Pro File:  In 1970 Peter Green (and his '59 Burst) left Fleetwood Mac and moved into Andrew Kastner's home

Pro File: In 1970 Peter Green (and his '59 Burst) left Fleetwood Mac and moved into Andrew Kastner's home

Guitarist and founding member of great LA band, Jack Mac & The Heart Attack tells the amazing story of how he met Peter Green. The Act formed in 1969 in Boston Massachusetts. They were Andrew Kastner on guitar, Steve Aiello on Hammond B3 Organ, Frank Welch on Bass and Richard Ponte on drums. In September 1970, Andrew called ex-Fleetwood Mac guitarist Peter Green and asked him if he wanted to come over and have a play with his band. Andrew had met Peter in 1968 when Fleetwood Mac first performed in Boston. Peter said yes to the offer and soon flew over and lived in their band house in the woods in South Berwick Maine for about a month. During that time, they just got up every day and jammed. After a few weeks they ventured out and played three gigs. One at the Cambridge YMCA, one at Goddard College and the third on Oct 12, 1970, at the Boston Tea Party. This album is that performance. The Band isn’t playing Blues here. It is pure improvisation, letting the music go where it wanted to go. Peter’s playing is not reliant on tricks or pre-conceived licks, it just pure Peter, straight from his heart and deeply connected to his inner self. His playing is lyrical, dynamic, sensitive and on fire. This recording was lost for 5 decades. It wonderful to see it released 50 years to the day that it was originally recorded. Andrew Kastner’s memories: “I always thought that Fleetwood Mac was one of the best bands I have ever saw. I grew up in Boston in the late 60’s. Music was everywhere back then. Between the Unicorn Coffee House, The Boston Tea Party, where my brother worked, and the Psychedelic Supermarket, where we both worked, I saw almost all the greats - BB King, Freddy King, Albert King, Buddy Guy, Led Zeppelin and almost every other touring band at the time. But Fleetwood Mac was special. They were authentic and intense with a great feel and amazing dynamics. And with a touch of humor as well. Fleetwood Mac had all that and more. They had Peter Green. It was December 1968 when Fleetwood Mac first played the Boston Tea Party. I remember how great they were and especially Peter’s tone. He played with just the right amount of space, fire and dynamics. I could feel all my favorite blues players like BB King and the others in him. So many guitarists I had heard at the time over played or use licks they had practiced. Peter wasn’t like that. Everything he played seemed to come directly from his soul, almost as if he was singing or speaking. After a couple of Fleetwood Mac’s sets, my brother, Stanley, and I were walking through the club looking for the exit when Peter walked right by us. Stanley bravely said to Peter, “Hey, my brother has a Les Paul, too.” I had a 1952 gold Les Paul at the time. Peter turned around and said something like, “Oh, that’s cool, do you wanna come to the hotel and hang out”? Hell yes we did! I remember pretty vividly sitting in his hotel room with my brother and a few other people. He was so easy going, witty and funny. We became friends, so every time he came to Boston to play with The Mac, we would go hang out with him. One time he and I went to see BB King play. Backstage BB told me that Peter played his style better than anyone he had ever heard. The Act was formed in 1969. I played lead guitar and was joined by Steve Aiello on Hammond B3 organ, Frank Welch on bass and Richard Ponte (aka Richard Dapont) on drums. Richard was a great drummer and without a doubt one of the best in Boston at the time. This was the 60’s. Drug and alcohol use were excessive and seemingly everywhere. As I recall Richard was a heavy drinker of usually hard alcohol of some sort. I remember him always holding his side, which he later found out was his liver. Regretfully Richard died at a very early age from cirrhosis of the liver. I think he was in his mid-twenties. It saddened us all that we lost such a talented musician and dear friend. Steve was an amazing B3 player and wise beyond his years and sort of an old soul. Frankie was a mild-mannered guy – a great bass player, simple and in the pocket. I was nineteen when we started the band. I was a burgeoning guitarist, but I was so lucky to be playing with these great players who really helped me to improve. I had to step up, or they would have fired me. On this recording I’m pretty much trying to stay out of Peter’s way while just listening and learning from a master. The Act played mostly blues as I recall. We didn’t have a singer, so we were just jamming and not gigging that much. Steve Aiello’s parents had a summer house in South Berwick, Maine. It was tucked way back into the woods, and the entire band took it over and stayed there at the end of the summer of 1970. At that time I heard that Peter quit Fleetwood Mac. Soon after that I called him in London and on a fluke asked him if he would fancy coming to Maine to play with my band. To my surprise he said sure. So, a few weeks later on Sept 16, 1970 I drove to Boston’s Logan Airport and there he was with his suitcase, sunburst Les Paul and six string Fender bass in hand. We drove a couple hours to the house in Maine, and he stayed for about a month. We mostly played these long, one-chord jams where Peter would lead the way. He took us on a musical journey, and we were quite happy to just follow along. I would say Peter’s mood was reflective, sometimes melancholy but at other times joyful and peaceful. He would sit around deep in thought and daydreamed a lot. But Peter also had a great sense of humor. I remember him once sitting on a stoop playing his Les Paul unplugged and looking up into the trees. I asked him what he was doing. He said he was jamming with the birds. They would sing something, and he would play them back a lick on guitar. From that is where the song Songbird got its title. One time Peter and I went into the town of South Berwick and saw a headline on the local newspaper that read - “Jimi Hendrix Dead!” Peter was shocked and deeply saddened. He told me he was just hanging out with Jimi a couple of weeks before in London. The news of his death hit him really hard. In the month we were there in Maine, we ventured out three times to play gigs. Once on Oct 12th at the Boston Tea Party, which is this recording. Another time at the Cambridge Massachusetts YMCA, and then at Goddard College in Vermont, where Peter headed up to after he left us in Maine. He went to spend some time with a girl he met on the road. The Boston Tea Party recording, in my opinion, has some of Peter’s best free form playing I have ever heard. I didn’t see Peter again until 1997 when he came to LA on tour with Nigel Watson. I was so happy that he remembered me. Nigel lived with me in Boston for one year in 1972, but that’s a whole different story. Over the course of my life I have saved hundreds of old tapes and videos from my career as a musician. Mostly they have been gathering dust in my closet and storage sheds. Last year I got a call from film director Clint Eastwood’s producer. They were looking for video from my band, Jack Mack and the Heart Attack. We were playing on the stage in Centennial Park in Atlanta during the 1996 Olympic Games when a pipe bomb went off. Clint when on to make the film “Richard Jewel” and used our footage and songs from the night the bomb exploded. Twenty years ago, I found an old reel-to-reel tape of the legendary blues pianist, Otis Spann. It was his last ever live performance that was recorded in April 1970 at the old Boston Tea Party. The tape belonged to my friend Peter Malick, who was a good friend of Otis Spann and played guitar with him that night. Peter Malick released the tape as an Otis Spann album entitled, “Last Call.” This album was recorded only three weeks before the pianist's death from liver cancer This classic Chicago blues man’s work is revered and studied by almost every blues pianist who followed in his wake. The album went on to win best traditional album of the year at the Blues Handy Awards. So here, in 2020, 50 years later, I find a tape recording of my band playing live at The Boston Tea Party on Oct 12, 1970 with Peter Green. I didn’t even remember that we had recorded that night. It is such a good representation of Peter’s playing, I felt I had a responsibility to release it. Peter sounds so great that I am happy to offer it as a tribute to the late great Peter Green. It was an amazing experience not only to play with Peter but also to get to know him as a person and a friend, beyond his professional persona as a touring musician. Peter was a sweet man and an unbelievable musician. He was my idol. How lucky was I to have known him”. Andrew Kastner Oct 6, 2020 Stephan Aiello’s recollections As for my recollections of Peter Green. They all surround the times we played together, which was three gigs plus rehearsals as I recall. I remember when we first played with him at the mountain house in Maine. I think back – what balls we had to think we could play with him. But that is youth. Ten years later I would have been too nervous to move. I remember his starting to play. What did we expect? Songs. I figured some blues of course. But no, Peter launched into this free form jam without a word, and I think we were all a bit shocked. After a while we got it and never really questioned why he wanted to play that way but that is what he did. I remember he would start with a lick or chord pattern in some rhythm and we would just go it with it. In Peter’s way he let us all solo and back us up…to think…Peter Green backing us up. Anyway, then he would alter the lick or chords and change mood and we would follow and then again and we would follow and we all took solos and that was it. And that is what we did at gigs…again we never asked why…it was what he wanted…he never sang a word. I remember too he had this weird Fender bass with six strings; the strings looked thinner than those on a regular bass. I remember Peter playing it very rhythmically / percussively with it although he chorded as well. I remember up there in Maine introducing Peter to my wife Laurel who was quite pregnant. In his way Peter said nothing; he just looked at us both and smiled. I can’t remember the order of the gigs we played with him. I do remember the Cambridge YMCA which was a round room. I would say there were 300 to 500 people there. We went on stage. Peter started to play. I remember that in all our gigs people were kind of dumbstruck when we started to play. Maybe they were expecting Black Magic Woman. They listened and listened and we never knew how it was being accepted. I do remember feeling we played great and the audience erupted at the end. I remember going to Godard College; I was smoking a lot of pot so the memories are dim. I remember looking at all the crowd – all major hippies – men and women wearing jean overalls and shit kicker boots and flannel shirts and long hair. It was a completely androgynous crowd. We were in a large barn…I remember that brought my PA system with us and ran my Leslie speaker through that for the gig, no wonder I wear hearing aids now. I remember the Tea Party gig fairly well. I remember being in the dressing room waiting to play; I was very high and very nervous…my legs were shaking. I had the same thought before each time we played with Peter. WE KNEW NO SONGS! No wonder I was nervous. As I recall Carlos Santana and band came into the dressing room to say hi to Peter….amazing to think. Again, when we got on stage the audience reaction was the same…”what the fuck is this? No Black Magic Woman!!!” When I think about it now what a jazz-like form it was that Peter wanted….we knew it by then…we really played great. I remember, maybe this is a dream, but I remember Santana and we all stayed after. Frankie and I went up on the stage and started to play a Booker T and the MG’s song. Santana came up on the stage and joined…he knew the song perfectly. Anyway, I remember Peter walking by me and looking up at me…he gave me a big wink and smile, as if to say, “having fun?.” Such a sweet and gentle person he was. This is all I remember… I am remembering it all as the truth but again, it all happened with altered states of consciousness. Steve Aiello Oct 7, 2020 The Act, Featuring Peter Green, Live at the Boston Tea Party 1970 Greeny's Mood (feat. Peter Green) 4:36 Back to the Woods (feat. Peter Green) 4:12 Green Fire (feat. Peter Green) 3:16 Songbird (feat. Peter Green) 3:20 Six String Bass Man (feat. Peter Green) 5:15 Ponte's Obsession (feat. Richard Ponte) 2:20 Troubled World (part 1.) (feat. Peter Green) 4:20 Troubled World (part 2.) (feat. Peter Green) 2:54 THE ACT Peter Green, Guitar, Six String Bass Andrew Kastner, Guitar Steve Aiello, Hammond B3 organ Frank Welch, Bass Richard Grossman Additional Bass (tracks 1 – 3) Produced by Andrew Kastner Mastered by Chas Sandford, Secret Sound Franklin, Tennessee Graphic design by Andrew Kastner & Emmet Aiello Publishing Administered by Drewness Music ASCAP Recorded October 12, 1970 at the Boston Tea Party Released October 12, 2020 © MIDDLE SUN MEDIA
Duration: 10:26

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