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AOL Postings about Pete Solley

Below are the relevant AOL postings referred to by Pete Solley in his 8/97 interview with Ron Smith. First - a few comments by Jem33

Pete Solley had apparently been Lurking on the AOL Procol Board for some time - i.e. reading the posts but not revealing his presence to us.  Judging from the Apology below, I think Pete never would've been dissed if he had let us know he was online..

>>>>> PETE They slammed me. And I slammed them back.; [Note: America On Line has their own "Procol Harum" newsgroup to discuss the band and upcoming events. Often the postings focused on the good old days of Matthew Fisher and the classic organ sound. One Fisher fan sparked a controversy by declaring that Solley should not even have been invited to Redhill.] <<

Ron's comment is misleading.  As you'll see below - the "slam" was mainly about the SYNTH replacing the Hammond in 1977,  NOT about Matthew Fisher, who was just mentioned in passing.. If the post had been about Fisher, the criticism would've been directed against Chris Copping - who was Fisher's successor  between 1970-1976.  By the time the fan apologized, somehow Fisher became more prominent in his mind - I DON"T KNOW WHY-- it makes No Sense vis a vis Solley.. But the Initial Complaint was primarily about that SYNTH!!!

>>  Yeah, they were just slamming me, saying I did't have a right to be there or some kind of crap. So I wrote a scathing e-mail (laughs). It was kind of fun, actually. <<

Only 2 fans slammed Solley,  Fan#1 re the Snyth,  and Fan#2  who just voiced a mild concurrence.  A third fan spoke of a similar situation, but didn't criticiize Solley, as he'd never heard Solley's work.

>> A couple of people stuck up for me, but the ones that didn't were just shaken to their boots and apologized profusely, sending me personal e-mails "I'm so sorry." <<

There were more posts of support for Solley than criticism.. While I gather there were some private apologies, only Fan #1 "shook in his boots" online.

OK - and now to the Posts:  -- jm
Subj: July 19th
Date: 11 Jun 1997 22:11:20 EDT
From: TBren80504
Message-ID: <>

To all:  I must say that, sure, MG's presence will be welcome at the 30th anniversary show.  But, how in God's name was Pete Solley even invited?  No offense intended, but his "Farfisa" (or whatever it was called) was thoroughly abysmal, to put it mildly.  The mere timbre & tonal quality of it
made a mockery of PH's much greater days.  On this point, I'm sure DEDACTR and others would agree.  And his technique clearly wouldn't exactly give MF a bout of self-doubt.  This is pathetic.  Even the most gracious of hosts might have had the foresight to avoid making this get together seem lame.
Subj: Re: July 19th
Date: 11 Jun 1997 23:53:06 EDT
Message-ID: <>

     Well, I surely would agree with that. However one must realize that there is (and I imagine always will be) a great amount of sychophancy surrounding Gary and virtually anything he's done/he does (It's what Fans do), and an indiscriminate blanket invite to anyone who ever shared a stage
with Gary under the name Procol Harum should be of no surprise to anyone. If Gary at one time or another gave his imprimatur by playing with this one or that one, then surely the sponsers of his fanzine would follow suit. However, if people are going to Redhill on the 19th to have a great
time, then they surely will no matter what (especially those who are travelling a great distance and doing so at such great expense).

Subj: Re: July 19th
Date: 12 Jun 1997 00:26:54 EDT
Message-ID: <>

Pete Solley's Presence!

Why I admitedly don't know anything or haven't heard anything by Pete Solley, it is an English tradition to screw up a good thing- i.e. my Yardbird buddies Jim McCarty  & Chris Dreja being led like lambs to slaughter by Paul Samwell Smith who brought in John FIddler in the "Box of Frogs" and dropping John Knightsbridge a top notch guitarist.
The common link is that Mr. Solley must be a good old boy liked by the member with the most clout - guess - it ain't Matthew!, irregardless of their lack of musical talent or what they detract to the band.  Often the fans know more than the musicians what's good for them! - Mr. Mike

Subj: Keyboard Critique-save it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Date: 12 Jun 1997 14:20:08 EDT
From: CERDES96
Message-ID: <>

             Good Grief! All these non-keyboard players bandying about technical critiques on the players Regardless of what your opinion is of Something Magic, Pete Solley did some fine work on that record. Yes, he has chops........better than Coppings actually but then again cc injected spirit
into the band back in 70. Solley is also accomplished at the synth and used i tprofessionally as opposed to CC. I don't dislike CC, don't get me wrong. But he could have done a lot more (even MF said that!) and PAID MORE ATTENTION SOMETIMES to what was needed.

Subj: Pete Solley Replies
Date: 12 Jun 1997 14:29:58 EDT
From: PeteProds
Message-ID: <>

In response to some of you who are attacking me for attending the reunion I have this to say.
I have stayed in close contact with Gary and Keith since my short stay with the band,and have remained best of friends.Gary personally suggested I attend,and that I would play a couple of tunes with the band.I have no intention of playing more than that,and I understand the importance of Mathew's playing to you,but as Gary said to me,"it's all part of the Procol History".I'm also going more for the social aspect of seeing M.G.,and Copping again.I'd like to point out too, that Gary and Keith
asked me to tour with the band a few years ago,but I had to turn it down as  I was in the studio producing a record at the time.
Now to the IMPORTANT part of my statement. For those attacking my musical abitities,like the idiot who said technically my ability was less than Mathew.I have performed(on the HAMMOND) on albums by Eric Clapton,Whitesnake and numerous others.I have produced tens of Gold and platinum albums by artists as diverse as Ted Nugent,Peter Frampton,the Romantics,Mountain,Motorhead and have received Grammy nominations for best album in various catagories.I have played in jazz settings with some of the greatest players of all time,and have written a number one song on the Billboard charts.I have conducted the New York Philharmonic strings on sessions that I have scored.I now own one of the largest music software companies in the USA.I think this resume says all that needs to be said on that count.
If you didn't like what was done with Procol at the time,that's fair enough,but remember that it was done with the blessing of the band who wanted to try moving in a differant direction at the time,and I was hired for that purpose as much as my playing(i.e. the use of synthesisers;a new instrument at that time).  Procol is also my favorite band of all time.It was an honor playing with them,and I would hope that the fans would appreciate that this honor would be treasured by me,and is part of my own history.I therefore think I have every right to attend,and certainly a lot more of a right than some fool who criticizes something he knows nothing about.
Sincerely, Peter Solley.
p.s. Personal e-mail will not be replied to.I just had to get this off my chest....

Subj: Re: Pete Solley Replies
Date: 12 Jun 1997 15:36:50 EDT
From: Jem33
Message-ID: <>

I'm not a fan of synths, as many of you know, but I've always loved Pete Solley's work on Strangers in Space - because he didn't try to emulate other instruments with the synth (such efforts are always poor imitations of the originals, IMHO)  but instead he created new space-age sounds with it. actually my Favorite song on the Something Magic album... Very ironic for a synthophobe like me...

Subj: Re: Pete Solley Replies
Date: 12 Jun 1997 21:46:53 EDT
From: BigTex1976
Message-ID: <>


Thanks for coming by and having your say ... too bad it took a slam to bring you into the light of day on the board here ... I don't know how long you have been lurking but over the many months this folder has been around there have also been friends and fans of yours who have stopped by to inquire as to your whereabouts ...  hopeully you had the opportunity to see those as well
as the unfortunate comment that appeared recently.  Like you, I think criticism is fair game but the post in question was simply rude and uncalled-for .... your post should serve as as reminder, which I have issued from time to time myself, that this is, essentially, a public place and we should all "think before we click" ...

btw, that's an interesting and impressive resume you have there ... never knew 'til now ....

And now I will click ....


Subj: An Apology to Pete Solley
Date: 12 Jun 1997 22:38:35 EDT
From: TBren80504
Message-ID: <>

To Peter Solley:  I sincerely apologize for my earlier post.  In truth, it was borne of great frustration that the original PH, apparently, will never get together again for any reason.  I had thought (and hoped) that the 30th anniversary event might have been catalytic in this regard.  As others have
since pointed out, I had no right to place such a "slam" upon you, especially considering it was not justified.  There was a time I did play piano, wrote music, etc., but, no, I am without real talent, unlike yourself.

Please don't take the one idiotic statement about technique as having had any real basis, even in my mind.  It was a pathetic attempt at elevating Matthew Fisher, at your expense, without any basis whatsoever.  The tone of the post was its true message.  I am frustrated and took it out on you.  Had I ever thought for a moment that you might be reading it, the post would never have read the way it did.

Your credentials and accomplishments speak for themselves.  And, for what it is worth, I am truly sorry.  Tim Brennan

PS  The synthesizer on Strangers in Space always took a special place in my personal memories of PH.

Subj: Re: An Apology to Pete Solley
Date: 12 Jun 1997 23:20:48 EDT
From: CERDES96
Message-ID: <>

               It was noble of you to apologize. I thank you. It IS frustrating. The current state of PH is cerrtainly almost a NON STATE. How I long for the days when an album came out once a year. The anticiption was TREMENDOUS and the reward,,,,,,,well, you certainly know. I myself have let
loose a few torrents of angst and for those well.........emotions are what make us AND OUR MUSIC what they................simple ARE.

Subj: Surprises
Date: 13 Jun 1997 09:38:50 EDT
From: WRES2345
Message-ID: <>

Where else can we communicate with accomplished musicians such as Pete Solley? Did anyone say Redhill?  I've said this before, but I anticipate it being a special unique event, unlike any other concert I've attended.  What I hope happens besides meeting the various band members, is that they get
caught up in the moment and play songs in situations never before performed. I realize the band members will not have practiced; they'll just wing it; and that's exciting 'cause you don't know what to expect.  How about Gary, Matthew, and Pete performing keyboard extravavaganza supremes such as A Christmas Camel and Hesperus; Other personal never-heard-live-before favorites such as Piggy Pig Pig might get played.  It's going to be great and Pete has the right spirit, unlike some other former band members who just happen to have schedule conflicts.  One last note--Something Magic has been steadily panned in this forum by the PH purists.  Musically, it may have varied from original PH, but IMHO it contains some fine material.  As I've said before, The Worm and The Tree is liked by many kids and is a fine album to play during the winter holidays for its diversity in general.

What is the name of the music software stores PS owns?  Does anybody know?

Subj: Re: Surprises
Date: 13 Jun 1997 11:47:33 EDT
From: CERDES96
Message-ID: <>

                   Pete Solley advertises in Keyboard magazine. They are not stores. He  offers sequences for professional use. The web address given is:
                            Peter Solley
A free demo is offered as well. Hope this helped

Subj: Re: Pete Solley Replies
Date: 13 Jun 1997 23:29:03 EDT
Message-ID: <>

    Wasn't Emerson using synthesizers as early as 1971? In fact, by 1977 they were pretty played out and, I believe, one of the reasons why "new wave" put the kibosh on everything going on at the time. A pretty stupid direction for Solley's employers to go at this point, no? At any rate, he certainly
can't be blamed for the....miscalculation.

Subj: Re: Pete Solley Replies
Date: 13 Jun 1997 23:45:46 EDT
From: CERDES96
Message-ID: <>

                      True to form. The Kibash was on is right. I myself was in horror at the direction things were taking . Being in a progressive Yes-Tull-PH type band  was great till we realized we were being  outdated right before our own eyes. The only thing that saved us was that we knew we could play entire planets around those "musicians" As for the miscalculation...........are ya sure it wasn't "befuddlement"?
                      Synths have come a long way. I for one am glad about the technology as I like to use lots of acoustic sounds as opposed to Widdy Wah-Fwaaaa Fwaaaaaa types of things. But all works out.

Subj: Re: An Apology to Pete Solley
Date: 13 Jun 1997 23:50:36 EDT
Message-ID: <>

<<There was a time I did play piano, wrote music, etc., but, no, I am without real talent, unlike yourself.>>

     This I've never understood. Does one have to be a piano player to recognize the genius of Horowitz, a singer to know that Callas was great, a sax player to be awed by Parker?

Subj: Re: Pete Solley I
Date: 14 Jun 1997 17:35:43 EDT
From: CERDES96
Message-ID: <>

  Fellow teens and mods,
       The distaste for synths I believe, is a response to earlier "analog" synthesizers rather than the digital synths of today. Actually, they are now so proficient at duplicating acoustic sounds that even a trained musical ear often cannot tell them from the real thing once proper processing has occurred especially. I know, I know. The dislike is for the older Waaaaa Waaaaaa.Fwaarrp We wooooH kind of sounds that permiated a lot of REALLY BAD MUSIC of that time. But conversely, a lot of really good stuff used those same types of envelopes and generators. Solley, however opted for some rather sophisticated timbres on SM.I found it a welcome addition and an ADDITION was all it really was. His organ work stayed within the dogmatic boundaries of what PH organ "should be". But what do I know, I'm only a keyboard player.                   cerdes96

Subj: Pete Solley -- the Prequel
Date: 14 Jun 1997 15:31:56 EDT
From: Phast
Message-ID: <>

Well, I'm sitting here with two pre-composed posts about the "Pete Solley incident" (as we will fondly remember it in years to come).  However, I see that Pete responded for himself.  I'm still going to post these ("....nothing's better left unsaid...."), but I want to make it clear that I'm not doing so to defend Pete -- he can obviously defend himself -- and very well, I might add!

So here it goes....

Subj: Pete Solley I
Date: 14 Jun 1997 15:34:02 EDT
From: Phast
Message-ID: <>

TBren80504 wrote:
<<To all:  I must say that, sure, MG's presence will be welcome at the 30th anniversary show.  But, how in God's name was Pete Solley even invited?  No offense intended, but his "Farfisa" (or whatever it was called) was thoroughly abysmal, to put it mildly.  The mere timbre &  tonal quality of it made a mockery of PH's much greater days....>>

Actually, I was maybe the first to send him the notice of the 30th anniversary event.  He was, after all, an official band member for about one year; and he is officially credited on one album.  [Yep, I
can hear the collective cringe now, even though I'm writing this offline!] However, I also know that Gary has seen him or spoke with him at least three times since the 1995 tour -- and Gary has expressed to me much respect and admiration for his keyboard playing [albeit not that "classic
Procol Hammond" sound].  So I would think that Gary invited him also. Oh well, that's just me and [my clay idol] Gary exercising poor judgment all over the place....

That's O.K., Tim, you can thank me in person when we meet in Redhill.

Subj: Pete Solley II
Date: 14 Jun 1997 15:38:23 EDT
From: Phast
Message-ID: <>

TBren80504 also wrote:
<<....This is pathetic.  Even the most gracious of hosts might have have had the foresight to avoid making this get together seem lame....>>

Well, it's probably not too late for you to back out and lose just the cancellation fee on your airline ticket....

To TBren80504:
The above was pre-composed, but this part is "live."  I didn't intend to "rub it in" after your apology -- like I said, these posts were pre-composed before I read Pete's post and your apology.  But I did decided to still post them, because they speak to more than just this particular episode.

Subj: Pete Solley III
Date: 14 Jun 1997 15:48:07 EDT
From: Phast
Message-ID: <>

O.K., I promise this is the last of the "Pete Solley incident," at least from me.

I've decided that my pre-composed "Pete Solley III" post is just too mean -- even for me!  So I'll just say this instead:

And we wonder why Pete, Gary, Matthew, Robin, et al., don't want to come online?

Subj: And Now..
Date: 14 Jun 1997 15:57:08 EDT
From: Jem33
Message-ID: <>

And now for some (hopefully) Comic Relief:

At the Palace of Fine Arts 10/3/91 gig, Gary said (approximately):
"You can tell from looking at us that we haven't taken good care of our bodies."
The band members at the time were:  Gary, Matthew, Dave Bronze, Mark B. and Tim Renwick.
Methinks His Highness was using the Royal "We."  ;-)
And next for your reading pleasure - here's Gary's Countryside Joke from Germany.  I gave this an "out-of- town TryOut"  in Usenet awhile ago, and it earned a good laugh from a Canadian...

Portion of Introduction to Self Sufficiency Blues - Gary Brooker at Germany's RockPalast, 1983 (?):

Gary: " .... Back in England, I live a little bit out in the countryside..."
Audience Member:  "WHAT???"
G:  "Out...In...the...COUNTRYSIDE!"
A.M.:  "oh yeah."
G:  "What didya Think I said??"
A.M. (mumbles something)
G: (spoken quickly in his dignified English accent):
"You missed the last half of the word, I s'pose."
Audience:  <Clueless Silence>
Gary then continued with the intro & song without further incident.

Subj: Re: Pete Solley I
Date: 14 Jun 1997 16:01:29 EDT
Message-ID: <>

<<Oh well, that's just me and [my clay idol] Gary exercising poor judgment all over the place....>>

     Hi Pat,
     Now you really don't expect anyone to believe that Gary is your clay idol, do you? And while he most certainly is mine, I definitely don't think he exercised poor judgement in inviting Pete Solley to Redhill. I mean, why not get Kellogs up there to play the Bosun's whistle? That's also part of
Procol's recorded history. No, Gary's exercise of poor judgement pertains solely to musical and professional matters.

Subj: Re: Pete Solley I
Date: 14 Jun 1997 16:46:29 EDT
From: Jem33
Message-ID: <>

Hi Phast!

Well you've given me courage to post my thoughts on this as well {{collective cringe}}}

I think Tim was responding to the very real and very Negative reaction of Many PH fans to the use of the synth on the 1977 tour -  which is absolutely NO reflection on Solley as a musician, btw - just on  using that instrumentation to play most of the classic PH catalog.  I just found out about the 1977 synth - and the fans' reactions to it -  last year, when I read the following statement in Shine On -  around the time of the 2/96 Barbican gig.  I'll re-post the entire quote, for those newbies who may be interested, but my point is really about the last sentence by the Editor:
>>> Organist Matthew Fisher has his own definite ideas on playing live with an orchestra.  Maybe we'll do a fuller interview with him on this soon.  For now, he commented:  " I have a feeling a lot of people that turned up were those that like a bit of classical music but a bit easier to listen to - like
Evita or Cats.  But I can't say I didn't enjoy it.  I take my hat off to the LSO.  This lot pissed over all the other orchestras we've played with.  People like the idea of a classical orchestra playing with us.  But
when the organ came in on AWSOP,  everybody cheered.  Perhaps that's what they really came for."
Indeed, near the end, when Gary introduced the band for their individual curtain bows, Matthew Fisher drew the biggest cheer.

****Remove the Hammond organ from Procol Harum and death will be in a matter of seconds. ******

That last sentence kind of shocked and intrigued me, and I asked about it online.  I was told that the  Editor was probably referring to the 1977 tour, and how upsetting it was that the Hammond was replaced by the synth... I understand this.   I think any great band - and Especially PH - is analogous
to a living organism (that's ORGANISM -- 'what did you Think I said??'  <G>) and that too much modification violates its unique integrity as an organism - akin to pulling the limbs off an animal...  I think that what killed PH in 1977 wasn't the Punk movement, but 2 very big internal errors:
The Worm in the Tree, and the Synth on Tour.  If only one of these hadn't happened - who knows??? So yes, the synth is a part of PH history - a Very Unpleasant Part to many fans - and that's why I think Tim posted as he did.    AGAIN - absolutely NO disrespect to Solley as a Musician!!  I think we All love his work on Strangers.. for example..

But unfortunately in his post, Tim chose to compare Solley with Fisher -  IMO a totally ridiculous and irrelevant thing to do.  although I know there was no malice behind it..

But then a very surprising thing happened when Solley posted his response. Amazingly,  instead of saying how silly it was to compare the 2 musicians, he chose to go along with the comparison - trying to show how HE's Superior to MF because of his (Solley's) long list of impressive credentials - IMHO a logical-non-sequitur answer to a foolish misguided question!

And also surprisingly, Solley resorted to namecalling ( "idiot" and "fool" ) - never an intelligent way to conduct an argument..

I know Solley's feelings were hurt, but one would think that someone with such distinguished credentials wouldn't get so bent out of shape by the remarks of a hapless PH fan..

And then Tim -- sorry, dude -- you go and say that you posted as you did because you were trying to elevate MF???  I Don't Think So!!!  MF requires no Elevation, especially within the context of PH - he's a Highly Esteemed Founding Father of the band - the one who Defined the PH Organ
Sound, the one who many believe helped to define the Entire PH sound..  I'm sure that Everybody who will be taking the stage at Redhill on July 19th feels this way about MF - about what a Magnificent Musician he is, and what an HONOR it will be to be playing with him!  If they didn't feel that way, they wouldn't have any right to play at Redhill,  now would they?

Subj: Re: Abridged Procol II
Date: 14 Jun 1997 20:55:04 EDT
Message-ID: <>

<<For the record:  The proper word for DEDACTR is "devolved."  The proper word for me is "evolved." And who really gives a shit, anyway?>>

     Hey man, watch your language! The Pope may be reading this board. And you want to talk about resumes?

Subj: Pete Solley's Last word
Date: 14 Jun 1997 22:53:29 EDT
From: PeteProds
Message-ID: <>

I'm glad I helped to stir things up on your board.I came back to check on the response and I think all your comments are valid.

A couple of addendums.One posting mentioned that synthesisers were around before my time with the band. I should have said,"a relatively new instrument".Previous to that time,there were only monophonic synths,and they all were set up with patch cords or a matrix board. The first polyphonic synth came out just about that time.I used a thing called a Crumer String Machine,very primitive by today's standards,and an ARP oddessy synth,which was like the early Moogs,(i.e. you could only play one note at a time.I used a "soupled up Farfisa" which the factory built for me.The reason I used it was it had state of the art features like glide pedals(the sound you hear on Strangers in Space,and
arppegiators,(the sound you hear on Skating on Thin Ice).When the I played it simply as an organ,through the Leslies,there was no discernable differance between that and a Hammond.To the trained ear you could hear a certain thin quality in the top end,and it did not possess the Hammonds chorus vibrato(which was very rarely used in Procol.However,if you listen(and I know you don't like to,but....) to Strangers in Space,the organ sound during the chorus is very Hammond like.In all honesty,of course there is nothing like a Hammond B3,and as I said in my previous posting,it has been my instrument of choice with many records I've played on.However,I did want to bring something new to the situation,and not simply repeat that which had already been done for the last 9 years.

Believe me,the band would have ended when it did,Farfisa or not. They were very tired of playing the same songs for 10 years at that time.However,I think I injected a freshness which they
enjoyed and which made the last year more enjoyable for everyone involved.

 In answer to the posting by Jem,I believe,she (or he)said I tried to show my superiority to MF by displaying some of my credits.That was not the point of it.It was to dispel inferences that my musical ability was somehow less than worthy of the Procol history,an inference that was made by a couple of people who have now apologised,and to whom I humbly thank for their postings,and personal messages.It seemed that no one knew much about me,and I was simply enlightening you guys to my career.

As for me using the words idiot or fool,I guess it worked.............

Lastly,while I certainly agree with you that Procol's best work was done previous to my stay,(through no fault of my own),I do think there are a couple of tracks on S.M.,that merit some mention.Something Magic,Skating on Thin Ice and Strangers are all excellent Procol songs.Unfortunately,the
choice of studio at the time was less than perfect,and I think the record suffered because of it.

Long live Procol,and thanks to all of you for still enjoying the greatest rock band of all time(on a good day........).

Again,I can't reply to personal e-mails.That's not 'cos I'm big time or anything.It just ties up my other e-mail concerns,and business time. That's my last word..................

See whoever in Redhill.
Cheers,Pete Solley

Subj: Re: Pete Solley's Last word
Date: 15 Jun 1997 00:18:12 EDT
Message-ID: <>

Very gracious post, Pete. Thanks.

Subj: Re: Pete Solley Replies
Date: 15 Jun 1997 12:49:23 EDT
From: Jem33
Message-ID: <>


I always post as if they're ALL reading the board.  And they can read it after the fact anyway by being sent the posts - I mentioned this awhile back..  But I don't always say the most complimentary things - I just try to be respectful/constructive in my critiques.

A few days before Pete posted (honest!), I emailed someone wondering about how the Board would be if (as on MANY other Boards)  the band members were online with us -  i.e.

1) Would we say the same things?
2) Would we get yelled at?
3) Would MF Cringe with embarrassment???

So we got the answer to #2 so far...But I think it turned out very nicely in the end.. I hope the answer to #1 is "yes."

BTW I just noticed that Steve Lukather (LUKE DADDY) is on the Toto Board (or at least I'm Almost positive it's he).  He seems like a nice guy - though a bit too enchanted with Doody Jokes <G>.


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