This week, Ira Sternberg spoke with Garry Peterson, drummer and founding member of The Guess Who. The group will be performing November 1 at The Golden Nugget Las Vegas. In this 30-minute episode of Talk About Las Vegas, Peterson talks about his jazz background and why music is an integral part of his life; how his “drug” is the music and the audience; why music is a marker of history for people; how the current band differs from the original band by connecting personally with the audience; why the group’s current album reflects the influence of artists from the past; how the treat for many fans is to listen (in addition to the hits) to the cuts of the many albums the band has recorded; and why he felt a shiver down his back when he entered a unique dressing room for the first time at the Golden Nugget.
For Peterson, being a child prodigy meant success came at a very young age, with his first professional gig by the age of four. By six, he had already performed with Peggy Lee at the Chicago Theater in Chicago, IL. Similar gigs would following with Lionel Hampton, The Four Lands, The Andrew Sisters, and many others.
By sixteen, he had joined the Winnipeg band, Al & The Silvertones; which over the next couple of years would transform itself into The Guess Who.
As a member of The Guess Who, Peterson has to his credit fifteen albums that have charted on Billboard 200; fourteen singles that have charted on Billboard’s Top 40, including two #1’s; and three Gold Singles and three Gold Albums as certified by RIAA.
Through The Guess Who, Peterson has also been inducted in The Canadian Music Hall of Fame and received the Governor General’s Performing Arts Award for Lifetime Artistic Achievement for contribution to popular music in Canada.
He is also the only current or former member of The Guess Who who has performed on every single album and participated in every single tour over the course of the band’s lengthy history.