AN INTERVIEW WITH Peter Walker - Part 1
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Part 2 in next issue.
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The next generation Wammy created by Peter Walker
Peter Walker was a founding of Bakery, an Australian progressive hard rock band that later featured vocalist Barry Leef and bassist Jackie Orszaczky.
After 6 years on the road, Peter migrated into the studio world via Charles Fisher and Trafalgar Studios where he began engineering albums, often with people he knew from his touring days. He engineered and produced numerous albums through the seventies and eighties - covering a huge range of music: rock, pop, country, film soundtracks etc.
These were heady days, with large budgets and long sessions. Peter was also the resident session guitar player, playing on many tracks and advertising jingles. Much of that work was un-credited as his specialty was replacing existing parts (or beefing them up) for albums of well-known bands including 'Eagle Rock' (Daddy Cool), 'Hey True Blue' (John Williamson) and 'Khe Sahn' (Cold Chisel).
Other local acts Peter has engineered/produced include, Midnight Oil, Cold Chisel, Hoodoo Gurus, John Williamson, Air Supply, Tommy Emmanuel and Buffalo. He also did recordings for touring international acts like Elvis Costello, David Bowie, Police and Duran Duran while they were in Sydney.
By the nineties Peter moved into the computer world, writing software and working on his first major invention: a cordless, attitude-sensing joystick. It's still recognised as the fastest responding 'virtual reality' joystick around - even 25 years later.
He then spent years in the world of large scale control systems as a consultant designer and coder but stumbled back into the guitar world and began playing again in 2010.
Peter also built a range of stomp-boxes for Ian Moss with whom he has been friends since the early Chisel days. Moss was constantly wondering what happened to all the tone when he ran anything more complex than a single cable from guitar to amp.
“My goal (and Ian's) was to get any pickup's tone to survive the tortuous journey through cables, pedalboards, stomp-boxes and even more cables. And I had Ian as my crash test dummy!” said Peter.
The result was a custom buffer, an output driver and a sidechain controller which Moss has used on stage for over 3 years. Production versions of these products will be available soon.
Peter’s latest invention (The Virtual Jeff) after several years of industrial design and patenting, won “Best In Show” at Namm 2017. This electronic wammy-bar is not a toy and has the level of precision that pitch control demands, as well as internal firmware that provides multiple pitch presets, smart pitch limits and AI modelling for intuitive response. Production versions will also be available soon.
Recently, Ian Moss also approached Peter to produce his latest album. “We've spent about 18 months arranging and recording between his tours. It's all his own material and covers a big range; he's had a lot of opportunities and influences over a long career. It was also a great opportunity to put together the band of his dreams - at least in the studio!”