My life is pretty good. I have a long way to go to get to where I want and I’m sure even when I get there, I won’t be satisfied–probably because I’m never content with anything. My point being, as each year slips by, there are a few people in my life, both private and public persons, who I never got a chance to meet because they died. Some I wanted to head-butt with a steel spike, others, dine with over some wine and Moroccan food. But when I was in a band my DREAM, my GOAL IN LIFE, was to be invited to perform on BBC Radio 1 Peel Sessions.
What John Peel did was and continues to be my structure for integrity, vision, contemporary actualization (keeping up to date and exposing it). Mr. Peel (died of a heart attack while traveling in Peru) was an English disc jockey, radio, and print journalist who worked at the BBC from 1967 to 2004. The man had great musical taste and never stopped keeping his ear to the pavement to showcase unknown bands to the rest of the world. Peel, in a boiled down version of his life, introduced BBC listeners to punk, reggae, hip-hop, and electronic dance music.
For those of you who want to probe deeper into the Peel Session bands and the songs they played go here and on the BBC here. (They have tracks you can stream and listen to for only 30 seconds…like, what’s the fucking point there?) Anyway if you know what’s up with Bit Torrent, then I suggest you search for Peel Sessions through that since the only Peel I’ve found is on vinyl (I know there’s more but vinyl is the best way to find Peel’s recordings besides online Torrent).
My favorite aspect about the Peel Sessions is how well recorded they are. In addition to getting great performances he could be one caustic son of a bitch, which I love, when he felt that a performance was lacking or the artist was shit.
Here are a few examples:
Smog : I Break Horses
Mudhoney : The Straight Life
Pretty Girls Make Graves : More Sweet Soul
The Damned : Neat Neat Neat
Yeah Yeah Yeahs : Tick
Yeah Yeah Yeahs : Maps
Interpol : The New
Interpol : Hands Away
And one of Peel’s favorite bands, The Undertones, have lyrics from their song Teenage Kicks, on Peel’s headstone.
Life is too short to live. Ya know? So, here’s to John Peel. (I’m drinking a Guiness with a shot of Jameson’s in my mind)
Words by FJP