GREEN Biography Notes
is Peter Green you may ask? Well have you heard of Eric Clapton and B.B.King?
King once told Eric Clapton in person, that Peter Green was a better
guitarist than Eric himself was. Peter Allan Greenbaum was born
October 29, 1946 in Bethnal Green, London England and by age 15 he
started calling himself simply Peter Green. He was the founding
member of the Fleetwood Mac Blues Band with John McVie and Mick
Green was the best of the best. Having the then unenviable distinction of replacing Eric Clapton (Clapton Is God) in
John Mayall’s Blues Breakers, While Eric went on an extended
sabbatical to Greece for three months. Peter not only proved that the very passionate
dissenters were wrong, but Peter left his distinctive mark on
that part of blues history, that no one since has been able to erase
or alter. The impressionable youth of the day had many music heroes
in which to choose from, most of whom are now gone in our present
day, and very much missed and loved even more, Their names are
engraved in music history books. Many are now supporting head stones
in the cemetery of rock, blues and jazz.
Fate and Causality have encased them all in our hearts and memories
for all time.
Clapton was with the Bluesbreakers during their first recording 1965
was with John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers
for their second recording called “A Hard Road” once again
recruited to replace Eric Clapton who joined Jack
Bruce and Ginger Baker to form the power trio called “Cream”. Peter himself left Fleetwood Mac in 1970. He then recorded a
solo jam album called “The End of the Game” and also contributed
guitar work for a band
called “GASS” featuring Peter Green in 1970. The Gass has now
been re-released on cd and remastered.
along with chronic inactivity, little social interaction, forces one
day to run into the next without even the slightest notice. This
then really becomes the final spiral downwards
for many an artists in my opinion. For any creative genius to
become stagnant is a fate worse than death. Peter Green was in a
daily personal battle between good and evil, prescribed medications
and life against death!
thanks to his brother in law who motivated Peter to get himself up
off the sofa and return to
the business of making music, and that alone just may have saved his
life. Rumours have been
circulating for years that Peter refused to even
pick up his guitar - his finger nails were long and he was unable to
push the guitar strings down to the frets in order to play.
discussing Peter Green today, it’s mandatory and a prerequisite, that you check out the link provided below. In
short: Peter is still here, playing guitar, harmonica, singing and
touring in 2009. But which musicians are no longer with us and why,
is a must read. In order to appreciate Mr. Green’s legacy.
WEBSITE for Peter Green & Friends: http://www.myspace.com/petergreenandfriends
Up – Man of the World
"He has the sweetest tone I ever heard;
he was the only one who gave me the cold sweats.” B.B. King
Down - Star In The Dust:
was arrested and incarcerated in Brixton Prison in 1977. This was
after threatening to shoot his manager, Clifford Davis. It was while
in prison that Peter was finally diagnosed with
schizophrenia / paranoia / hallucinations and moved to a
mental hospital, where he had
undergone a series of shock treatments.
of the jobs that Peter held during the bad phases of his life were:
Cemetery Gardner / Grave Digger
Pathology Assistant / Working in a Lab
Hospital Orderly / Attendant
Bartender in Cornwall
married Jane Samuels who was a born again Christian, and the
marriage produced one daughter for the couple, her name is Rosebud Samuels
Peter was convinced that Jane had made a pact with the devil and the
marriage ended in divorce after only one year together.
Peter then returned to Fleetwood Mac and started doing large
quantities of cocaine.
Mick Fleetwood talked to Warner Brothers Music and they in turn
offered Peter a deal for four record albums,
$900.000 was the financial compensation. Peter turned it down
stating that “it was the devil’s temptation”.
In and Out Of Stardom – The Return of a Living Legend
Fleetwood Mac was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in
1998 along with founding member Peter Green.
Notes in non-chronologial order:
Late 1997 the Splinter Group faced two devastating set backs.
The first being that Spike Edney left the band. The second, Cozy
Powell was killed in an accident, he drowned in the ocean.
1998, Fleetwood Mac with Peter Green were inducted into the Rock
N´ Roll Hall of Fame. Where Peter and Carlos Santana got to
play Black Magic Woman together at the presentation.
cd Destiny Road was released June of 1999
Green’s playing was marked with a distinctive vibrato and
economy of style. Though he played other guitars, he is best
known for deriving a unique tone from his 1959 Gibson Les Paul
Sunburst – a result of the magnet of his guitar’s neck pick
up being accidentally reversed to produce an “out of phase”
Green is ranked number 38 in the top 100 of all time great
Peter spent his life after he ended his association with
Fleetwood Mac in 1970, has only served to increase his
popularity and reputation as being one of
“Rocks Great Enigmas”. Now that he has returned, he
has the full support of all his fans.
marked the beginning of his come back. Peter said that his
medications left him too tired to play his guitar and the toll
it took on him was incredible. In 1995 he made the very brave
decision to go off his medications and started to practice
guitar seriously once again. Peter formed a band with his long
time friend Nigel Watson. The Splinter Group made its debut
performance at the German Blues Festival and then went on to
play at the Guildford Folk and Blues Festival in the summer of
1996. His return brought out his old fan base by the thousands.
They played over 50 concerts that year.
left a permanent mark on Peter’s psyche. Peter said, “I took
one too many LSD trips, and that puts me in the Care and
spends his days watching television, going for walks and
attending a day treatment program, but hardly if ever touches
to Peter, “I’m on some medication, I don’t know what it is,
but it makes it hard to concentrate. I rarely feel like playing”.
– On Peter Green, “while soft spoken, self effacing, and
evidently still recovering from the traumas of his past, still
proved to be articulate, humorous and very much tuned into his
Father is Joe Greenbaum
Mother is Ann Greenbaum
– Peter started out as an apprentice butcher.
Grandfather (on his mothers side of the family) Mark Rachman was
fathers father (great grandfather) Greenbaum was a restless
travelling man, which was the perfect recipe for a Bluesman, the
restless wandering musician.
first melody that Peter learned to play by ear was the theme
from a television show called “Gun Law”.
age eleven Peter
was teaching himself.
was more interested in the bass playing of Paul Samwell Smith or
Bill Wyman of the Rolling Stones.
Green – “I didn’t consider a Telecaster guitar, and for
some reason I didn’t want a Stratocaster.”
is the youngest of four children. He started playing guitar at
age ten. His early influences were Hank B. Marvin of the Shadows
/ Muddy Waters / B.B. King / Freddy King.
Peter: His emerging voice aspired to say as much as possible in
a well chosen notes delivered with a haunting
Green’s Fleetwood Mac first public appearance was at the
Windsor Jazz and Blues Festival – on August 13, 1967
Mac’s very first album was released in
February of 1968 Peter Green and his band had become
“The New Crusaders of the English Blues Movement.”
work on “Mr. Wonderful” – “English Rose” – “Then
Play On” and
“Live At The Boston
Tea Party” chronicle a guitar genius at the peak of his
in Munich, Germany Peter disappeared for three days, he was
getting spiked / dosed with LSD.
Peter Greens Fleetwood Mac became more successful Peter was
making a mental and emotional decline. He began to loathe the
fame and fortune he had acquired. Peter had a vision of an angel
holding a starving Biafran child in her arms. “I thought I had
too much money to be happy and normal. Thousand of pounds is
just too much for a working person to handle all of a sudden,
and I felt I didn’t deserve it”.
Peter left Fleetwood Mac, he wrote the haunting song “Green
Manalishi” that seems to document his struggle to stop his
descent into madness. His very last performance with Fleetwood
Mac was on May 28, 1970
in 1970 was “Meandering and Unfocussed”. The “End of the
Game” solo release is a double reference to the extinction of
wildlife and his own withdrawal from life”.
dismal story of how the psychiatrist tore apart Peter Green’s
nervous system with shock treatments, was the end of a great
Green has the sweetest tone I have ever heard, he was the only
one who gave me the cold sweats.
Said Mr. B.B. King
Green earned the nick name “The Green God”. Just as Eric
Clapton was deemed “Clapton Is God” in London Graffiti.
2000 Peter is quoted as saying of Eric Clapton: “I followed
him to John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers. I loved his playing. At
the time he did everything on a Telecaster, it sounded
British number one hit “Albatross”
remains ambivalent about his song writing success, “Oh I was
never really a songwriter, I was very lucky to get those hits. I
shouldn’t have been distracted from my fascination with the
blues….I have been known to come up with the odd bit, but
I’m not that wild about the big composer credit.”
began wearing a red robe, grew a beard, and wore a crucifix on
his chest. He announced, “I went on a trip, and never came
Fleetwood Mac in 1970, Peter then faded into obscurity. He sold
his trademark 1959 Sunburst Gibson Les Paul Standard to Irish
guitarist Gary Moore and then recorded with Bobby Tench’s Band
called “GASS” on their eponymous album.
remainder of the 1970’s was spent in various states of
“mental disintegration” and “menial labour” for Peter.
then accepted an offer to replace the guitarist in “Stone The
Crows”, but pulled out two days before the band was going to
announce their new guitarist.
then spent time living in a Kibbutz in Tel Aviv Israel. Upon his
return to England, he worked as a “Grave Digger” – “A
Pathology Lab Assistant” – “A Hospital Orderly” and “A
Bartender In Cornwall”.
this point in time Peter began to experience hallucinations that
prompted doctors to prescribe Electro – Convulsive – Therapy
Treatments – (Shock Treatments)
Green 1977 “I wanted some money from Clifford Davis” because
I was living in peoples houses, sleeping on the floor, or in
hotels and things. Look, I’ll shoot you, I recently bought a
gun in Canada.” Peter was arrested and sent to prison. After
an examination he was transferred to a mental hospital, where he
was then diagnosed as Schizophrenic / Manic Depressive /
Paranoid / Bi Polar…….
days his performances are intermittent, which all depends on his
ability to play at any given moment, and subject to change. He
also depends on a second guitarist for support, back up and
handling most of the lead guitar work.
Splinter Group – formed in the 1990’s The Acoustic Robert
Johnson Songbook 1998
Green – “I was dreaming I was dead and I couldn’t move, so
I fought my way back into my body, I woke up and looked around,
it was very dark and I found myself writing a song. It was about
money”. “The Green Manalishi is money. The reason this
happened was this fear I got that I earned too much money, and I
was separate from all people”.
his last television appearance his descent became visable for
all to see. Peter appeared in a monk’s robe, supporting a
large crucifix around his neck. The song “Green Manalishi”
captured his feelings about the evils of money, which featured
the tortured screams and voices of a man who had succumbed to
his internal demons, multiple personality disorder and substance
abuse – a deadly combination. Peter left Fleetwood Mac after
failing to convince his band mates to donate all their earnings
to charities. Peter rejoined the band but he refused to sing
this was in 1971 and he was fired “services no longer required”
- “Services Withdrawn”.
very last song that Peter wrote for the group was called
“Green Manalishi with the Two Prong Crown”. It was then that
Peter’s mental illness, brought on by the overindulgence of
psychotropic drugs continued his quickening decent into the
Green was the founding member and leader of Fleetwood Mac. He
was also the guiding force and driving spirit of the original
band. He wrote and performed an amazing string of hits that by
1969 had out sold singles by both the Beatles and The Rolling
mental problems started when he unknowingly consumed a drink
spiked with LSD and his never ending psychological problems and
condition festered from that moment on. This eventually and
tragically rendered the super star guitarist as one of rock n´
rolls saddest and tragic creative casualties of all. Right along
side that of Syd Barrett the leader and founding member of Pink
Floyd – another well documented LSD casualty of the late
1960’s early 1970’s.
continued experiment with LSD and Mescaline just exacerbated his
already deteriorating mental condition and which finally led to
his departure from Fleetwood Mac in order to establish himself
as a primer solo artist. In truth, his solo career proved to be
inconsistent and inferior to his previous work with Fleetwood
Mac. That being said, there are brief moments of his previous
creative genius with fleeting glimpses of dazzling guitar work
on a few of his solo efforts, from the late 1970’s to the
from the beginning Peter had one major problem going against him,
he was Jewish. This led to physical abuse that he had to endure
as a child living in the working class area of London’s East
End neighbourhood of Bethnal Green. The second also involved
being Jewish, as he was constantly subjected to Anti-Jewish
remarks and taunts, which eventually forced him to change his
last name from Greenbaum to simply Green.
Green States: “Hank B. Marvin (of the Shadows) was my first
guitar hero, I listened to his playing because it was very
lyrical, his phrasings were melodic and I’ve always liked a
nice melody. Hank made the guitar into an instrument that talked
also had respect and admiration for Gallup, who was the
guitarist for Gene Vincent and his Blue Caps, who was himself
influenced by a very young Jeff Beck. “Good solid but very
simple player, I don’t like too much complication, to me
it’s like unnecessary words. I don’t use the word “Lick”
I hate the word actually, because I don’t play licks, I play
phrases or riffs. A riff is a short thing that you repeat and a
phrase is a group of notes for your melody. I’m big on melody,
was fascinated with the American Blues Music. Groups like Alexis
Korner’s Blues Incorporated, The Rolling Stones, The Spencer
Davis Group, The Graham Bond Organization, John Mayall’s
Bluesbreakers, The Yardbirds and The Pretty Things were all
popularizing and reinventing that original music form for young
white audiences on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean. (It came to
be called Blue Eyed Soul or White Boy Blues).
a birthday present John Mayall bought Peter recording studio
time to do with as he pleased. Peter took that golden
opportunity to record with John McVie and Mick Fleetwood. They
then added Jeremy Spencer on slide guitar and with that
Fleetwood Mac was born. The name came from an instrumental from
that birthday studio jam between Fleetwood, McVie and Green,
titled “Fleetwood Mac”. It was aptly named after the
powerful rhythm section of Mick Fleetwood and John McVie. Peter
insisted on that name for the new band, because Peter was very
much against that “Eric Clapton is God” guitar hero worship
thing during that time. “The fact that the very first record
was credited to Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac went against his
wishes, but the record company insisted on it”. Peter just
wanted to be part of a band. Such compositions such as “Black
Magic Woman” – “Oh Well” – “Man of the World” –
“Rattlesnake Shake” and the instrumental sensation and
number one in England “Albatross” really caught Peter at the
height of his compositional best.
Please check this website for Peter Green Biography: