Matt Pegg talks to DJ Number Six
Guest DJ No 6 at uclaradio.com broadcast his seventh internet Procol Harum marathon on Saturday 15 June, 9am to 12 am California time. It featured this new Matt Pegg
This is Number Six and you are listening to UCLA radio and we are delighted to have on the show today Matt Pegg. Matt is the bass player for Procol Harum and has been playing with the group I think since about 1992, as I recall. Is that right?
There about. I think it was actually '93 that I actually started with them.
Matt, how did you get involved in music? Obviously your father is the bass player for Fairport Convention, Jethro Tull. I'm certain there was some influence, there.
Absolutely. I kind of grew up surrounded by it. After seeing all of my father's and family friends they all play music and most of them are very talented musicians who were in the house when I was growing up. So, by the time I got to a teenage age, I thought everyone could do that. And it wasn't really until I left school and realised that not everybody does play instruments all of time. So our house was always full of music. So I basically got it all from my [hearts?].
Who were some of you other favourite bass players?
Oh Blimey. I'd have to say, my Dad's number one. I like listening to anything with me on it. I like Dave Bronze. I like Leland Sklaar, Jaco, everybody really. I like everything. There is nothing I really dislike, musically, you know.
How did you get hooked up with Procol Harum.
With Procol? I actually did an audition with Gary and the drummer. And then they asked me back for a couple of later auditions and then a week later we were off to America on a tour.
You are the youngest member of the group and this is really a group that has been categorised by some as Progressive Rock – the so called Progressive Rock sound. Do you like the Progressive Rock sound?
With Procol Harum – I always think of Progressive Rock as not Procol Harum. But something else. We always called Procol Harum, Procol Harum music. Because there doesn't seem to be a lot else around that you can kind of put it in the same box as. It really is Procol Harum music and it is their own entity and their own rights, you know.
Their sound is really unique. I've been a big – time fan of theirs for many years.
And the whole thing of the way the songs are constructed and Gary's voice of course and the whole thing. I really love all of the music that Procol does. There's not any songs that I dislike, or don't enjoy playing. Every song is a winner to me.
How do you like playing when they play with an orchestra?
It's fantastic. I mean you gain grey hairs and bald patches because it can be a bit stressful. You can never be sure what's going to happen. As long as you pay attention, and keep your head up, watching. The times I've done it, I've really enjoyed it and found it quite a magical experience to play with that many people and the noise. I've never seen an orchestra until I started doing those… It really was an eye – opener for me. But it is very enjoyable. It is a completely different thing to go in on stage with like a rock and roll band and doing all of that stuff.
Now, you've got some tours coming up very soon. Is that right?
We've got some work with Procol. We start on the 24th at Newcastle Opera house and then Croydon and then the following week we're off to Poland and we have a one off date in Jakarta in Indonesia on June 2nd. So a bit of work with them… and then I'm off again with the other people I work with and carrying on doing some other things.
Now in the last UCLA radio show that we had we actually did play two cuts from some of your work with Francis Dunnery.
…from the album Man, we played Me and Francine and The Garden of Mystic Lovers. Wonderful. So tell me about that collaboration.
Well me and Francis hooked up again. I've known him since I was a teenager and we hooked up again about three years ago and decided to…give it a few years of effort to try to make something happen and get his album done and all the rest and we started our own record company called "Aquarian Nation." And basically we just did it all on our own without any other record company. Did those two records and we've just signed Chris Difford from Squeeze which is an album from him that is coming out in a couple of months and another guy in New York called Steven Harris, which isn't quite finished yet. So we've just using it really as a vehicle to record the music we want to record without any restrictions, financial or…So everyone is kind of helping everybody else out. And we can actually record what we want to whether anyone likes it or not.
It [work with Francis Dunnery] is quite a nice sound. We had some very favourable comments from people who heard those cuts.
Yeah; It's kind of only available when we do shows and on the internet at Francis Dunnery dot com. So it kind of like it hasn't even been released yet. So when we tour with it, it's a nice thing, you know; and it's a good record. I'm very proud of that record.
Do you see that as the future? With the internet now, is it possible that we're going to see a major challenge to some of the larger major record companies?
I think we already are. I don't know about in the states but over here lots of major artists that you wouldn't dream would ever have any problems are getting dropped and big companies are going down and I think to be honest a sort of cottage industry – people like we're doing it. I mean, my father started a company called "Woodland Records" twenty-five years ago and me and Francis can only draw from what it's based on. So basically that's what everyone wants now is their own thing that they don't have to answer to anybody else and it can't be pulled from under their feet. So we start off small and we just keep plodding away and if it comes to something it does and if it doesn't, it doesn't. We tried.
Procol's got a new album coming out I saw on Eagle Records… or some album is coming out on Eagle Records -- I don't know exactly what it is. I've ordered mine.
Is it a repressing?
I don't know. It just says, "To Be Announced" -- Eagle Records. And I purchased it on amazon.com and I have no ideas what it's going to be. So I don't know if it's going to be a live thing or a studio thing.
I haven't heard anything about it.
You've also played with Jethro Tull.
I did stand in for my dad for a couple of years while he was washing his hair. But they let me off for good behaviour.
What was that experience like?
Fantastic. Really, really good. I went all around the world and played for some big crowds. And TV things, and Letterman Show, Carson -- but I was quite young at the time -- 19 or 20 years old and it was a good learning experience. Taught me a hell of a lot about the whole thing. I just wish I had got the chance to go and do some shows like that again.
So you are on a fishing trip right now?
We have a little sailing boat. We're sailing around from Essex around to my house in Brighton. It's going to take a week I think.
What is the weather like?
Blowing a hooley and raining. We're just tied up to a little buoy in the middle of nowhere, waiting for it to get better.
A good place to do an interview.
What are some of your other interests outside of music?
Oh. Sailing. I like snowboarding. I used to spend the winters in Vermont. In Stowe. In Vermont, just snowboarding every day. I'm getting a bit old for that now; my back has given up, too. So laid off that a little bit. Basically, music, snowboarding and sailing. That's basically it. And the obvious ones the rest of band knows all about. You know, just regular things, really.
Do you get over to the states very much?
Me and Francis Dunnery come over three or four times a year and play at New York and Pittsburgh; Philadelphia at "Teen Angel." New York at the "Fez" or "Joe's Pub" or somewhere.
Great. Well I hope that if you get to Los Angeles, you'll give us a call so we can…
I'd love us to get all the way over there. I think the furthest West we've gotten from New York is Pittsburgh. But we're trying to get people to invite us.
Any news about Procol possibly coming to do some shows here in the States?
I really wish they would, because we haven't been over for a long time and I think it would be a good thing to do. I really do. And touring in America is always much more fun than anywhere else. The country is designed for it really. Everything's an easy day, you know.
Well, it's a vast country. And I've not seen Procol Harum here since 1995 at the House of Blues.
I think you were there.
I was there. That was me.
You probably didn't see me, but I was standing in the front, waving and jumping up and down.
Well I hope we were good.
Oh, you were great. The crowd was a little rowdy. I would say at the House of Blues.
I do remember that. The place right next to the Mondrian. Isn't it.
That's exactly right.
I remember us having a particularly late night in there the day before the show. Me and Geoff Whitehorn were the culprits.
Now, we were talking a little bit about the internet and one of the things that I think is so wonderful is the Procol Harum website, headed by Roland and Jens. That's really helped unite the fans. Do you go on there? Do the members of the band sometimes go on there and see what the fans are saying?
Absolutely. I'm not that great on the computer. I bought a Mac – a little laptop and it was all going fine- but I haven't actually used it for a while, because I've kind of lost my patience with it. But I do love it. I think it's a fantastic thing. It's just me personally. I don't really use it that much.
Anything you'd like to tell the Procol Harum fans out there?
Come and see us. Write to Gary and tell him to record a new record.
Oh, we have been. I wish he would.
Get Gary to do a new album. That's the best piece of advice, I think.
Oh yes, I think everyone is hoping that that will happen.
And failing that, log on to Francis Dunnery dot come and check out what's going on in there; because we may be coming through your town.
We'd love it. And we certainly enjoy the energy that you put into Procol Harum and the great bass playing. And keep up the wonderful work with both Procol as well as your other projects.
And I hope the weather clears up a little bit for you.
So do I. I just want a bit less wind and we'll be off.
And this is the first interview I've ever done with someone sailing. Thank you very much.