Peter Lewis (musician)

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For the composer of classical music, see Peter Scott Lewis.

Peter Lewis (born July 15, 1945) is one of the founding members of the band Moby Grape. Three of his better known songs with Moby Grape are "Fall On You" and "Sitting By The Window" from the self-titled first Moby Grape album and "If You Can't Learn From My Mistakes", from Moby Grape '69.[1]

Background[edit]

He is the youngest of two sons by actress Loretta Young (d. 2000)[2] and writer-producer Tom Lewis (d. 1988),[3] and accordingly spent much of his childhood in Hollywood. His older brother, Christopher Lewis (b. 1944), is a writer and producer of films primarily for television. The Lewis brothers are nephews of actresses Polly Ann Young and Sally Blane, sisters of their mother. They are also half-brothers of Judy Lewis (d.2011), daughter of Loretta Young and Clark Gable. Musician David Lindley is their cousin.[4]

As a youth, Lewis attended military school and later, after a stint in the Air Force, became a commercial pilot, initially working for Shell Oil.[5] As for his musical career, Lewis cites Tim Hardin and Fred Neil as important influences, and credits Linda McCartney, (née Eastman) with introducing him to their music.[6]

His first band was The Cornells.

Lewis now lives in the Santa Ynez Valley, north of Santa Barbara, California, with his wife and two children.

Moby Grape: Lewis Sensitivity to Mosley and Spence Challenges[edit]

Beyond his work as a musician, Lewis has been noted for his efforts in assisting fellow Moby Grape bandmates Bob Mosley and Skip Spence (d. 1999) in battling the challenges of schizophrenia.[7] Lewis has a personal sensitivity to psychiatric challenges. At age 11, while his parents were embroiled in an acrimonious divorce and custody dispute, he suffered a nervous breakdown in New York City and was involuntarily hospitalized for a period.[8] As of 1969, he recalls, "I was under the care of a psychiatrist, taking all this Librium so I could stay with the band."[9]

Mosley credits Lewis with helping him end approximately five years of homelessness in the 1990s. Mosley describes the circumstances as follows: "In 1996, Peter Lewis picked me up along the side of a San Diego freeway where I was living, to tell me a ruling by San Francisco Judge Garcia gave Moby Grape their name back. I was ready to go to work again."[10]

With respect to Spence, Lewis was skeptical about him being labeled a schizophrenic because recognized treatments were not resulting in any noticeable improvements. As a result, Lewis sought out and participated in alternative healing therapies with Spence involving metaphysics. "Through my dad, who'd become a born-again Christian, I'd met these monks in Lucia above Big Sur, who were really serious about rational metaphysics. Their faith beyond reason overwhelms you every time.[11] Since the doctors couldn't help Skippy - they kept objectifying his problem: 'He's a paranoid schizophrenic' and were never going to heal him. All they were interested in was keeping him out of McDonald's with a machine gun, so it (the monastery) was the only place I could think of to take him." [9]

Recent career[edit]

In recent years, in addition to performing occasionally with Moby Grape, Lewis was a guitarist with the reformed Electric Prunes (2000–2003), contributing to their Artifact album.[12][13] He has also developed a career as a solo artist. He has released three albums on the Taxim label: Peter Lewis, Peter Lewis with David West Live in Bremen and "Peter Lewis with David West Live at the Lobero Theatre".[14] Peter Lewis occasionally performs as a duo with David West, his collaborator on Live in Bremen and "Live at the Lobero Theatre."[15]

In 2010, Lewis appeared with Stu Cook at the SXSW festival, performing with The Explosives.[16][17][18]

As of 2011, Lewis has been writing songs and performing with poet M.L. Lieber.[19]

Solo discography[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ At their 2007 appearance at the 40th anniversary of the "Summer of Love" reunion, Moby Grape opened their set with Lewis' "Fall On You".
  2. ^ Peter Lewis' tribute to his late mother is accessible here
  3. ^ Primarily as a writer-producer of "The Loretta Young Show".
  4. ^ David Lindley's father, Jack Lindley, was a sibling (one brother, two sisters) of Peter Lewis' mother, Loretta Young. See Interview with Peter Lewis by Jud Cost, 1995; www.sundazed.com.
  5. ^ Matthew Greenwald, Peter Lewis Biography; www.allmusic.com.
  6. ^ Interview with Peter Lewis at the Wayback Machine (archived March 1, 2002), October, 2001.
  7. ^ Images of Peter Lewis, Bob Mosley and Skip Spence playing music together in later years are accessible here. (Below the gallery)
  8. ^ Interview with Peter Lewis by Jud Cost, 1995; www.sundazed.com.
  9. ^ a b Interview with Peter Lewis by Jud Cost, 1995; www.sundazed.com.
  10. ^ Bob Mosley commentary in relation to the circumstances ultimately leading to his stabilization and the recording of his album True Blue (2005).
  11. ^ Lewis is presumably referring to the Camaldolese Monks of Big Sur; www.bigsurhermitage.com.
  12. ^ See interview with Peter Lewis at the Electric Prunes website at the Wayback Machine (archived March 1, 2002), October, 2001.
  13. ^ Lewis' connection to The Electric Prunes commenced in the 1960s, through the late guitarist Ron Morgan (1945-1989). Morgan, originally from Colby, Kansas, had relocated to Los Angeles and played with Lewis in one of Lewis' early bands, Peter and The Wolves. Morgan then went on to join The West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band, as well as an early version of Three Dog Night and, thereafter, a reformed version of The Electric Prunes, playing on the Just Good Old Rock and Roll album. See Interview with Bob Morgan (brother of Ron Morgan), 1999; www.shadwell.tripod.com.
  14. ^ Taxim is a German label which distributes its albums globally. Peter Lewis is quite popular in Germany. Bob Mosley also records for the same label. The label website is here.
  15. ^ See notice of Peter Lewis and David West performing in Chelsea, Michigan, June, 2008. For a series of pictures of Peter Lewis and David West, performing in 2003, see here.
  16. ^ Raul Hernandez, Live Shots: SXSW Music 2010, Austin Chronicle, March 26, 2010; www.austinchronicle.com.
  17. ^ The Explosives are a legendary Austin band, which Cook had produced. See SXSW Events: The Explosives with Peter Lewis and Stu Cook; www.my.sxsw.com. The Explosives are notable as assisting Roky Erickson in addressing psychiatric challenges relating to schizophrenia and in Erickson's return to recording and performing: see Roky Erickson.
  18. ^ Jerry Miller, Don Stevenson and Omar Spence, son of Skip Spence, also appeared at a different venue, but on the same day, at SXSW, performing as "New Wine". For reasons not publicly known, Lewis did not join his former bandmates in performance.
  19. ^ News Release, Poet M.L. Lieber and Moby Grape’s Peter Lewis to Perform in Cheyenne, February 25, 2011. Retrieved 2011-04-26.
  20. ^ Produced by John McFee of the Doobie Brothers and featuring contributions from Keith Knudsen (Doobie Brothers) and Stu Cook (Creedence Clearwater Revival), all of whom at the time were in country rock band Southern Pacific. Multi-instrumentalist McFee, a well-known contributor to the works of others (such as Van Morrison's Saint Dominic's Preview and Elvis Costello's My Aim Is True) considers this Peter Lewis album to be among the best he has ever worked on. See Biography of John McFee; www.doobiebros.com.

External links[edit]