Life is busy these days for Peter Asher, the Peter of the British Invasion duo Peter & Gordon. He's about to go out on the road with guitarist Albert Lee for a series of live dates beginning Saturday, June 17 in Schenectady, N.Y. at the Van Dyck Lounge, then heading into New York City on Sunday for a show at the Cutting Room in the first two of the series. “We haven't done any for quite a while,” he told AXS.com in a phone interview. “We did quite an extensive tour of the U.K., which was fun. We enjoy doing it. It's great.”
Asher said the shows with Lee have a different feel than the “Memoirs” shows with his band because they're informal. “Being just the two of us and being acoustic, it means we can kind of change [the show] if we want to or react to something the audience say or suggest. We conduct it very much like we were in someone's living room. Comments and questions are welcome and we get to actually meet a lot of the audience and talk to them and that's cool.”
He's also the host of a new show on SiriusXM satellite radio's new Beatles Channel (Ch. 18) called “From Me To You” where he tells anecdotes about the Beatles and plays music by the Fab Four, Peter & Gordon and others. He's recorded 12 shows but says only about a third of those have aired. “The writing takes a little bit of time. I try to establish a thread that goes through the show, a storytelling thing. So it does take a while to write them, then I have to record it. I decide what to play and the stories and the topics. It's all me. There isn't anyone else.”
On his first show, he played a lesser known Peter & Gordon song called “Love Me Baby” and revealed it featured the Rolling Stones' Brian Jones on harmonica — a friend of both Asher and Gordon Waller, his music partner who died in 2009. Did Peter & Gordon have any other well-known session names on their recordings? “Some of the session musicians of the day certainly played, like guitar players Vic Flick (known for his licks on James Bond film soundtracks) and Big Jim Sullivan.” But there were others, too. “John Paul Jones played some organ on stuff and did some arrangements for me,” he said. And “Jimmy Page played on a couple of things.”
Keeping busy runs in the family. Asher's sister, Jane, who has recently been starring in the London version of “An American in Paris,” will be in America in July for an exhibit of Pink Floyd artwork done by her husband, Gerald Scarfe.
Come November, Peter Asher will be music supervisor of the Broadway musical “Bright Star” starring Steve Martin and Edie Brickell when it plays at the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles starting Oct. 11. Asher says the partnership of Martin and Brickell, the wife of Paul Simon, unlikely as it might seem, works.
On top of all this, the busy Asher, though he does not appear with the show, is credited as a director for “Hans Zimmer Live,” which is touring worldwide. “I worked with Hans putting it all together. I just walked past Radio City and they've got Hans' name up on the front. So I took a picture and I'm going to email it to him.” The show will be at Radio City later this year.
If he has so many stories, has he considered writing a book? “I've had many offers to do so, but generally I've decided not to. I prefer telling the stories. I like going out and doing both my 'Memoirs' show when I'm accompanied with a lot of videos and the band and the shows I do with Albert Lee where we both tell stories from different perspectives of that era.” But he says, “I'd never say never, though.”