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Today’s interview is with our new friend, Peter Turner, a double bass player from the UK. He currently plays in the group ‘Saint Dom and the Sinful’. Let’s learn more about him in this interview!
1. Name – Peter Turner
2. Profession – HGV Driver for a global recycling company called – Suez.
3. What were you like as a teenager? – I was unfortunately very shy, quiet, lack of confidence etc. But by 14 yrs of age I discovered had a natural talent for rhythm/music. This lead me to fronting a school r’n’r band, with myself playing bass guitar. When I started high school in 1981 I took extra music. But they only concentrated on classical music. They did teach pupils to play an instrument, but I was left handed and the music department didn’t have any left handed instruments. I was from a single parent family, so my mother couldn’t afford to buy me a guitar. I ended up dropping the subject of music in my 2nd year of high school. But I took on 4 new paper rounds so I could buy my own instrument (bass). I then set about learning by ear, or memorising bass lines from seeing buskers on the streets of Newcastle. It was by listening to 50’s R’n’R, and hearing the Stray Cats, Polecats in the early 80’s on Top of the Pops that I grew an interest in the Double Bass. It took me until I was 17 to afford to purchase one. I paid it off weekly with the £27:50 I earned from a Youth Training Scheme. I’ve been playing it for 33 years.
4. How have you changed since then ? – I’m still naturally shy, and reserved. I only discovered recently through having some tests that I have dyslexia. This explained a lot of why I struggled so much at school with reading especially, and why I threw myself into the Arts.
In my 20’s I studied music at Uni, and ended up having private students. But I wasn’t enjoying this side of music, so I stopped teaching to just play gigs.
5. What do you like doing in your free time? – I’ve never stopped playing in bands. When I was between the ages of 17 – 20 I played in numerous local rockabilly bands. At 21 I joined a touring band called – Johnny and the Roccos. We would go off and gig all over Europe and Scandinavia. Often our tours would last 3 months. It was a fantastic way to travel. I did this for two years. We played with a lot of the original 50’s artists like – Sleepy La Beef, Haydon Thompson, Merrill E Moore, Billy Lee Riley, Sonny Burgess etc.
After leaving I joined – Elvis the musical. I was part of the band featured on stage. The show was a biography of Elvis’ life shown thru his music. The show would spend a week at theatres throughout the UK.
After this finished I came back to the North East, and started a 6 piece Jump, Jive band with some new people. We called ourselves – Deacon Jones and the Sinners. We branched into Ska, and did loads of busking. This gained us loads of wedding / Business and regular gigs. We rehearsed every week for the 16 years we were together, and built up a massive following locally. This was all before the Internet. We released 2 cassettes, and 2 cd albums in our time together. At the same time I also played with a rockabilly band called – The Sureshots. They are very popular in France. I’m currently playing with a Neo Rockabilly Trio that I set up 10 years ago called – Saint Dom and the Sinful. We only play the songs we write. It’s a very creative process, and highly satisfying doing this. We released our first 12 track cd – Holywell Dene in November 2017. Having that product opened doors for us to get to play outside our area. We are now playing R’n’R Weekenders, R’n’R Clubs etc. Last month we released our 2nd cd album – Bopperella. It’s a lot of fun to see people coming to hear us play our own songs.
And finally I’ve just started a band with my half brother – Stuart. He’s a rockabilly guitarist who’s 28 years younger than me. We have the same father. It was my Dad’s dream for us to play in a band together. We have done some busking lately. We share the singing duties, and play a mixture of western swing, rockabilly, hillbilly, jazz etc. We will eventually incorporate a drummer.
6. How long have you known your oldest friend? – He’s called David Dormand, and I’ve known him since I was 8 years old. He was 7 years old. His Dad had a massive record collection. His dad worked as a merchant seaman, and was away from home a lot. We would go thru his massive record collection. We discovered we liked all the 50’s music the most. This began our road to a life time love of this genre.
Davey plays guitar, we played in our school band together. We’ve also had other bands together through the years. My last band with him was called – Hiccup Riot. That band ran from 2008 to 2012. It featured my gf – Jules on lead vocals. We played a lot of female rockabilly like Janis Martin, Ruth Brown, Barbara Pitman etc. We played only locally. Jules and me moved to Sydney, Australia in 2012 for a year. That was the end of Hiccup Riot.
7. Good things about getting older – Feeling more comfortable in my own skin. Don’t have anything to prove. I really savour moments with special friends more. Fitness, and eating healthy is majorly important to me. I want to live a long healthy happy life. We all hear stories of people around our age that die way before they should. A lot of the time it’s because they’ve smoked, or just haven’t cared about how they look after themselves.
8. Most difficult thing about getting older – Relying on reading glasses is a chore. I’ve also lost a bit of my hearing. And finally having ever thinning hair is a bit crap. Especially when I used to have a great quiff lol .
9. Advice, or words of wisdom, for the young ‘uns about becoming old and wrinkly – Moisturise daily. Keep out of the sun.
I’ve always made a point of mixing with people from all ages, and all walks of life. To me age is a number we can’t avoid. But how you are as a person has far more personal value. I’ve never been money driven, and enjoying my creative experiences is what keeps me moving forward. I never wanted huge success, being the best double bassist in my own mind was the only thing I ever wanted.
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