*****Peto Interview


Pop with Peto by Codi

Interview photos by Debra Gerth


Peto's "In My Place" CD cover and link to his site.

Without a doubt, the GLBT Artists Promo has been and is one of my most cherished experiences since opening StoneWall Society. Peto is no exception! His music is self described as "Sweet and tasty pop music", the artist-Peto is an up, cheerful, and positive person with lots to share. Enjoy, I have.

SWS: Thanks for taking the time to chat with us Peto.

Peto: Definitely my pleasure!

SWS: "Sweet and tasty Pop music served up with a damn good sense of humor for all  people trying to get a little more fun out of life." I know, I ran on and paraphrased, but that seems to be the underlying feel to Peto and "In My Place". What a great perspective, what brought you to that point Peto?

Peto: Lots and lots of therapy! ha ha ha!  Seriously though, "IMP" became a complete reflection of who I am and where I am, now. Three or four years ago, this would've been a very different record.  Though the songs aren't word for word my exact personal experiences, they are definitely inspired by what I have gone through to become the person I am. Issues of personal strength, failed relationships, discrimination...all of it is there, but I'm able to write and tell the stories with a power and passion that is my own.  Mostly because I also try to have a good sense of humor about myself. I think that is what makes me me--that I consider myself a "dork on a mission."  And I see that as a good thing.  Many times it's been hard being someone who felt "different" growing up, but I really try to embrace that about myself now.  And so people who experience my songs get to share in that realness--and that sense of fun.  That's one thing that is so great about writing and performing--I have so much fun, and people tell me it shows, especially when they see me perform live.

SWS: Is there one overall influence which has brought you to this point in your life, or more like a collage of people, places, and times?

Peto: Well, I'd have to say it's quite a collage --I'm definitely the product of my experiences.  Music has always been an important part of my life.  I started playing my first musical instrument when I was about 9, and was playing guitar and writing songs by the time I was 12 or 13, so luckily I had support and encouragement from my parents when I was young.  I've always been hugely attracted to pop songs with

catchy melodies, so music is the biggest influence--and my passion in life.  Of course there have been artists that inspired me and then there's just the rollercoaster that is life...ups, downs and all the wacky stuff in between.  I've also been very lucky to meet several really great people in my life, especially most recently.  My move to Seattle was all for the better, personally, and it also led to the release of my CD.  So, I'm very proud to be where I am in my life, though it has been a lot of work getting here.

SWS: You are originally from San Diego, then ten years in Los Angeles and now based in Seattle. Is motion a big factor in your life? Is it always north LOL? Any plans to expand your performances in other directions? (Like southwest, hint)

Peto: That's funny if it sounds like I move a lot.  I really thought I'd been in one place too long.  I grew up in San Diego and moved to LA when I was 18 and didn't move to another city for 11 years.  Always having lived in Southern California made me feel like I needed to get out and see and experience more of the world!  Plus, people in Seattle have a hard time understanding this, but nearly 30 years of perpetual sun can have a very numbing effect on your brain.  I was so excited when I started to actually experience seasons!  I have a friend in LA (transplanted there from Pittsburg) who used to tell me how exciting Fall was and how amazing the feelings of change were from one season to the next, and I had only known wearing shorts and sunglasses, so I really couldn't understand the full extent of what he was ranting about until I got out and experienced it for myself. So, yes, actually --motion is now a big factor in my life. And that recognition is reflected in "Don't Take This Life For Granted" --what I refer to as the most personally literal song on my CD. The lyrics are very real feelings and my realization that there is more to life than what exists in our tiny little bubbles and we should get out and not let life pass us by.  And what's fun for me is that, aside from the amazing response I received from the gay community for the song "Scout's Honor," "Don't Take This Life For Granted" gets the most comments from people who have the CD and the song that people from many walks of life or musical tastes connect to.  So the fact that people make that kind of connection to a very personal part of me is really wonderful. And you can trust that the minute I get the financial backing to do a nationwide tour I'll be all over the place!  I really can't wait to do that.

SWS: OK Gotta ask, tell us about vegan cake. Is this something we should bring to a Peto performance?

Peto: Ahhh, cake. Yum.  I've always been a carbo junkie, but I've been eating a vegetarian or vegan diet for at least the past 10 years, so finding vegan cake was a godsend!  It's basically just cake without the dairy and eggs.  Of course it's gotta have lots o' frosting!  If you're in Seattle, go to The Globe Cafe on Saturdays, the cakes are heaven!  In LA, I would recommend A Votre Sante, but I think it may be called something else now.  You shouldn't have started me on the cake thing -- I could go on and on!  But really, I'm trying to keep my goodies in check, otherwise I'd be twice the size I am!  ha ha ha!  But sure, anyone who brings me cake at a show is a friend in my book!

SWS: How is your musician search going for the band? Maybe a good place to get in a few plugs or pointers for our readers.

Peto: Hmmm...well, even though I love being here, Seattle has a different sense of the term "pop music" than I do, and finding the right musicians here has been a struggle.  A lot of the scene is full of bands and musicians that have a very dark sound going on--left over from the whole grunge thing--and it makes me feel like some oddball playing overly-happy music from

the Brady Bunch or something ...but really that's not the case, I just want to find the right people and have a good time playing the music.  So I've been auditioning lots of people and it's coming together.

SWS: We have a few questions our Members have sent in, hope you don't mind.

Peto: Not at all!

>From  marc:  Very sweet CD Peto, enjoyed your site. Are you available? I'll bring the vegan cake and lots of frosting!!!!

Peto: Ha ha ha!  Come on down!...As I said anyone who brings me vegan cake is a friend in my book.  Seriously, I'm glad you liked the CD!  And yes, I am available at the moment.

>From tinabe:  Who influenced you the most, and who would you the most like to perform with?

Peto: The Go-Go's are the reason I wanted to become a pop musician, Alison Moyet was my biggest singing influence and Barenaked Ladies are my favorite band going right now.  If I could, I would be the sixth member of Barenaked Ladies -- those guys just have so much fun playing great pop music.  I've always wanted to sing with Alison Moyet.  I do a version of her song "Midnight" in some of my sets and would love to sing it with her.

>From  earthen: Cool sounds Peto. What instrumentations are you looking to add? I noticed the musician piece on your site.

Peto: Actually, it's not really adding to what's on the CD, just having all members present to play the parts.  The instrumentation on the CD was all done by my engineer/co-producer and me, except for the drum and horn parts on "Don't Take This Life For Granted," and I want to be able to replicate the full arrangements of the songs in my live shows.  But really, just having input on the songs from new musicians always brings new life and energy to earlier arrangements, so I look forward to that.  I may add more piano or keyboard parts--something like Kevin Hearn's subtle but fantastic keyboard playing on Barenaked Ladies' stuff.

SWS: Thanks members. Would you like to take a minute and tell us about the causes you support Peto?

Peto: Well, I mention a few on my links page at my website, but overall I feel that since we're here sharing this planet, we should respect the life and environment around us.  So I applaud human rights organizations that are working to educate and eliminate prejudice and discrimination, environmental organizations helping to preserve the beauty and resources of the planet and animal rights organizations that point out the benefits of respecting all beings, not just human beings.  I understand that there is a "circle of life," but I think in this day and age, many of us have choices and we don't need to be cruel.

SWS: How has the response to "In My Place" changed your life, if any? What have you enjoyed the most?

The response has been a wonderfully positive thing!  It's always amazing when you put a piece of yourself out into the world and get applauded or appreciated for it.  I'm just so happy when someone comes up to me or sends me an e-mail saying how much they connect to a certain song or how listening to my music put them in a better mood or helped them through a rough time, because connections like that--personal ones--are what make life worth living.  I really love it when someone tells me that they found themselves singing a song of mine all day because they couldn't get the melody out of their head. Then I feel like I've done my job!

SWS: Again, thanks for talking with us Peto. Any closing comments for our readers?

Peto: Sure...First off, now that you have read this, you are all required to go buy my CD!  ha ha ha!  No really, I just want to say thanks to anyone who is enjoying and supporting the music!  I hope to meet readers when I perform and feel free to send e-mails through my website -- I love hearing from people.  Now go out, enjoy who you are and what you do ...and of course, don't take this life for granted!

For more information on Peto and to purchase his CD "In My Place" go to Peto-a-go-go.com

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