The Life, Times & Music of Dan Peters

Leave a comment

Dan’s Top 5 Favorite Concerts!!

These days I don’t attend many concerts. After all this time playing music professionally, that last thing I want to do is go see live music and subject my ears to all the loudness.

Looking back in time here are a few that really stand out for me. My top 5 favorites have just as much to do with the moment, people I was with & the fun time I was having as they do the actual music performance.
1) Van Halen 1981 Fair Warning tour – Chicago Amphitheater. 2nd concert ever I attended. I was very young and impressionable. At that age a great concert is magical. It was  July 10th. There was so much pot smoke, you could barely see across the arena. VH & Eddie in particular were on fire! And David Lee Roth was the ultimate frontman.  I think my DNA changed forever that night.
2) Iron Maiden 1982 Number of the Beast tour. Chicagofest at Navy Pier
It was one of the side stages. They were on the cusp of becoming huge. The opener was a new wave act & local metal heads were impatient & mean to them. Beer cups were thrown at the stage & that turned into a full fledged garbage fight. Cups, rib bones, watermelon rinds, etc filled the sky. It was crazy. The crowd was warned to settle down or no more concert. And when Maiden finally came out they were, of course, totally awesome!
3) Monkees Reunion Tour Summer of 1987 or 88. Poplar Creek Music Theater. I was in college by then and very drunk that night. No Mike Nesmith but Mickey, Davey and Peter took me back to my early childhood with their greatest hits and a backing band of excellent musicians. When they played “Going Down”, I lost my friggin’ mind.
4) Brian Setzer Orchestra 1997 summer tour. House of Blues. This was part of a bachelor party for one of my old friends. We went to an afternoon Cubs game, dinner at a roof top beer garden and then the House of Blues. Wasn’t expecting it and I was completely blown away by how awesome Setzer was! Halfway through the show, I was told we were taking the party to a strip club. I said “no way I’m not leaving” So they left me there. I had to scramble to find a ride home that night but it all worked out and it was way worth it.
5) Jeff Beck 2001 at Chicago Theater. Jeff Beck is one of my all time favorite guitarists. No one can match his unique expressiveness and idiosyncratic technique. This was my first time seeing him live. My friend George got us 3rd row seats. Jennifer Batten on 2nd guitar & Vinnie Colaiuta on drums. Goosebumps the entire night. Amazing!


Shredabilly Gear!

Hey, Kids

A couple of Facebook friends asked me what gear I’ve been using so here goes.
It’s strange because a musical instrument is a very personal item and some of us grow
quite attached to our axes. We also go through various phases where different pieces of equipment
inspire us at different times depending on how we feel at that given moment.

For instance, I’ve been playing the same Gretsch Nashville 6120 for many years and it has
become something of a trademark for me. Obviously the perfect guitar for rockabilly style playing, it is also a great sounding guitar for hard rock. Don’t forget that Malcolm Young created that amazing rhythm sound for ACDC using a Gretsch Duo Jet. Mine is a late 90’s reissue of the 1960 model. It has TV Jones pickups and it was made before Fender took over Gretsch.

That being said, I am also just as inspired by my other guitars:
A) a 2004 Fender American Deluxe Telecaster. I originally bought this one to use on a country gig in Las Vegas but it has now become my go-to guitar for session work and sitting on the couch playing at home.
B) a 1976 Gibson Les Paul Custom with Bill Lawrence pickups which I put in last year – this was my first great guitar and have had it since I was 15. A great guitar for hard rock and metal.
C) a 1995 Tamahauk custom Strat built for me by my old friend and West Side Winders original bassist Randy Riley. Really sounds like a classic old school Stratocaster. Great for blues and rock.
D) a 1997 Gibson Tal Farlow hollowbody with size .013 flat wound strings that I use on jazz gigs. Played this on the song My Baby from The West Side Winders album “Snaken Not Stirred.
E) a Gretsch New Yorker mandolin which I bought recently to learn the Wicked show. I’m really enjoying learning this instrument.
F) a Taylor 314CE steel string acoustic that I very recently acquired. The fine folks at Taylor shipped this guitar to Albuquerue, NM for me for a show that I had there with Broadway Rox. Played beautifully right out of the box and also sounds great plugged straight into the P.A.
G) a DBZ steel string acoustic given to me by my friend and master guitar builder Dean Zelinsky (who is no longer with DBZ.)

Amps – In the mid 90’s I used a 100 watt Mesa Boogie Mark IV combo with 1 12 inch speaker mostly for rock gigs, then switched to a 40 watt Fender Prosonic combo with 2 10 inch speakers in the late 90’s which I used with The Big Swing and in the early days of The Sidewinders. In 2008 I picked up a 45 watt Budda Superdrive 45 with a 2 12 closed back cabinet. It’s been my main amp & used on almost all West Side Winders gigs ever since. The Prosonic however is the amp heard on our two album releases.
Once I moved to NYC, the Budda stayed in Chicago. Most clubs in NYC provide backline gear and therefore I will use whatever is available. Usually it’s some sort of Fender combo. I also have an excellent sounding Fender Blues Jr. (given to me for an unlimited time from my old buddy Ronnie Weiner) that I keep in NY.

Pedals – my pedal board has a Boss tuner, a Dunlop 505Q crybaby wah, a Keeley modded Boss Blues Driver, a boss compressor, a Fulltone Deja Vibe and a Hughes & Kettner Replex tube driven delay pedal. I also use a Line 6 DL4 delay modeler occasionally and a TC Electronic Flashback delay pedal when I’m in NY.

There it is but it’s always in a constant state of flux.
Most of us guitarists are on a never ending quest for good tone and therefore we change and/or add amps, pedals, pickups and guitars all the time.
I suppose I could really geek out and describe the specific gear used for the various songs on our album releases but I think I’ll save that for some other time.
Rock on!!

Leave a comment

Big changes in 2012 & 2013

Hello again, Friends

Many of you might have been wondering why I chose to make the move from Chicago to New York City last June and what exactly has been happening since then.

First let me say that The West Side Winders is most certainly not over – just on a bit of a hiatus.
After 10 years of slugging it out in the clubs of Chicago-land and occasionally out of town, various lineup changes and many ups and downs, I decided that I needed a change.
Despite some cool moments (opening for Bon Jovi at United Center in 2011, making the top 5 finals in 3 high profile national guitar competitions 3 years in a row – North American Rock Guitar Competition 2007, Guitar Superstar 2008, King of the Blues 2009 – and some nice media coverage – Fox Morning News, WGN Morning News, Guitar Player Magazine, Guitar World, etc.) it just seemed that I couldn’t get out of that same spot of being in an under-exposed, under-payed original act in a town that was placing less and less importance on the local original music scene. Crappy clubs, shady club owners, small audience turnout, low pay, lack of respect, etc. That gets very old after awhile.
And so it took me that long to realize that although I can make a decent living in Chicago (and it really is a great place to live,) I’ll never get to that next level of success staying there.
So the thoughts and many discussions began – with my family first and foremost as well as a key discussion with my old friend, guitarist Joel Hoekstra (Rock of Ages, Nightranger, Trans Siberian Orchestra,) who suggested a move. And that’s exactly what I did.
I arrived in New York City on June 2nd, 2012 and rented a room on the upper west side at 92nd and Broadway.
By June 15th I was subbing on lead guitar for Joel in Rock of Ages. A great perk to that show is that the band is on the stage and actual characters in the play. I get some big solo moments as well a couple of spoken lines. Great fun and a real highlight to my time in NY.
In August I was asked to join The Ryan Link Affair and began a weekly house gig on the upper west side at 78 Below. It’s been great networking for me and I’ve met and played with some amazing musicians. Ian McNabb of Icicle Works and Simon Kirke drummer from Bad Company have come in to jam with us as well as jazz/pop keyboard heavyweights Henry Butler and Ray Angry.
In September, I was asked to join a new project that fuses rock, classical and fusion. Rocktopia brings to the stage a 5 piece rock band, 5 singers, a 50 piece symphony orchestra and a gospel choir. Rocktopia has tour dates this May and a full national tour in the fall including a taping for a PBS special.
I’ve even put together an east coast version of The West Side Winders and performed a handful of shows last fall and early this year. I believe there is a good & receptive audience for us on the east coast.
Coming up – In late spring/early summer of 2013 I begin subbing on lead guitar for Ric Molina in the long running Broadway musical Wicked. As many of you probably already know this is an amazing show. It is also one of the most difficult shows I’ve ever had to learn with plenty of key instrument switching between nylon string, steel string, electric, banjo and mandolin.
Looking back now it seems that I made the right decision last year moving to NY although it has been a very difficult road. One in which I second guessed myself a lot.
The most difficult aspect being the time away from my family.
My wife and son remain at our house in Morton Grove, IL and I fly back and forth as much as I can.
It’s certainly taken it’s toll on me.
Having a child in 1st grade, a wife with a full time job and 2 mortgages make it difficult.
Would it have been easier to throw all caution to the wind and just move the family to NY from the get go? Maybe, maybe not. But this is where we are now.
Hopefully, I can continue to raise the bar on my level of success with more work and higher profile gigs. To the point where I can finally just say it’s time and get my family out to the east coast with me.
Stayed tuned. More to come on my continued adventures.

1 Comment

What is “Shredabilly”?

Greetings, Everyone

Welcome to my brand new website Shredabilly.

My first blog is really just an explanation of the title Shredabilly.

Many of you who’ve seen me perform with my band The West Side Winders
know that I combine roots/Americana styles with a more modern, hard rock approach to guitar playing. I love rockabilly, blues and jazz but I also grew up listening to Eddie Van Halen, Yngwie Malmsteen, Steve Vai and Joe Satriani.

My thought was that rockabilly and early rock n roll was really a blending of styles. Pro guitar players were brought into sessions for guys like Elvis Presley, Bill Haley, Gene Vincent, etc. These guitarists came from the world of jazz/swing, country and blues and so that was what they drew from but also with a strong dose of attitude and swagger.

Most modern rockabilly artists also accept surf guitar as part of the approach.

So why not add more?

My contribution was adding some of the flashy “shred” techniques of many modern hard rock and metal guitarists.
A couple of my friends began calling it “shredabilly” and that was it.

So I’ve decided to make it my brand. My specialty, if you will.

I still enjoy and play in a variety of styles for various projects but “shredabilly” is the one thing I have in my trick bag that is all mine. At least for now.

Talk to you again soon.
Rock on!!