(Born in Arlington, and raised in Waltham and Newton, Andrew Kastner is the guitarist/songwriter/producer and founding member of the Los Angeles-based soul band, Jack Mack & The Heart Attack.)
I met Peter Green in 1969 at the Old Boston Tea Party on Berkley Street in Boston. My brother Stanley Kastner and I went to almost every show at that club. We saw Led Zeppelin, B.B. King, Buddy Guy, Jeff Beck and on and on. One of the best bands I ever saw there was Fleetwood Mac with Peter Green. Peter’s tone and phrasing was so tasteful. It was the first time I ever heard a Sunburst Les Paul and in fact I went out the very next day and bought one, but that’s a different story. When Fleetwood Mac finished their set, we were walking through the club and Peter walked by us. My brother Stan said to him, “My brother has a Les Paul too.” (I actually had a 52 Gold top at that time). Peter turned to us and said, “Hey why don’t you guys come to our hotel.” So we followed Peter and ended up with a few other people in his room. We talked music and guitars and through that we had a connection. Fleetwood Mac played in Boston a bunch of times and every time they came I would hang out with Peter. One time Peter and I went to see B.B. King and Peter ended up jamming with B.B. We were back stage and B.B. turned to me and said, no one plays BB King style as authentically as Peter except for BB himself. I believe Peter was one of his favorite guitarists.
Another time I was standing in the audience watching Fleetwood Mac and standing next to me was Carlos Santana. Carlos was a huge fan of Peter’s and that might have been the moment he heard “Black Magic Woman.” I like to think so anyway.
After Peter quit Fleetwood Mac, I called him in London and asked him if he wanted to come to Maine and jam with my band. My bandmates at that time were Frank Welch, Danny Aiello, and Richard Ponte. We all lived together in a house in the woods in South Berwick, Maine. I knew it was a long shot asking Peter to come over but he surprised me and said yes. A few weeks later I drove to Boston and picked Peter, his suitcase, his Sunburst Les Paul, and his Fender six string bass, up at Boston Logan Airport and drove him up to Maine. My memory is vague at how long he stayed with us but it might have been a month. I do remember a few days after he came that we found out that Jimi Hendrix died. So that would put him there on September 18, 1970. I remember hearing this news really stunned him as he said he was just hanging out with Jimi a few days before in London. Basically we would get up every day and jam.
We did all go to Boston and play a gig at the newer Boston T Party. I actually have two tapes of Peter jamming with us, one from the house in Maine and one from that gig at the T Party. I have never played them for anyone. Peter had a female friend who was going to Goddard College in Vermont and he eventually left Maine and headed up there. I was very lucky to spend time with him. He was a very thoughtful, sweet, funny and open person. I can see him now twisting his mustache as he was contemplating life sitting on the stoop of that house in Maine.
Actually I remember one morning he was sitting on that stoop with his Les Paul jamming with the birds. Peter’s guitar playing did not rely on tricks or fancy licks or runs. Every note he played was connected
to his heart. It was economical, soulful, authentic, and he played with dynamics and fire. But then he could play so sweet as in “Albatross.” Basically his playing was him and that is a rare find in a musician.
what you hear is who he was. I will miss him but am thankful that I got to know him.
Published on July 29, 2020