When i first met Richard Peddicord (PHD Mathematics), or Dr. Dick as i like to call him, he arrived at Blue Cheer's house on 14 th street in San Francisco, 1968. He was there to present to us his design for a PA system which he called the "Ferkel 415". Since Blue Cheer was so loud and no PA system seemed to be adequate we welcomed the idea of someone willing to design a system so the voices could be heard over the music.
As Dr. Dick proceeded to explain his "Ferkel 415" i was captured by his genius and sheer humour mixed with creativity. Really a character like this was a true delight to me and for the few hours he was with us i laughed a lot and felt fortunate to have met this truly gifted man. Some time later Blue Cheer was practising on an old ferry boat docked along the wharf in San Francisco (next to the ferry building) and they had only recently purchased their six stacks of Marshall amps. The "Captain" of the boat was going through an episode and thought he was God but was not exactly sure if he wanted the job.
Anyway, since the band members were not there and only Jerry Russell, Peter Wagner, and myself and Dr. Dick were there, he asked if he could plug into the amplifiers and try them. Sure, we said - and he proceeded to experiment with the tremendous power of the amps - i will never forget the joy expressed on his face as i could envision the creative process mixing in his brain. Truly a delight to watch and share this experience with him.
"Oh ! Pleasant Hope" is the title of Blue Cheer's 6 th album and the title is taken from one of Dr. Dick's songs which appear on the album. Dr. Dick had the philosophy that all are welcome to play on his songs and as i was the producer of the album we were happy to accommodate him. A few years later Blue Cheer made a master tape of several songs of Dr. Peddicord for his own use.
On this tape there are some masterpieces and some of my favourite songs of all time.
Dr. Peddicord is a tremendous force behind Blue Cheer, a true and gifted genius and a friend to Blue Cheer. Watch for more of Dr. Dick's songs on Blue Cheer's or Dickie Peterson's recordings.
. . . Eric
Musical History - by Richard Peddicord
My mother was a concert pianist all my life, and so I was exposed to classical music from birth on, mainly Beethoven, Brahms, Mozart, Shubert, Chopin, Listz. My mom cried a lot when she played. At age seven I got my first real instrument, a plastic bugle, with which I tried to get my motherās attention while she practiced. Shortly thereafter someone stepped on my bugle, and it was replaced by a much quieter, nicer instrument, a wooden ukelele.
In 1947, when I was 8, we were on a ship carrying troops to Greece, and I would go down to D deck with my ukelele and strum along with the musicians among the troops. I heard a lot of originals and standards by Hank Snow, Lefty Ferzell, Tennessee Ernie Ford.
Around 1951, in Aberdeen, Maryland, my friend Stephen Laidlaw and I formed a band. He played ukelele too, and we did "Ghost Riders in the Sky", "Got Along Without You Before I Met You", "The Old Master Painter From the Faraway Hills", and many other fine songs.
In Germany, in 1953, I got my first guitar, a Framus electric guitar. I would play rhythm guitar along with Charlie Christian and Eddie Lockjaw Davis. I only knew a few chords then, and only a few more now.
In 1954 we moved to San Pedro, California, where I played rhythm guitar in a dance band until graduating in 1956. Those were good music years, with the Jonny Otis Show, Chuck Berrie, Little Richard, Elvis Presley.
Music started up again in 1967, when in Davis, California I heard a local band, Oxford Circle, with Gary Yoder on lead vocals and guitar. They had Dehner Patton on lead guitar, Paul Waley on drums, and Jim Keylor. During that period I played in several bands, Davis Tower and a band called Bluejay, with the talented Joe Louis Walker on guitar, Jim Keylor on bass, Richard Patterson on drums. When Paul Waley became Blue Cheerās drummer I got to know Dickie Peterson, and Eric Albronda got me into several practice sessions.
In 1969 I started teaching at the University of San Francisco, and recorded my songs at Roy Chenās Studio in Chinatown. In addition to Oxford Circle and Blue Cheer musicians, the musicians and producers included Jerry Russell, Jim Haynie, Jack May, Charlie Isabella, Bob Hardy, Steve Samuels, Dave Reese, and many others. In 1970 Blue Cheer recorded four of my songs for the Phillips label, at Mercury Studios, and used two of them, "Oh Pleasant Hope" and "Money Troubles", on their Oh Pleasant Hope album, produced by Gary Yoder and Norman Mayall. It included several of Garyās tunes. Eric Albronda helped produce it.
In 1976 I was living in San Anselmo, California with Judy and our daughters, Tracy and Jenny, and I bought my first 8 track, an Otari half inch machine [see photo]. The Skins (Bob Regan on guitar, Hal Cole on drums, Bob Cole on guitar, Dale Lyberger on bass) drove down from Davis to make a demo of Barmaid Queen and other country songs. We also did a four sax version of "City Cab" which became one of the soundtracks of Ed Jonesā "Nine Years Behind the Wheel", a film that has won many awards and toured the world.
After recording in the basement for several years I sold the gear to Jim Keylor, who started Army Street Studios, in San Francisco. There I continued recording my songs, with musicians from Blue Cheer and the Pushups. Tony Rainier played guitar and drums, Ed Dorn sang and played everything, Dickie Peterson or Jim Keylor played bass, Jim Alcivar (of Ronnie Montrose) played keys. Our 45rpm release "Get Me Out of Iran" and "Ode to West Virginia" was recorded at Army Street, as were the albums California Line and Thumbs Up. In 1982 we moved to Mt. Shasta, and I stopped recording multitrack for the next several years, and concentrated on writing new songs.
In 1985 we moved to Ashland, Oregon, where I taught at the local college, and played with musicians around town. One heavy metal trio, called Dragondex (Alex Stephens on lead guitar, Scott Dorris on bass, Mike Peterson on drums) caught my attention because their originals had a classical flavor, and Scott was a music major at my school. Somehow I talked them into backing me on a set of my tunes. We were called Dicky and the Dex, and we played around Ashland for several years. We did a lot of 8 track work in my garage studio on Oxford Street, with drummers Tom Stamper and Spot, bassist Marty Ruddy, guitarist Jonathan Rand, and keyboardist David Shepherd. We also did many cable TV shows as Dicky and the Dogs.
In 1998, while living in Mt. Shasta, I did a few shows with a local band, Flipwreck (Abe Nesbitt on guitar, Jon Troxler on bass, Rob Bongtragger on drums, Dana Hight on crowd control).
As 2000 draws to a close I continue to work with Alex Stephens, who can play anything, and who is an excellent engineer. Our band is called Stephens & Peddicord, and we are working at Timeless Sound Studios, in Rogue River, Oregon, on several new albums. The first one, Donāt Blame Me, should be finished soon. It contains six new originals plus ten older songs. In the next album, The American Way, half the songs are by Stephens, including the title song. Our third planned album is called Loser, Loser, Pants on Fire.. . . Richard Peddicord