"A set of lunatic concoctions every bit as memorable as Homage To Catatonia. Miller's home-cooked crackpot psychedelia may not be for everyone, but the adventurous will not be disappointed; this is remarkably good gravy." (Ugly Things)............
this album was never originally released in the late 1960s because major labels considered it to be too weird for public consumption - this collection of psychedelic, fractured epiphanies & surreal realms of the counter-culture English FreakBeat scene was created in a Norwich cottage studio while Pete ingested hallucinogenic sugar cubes................... I've found that it's simply all too amazing at how an artist - especially like Big Boy Pete, can have so many fantastic CD's out and available for years - like 'Return To Catatonia' for one and still be completely (or at least for the most part) off the radar. This title just might be Big Boy Pete's best CD, hands down. Tracks that more than did it for me were the upbeat "'Twas Not So Short Ago" (his first band was called The Offbeats, no pun intended), "Summerland", the almost poetic "The Raid", his Beatles wanna-be "Creosote And Cream", the awesome mod gem "Crystal's Tune" (honestly, this tune should have been a smash it) and the very cool psych "Convercircles". His influences - at least for this CD is obviously early Pink Floyd, the Beatles' 'Sgt. Peppers' and Jimi Hendrix. Also caught my full attention was the quirky "Henry Nut, Part 2" with it's novel Mickey Mouse-on-acid like vocals and "Hung Up". Definitely, a must have............... Return to Catatonia concentrates on Miller's more experimental and psychedelic efforts from the period of 1966 to 1969. While the music on this disc can be broadly classified as psychedelic, it actually covers a fairly diverse array of styles. The lead-off track, "Twas Not So Short Ago", features the exotic sounds of a sitar. "Summerland" is a pastoral folk-pop ballad with acoustic guitar and a string section. "The Raid" and "The Shelter" are also acoustic folk-oriented numbers. With"Nasty Nazi", Miller unleashes a snarling heavy metal assault. "Creosote and Cream" is a catchy pop number that would have sounded equally at home on (his) Summerland (album). "Crystal's Tune" is a trippy raga rock in the vein of the Yardbirds. If psychedelic music is your cup of tea, you can't go wrong with this. -- Geoff Cabin...................
Return to Catatonia Although the name may not be familiar to many, Big Boy Pete (aka Pete Miller) has been flogging around the music scene for nearly five decades. He first played in a rock & roll band called the Offbeats, who recorded an EP in 1958, and in 1961, he joined the beat group Peter Jay & the Jaywalkers. With the Jaywalkers, he recorded a number of singles, which were produced by Joe Meek, from whom Pete learned many new and innovative recording techniques. In 1965, he quit the band to concentrate on recording solo projects, and turned to session work to support his recording career. During this period, he became a part-time member of the legendary underground freakbeat band the News, while continuing to write songs for Britain's major publishing houses. Many of these songs would eventually end up being recorded by some of the U.K.'s most popular bands. In the mid-'60s, Miller, now sporting the solo name Big Boy Pete, returned to his native Norwich to continue working on his solo projects. His influences during this period came from a wide variety of sources, including the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's, the Stones' Their Satanic Majesties Request, Pink Floyd, and Jimi Hendrix. He recorded a number of demo songs that were seeped in East Indian influences, psychedelic guitar, and experimental production, but they were all rejected by the record companies for being too far off the mainstream sound of the day. In 1969, Big Boy Pete relocated to the United States, where he opened his own recording studio and formed his own record label. Many of his songs that were recorded between1966 and1969 lay around in boxes at his studio until the mid-'90s, when suddenly, long-lost psychedelic recordings became sought after by collectors around the world. Tenth Planet Records, a European-based collectors label, contacted Miller and resurrected a number of these recordings, some of which were compiled on the 14-track Homage to Catatonia retrospective. Return to Catatonia contains14 more long-lost tracks, all recorded between 1966 and 1969. While a bit self-indulgent in places, these songs contain all of the influences that make British psychedelic music what it is. For fans of such artists as early Pink Floyd, Syd Barrett, or the Beatles, Return to Catatonia is a must. --Keith Pettipas.............
While not masquerading as blissed-out psychodaisy Big Boy Pete, English composer, guitarist, and singer Pete Miller also wrote and recorded a number of more conventional songs. Some of these were covered by such artists as Freddie and the Dreamers and Sounds Orchestra!, but Pete's only recording in this vein that actually reached the stores was the wired garage pop of "Baby I Got News For You", an October 1965 single on the Columbia label.This 45 has become a collector's item and commanded a reserve price of $400 in last years Rock 'n' Roil auction at Sotherbys in London. The opening track on this CD is the never-before-heard demo of this song, recorded in his flat in Maida Vale London, featuring Micky Waller on drums and members of Pete's band "TheJaywalkers". The remainder of the songs on this CD are all previously unreleased.
Miller left the Jaywalkers in 1966 and was replaced by Terry Reid. He began a solo career with the release of the psychedelic single "Cold Turkey"under the name Big Boy Pete. A classic slab of English psychedlia. Pop criticJon Savage noted that "it makes everything else pretty redundant". (This song was covered recently by "The Damned" under the pseudonym of"Nazz Nomad and the Nightmares".
The origins of Big Boy Pete can be traced back to asummer's day in 1966, With the rest of the country basking in the twin glories of Swinging London and England'sWorld Cup triumph, Pete Miller left his flat in Maida Vale to return to his rural roots where he embarked on a rigorous investigation into the propensities of a wide variety of chemical stimulants. "I spent four or five hours of my first acid trip one sunny Sunday afternoon milling around the gravestones of a tiny country church, along with my drummer Robert Newton", he recalls."Towards the end of the day, as the sun was setting, we drove a few miles in our '57 American Packard to a nearby airfield, disused since WorldWar II. There we discovered a secret pond and, giggling profusely, we conversed vaporously with the dragonflies and the millions of other insects skimmering across the water. It was there I wrote a song - apologising to the insects for intruding into their evening fly-about around their home. At dusk, were turned to our sixteenth century cottage, cooked up a ton of spaghetti, loaded it with melted cheese, and suitably revived from a brainful of hashish, relaxed to the hilarious antics of some old BBC Goon Show tapes. Before retiring , I taped the song I had written a few hours earlier."
The doors of perception now wedged firmly ajar, Pete embarked upon a musical journey without maps, conjuring up spectacular feats of proto-psychedelia a full year before the release of ground-breaking English acid rock extravaganzas like 'Sgt. Pepper' and 'Dark Side of the Moon' - Surrounded by all kinds of weird and wonderful custom built electronic gadgetry, Pete experimented relentlessly in order to locate some hitherto uncharted musical fourth dimension.
Recording his chemically imbalanced material during the day, by night he left Big Boy Pete in the attic and moonlighted with his band in the area's most notoriously seedy nightclub. The club had a reputation for attracting a rather dubious clientele: the gamblers, whores, and gangsters of the local underworld would make their clandestine business connections as strippers performed their bump 'n' grind routine and Pete's band played mechanically on.
Back home, surrounded by lava lamps and Hindu visuals, Pete Miller and Big BoyPete grappled with each other to gain musical supremacy - straight romantically inclined pure pop or savage, foaming-at-the-mouth acid rock. He continued to confound general perceptions of musical boundaries - The record companies declared most of his virgin soundscapes to be unmarketable. After "ColdTurkey", in an act of pure punkish bravado, like a small child presenting mummy witha severed hand, Pete submitted his follow-up single to Polydor,the German owned record company- They were aghast at the title "NastyNazi", and recoiled in horror. Big Boy Pete's career was killed stone dead overnight, but that was okay - he hadn't wanted a career anyway .. he didn't even exist.
He continued recording in England until 1969. and following three years of rocking for the GIs in Vietnam, Bangkok, and Singapore, eventually landed in San Francisco (where else?). For the past 25 years Pete has been a resident there, spending most of his time recording new material and engineering/producing many other artists in his 24 track analogue studio.
A huge selection of his sixties recordings remained stockpiled in an English friend's attic for the past 30 years. These tracks have sat untouched untilvery recently. Thanks to the interest of David Wells at Tenth Planet records, Pete was persuaded to send for and restore these tapes. Here, from the twilight zone for the first time, are 15 hitherto -unissued tracks. The disclosure that these tracks were adjudged at the time to be too weird for public consumption should act as some kind of preparation for the prospective listener. These strange fractured epiphanies are a window into the curious mind of an idiosyncratic, iconoclastic writer and performer who was one of the era's most criminally neglected talents...............
This mysterious British guitarist (real name Pete Miller) cut some oddball non-hits in the '60s that have amassed quite a reputation among psychedelic collectors. Starting out as a member of minor British group Peter Jay & the Jaywalkers, he went solo in late 1965 with "Baby I Got News for You," a Troggsish number with wads of fuzzy guitar. Billed simply as "Miller," Pete was backed on the recording by Peter Frampton and members of the Herd. For the next few years he concentrated on writing for British music publishers, and recording demos for himself. A second single, "Cold Turkey," this time billed to Big Boy Pete, was issued in early 1968. With its eerie blasts of spaceship-elevator psychedelic guitars and biting mod-psych vocals, "Cold Turkey" fully deserves its classic status, though few heard it at the time. In a further twist to the already odd Big Boy Pete story, Miller refused to tour; a different singer was sent out in his place, leading to a good deal of "who really was Big Boy Pete" speculation among serious '60s historians before the confusion was cleared up.
Miller/Big Boy Pete eventually relocated to San Francisco to work as a producer and engineer, occasionally releasing albums on tiny labels. "Cold Turkey" and (to a lesser extent) "Baby I Got News for You" were reissued on compilations of '60s British psych/mod rarities, and the Damned (under the guise of Naz Nomad & the Nightmares) covered "Cold Turkey." Several albums of unreleased late-'60s Big Boy Pete demos have been issued. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Big Boy Pete was former Peter Jay and The Jaywalkers member Pete Miller who also cut Baby I Got News For You as Miller, recording under a pseudonym. He first played in a rock n roll combo called The Offbeats, who recorded a six song EP Introducing The Offbeats in 1958, before joining Peter Jay and The Jaywalkers in 1961. His work with the Jaywalkers included a number of singles, produced by Joe Meek, from whom Pete would learn many recording techniques. In October '65, he quit the band to concentrate on recording demos, alongside session work. During this period, over 100 of his songs were accepted by Major Publishing houses in London.
Returning back to his native Norwich, Pete continued to record demo's - influenced by the contemporay sounds, of Sgt. Pepper, Satanic Majesties and Axis Bold As Love, and although rejected for being too far-out for the mainstream publishing houses, many of these tracks have now been compiled on the Homage To Catatonia and Return To Catatonia retrospectives.
However Big Boy Pete is best remembered for Cold Turkey which is an interesting and unusual psychedelic record well worth getting to hear. When the single started to create a buzz, Pete, tired of touring from his days with The Jaybirds, refused to go out giging to support the single so a 'bogus' Big Boy Pete was enlisted to do the dirty work.
Big Boy Pete later relocated to the 'States, where he runs his own Recording Studio, and record label.
Compilation appearances have included: My Love Is Like A Spaceship on Visions Of The Past, Vol. 2 (LP & CD); Cold Turkey on Chocolate Soup For Diabetics, Vol. 2 (LP), Electric Sugar Cube Flashbacks (CD) and Electric Sugar Cube Flashbacks, Vol. 4 (LP). ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Yes, the Bad Boy from Norwich, UK that recorded a ton of very psychedelic material on his own between 1966-1969.Big Boy Pete was truly a Pioneer of the English Freakbeat scene. England's best kept secret!! The CD version of the Tenth Planet LP released in 1998. Includes all the original artwork and liners by David Wells ..............
Musicians: Drums: Robert Newton, LukeWatson Bass: George Parsons, Harvey Platt, Pete Miller Guitars, sitar, harmonica: Pete Miller Organ: Peter London Piano: Paul Gunnell Sax: Johny Byles Violin: Alan McClennan Percussion: Robert Newton, Granville Hornsby Trumpets: Norman Samways Vocal backing: Ricky Southern, Luke Watson, Roger Moon
Tracklist A1 'Twas Not So Short Ago A2 Me A3 Summerland A4 Nasty Nazi A5 The Raid A6 Creosote And Cream A7 Crystal's Tune B1 Strontium Ninety Nel B2 Convercircles B3 The Day Stares Straight Back B4 Henry Nut (Part Two) B5 Hung Up B6 Sums B7 The Shelter