Pete’s star has been rising for some time now, with tours supporting the likes of Ocean Colour Scene and headline shows joined by former Oasis guitarist Bonehead. Before signing with 359 Music, this acclaimed Glaswegian singer, songwriter and guitarist has remained fiercely independent, releasing his music through his ModRock Music label. Back in the day, Pete performed under the name of thestar69, before eventually deciding to present himself as simply Pete MacLeod.
01 How did you first get started in music?
By listening to it and then it took me to this point now. I think we can take the ability to just listen and learning for granted at times.
02 Who were your major influences and inspirations?
Musically my influences and inspirations vary as I have so many musicians that I look up to. I like the message that The Beatles put out with the Peace&Love. I also think John Lennon continued that with his solo career. I always think that we are here a short time on the grand scale of things as the statistics for human life expectancy is probably about 80 now right? I’d rather spread a good message and leave that mark than hatred and all that nonsense. It’s not even about being judged by others as it would just feel such a waste of time here if you can’t turn something into a good positive thing rather than a negative thing y’know, so I guess that means anyone that was a hippy or a Beatle. Ha…
03 What shapes your song craft and sound?
I actually intentionally don’t over think it all to be honest. I have a passion for music but I don’t want to spoil or ruin it to the point where it’s a chore. Also every song and sound has it’s own direction and meaning so it naturally goes where it goes y’know.
04 What types of themes and subjects do you deal with?
Pretty much most subjects we all deal with in life. I think all the great writers dealt with obvious but touchy subjects which always interests me, two who spring to mind are John Lennon and Kurt Cobain. Two great artists IMHO.
05 How has your music evolved since you first began playing?
It will always evolve one way or another if I continue to make any sort of effort with it, from the beginning it was evolved greatly as would anything right? But there is always a natural thing with music and art isn’t there? Something we can’t create. Some touch it and have a glimpse of it. I think analyzing it too much could be unhealthy so I just go with the flow and try to enjoy it as much as I can as it’s not just about the song is it? Although that’s the World I personally live in but it’s not the World everyone lives in eh.
06 What has been your biggest challenge so far? Were you able to overcome this? If so, how?
I get different challenges every day. From the moment I wake up throughout the whole day. Life is a challenge sin’t it? Sometimes we need a wake up call to realize that we don’t have it as bad as others, it’s important to listen and look before commenting and pursuing an action. I would say I’m still involved in the biggest challenge and fight in my life and it’s trying to have or gain musical recognition from my efforts. I would say I might be winning on points just now but the fight isn’t over yet, it might go the full distance! Haha.
07 Do you ever play covers? If you could pick any song, which would you like to cover most and why?
I never play covers live tbh I but I throw in a few one liners of songs and artists that I look up to. I covered Love by John Lennon and filmed it whilst I was driving up to the hospital to see my Dad whilst he was fighting his cancer. I think It’s still on youtube. I’ve always loved that song. Since I was 7 or 8 years old. Alan loves that version actually. He loves my voice on it.
08 How did you get connected with Alan McGee (ex Creation Records) and with the new record label project 359 Music?
Alan and I met in 2005 in LA. We got on well. Since then I would say that he is one of my best friends. I trust him and I respect what he has to say. He is still fighting for the good things in life and he has kinda already won the fights that we are still trying to overcome first time around! Somethings nearly happened in the past but for one reason or another they never came to light so when 359 Music got in the ring then I of course agreed to sign with Alan. Nothing to do with money or popularity. All to do with trust, belief and the music!
09 Alan has a reputation as someone who makes things happen in a very vital way, did this draw you in to the bigger plan?
Who really knows what the big plan is, I take care of the small things in life and then the bigger things take care of themselves y’know. It’s something that was passed onto me by the ppl who love me and care for my well being. I do the same for others who I love. It’s an open game and if others like what I do then I am really grateful for that. I have just stuck in at something I have a passion for as it gives me a self purpose of existing here y’know. It probably could have been anything else if I had put the time into that. It just so happens to be music and I am glad about that.
10 Will there be a Tour or live dates to help promote your album and single releases?
Two album launch dates yes. Glasgow on the 1st of November at the o2 ABC2 and then London on the 8th of November at Brixton Jamm. Just the two dates for now. See how that goes really.
11 What can someone who has never seen you live before expect from your live shows?
Ahhh… well… to get a true answer they would just have to come and judge for themselves. That’s the thing about performing live on a stage, your exposing yourself to be judged by everyone and anyone. I think that’s a good thing and a bad thing tbh. Everyone has and is entitled to an opinion but in all honesty I get on that stage my own personal reasons and I mean every chord I play and note I sing. I don’t compete with anyone other than myself. If I enjoy it then it’s a good gig. If anyone else enjoys it then it’s a great gig!
12 Who would you most like to record with?
Not sure yet actually, some great producers probably. Some great musicians too. It might even be someone that doesn’t have the fame or popularity that others have but are a great musician or have a great ear for production. It’s an open book really man.
13 What should we be expecting from you in the near future?
14 Can you tell us a half-decent joke please?
Sure, why did David Hasselhoff get called the ‘Hoff’? Because he couldn’t be bothered with the hassle!
Photography by Stefan Duerr
Rolling Stone: Pete MacLeod (359 Music, cat #359CD4) – Released 4th November 2013
Pete McLeod releases his debut album ‘Rolling Stone’ on the 4th November. McLeod was living in L.A. when he met Alan McGee and after hearing McLeod play some songs McGee felt that his music needed to be heard by a wider audience. So when 359 Music was established, Pete McLeod was one of the first artists to be signed to the label. McLeod originally comes from Kirkwood, Coatbridge in Scotland, and has been on the music scene for a few years now. McLeod has done support slots with Ocean Colour Scene, Amy McDonald, and has played numerous gigs with Bonehead the erstwhile Oasis guitarist.
Living in L.A. has had an impact on McLeod’s music, and there is a West Coast tinge to some of the tracks, especially lead single ‘Rolling Stone’, with the guitar intro nodding to the Byrds early ‘Jangly’ Rickenbacker sound. The album opens with ‘Let it shine’ and this is an upbeat warm sounding song, which sets the tone for the rest of the album. Songs like ‘let it shine’ ‘give a little love’ ‘keep your dreams alive’ and ‘God speed’ all have a distinctive ‘Sunshine Pop’ feel to them and with a hint of Ocean Colour Scene thrown in for good measure. This is an album of 2 halves and at the half way point the mood of the record becomes distinctly more mellow with acoustic led tracks like ‘hold me now’ ‘on the other side’ and ‘Panic’ showing a more wistful side to Pete McLeod’s songwriting talents. BUY HERE!