Matt Pegg is the current bass-player with Procol Harum, a post he has held since the early 1990s. Born in 1971, he grew up knowing the repertoire of Fairport Convention and Jethro Tull, both bands in which his father Dave was the bass-guitarist. Having made his professional début at 16 in the band Blinder, and took over the bassman’s role in Jethro Tull onstage and in the studio, until he moved to Australia. On returning he auditioned for Procol Harum, on his father’s recommendation (Dave reckons his son is the better of the two Pegg bassists). ‘What a great player,’ says Gary, who invited Matt to play with tonight’s Ensemble – his first time in that rôle – as he needed a very quick learner!
Matt is the fifth main bassman in Procol Harum, following the great Dave Bronze (also the Ensemble’s first bass-player) in that rôle. It’s said that any actor playing Hamlet will have watched some notable predecessor tackling the part: the chain of influence links right back to the creator of the rôle, which is enriched by each new player it attracts. Brooker and Reid’s music seems to have an existence apart from its specific interpreters, an existence enhanced, not marred, by the gradual shift in the band’s personnel over the 38 years since its foundation. It is noteworthy that musicians like Robin Trower and Matthew Fisher, who left the early line-up to forge highly-regarded solo careers, gravitated back to Procol in the 1990s, the latter for a spell of twelve years. And Matt will be back on the road with Procol, heading for Switzerland, shortly after this concert.
‘I’m very pleased to give my time for this charity,’ says Matt. ‘It’s great to play with Andy, Henry and Frank, and to know that the money raised in this great setting will be going directly to where it’s really needed.’ Matt’s previous work with this team includes gigs with the ‘Millennium Edition’ of No Stiletto Shoes; he also played with Gary, Andy and Henry on From Clarksdale To Heaven, the John Lee Hooker tribute album. In the 90s he taught bass guitar at Guildford’s Academy of Contemporary Music, and in recent years has recorded well-received albums with Squeeze lyricist Chris Difford, Francis Dunnery (formerly with It Bites, whom Blinder supported in the 1980s) and the Stone Roses’ Ian Brown.
Matt’s current work, outside the commitments of his recently-started family, include sessions with singer-songwriter Mikey at Eel Pie Island, with Procol Harum’s Mark Brzezicki drumming and Simon Townshend producing. He also looks forward in the long-term to a solo album, which Procol fans in particular look forward to with great anticipation.