"We were just angry young men expressing our outrage at the war and poverty." So says Dickie Peterson, the bassist for proto-metal godfathers Blue Cheer, of the band's humble beginnings.
Ah, but Blue Cheer was, and still is, so much more than that. In 1968, the band that put the word "power" in power trio wreaked apocalyptic devastation with Vincebus Eruptum, an unrelentingly loud, mind-altering brew of sludgy, psychedelic heavy metal that would scare the living daylights out of everybody within earshot and lay the groundwork for the grunge revolution of the early '90s and today's vibrant stoner metal scene.
Not everybody was impressed with Blue Cheer back then, especially their fellow musicians. "A lot of musicians put us down," recalls Peterson.
One time in particular still weighs heavy on his mind. The band was opening for Electric Flag and Jimi Hendrix, and Peterson says, "I admired Electric Flag so much, not to mention Hendrix. We were so psyched to be on that bill with people that we put on a pedestal."
Some of the members of Electric Flag didn't feel the same way about Blue Cheer. Buddy Miles was the exception, according to Peterson.
While Blue Cheer was laying down some serious noise, whipping up storms of distortion against bulldozing rhythms and an impenetrable wall of volume, a few Electric Flag members walked around onstage and, as Peterson says, "chastised" the band.
When Blue Cheer had finished, Peterson says, "I put my bass down and just walked off. I had tears in my eyes."
He learned a valuable lesson that night, and that was to never treat fellow musicians that way. Now, though, with legions of young fans taking to Blue Cheer in a big way, especially after their much-lauded 2007 album What Doesn't Kill You ..., " ... the people who put us down make sure they have a photo op with us" and try to make sure Blue Cheer sticks around.
Still a monster live band, Blue Cheer, now in the midst of a grueling tour with an EP of live and unreleased material that's gone straight to college and metal radio, has had the last laugh.
To listen to a podcast of Goldmine's recent interview with Dickie Peterson go to www.goldminemag.com/Default.aspx?tabid=2366, and stay tuned to Goldmine radio for a broadcast of our chat.