|Genres||Adult alternative, pop rock, folk rock|
|Associated acts||Dog's Eye View, Counting Crows, Jason Mraz, Paula Cole|
|Website||Vanguard Records: Peter Stuart|
Peter Stuart is an American singer-songwriter. Stuart is the founder and lead singer of the band Dog's Eye View, who are best known for their single, "Everything Falls Apart". In 2002, he released his first solo album, Propeller.
Stuart formed the Chicago-based band Gravity Beavers in June 1990, with three other members – Arch Alcantara, Howie Kantoff and Doug Kenrick. John Schulte replaced Doug Kenrick in October 1990. The band changed its name to Monster in April 1991. Stuart listed the now defunct band's influences as Kansas, Cat Stevens, Neil Young and Jimi Hendrix in a January 1992 Chicago Tribune article. Stuart also said he became a fan of the Scottish alternative band, Del Amitri, when he was nineteen years old.
In 1994, Stuart joined the combined Tori Amos and Cracker tour as their opening act, appearing as an acoustic solo or occasionally with a backup bassist. Stuart next worked with the Counting Crows in 1995, shortly before signing a contract with Columbia Records. Stuart opened some Counting Crows concerts with a short acoustic guitar show and worked roadie and guitar tech for approximately six months. He sold demos CDs after the concerts, which built a fanbase for his music.
Dog's Eye View (1995–1999)
Stuart formed Dog's Eye View after signing with Columbia. He had been a solo performer before signing with Columbia Records. Stuart has noted the Columbia Records essentially came up with the idea for Dog's Eye View as a vehicle for his work. He not only founded the group, but also wrote all of the band's songs.
Dog's Eye View, with Stuart as frontman and songwriter, released their debut album, Happy Nowhere, in October 1995. The album included the very successful 1996 single, Everything Falls Apart, which received wide airplay on radio and MTV. Stuart has said that he wrote the single in just fifteen minutes aboard an airplane while suffering the effects of a hangover. He later described the success of Everything Falls Apart in a mid-2000s interview as,
It was a weird thing since I had just been on the Counting Crows ride, so I didn't really have any other experience other than: you release your first record, you have your first single, and it goes on MTV and it's hit! It happened to them, it happened to me, and I thought, "OK! Let's go!" In terms of making my life strange, it was great. There was obviously some money and I've been able to build something of a career on it. In terms of that being the thing that brought lots of people out to shows and created a base of an audience for me or Dog's Eye View, it didn't really happen because people knew one song and kinda went, "Alright," and it didn't really progress past that. If I want to look at the negative side, it's "Yeah, it was a one-hit wonder." If I want to look at the positive side, I've had a 12-year career in music because I had a hit song and I've been able to keep going in one way, shape or form.
Stuart sang with Dog's Eye View on Sweet Relief II: Gravity of the Situation, a 1996 tribute album dedicated to Vic Chesnutt. Other artists on the album included The Smashing Pumpkins and R.E.M.
Return to solo career (1999–2006)
He left Dog's Eye View after the release of the band's second album, Daisy, a commercial disappointment, to pursue solo work. Stuart described production on Daisy, which was released in 1997, as an "albatross." He contributed songs for the Go-Go's 2001 studio album, God Bless The Go-Go's. He co-wrote a track for Bon Jovi's 2000 album, Crush, at a songwriter's retreat held in a castle in southern France.
Stuart also toured as an opening act for Live and Paula Cole during this time. Stuart followed Paula Cole's tour bus in a rental car during his gig as her opening act, which lasted for six weeks. After his acoustic opening performance, which averaged about 45-minutes before Cole took the stage, Stuart would sell his CDs, which contained just four songs. According to Stuart, Paula Cole found his commitment to the tour, "incredibly inspiring." He returned to the Counting Crows as their opening act in August 2000.
Stuart began working on his first solo album, which was originally titled Songs About You, in 1999 shortly after leaving Dog's Eye View. He began writing for the album in 1999 when he attended a songwriters' workshop held in a French castle at the invitation of Miles Copeland III, the former manager of The Police and Sting. Stuart was expected to team with other songwriters during the retreat. He based much of the material for his 2002 solo release, Propeller (then called Songs About You) from what he learned at Copeland's workshop, including Peter Case, with whom he wrote tracks for the album. The first track written for his solo debut at the castle was "Innocence." (Stuart would also write the above mentioned material for Bon Jovi and the Go-Go's on the same writers' retreat).
With initial material written in France, he began recording his solo album in Los Angeles under Columbia Records, which had also released the first two Dog's Eye View albums. However, Stuart soon voluntarily split with Columbia, citing creative differences and a lack of support, and left the label with the rights to his unfinished solo album.
In 2000, Matchbox Twenty brought Stuart onto their tour as their opening act. Stuart also sung backing vocals for the band's 2000 album, Mad Season. Speaking to ABC News at the time, Matchbox Twenty vocalist Rob Thomas praised Stuart's yet unreleased album saying, "Peter's one of my dearest friends. His new album is great; it's f--king amazing. I can't believe no one has picked it up yet." (Stuart had been between labels at the time of Matchbox Twenty's tour and was pitching his solo album to various record labels.)
Stuart's solo album, produced by Andrew Williams, was completed in early 2001. Stuart sold several thousand copies in 2001 and 2002 on tour while shopping the album to potential record labels. Stuart's album, now renamed Propeller, was picked up by Vanguard Records, which released it on August 13, 2002. Propeller featured background vocals from Adam Duritz, frontman of the Counting Crows, and Moon Zappa. Other guest artists who contributed to Stuart's solo debut included Mark Isham, D. J. Bonebrake, Greg Leisz, a multi-instrumentalist who added some guitar work, as well as David Immergluck and Charlie Gillingham, both of the Counting Crows.
Billboard published a largely positive review of the album, writing in its August 24, 2002, edition: "When you find yourself humming along with an entire album and not wanting it to end, while also feeling that the artist is being completely honest and heartfelt, the project is definitely a special one. Stuart, the former Dog's Eye View frontman, accomplishes this difficult task with his solo debut."
Tomorrow Always Comes
Stuart reunited with other members of Dog's Eye View for their third studio album, Tomorrow Always Comes, in 2006. The reunification with the band was the idea of Stuart's manager, "For this (new) record, I sat down with my new manager and he said, "It sounds like a band record, lots of people know the band name, not so many people know your name. Do you have any problems with using the band name?" "No." And it's cooler t-shirts." The album included collaborative work with Jason Mraz and Paul Doucette of Matchbox Twenty.
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