The latest video by Pete Thelen, Thought Passing Through, is an homage to his own journeys, life as a musician and life on tour. A musician can get lost in their own life, and one by one, the days blend together, all the faces seem the same, and all that is left is the loneliness one may feel, so far from home.
A few years after the Second World War, Pete Thelen was born into the American Midwest’s cradle of blues: Chicago. He spent his first seventeen years there, listening to rock and roll and raising a bit of hell, before leaving home to join the Army. Thankfully, Uncle Sam sent him to Germany, and he got his first taste of the wider world that would come to influence so much of his life and art.
When he came back, Pete started his music career as part of the Here After, with a few old friends from his hometown, Wheaton, IL. But after chasing the dream, life intervened, with its marriages, children, and responsibilities. So, he hung up his microphone, traded it in for a briefcase and a more respectable wardrobe, and found himself building a hospital in Riyadh and managing skyscrapers on Michigan Avenue.
But the songs in Pete’s head didn’t fade, and he started writing and producing music as part-owner of Crystal Recording. With the studio’s co-owner Charlie Prazma, Pete co-wrote “Welcome Home,” honoring Vietnam Veterans. Chuck Britton at WLS in Chicago featured the song as part of the POW/MIA campaign in the 1980’s.
And then, when life brought him to Arizona, Pete embarked on the next step in his musical journey. By forming the Blues Dinosaurs with his friend Greg Sheldon, Pete began singing some of the world’s greatest songs, elemental blues songs written by the giants of the genre: Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, Muddy Waters, B.B. King, and so many others.
Still, Pete wanted to bring his own songs to life. So, he started the Blues Today project, recording an album with long-time friend and collaborator Mike King, then two more, with a wide range of artists.
Pete’s wanderlust sent him on another journey. Travels to the Edge finds Pete pushing his limits and ours, inviting us to journey with him, outward to Europe and New Orleans, and inward, into our hearts and dreams. He has been taking those journeys his whole life and he’s back, Marco Polo, map and notes in hand, ready to share.
In commentary, Pete says “I chose this song because it speaks to how I feel when I leave the family I love, to do what I love. It’s a dilemma for me as an artist. I chose my dear friend Hans Christian on cello to play the lead instrumental part, because I knew he could capture how I was feeling, with his soulful, melancholy touch.”
Although filmed in a studio setting, it does have the feeling of the sole performer on stage, playing the last song of the night, dreaming of home, a home so close, yet so far away.
Pete also commented on some of his past journeys, “In 2004 I left my wife and family to join the Dinosaurs in the Valley of the Sun for two months playing the clubs around ASU, and a gig that was near and dear to us, a fund-raising gig for Paz de Cristo a food pantry in Mesa, where they feed the homeless 365 days a year. For years it was at another dear friends “Mustang Sally Kellett” in Tempe. That is the place where the course of The Dinosaurs changed forever. Chicago Blues Legend, and Howlin’ Wolf’s Drummer, Chico Chism, showed up and we backed him for a couple of songs. We became the best of friends; I loved him like my brother, and we backed him several times over the years. I saw him in Chicago at Kingston Mines circa1976, after Wolf died. Who would have thought we’d become best friends twenty years later? We moved the benefit to The Rhythm Room in Phoenix, owned by famous harp player Bob Corritore and managed by one of the nicest people, Mona Lisa Watkins. “
Pete Thelen’s voice and charm has captivated his fans through the years and continues to bring light into some of the darkest shadows, and with a road worn wisdom he sings from the heart.
Find and Follow Pete online:
Donate to IndiePulse Music Magazine’s Academic and Music Education Scholarship Program HeartBeat4Kids
IndiePulse Music Magazine creates Scholarships to help Youth In Need of assistance to complete their educational goals and stay in school.