Pete Price had spent the last 30 years as lead guitarist for The Fries Band, a Dayton, Ohio staple, known for their lush harmonies and acoustic rock vibe. The group has enjoyed local success in Dayton’s thriving music scene, and opened for quite a few national acts when they came to town. The band reflects many of Pete’s personal musical influences, like Neil Young, Simon and Garfunkel, and James Taylor.
“I’ve always written songs,” Pete says, “but it really started hot and heavy during covid.” With live gigs suspended, the lockdown provided Pete with plenty of time to be still and to examine his thoughts and feelings. New songs and new ideas naturally started to flow, and in early 2020, with the encouragement of fellow musician and neighbor Nick Kizirnis, Pete began work on what would become his debut solo album, The Department of the Interior, released in January 2022.
“I’ve always been very interested in how your mind works…I’ve always tried to figure out what makes me tick, what makes other people tick—how people are motivated.” This theme runs through the record, which also explores spirituality, living, loving, loss, and even has a 21st century political protest song named “Common Ground” thrown in for good measure. The style touches upon Americana, rock, soft rock, blues and more.
When considering his songwriting process, Pete has a daily routine that allows for songs to emerge organically. “I try to play every day,” he explains. “Usually I try to play early in the morning before my mind is occupied with other things…Sometimes I’ve got a show I’m preparing for and I’ve got to rehearse different parts…but ordinarily I have at least some amount of time where I can just noodle around. A lot of my songs start that way.”
“Thank goodness for cell phones,” Pete adds, “because in the past, I’d come up with an idea and think that I’d remember it, and it would be gone within fifteen minutes.”
Check out The Department of the Interior on Bandcamp at peteprice1.bandcamp.com.
By Dan Walsh