Peter Demian L.O.V.E. (Legend Of Venice Eternal) by Gerry Fialka
Peter Demian L.O.V.E. (Legend Of Venice Eternal) by Gerry Fialka
Venice BeachHead Dec 2021
“I know nothing, I live in the Eternal” -George Santayna
I know one thing after living in Venice California for over 41 years. Walk on the Boardwalk at Sunset. Watch Peter Demian sing a song. You’ll see alot more that the green dot, you will see Eternity. Guaranteed. He’ll sing the everlastingness of love. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll kiss life good-bye.
Suzy Williams has transcribed excerpts of my recent interview with Peter. Watch the entire 83 minute interview on YouTube, entitled “The Legend of Venice The Peter Demian Interview.”
Gerry Fialka: What first attracted you to pursue music?
Peter Demian: My parents were arguing with each other, falling out of love with one another. And so, when I found a guitar, that guitar became my companion. I’d go somewhere, quietly, in the house, and play to soothe my aching heart. I was eleven when I got into music.
G: How are you hearing music, by what means?
P: I am in a place, Port Ontario, Canada, now it’s called Thunder Bay. As I’m walking around the block, I hear from a distance, the sound of an electric guitar, and I wonder what is it? Where is this? I follow the sound three blocks away, and it’s a cat in front of his house with a guitar. His amplifier is up full, playing for anybody and everybody. It was beautiful. It overwhelmed me! The volume, and the power of the sound.
G: Did you read poetry? What were your influences?
P: I couldn’t read English! I spoke Ukranian. I said to my mother one day “I’m going downtown to buy a Ritchie Valle album.” I loved his song “La Bamba.” She said: “You can’t even speak English. Whaddaya tryin’ learn this Mexican song?” I didn’t know what the lyrics meant (of the songs I began covering.) I was playing in the kitchen, and my mother ran in and said “Why’re you playing that “Huddy Bolly” music?” (She meant “Buddy Holly”! She couldn’t speak English, either!)
G: Who were your local influences up in Canada?
P: I saw a big black hearse parked in front of my high school, and I went to the guy who was in it and I said:
“What’s this car doing here? Isn’t it for dead people?”
“It’s where I live,” answered the stranger.”
“Well, just asking, why are you parked here?”
“My girlfriend goes to school here. “
“Oh, I see”, I said. “Well, what’s your name?”
“Neil Young. I’m a musician.”
He played me some songs that I liked. I became a follower of him, and went to all his local gigs.
Then I got pretty good at rhythm guitar, and got hired by “Tommy and the Tiaras.” I didn’t know what a tiara was and I didn’t realize ’til much later, they were a gay group!
One day I went to audition for a group led by Paul Shaffer called “The Fugitives.” I played my rhythm guitar. Paul said “Listen, do you play bass?” “No,” I said. “Well, Peter, go out and buy a bass and I will show you how to play along.” I came over to his house later that week and he went “ping ping ping” on the piano, and said I was to go “boom boom boom” on my new bass. It worked, and The Fugitives ended up opening for famous acts like The Who, and Eric Burdon & The Animals in a big skating rink in (what was to become) Thunder Bay. (Paul Shaffer was David Letterman’s band leader from 1982 to 2015).
G: Wow! Paul Shaffer was David Letterman’s band leader from 1982 to 2015). So then you went on the road?
P: Yes, then I began going on the road with groups like “Lexington Ave” and “The Good Time Band,” who had a Hammond B3 that I shlepped for years. Others in the group weren’t able to move heavy stuff. (When I met Billy Preston I told him I know that his Hammond weighed 400 lbs. “How do you know,?” asked Billy. “Because I was the roadie!” ) I eventually settled for 7 years in Detroit with my girlfriend Bonnie, and did solo gigs that made pretty good money, 100 bucks a gig. I played in Mitch Ryder’s band when Mitch left.
But after 7 years, I got tired of 40 degrees below weather. I needed to go somewhere sunny. So I crossed the country in my Plymouth Valiant, and found myself parked on Mulholland above Hollywood. A motorcycle LAPD cop stopped and asked me what I was doing. We began a conversation, I learned his name, Robert. I told him I was a musician. “Where should I go to play?” I asked Robert. “Venice Beach.” he told me. Years later I saw Robert and thank him for turning me on to Venice.
G: What year did you start playing on the Venice Boardwalk?
P: Roughly, ‘79.
G: How many years did you play without amplification?
P: 30 years, at least. I was unplugged, I didn’t want to offend anybody. But eventually I realized that if you became amplified and had a band, you could stomp like Godzilla. You could be crazy. But if you play acoustically, you’re playing for yourself, which I also love to do.
G: Tell me about your wife, Margaret Malloy.
P: I married her twice, July 7 and July 20 (my birthday) almost 40 years ago. And about 31 years ago, we decided to have a child, Hailey Lincoln Demian.
G: How do you explain your longevity with Margaret?
P: There’s an old expression “Happy wife, happy life.” I’m washing the dishes and cleaning the floors. Love is a heavy cross to bear.
G: What have you learned playing on the Boardwalk?
P: The Beach has taught me to be kind to everybody no matter the circumstances.
G: You are a kind man.
P: I’m compassionate . . . compassionate and sneaky.
G: Sneaky could connote negative.
P: Music can elevate people. The Beach is a lesson.
Listen to this entire interview on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gEXyy4vkbow
It is entitled “The Legend of Venice The Peter Demian Interview” and will be part of a feature documentary on Peter by myself and the great filmmaker Tim Corvin
Peter’s new CD is called “Mother Earth.” Celebrate its release on Dec 11 at the Boardwalk & Dudley Ave in Venice California
I have two podcasts on two different channels,
Tune in, Watch out and Drop In to Gerry Fialka’s two podcasts on two different channels, Laughtears.com
Clinton Ignatov’s channel CONCERNED NETIZEN https://www.youtube.com/user/clintonthegeek
ONE= McLuhanMashup — we discuss topics with Gerry and Clinton and guests
here’s one with Rodney Asher https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CjMq7NPrmy0&t=1673s
TWO= Mess — which is Gerry interviewing guest for approx 85 minutes, then Clinton asks a question
here’s one with Amy Gerstler https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D551XHSB0jI&t=10s
Rob Grant’s channel — I’m Probably Wrong About Everything
ONE= Laughtears — we discuss topics with Gerry and Rob and guests
here’s one with Dr Bradley Bobbs https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z8OFiML7KAU&t=4s
TWO= InnerViews — which is Gerry interviewing guest for approx 85 minutes, then Rob asks a question
here’s one with Jay Paulson https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dzHb1jUq-I8&t=12s