Q&A’s : 10 Questions For – Charles Pates (Pates Tapes)

Continuing the series of questions and answers that I sent to various people, whom I’m either in contact with, admire or just wanted to be nosey with. In fact many fit all three.

Today I’m pleased to have Charles Pates, whom I found via his great site which broadcasts old John Peel shows. This is just part of his website – Pates Tapes. I have had many a discussion with him about music and our admiration of the great man. His collection of music is vast and by the sounds of it may even match mine in quantity. So if you’re going to be on-line for quite a while, open an extra tab on your browser and listen one of his uploaded tapes. He’s also the Creative Director work wise with the international company Garnet Hill.

1.       Being in the United States, do you still get to hear new music from the UK? Do you ever listen on-line to BBC 6 Music? Sure yes, British music is out and about…I catch it all over the place, our American cousins love music from the UK, but I’d like to think that their following all the music that’s out there. Music is stylistically more global now than it was 20 years ago, and I think Americans are open to that influence. At the moment I don’t listen to Radio 6, perhaps I should…how do you do it? It’s available on the BBC i-player for us in the UK or if you go to my software section on here, you can download a very useful program to listen to it.

2.       I came across your website a couple of years ago via my appreciation of John Peel. You have uploaded some great archived shows for us to hear, what’s your personal favourite and why? Oh that’s a tough one. There are definitely some tapes where he is up, and some where he’s not so up, the latter when the powers that be were trying to move him out. I find that sub-plot a very interesting and engaging part of the collection because it covers so many years. So I guess I look at them as episodes and I don’t listen to them individually. I asked him about his struggles at the Beeb and he was pretty upfront…it’s on the I Chat with JP that I stuck at the end of a Juggernaughts session. Did I avoid your question successfully? Yes you did admirably too.

3.       What’s your feelings on the on-line John Peel archives being put together via the Space website? You have me at a disadvantage – what is the Space web site? …sorry …sounds like a mission for Bill Shatner. As far as the Peel Archive is concerned, I think it’s very laudable, but it’s my understanding is that it’s a list in photo form…kinda here’s the back of his record collection, but you can’t play any of it. Not a lot of use other than as a curio, perhaps I’m missing something, wouldn’t be the first time. Yes you were right it is the Peel archive is one in the same via Space.

4.       You have a heading of musical Documentarian on your Twitter account, discuss? The documentarian thing is because I was trying to find a word that summed up what the site is to me and what it could be to someone else…kind of an aural document of music from the mid 17th century to now. Yes the classical section (I’m uploading as I write this) goes from 16 something to now. It’s quite encyclopaedic…without the headache of a yard of books.

5.       Your website’s not just Peel shows but a wide range of music, which other is a personal favourite of yours and why? Well I reckon I must be obsessed with it all really otherwise I wouldn’t have dedicated so much time to it all…it may be more a question of what I don’t like, and I’m not sure what that might be…errr big hair music perhaps…?

6.       Out of your music collection which item is most dear to yourself? My first 45, ‘The Times They Are A Changin’ Bob Dylan who I thought at the time was black…there were no pictures around at the time. 7s 6d.

7.       For me my one regret was not going to see XTC live on tour, I still have the ticket for the cancelled tour. Which artist had you wished you’d seen in concert? Well now you’re talking, I saw XTC three times which makes me a rare fish indeed, CBGB’s with 12 other Manchester people, Hurrah’s, (the club JD cancelled at) and at the Beacon all NYC clubs…other than that I slept through Hendrix and the Doors…. I’m in envy now with you seeing Andy Partridge and co live, though I did see Joy Division perform.

8.       What mediums in America excite you about music? Being as we are only fed MTV and likes here from over the pond? Don’t understand what this means? We don’t get much from the US apart from MTV. Radio stations? Internet sites? Magazines? I suppose Brooklyn is the centre of the musical Universe right now, and I read Mojo? I’m English but split my life between New York City and New Hampshire. So the American music component is coming mostly from N.Y. and to some extent L.A. as I spend a great deal of time out there too. I’m lucky that I travel so much, this year to six of the seven continents …I missed Antarctica…. Five of the continents I went to on business, so I get to hear music from all over the world. I’m the Creative Director of a fashion and home catalogue and get to pick all sorts of locations to shoot beautiful women. As we spend many days and sometimes weeks in these locations, for my sins the production company’s will stick me in front of a local act for an evening chow down with my crew. That’s where a lot of it is coming from. In short the site is a musical reference point and a travelogue.


9.       What are your plans for your website? Anything exciting? How much archived material is there still to load? I’ve put out about $10K on it so far so I guess it will have to be subscriber based soon. I’m about 60% into loading pre-existing material Peel, African etc, but now I’m doing new tapes of new music…that excites me the most. Sounds good to me!

10.   I’ve been to a few funerals of late and heard music played which I thought ‘no way would they have wanted that played’. I myself have a CD already recorded with 5 tracks I want to impose on the congregation. What would you choose to be played at yours? I guess we all spend time thinking about the glorious threnody which will send us off …pity we can’t hear it. Probably Sigur Ros’ track ‘Starálfur’ and ‘When An Old Cricketer Leaves The Crease’ by Roy Harper.

Well thanks again Charles for your input. Imagine sleeping through The Doors and Jimi Hendrix , saying that, I’ve slept through an Iron Maiden gig and I was in the second row too. I could only dream about seeing those artists live. Hopefully you’ll go check put Pates Tapes, I’m always delving back into it for some inspiration or just to chill out for an hour or two.

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About Stevo Music Man

Music fan (Worked in music 79-92, gigs, collector, Indie DJ) Football (LCFC Season ticket), Travel, Read, Swim, Cycle & Internet.
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