The thirteenth person in our series of introductions to performers taking part in International Poetry ReIncarnation at the Roundhouse in Camden on 30th May 2015 is poet, singer and Cream lyricist Pete Brown.
Beginning professional life as writer and performer of his own poetry aged 19 after meeting Michael Horovitz, Pete was always in love with music. He joined Michael’s New Departures group in 1961, by 1963 they had their own residency at London’s famed Marquee Club, working with musicians such as Dick Heckstall-Smith, Graham Bond, Stan Tracey and Bobby Wellins.
In 1965 Pete took part in the Albert Hall Poetry Incarnation, alongside Ginsberg, Corso, Ferlinghetti, Adrian Mitchell and Horovitz. He also toured briefly with Ginsberg and later with Robert Creeley. In 1966 Pete was asked to write lyrics for the newly-formed Cream, and went on to write such hits as “I Feel Free”, “White Room”, “Politician” and “Sunshine of Your Love”. In ’67 he cut his first demo as a singer, along with some of the members of his own Jazz/poetry group including John McLaughlin. The same year his first book of poetry, “Few” was published.
A year later he was signed with his band the Battered Ornaments to the new EMI Harvest label. He was then on the road with his own bands, including the well known Piblokto, for nearly ten years. Phil Ryan, his current musical partner, joined the latter band in l970. When Cream broke up Pete continued working with singer/bassist Jack Bruce, contributing lyrics to most of his recorded output.
Driven out of music temporarily by the onset of Punk, Pete, encouraged by Martin Scorsese, took up screenwriting, at the same time undertaking nearly six years of singing lessons. Seduced back into music in the new role of record producer, Pete also worked in the studios as both percussionist and backing singer. He began working with Indy bands and jazz groups, and progressed to working with such as Peter Green and Jeff Beck.
In 1993 Pete and Phil formed the Interoceters, his longest lasting band. Phil eventually had to leave to look after his ailing wife, but Pete carried on until 2010 when he and Phil reunited and formed their current 9-piece blues and soul band, Psoulchedelia.
During this period Pete also toured widely in Germany as guest singer with the Hamburg Blues band, alongside Maggie Bell and Chris Farlowe. In 2010 Pete published his autobiography, “White Rooms and Imaginary Westerns”. In 2015 Jack Bruce’s final solo record “Silver Rails” was released, with most of the lyrics by Pete.
A feature documentary by young director Mark A,J, Waters has just been completed, and should be released this year. Pete and Phil’s current record, “Perils of Wisdom” was released in 2014 on the Repertoire label. Pete continues to write songs , screenplays and produce records, and to perform both as poet and singer. Young blues/rock artist Krissy Matthews’ album “Scenes from a moving window” , produced and co-written by Pete, is currently in the Amazon charts. Pete’s goal is to continue touring for as long as possible. He plans a new book of poetry and a best-of lyric book.
Get your tickets for the evening’s star-laden performance here: The International Poetry ReIncarnation