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Don Giovanni's Joe Steinhardt On Releasing New Peter Stampfel Album: Better Than Expected

Peter Stampfel And Joe Steinhardt

Peter Stampfel And Joe Steinhardt

As someone who has spent the better part of his life involved in punk, independent, and generally outsider music, Peter Stampfel is an inspiring figure. While I never in a million years would have expected that I would someday be helping to release his music, it also seems like a perfectly natural fit for Peter who has basically been a punk before that concept existed, and releasing music outside of the mainstream music industry in various forms before that concept really existed too much either. I met Peter through a writing project that I am working on with him and Jeffrey Lewis. Peter told me about this idea for a record which would be mostly without vocals and mostly banjos and told me that it would sound “better than expected,” I said “that should be the album title!” (to be honest, I don’t know if he was already planning on calling the record that or not though).  A few weeks later he got in touch asking if I wanted to help be a part of releasing it. Without really thinking I jumped at the chance. The project was recorded by Mark Bingham who is a bit of a legend in his own right. When I heard the record, I remember thinking that Peter at 75 had managed to make a record far more non-commercial, outsider, and genuinely “punk” than anyone we had ever worked with, and that’s saying a lot considering so many of our artists have those goals in mind when making music. To add to the coolness of the project Tony Millionaire, who is also a longtime Stampfel fan, agreed to do the cover art.  Tony has done some showcase posters for us and is one of my favorite living artists and it was amazing to finally work with him on a record.  In addition, we got to work with another one of my favorite living artists, Faye Orlove, on artwork for a digital single we released for NSA Man, Peter’s update of The Fugs CIA MAN which couldn’t be more timely.


No sooner was Peter finished with this project, then he came to me with his idea for the next project, a fiddle squadron which would recreate everything that was so unique about this record, but with fiddles instead of banjos. Again without really thinking too much, I jumped at the chance and the record is being recorded as I write this for release sometime in the future.


Peter is a true treasure of punk, of the lower east side, and of life in general. I only really had the pleasure of meeting and interacting with Peter (and his family and pets for that matter) in recent years but I have found the interaction to be some of the most rewarding time spent. I hope people check out this record, as it is a truly unique project. I look forward to a long term relationship with Peter as he comes to me with more ideas.

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