Posted on May 15th. 2018
Questionnaire by Jason Houston on behalf of METAL TO INFINITY WEBZINE BELGIUM
Jason: Hello Peter and welcome to Metal To Infinity. I know that your band Scars Of Grace was formed back in 2000 and that the band is based out of Pittsburgh, PA. Is there much of a music scene or Metal scene for that matter there these days?
Peter: Thank you for having me .. Surprisingly yes .. The are a lot of die hard rockers.
Jason: Could you please share with us the story of how you came to name the band: Scars Of Grace?
Peter: We all have a life of up and downs, happiness and sadness, good experiences and bad ones but at the end we prevail with perseverance and the name says it all, it carries everyone’s and my life story ..
Jason: How old were you when you first started playing the Guitar? Did you take lessons or would you consider yourself to be a self-taught player?
Peter: I started playing at the age of 16. I had some lessons but I was a little impatient and started learning of vinyl records and cassettes therefor but I would say both have been part of my journey and till today you never stop learning ..
Jason: Do you remember what was the very, first song you learned to play on the guitar?
Peter: Here is a funny story .. After I left home I needed cash so I decided to play in the metro .. I had one song learned and it wasn’t complete “A Day In The Life” by the Beatles .. I used to go set up for two hours from 6am to catch the rush hour. And since what I knew wasn’t making 5 minutes I had to improvise a slower version to make it worth and accommodate the crowd for every 2 min. interval between trains .. That lasted for about 3 month and joined my first band ..
Jason: I was curious why did you choose the Guitar as your instrument of choice?
Peter: I wanted to play the drums but I knew my parents wouldn’t have loved the noise and I didn’t have any friends who owned basses they were all guitar players and I was fairly new to the game and I guess the guitar is what struck me the most and went along with the idea of becoming a guitar player ..
Jason: What do you remember most about your very, first guitar?
Peter: I remember it as if it was yesterday. It was a nice shiny burgundy LesPaul a copy of course for $150 dollars .. It made me painful blisters .. and I had it for quite a few years.
Jason: Do you remember what was the point in your life when you knew you wanted to take a shot at being a professional musician?
Peter: I was determine to be a musician, I was determine to learn, determine to be better than my own self, I was determine to do the impossible to become successful and take risks but I never questioned about professionalism. It became a profession the day I started playing.
Jason: When a lot of musicians start out they play covers to help them master their craft, learn to play their instrument but do you remember how old you were when you wrote your first original song and how you felt from going from a musician that played songs that were written by other people to becoming a musician who wrote and recorded your own original music?
Peter: I remember playing cover songs. But what I do remember is one of my friends wanted me to join his band to play some covers and originals and I thought it was awesome and took the challenge I was like 18 then. The feeling was unbelievable, just sharing the power of knowledge and just creating a new experience ..
Jason: Peter, when you were growing up who were the bands/Guitar Players who you would say had a major influence on you?
Peter: Randy Rhoads was and still is my biggest influence of all time. Other players that had an impact in my life is Tommy Aldridge , Al Di Meola, and classical music ..
Jason: I read on the band’s official Facebook a statement that read: “Respond to the past by giving your best in the present and create a future that is filled with goodness and real value. I have to tell you I just love this! I read this and it and thought what a great life philosophy. Talk a little bit about this and what it means to you.
Peter: I Don’t have any regrets in my life. Everything that I have challenged and challenging today its just a learning process and it never stops. Its all about your self-esteem. I feed on positive I work hard to achieve the best ..
Jason: I also saw on the bands official FB page that you congratulated the Pittsburgh Penguins Hockey Team on a recent win. Are you much of a Hockey or even much of a Sports fan for that matter?
Peter: I am a hockey guy. Love the Penguins as much as I love the Montreal Canadians ..
Jason: In regards to sports do you care to comment on what your thoughts are on the NFL Players who have been taking a knee when the National Anthem is played at NFL Football games in the last few weeks?
Peter: I don’t really watch any football, but in my opinion in any sport or event the Anthem is to stand and honor the flag. It’s a few minutes to commemorate those who have shed blood to protect our freedom.
Jason: What is currently going on with Scars Of Grace?
Peter: Currently working on new material and also working my second solo album ..
Jason: I was curious Peter if you’re the band’s primary songwriter or does everyone in the band get the opportunity to take part in the songwriting process?
Peter: Well here is where it becomes interesting I love working with other artists but for most they are busy touring .. And waiting is not my thing and time is valuable therefor I work harder and at the end of the day I feel good about any accomplishment achieved …
Jason: Being a musician yourself do you ever get the opportunity to check out other up and coming bands and if so I’d like to ask is there a band out there that has come on your radar that you would like to tell Metal Heads out there to check out?
Peter: An old friend of mine used to tell me all the time “You don’t become rich by watching soap operas and Judge Judy” which by the way I love her .. I don’t go much out, I’m a workaholic I’m mostly in my studio working or collaborating.
Jason: I have to ask how do you feel about labels such as Hard Rock, Heavy metal, New Metal, Old Metal, Etc?
Peter: To be honest I self-produce myself and I like the idea that I have full control of everything. I don’t have anything bad to say about labels because we all need each other in this wild industry ..
Jason: Is there an album in your music collection peter that you can point to and say that’s the album that all these years later I would still say had a huge influence on me and played a major role in me doing what I’m doing today?
Peter: Diary Of A Madman is one of them and not only it was a huge influence but meeting Randy Rhoads played a key role in my life. Much Respect !
Jason: While I realize they’re two very different animals Peter I’d like to ask you when it comes to being in the recording studio and performing live do you have a preference?
Peter: Recording creativity is as important to go play live and jam with your audience ..
Jason: With the current state of the music industry being what it is where a lot of bands have made the decision to stop writing/recording new music just because CDS don’t sell like they once did and opt out where they continue to play live and just rely on their catalog of music that they already have what motivates a band like Scars Of Grace to continue to write/record new music. By the way good for you guys because U think more bands should continue to write and record new music!
Peter: Well I know the industry has changed and you need to improvise or adapt but yet lots of bands get discouraged . They want desperately to get signed and they forget you can get dropped easily as well. Like I mentioned earlier I have nothing against labels but if a chance rises I would take it. But taking a serious consideration that social media has a huge impact and you need to utilize it as much as possible I just try to be a step ahead and I tell you what for a one man show it works great for me ..
Jason: Is there anything else that you’d like to say to all the Scars Of Grace fans out there Peter?
Peter: I have met a lot of great and awesome people and It’s been an amazing year and so very much grateful for the support. But Rock doesn’t stop here. You can follow all my links from my official site www.petergraigs.com Keep metal alive and stop by and say hello ..
THANKS AGAIN PETER!
Thank you for the Opportunity.