Peter Jesperson is currently the VP of Production & Catalog at New West Records, but in the time I have known him he has escaped any nomenclature I would normally use for someone at a record label. The titles that come to mind are more like Chief Fanatic, or Senior Evangelist. To me these better describe the way he talks about the work he does. Quite simply put, he is the most passionate music person I know. He exudes a wild enthusiasm and has a reverence for music as a craft unlike anyone else I have ever met.
Peter is widely known as one of the founders of the Minneapolis based label Twin/Tone Records that was in operation from 1977-1998. The label was home to such acts as The Replacements, Babes in Toyland, The Jayhawks, Soul Asylum and many more. Over the life of the label over 300 records by more than 100 acts were released.
In the late 90’s Peter joined New West Records, home to artists such as Kris Kristofferson, Delbert McClinton, John Hiatt and Dwight Yoakam. In his role in A&R he signed artists like Vic Chesnutt, Chuck Prophet and Ben Lee.
I had the good fortune of meeting Peter when our boys began to attend the same school. We hit it off thanks to a shared love of music and literature and I could talk to him for hours about both.
A moment that inspired me greatly happened in 2012 when former Replacements guitar player Slim Dunlap had a stroke and Peter put together the non-profit Songs For Slim. This project brought together an incredible array of talent including, The Replacements, Jeff Tweedy, Joe Henry, Lucinda Williams, Jakob Dylan, and more – all to help Slim and his family. This outpouring of generosity from the musical community has raised over $200,000 to date.
I am really excited to have Peter on the Podcast for two reasons.
- He has been able to sustain a deep passion for music over the course of a lifetime and continues to share that passion with others.
- He has an amazing ability to remember not only records, but dates and musicians and producers and can roll them into a tale worth listening to.
IN THIS EPISODE:
- What it was like to grow up in Minneapolis
- How refusing to cut his hair landed him a job
- Why he started his first record label
- The record store where it all began
- The moment he heard The Replacements first demo
“If this makes me feel so good, we should try to spread this around” [Tweet This]
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