While he can’t imagine doing anything else, Garry Peterson (drums, vocals), a founding member of classic Canadian rockers The Guess Who, says being in such an act is a blessing and a curse.
“You get to play the same 20 songs over and over again,” he said, speaking from his home in Greensboro, N.C. “After a while you go, ‘Is that it?’ I’d love to record some more. For some reason, the classic rock acts were just stonewalled and that was it. It’s just, ‘Play your classics and don’t worry about any new music.’
“It seems kind of sad to me because there’s still got to be creative juices flowing,” he said. “You don’t stop playing songs if you’re a musician and you don’t just stop writing songs if you’re a songwriter.”
The Guess Who, rounded out by founding member Jim Kale (bass) and longtime members Derek Sharp (lead vocals, guitar), Laurie MacKenzie (guitar, vocals) and Leonard Shaw (keyboards, flute, vocals), performs with Steve Augeri at Fraze Pavilion in Kettering on Thursday as part of the WHIO TV Concert Series.
While classic rock radio has kept the band’s indelible songs such as “American Woman,” “These Eyes,” “No Sugar Tonight” and “Clap for the Wolfman” alive for decades, it’s the Internet that is introducing The Guess Who’s deeper catalog to a new generation of fans.
“Classic rock radio stations are still playing our stuff almost every day in this country,” Peterson said. “I don’t know how much longer it will last but it has lasted since 1975. The Internet has been a great boon because now all of our albums, which were never released on CD by RCA, are all available on digital download.
“That’s good, not only for our former fans but for newer, younger people,” he continued. “They may like ‘American Woman’ and go, ‘There’s like 13 albums by The Guess Who,’ and they may be curious enough to listen to some of them.”
While Peterson would love to get more new material out in front of audiences, he remains excited to tour and perform for fans.
“That’s the drug, to be able to entertain people and make them feel emotions,” Peterson said. “For that time, you have them there in your hands to take them away from whatever part of their life is not as pleasant and to give them a little respite from daily activity. That’s why we have entertainment, movies, art, paintings, poems, stories and all those kind of diversions that take you away from your everyday tedium.”
HOW TO GO
Who: The Guess Who with Steve Augeri (former lead singer of Journey), part of the WHIO-TV Concert Series
Where: Fraze Pavilion, 695 Lincoln Park Blvd., Kettering
When: 8 p.m. Thursday
Cost: $25 lawn & terrace, $32 side orchestra (sections A&D), $37 center orchestra (sections B&C)
More info: (937) 296-3300 or www.fraze.com