki Daily News.

Spontaneous collaboration for Amanda Palmer, Taranaki Daily News, with their footage below, of Palmer singing Creep, with help from the audience. The second clip is Palmer covering a song by Peter Jefferies.

ADDED Feb 29: Peter Jefferies talks about how he became a music teacher, after quitting live performing in 2003, and playing with Amanda Palmer, his first ever acoustic performance... From the Stratford Press.

"Peter came to a point in his life where he didn't want to perform, he needed another path. "I know all of this stuff. Now what do you do with a used muso? How am I going to do what I want to do?'' were questions [he] asked himself.

In 2003, Peter was selected to be part of the New Zealand Music Commission's Music Mentoring In Schools programme, which was life-changing, he says. Nine years ago, Peter took up a teaching role at New Plymouth Boys High School, which then led to Spotswood College, Waitara High School, Coastal Taranaki School and Stratford High School..."

RELATED: Amanda Palmer responds on her blog to Simon Sweetman's review of her Wellington gig with Dresden Dolls. Title: WELLINGTON JOURNALIST ABSOLUTELY TRASHES OUR GIG, MISSES POINT OF MUSIC COMPLETELY. ….or….. “amanda palmer looks back on her press clippings from age 73”

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