Save Peter Case

LIke so many artists who can't afford medical insurance, he needs our help.

By Slowjoe
Published on LatinoLA: March 19, 2009

Save Peter Case

Hunter H. Thompson once wrote: "The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogsthere's also a negative side."

I've heard this rhetoric before from musician friends of mine, struggling to bring their unique slant to the music world. Today artists have to wear many hats. It's not feasible to just make art but one has to manage, promote, advertise, understand and navigate the cyber world and so on. Most, of course, have to supplement their income with another job. There comes a time when many just give up or give in to the system. For those few dedicated souls that stay the course, without compromise, life can be difficult to say the least, add to that no medical insurance and you can have tragedy.

Peter Case is one of those unfortunate artists. He underwent emergency heart surgery last month. Thankfully he's recovering and will be alright. Without insurance his medical costs have put him in a dreadful position, now he's got to ask for help.

Why help Peter, a mostly unknown singer /songwriter who's not Latino? After all there are plenty of 'us' out there that need help and money is tight. Well just ask musicians David Hidalgo, Alejandro Escovedo, Carlos Guitarlos, Jorge Bermudez, Dennis Farias, Eddie Mu??oz, David Pahoa, Lou Ramirez, Eddie Gomez, David Perales, just to name a few. Theses Latinos have enriched their lives playing with him. Peter has been an icon in the underground L.A. music scene ever since he came for San Francisco with the band 'The Nerves' in the late 70's.

In 1980 Peter formed the very successful power pop band 'The Plimsouls' with Eddie Mu??oz, guitarist, David Pahoa bass, and drummer Lou Ramirez. The 'Souls' were a favorite in the 'New Wave' community.

Later, Peter wanting to move from the mainstream pop culture devoted himself to writing songs that more reflected a 'Post-Modern Traditionalist 'style. Working with producers T Bone Burnett, Steve Soles and Peter Froom among others he crafted some of the best written 'roots' music of the last two and a half decades. Some of the artist he's worked with are; John Hiatt, Rodger McGuinn, Ry Cooder, Benmont Tench, John Prine, Jackson Brown, Odetta, Richard Thompson, John Doe, David Lindley, Tom Russell, Victoria Williams, Willie Dixon, Van Dyke Parks and Dave Alvin just to name a few. Believe me; the list goes on and on. In 1989 Bruce Springsteen told Rolling Stone magazine that he was listening to Peter Case more than anyone else that year.

Peter's been nominated for Grammy Awards three times. Case is an active musicologist; in the late 1990s, he curated the musical program for the Getty Museum in Los Angeles. In 2001, he organized, produced, and performed on Avalon Blues, a tribute album to blues music pioneer Mississippi John Hurt, which was nominated for the 2002 Grammy Award for Best Traditional Folk Album. Case also had the chance to perform Beatles songs at the Hollywood Bowl with Sir George Martin.

There's a three disc tribute album of his songs recorded by some of his peers, (the proceeds going to buy musical instruments for impoverished children). He has been teaching writing classes in his style of unique wordmanship at McCabes Guitar store in Santa Monica for nine years and in other parts of the country when on tour. Peter has produced new songwriters, many now recording. He's written a book about his early years and the music business. 'As Far As Your Can Get Without A Passport'. He produced some of the first punk concerts in L.A. including 'The Zeros' (Chicanos from Chula Vista). He's toured extensively and continuously worldwide and plays political benefits all the time. Peter also as a family, Josh, Diane, Leah and a lovely soul mate, Denise.

Why don't you know him? Because he doesn't take shit from the record companies, he's not bound by their take on the popular agenda. He finds it more important to write what he really feels. He's been a true maverick (sorry Palin) with no social or political ties. He can express an extremely vivid landscape, reflecting in his words just what we're thinking but can't express ourselves. It's obvious when you hear his lyrics: they're true poetry, moving, informative, controversial and provocative. Writing is regularity for him, there's no clich?®s and he crafts his words, honing them into shape instruments of truth.

Peter is one of our rare American Treasures who see's the importance of what he does and the influence it has. He won't compromise his ethics. That's why he's in trouble. As successful as Peter Case has been it's never manifested itself into money, it's always been day to day.

Go out and listen to his work. Look him up on the internet, maybe buy his music or his book and you'll find that Peter is something special, one of L. A.'s own Poet Laureates. It takes special voices to shape the sound of a generation. Peter's is one we need to protect. Go to 'Hidden Love Medical' at There you'll find a place to contribute what you can. Just five dollars from all his friends would mean quite a lot. If you think it's important to help, here's your chance to make a difference.

About Slowjoe:
Just another car dude from South San Gabriel
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