Tape OP-January 2005
by Larry Crane
Pete Anderson is known to many as the original guitarist and producer for Dwight Yoakam. These days Pete’s life revolves around his label, Little Dog Records, and studio, where he’s recently produced, recorded and released records for Moot Davis, Cisco and even Kirk Kirkwood of the Meat Puppets. The studio space here is modest but flexible, and with his partner-in-crime Sally Browder, he’s able to do anything he needs to do at their own space. Pete’s also done a handful of solo records featuring his melodic, twangy, great guitar playing and superior tone. His last, Daredevil, is a fun outing – the kind that’s great to leave in your car stereo for the summer!
Tape OP: How did being a musician lead into being a producer for you?
Pete: Well, I hate to admit that it was sort of backwards, but I think I was supposed to be a producer and the musician thing was more of an avocation. I just wanted to play guitar once I saw Elvis Presley as a kid, though it was really Scotty Moore. I love the sound of a guitar, and it’s been a lifelong pursuit. Coming to L.A., I helped people do their demos. There was a lot of scuffling in my mid-twenties with guys doing demos and demo studios, songwriters, helping somebody to work something out. I never thought of myself as a producer, more just facilitating so that I can play guitar on the session, really! So it was kind of backwards when somebody said to me, “You’re a producer.” After Dwight’s Guitars and Cadillacs came out, Warner Bros. wanted me to produce Rosie Flores. I asked, “You mean, as in what I did for Dwight?” And they said, “Yeah, that’s called producing.” I’d done some producing prior to that – a soundtrack for a student film, a single for an R&B vocal group, made a couple of records on my own. So I told them, “No, not really,” because I just wanted to go and get in the van or bus and drive around the world and play guitar. They said, “Well, we’ll pay you,” whatever it was at the time – $20,000 – which was a fortune at that time. So I told them I could do that. I just went in there and followed the same pattern of basic organizational skills: get everybody here, and kind of judge people’s personalities and performances. I don’t mean to say that I have basic rules for making a record, because I think that’s dangerous