The singer stops at Jammin Java in support of “Doctor Moan”

Peter Case is known for being a founding member of The Nerves, a San Francisco band that was at the beginning of the early punk era in the ’70s. When the band broke up in 1979, he formed the rock band, The Plimsouls, which became one of the top-drawing live bands in California, known for their signature hit, “A Million Miles Away.” 

The singer struck out on his own in 1986 and has enjoyed a successful solo career ever since, writing and performing rock, blues, and folk. 

Case will perform at Jammin Java on April 12 in support of his 16th studio album, “Doctor Moan.” Ben de la Cour will serve as the opening act.

“This will be the opening night of my tour,” Case said. “I’m coming out to play songs from my new album on the piano. The whole album if focused on piano.”

He’ll also be playing tunes on a six- and 12-string guitar, mixing in songs from the beginning of his career with The Nerves through his latest work.

“It’s a free-wheeling affair and these nights are generally a lot of fun,” Case said. “I make a lot of noise for a solo player, so it rocks a bit. I’ll be playing harmonica, too. I’m a singer-songwriter, but the way I sing is more a rock n’ roll influence. It’s songs about now and then, and I’ll hopefully get some laughs and take people’s minds to a new place.”

The last time Case was on tour was in early 2020, right before the pandemic hit, so he’s thrilled to be heading back on the road for the first time in three years.

“I had an album called ‘Midnight Broadcast’ that came out during the pandemic and I couldn’t tour it, so I’ll be playing songs from that too since I didn’t get a chance to do that previously,” he said. “I’m usually on the road a great deal of the year, but it’s been a while.”

During his years off the road, Case played a lot of piano, which he noted he often doesn’t have a chance to do. 

“I left it behind a bit when I hit the road as a teenager,” Case said. “I always played for fun whenever I encountered one, and I have one in my house that someone gave me years ago, but I was gone a lot, so now I have this great rock piano that I play every day.”

Although he wasn’t really trying to write on the piano, eventually, melodies started to pop out and he began work on writing the piano-influenced new album.

“The best thing was I didn’t have to go out in the middle of making a record, I could focus on the thing from conception to execution without having to break my train of thought,” Case said. 

Originally from Buffalo, Case knew early on that music was his calling. He picked up piano, ukulele, and harmonica on his own, and took up saxophone in school. Eventually, he started playing guitar and writing his own songs. At 16, Case would play coffeehouses on the East Coast and by 1973, had made it out west to San Francisco, where he started playing as a street musician. He caught the eye of filmmaker Bert Deivert, who used the performer as one of his key subjects in the documentary, “Night Shift,” which chronicled San Francisco street music.

The three years off were the longest in his more than 50-year career that he wasn’t on the road, and he admits, he thought about retirement for one of the first times ever. 

“I’m turning 69 this year and I’ve been on the road a long time, so it definitely occurred to me,” Case said. “But when you make a record, you have to get it out in front of people, you can’t just expect it to sell. A lot of the bloom is off the rose for traveling, but I love people and playing and you get better when you’re playing every night. So, I can’t really ever leave it behind.”


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