by Steve Stills of the Buffalo Springfield
Peter and I have been friends for quite a while now. We each have our own careers. Peter with the Monkees and me with the Buffalo Springfield, but it’s great to recall those early days when we used to play together in Greenwich Village.
I can remember the first time I met Peter. For four days beforehand, I heard from everyone “Hey! Have you seen the kid down the street that looks just like you?!” And Peter told me later that he heard the same thing for approximately the same amount of time.
We finally ran into each other at the Four Winds Cafe and he said to me, “Oh, hi! You’re the kid that looks like me!” And that’s how we met. I was singing by myself doing country blues and folk. Peter, of course, was playing his banjo around the Village.
I liked Peter right away. I thought he was a really nice guy. He was very warm and very open and willing to talk and communicate and so forth. I knew him before I ever saw him perform. But Pete has had a great effect on the way I perform. The way he used to move, the way he used his accent, his whole attitude toward the theater, the entire theater, gave him a great basis from which to work.
He never looks past the fact that he’s supposed to be up there: to entertain the people. And every time he got up there he would perform and do his whole number, exuding all the personality he could and he did some marvelous comedy routines. It was mostly by watching him that I picked up some of those things.
For quite a time we hung out together and did a lot of things together. My roommate, John Hopkins, Peter and I decided we were each bored with singing by ourselves and decided to sing together. So we formed a trio—Peter played banjo and John and I played guitar and it was really neat.
We were passing the basket in the coffee houses and we didn’t care that we weren’t getting paid. One night, though, we made a $45 basket. The whole time we performed we never had a name. At this time, Pete was living in the West Village and John and I were over in the East Village.
We all got bored after a while with the trio, so John went to Long Island to teach guitar. Peter went back to Connecticut a couple of times and then to Venezuela with his family. I tried to get a rock and roll band together and if Peter had been around then, who knows, he might have been in it!
Peter liked rock and roll even though he had been playing folk music. He always liked any kind of music, never had any prejudices. A lot of folk musicians get hung up with all their little ethnic prejudices, the folkies, but Peter was too much of a professional to do that. He had started to play rock and roll bass even then.
When Peter left for Venezuela, we lost track of each other. Next month I’ll tell you how I tried out for the Monkees, how I ran into Peter in California and how I suggested he try out for the Monkees. And since I’ve been living with Peter the past few months, I’ll also fill you in on his groovy everyday life.