Me? Peter van Herk?

Firstly, thank you for being interested after all, this is terribly self indulgent writing about myself.

In this life I have worked as an outdoors instructor, martial arts instructor, obtained a Degree in Natural Resource Management, Ranger with the NSW National Parks and Wildlife, an accomplished furniture designer and maker, timber industry processor, consultant in small business development - working with over 60 different businesses and organisations- , builder and renovator, pilot & aircraft owner, on-line small business e-learning content developer ... yes I am always making work for myself and others!

However, music has always run through my life thanks to my father, Hugh, who was a wonderful classical pianist and who started teaching me when I was 8 years old.  At age 10 when dad was giving me a piano lesson I fell off my piano stool because I fidgeted incessantly.  Dad, in frustration, asked if I wanted to give up the piano.  Considering I never wanted to learn in the first place I took about 5 milliseconds to answer "YES!".  My poor disappointed father.

Then came a debilitating stint for two years with the classical violin at Alma Public School in Broken Hill. It was an experience akin to sticking toothpicks under fingernails. Then it was classical guitar lessons.  Again,  the repetitiveness of classical music ...arrrgggh!!  Don't get me wrong, classical music is beautiful...but I am a consumer not a doer of that style of music!

It all changed when I was 18 and hitchhiking in Italy.  A guy showed me how to play 'Cowgirl in the Sand' by Neil Young.  The guitar came alive on that day and my first original song soon followed, a song now buried by time and bottles of wine.

However, after a life of being taught to play only what others had created I had an unspoken guilt about composing "I was not allowed to write music".  I hid my original music between covers when I played in a wine bar to pay my way through university. I am still mad/sad about this 'shame' and consequently I am evangelical about encouraging people to write their own music. Please don't worry about whether it is good or bad, just express yourself!

Work, ambitions, family and paying bills needed my attention and music was pushed to the background for far too long.

In 2002 I heard John Butler playing 'Betterman' at the 2002 BluesFest in Byron Bay, NSW Australia.  Inspired I drove home and dusted off my guitar and wrote my first song in 25 years, 'So Many Times'.  Proudly this is on my first CD in 2018.

To me, music is multi dimensional poetry. Every part of it, melody, rhythm, words, harmonics  are evoke feelings and meaning. Consequently people, places, heartaches, the sordid, the angelic and plain good times live in my music.

Regardless of diversity, you may notice some consistent themes.

  1. Firstly, be resilient and pick yourself up from the hard times and move on. Check out 'Squeezing'.
  2. Secondly, us men are terrible at communicating our true feelings and I give voice to this in my songs. Check out 'The Maranoa'

Like mongrel puppies, each song is different. Just like puppies, I hope they choose you and you cannot resist taking one or all of them home. As and added bonus my songs, unlike puppies, do not need feeding, walking, or following with a plastic bag. What a bargain!

Pete

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Peter van Herk
Brisbane
Australia
Phone: +61 418451288
email: peter@vanherk.com.au