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Reader Spotlight: Peat Rains

Peat Rains

Meet Peat Rains, AKA “Epileptic Peat”, who pushes the envelope in just about every way. (You’ll have to read on to find out what I mean). And if you see him at a live show, he’ll even give you his drink tickets.

Peat’s gear list is impressive too, but I’ll admit it: I had to Google “TalkBoy from Home Alone 2” to figure out what that was about.

Peat is our reader in the spotlight for the week of June 10, 2013.

Bio:

I play 8 string bass in a busking band called “You Bred Raptors?” in NYC. We play experimental, instrumental post rock with 8 string bass, cello, drums and two glockenspiels. I was signed to a record label as a solo 4 string bass player at the age of 20 in Philadelphia, PA. My first solo album was released in 2004 to moderate success. After the record company tanked (as most indie labels do), I moved to NYC. I have never taken bass lessons and always been drawn to coloring outside of the lines with my playing/writing. I use two hand tapping, slap, pics and fingerpicking to create a style all my own. I can’t read music and I wet the bed constantly. All of that is true except the last part… sort of. I do actually have Epilepsy after being diagnosed at age 7. I was on a large assortment of medication before finding the side effects made me lethargic and creatively drained. This obviously could not fly in my busking lifestyle and with the rising price of pharmaceutical drugs, I chose to stop. Seizures are a part of my life. My band understands it and we have all learned to laugh it off. We can’t have strobe lights at shows and if I seize up on stage, the guys usually know how to segue into a jam to get me back on track. I have also never tried alcohol, drugs or coffee. I’m not Mormon or boring… it was just never my thing. This means you can hang out with me and I will give you all my drink tickets while I play a kick ass show.

Location:

Queens/NY/USA

Day gig:

I am a dog walker working on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. I walk up to 6 dogs at a time and about 25 per day. We wear masks on stage and in the subways whilst performing. There have been a few instances when I have seen some of the clients I walk dogs for and they have watched us perform and not known it was me. I enjoy the anonymity and humor of that. But most of my income comes from that collected during out live performances. We will sell upwards of 60 CDs per evening to both NYC natives and tourists from around the world. I’m also not opposed to selling my organs on the black market… or Craigslist or Ebay. I’m not picky.

Years experience:

Officially… 15 years (half my life). Unofficially… 20 years (first performance was bass and piano version of Yankee Doodle with my 5th grade music teacher… rock and roll).

Bands & Gigs:

Oh heavens yes… my main band “You Bred Raptors?” is given permits by the city of NYC to perform music around the city in prime transit locations. We play at least twice a week for 3 hours per night. We strap 120 pounds of gear on our back each and set up our equipment and mercy. We are our own sound-guys, performers, mercy girl and security. We regularly have to fight off junkies, hobos and just all around jerks who try to ruin our show and in some cases, steal our donation box. We have video proof of this on our website.

We also play a wide variety of venues in NYC. We play large scale clubs about once a month. In addition to subways, art galleries and venues, we have also been a pit orchestra for a playhouse, scored live movies in theaters as well as recorded scores for both television and film. We are currently scoring the new feature film from TROMA Pictures (you know… the Toxic Avenger!) I personally love B Movies and horror flicks so it’s right up our alley. We have released 2 full LP’s and one EP. They are all named after characters from Jurassic Park. Our new double album is being recorded in early summer. Like the last album, we plan to record analog with no click or scratch tracks with live takes. Suck it, Dragonforce.

I am also in a video game band called “This Place is Haunted” where we arrange old and new school video game, television and movie themes. We have played all over the country at conventions like PAX, MAGfest, Otakon and Bit Genocide. This scene has virtually no groupies.

Gear:

  • 8 string custom bass by Conklin Guitars (endorsed)
  • 8 string Galveston bass bought off Ebay and now Frankensteined and Macgyvered together through 8 years and over 500 shows
  • 4 string Alvarez electric neck-through bass
  • 4 string acoustic Hohner bass
  • Curt Mangan strings (endorsed)
  • Hartke 350 Watt Head
  • Ampeg 4×10 Cabinet
  • Crate Limo TX50 Watt – for my subway performances
  • 2 Boss DD7’s – for all my looping… I don’t use quantizers.
  • Line 6 FM4
  • Muff 3.1415926
  • Rat Distortion
  • Boss TU-3
  • Electro-Harmonix Synth
  • TalkBoy from Home Alone 2
  • Hoverboard

Why I play the bass:

I was never good at toeing the line. Guitarists are rarely fun to be around and I’m pretty sure most of them watch My Little Pony themed porn. It’s true… I read it on the internet. No but seriously… My father is a pastor and played bass during the church service so I used to noodle around with that. Him and my mother were also avid Grateful Deadheads who used to tape trade and take us to a large assortment of folk, bluegrass, celtic, blues, jazz and jam band music as children. We were only taught to hate contemporary country music to which I hold steadfast to this day.

Bass was the odd man out. And I always felt that way. Bass never got the respect it deserved. While the guitarist was usually being very narcissistic and masturbatory on stage, and the vocalist ruined most songs with his whiny, vaginal lyrics, the bass and the drums kept the song badass. I also felt like an outcast growing up so it was natural to be drawn to do something different. I furthered this by switching almost exclusively to 8 string bass. With that range, I can pretty much fight crime and solve world hunger.

My bass superpower/claim to fame

I don’t play this instrument like a bass or a guitar. I use it as a songwriting tool. I don’t play the fastest or the most technical but I will write you something so memorable and piercing that it will make you cry like a wuss. Seriously though, I think writing music that will be heard by almost every demographic is both intimidating and freeing. If I can make a hedge-fund manager and an Occupy Wall Street protester stand next to each other and both enjoy my music then there is no better compliment. I’m like Balboa in Rocky 4 when he beat the Russian and ended the Cold War. You’re welcome.

My influences

Les Claypool, Victor Wooten, Bela Fleck (banjo), Matt Freeman (Rancid/Operation Ivy), Mike Dirnt, Michael Manring, Jean Baudin, Quee MacArthur (Shooglenifty), Jon Jehlers (Bangladeafy), Jared Warren (Big Business/Melvins/KARP), Chris Thile (mandolin), John Deacon, Mike Sullivan (guitar – Russian Circles), Jaco Pastorious, Gia from Full House when she played bass in ‘Girl Talk’ with Stephanie Tanner in that one episode where they all learn a valuable lesson.

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