By John Cody
“I HAVE the biggest ego of anybody you’ve ever met. And I want to state that for the record.” Peter Himmelman is on the phone, claiming a trait far removed from your standard entertainment industry boast. For Himmelman, one of the most self-aware artists recording today, it’s entirely in keeping with his ruthless pursuit of the truth.
In a just world he’d be a household name. He’s released over a dozen critically acclaimed albums, maintains a concurrent career as a popular children’s entertainer, and as a composer he’s received an Emmy award nomination for his work on the TV series Judging Amy.
The list of accomplishments might be impressive – but it all takes back seat to his faith. In accordance to Jewish law, he refuses to work on the Sabbath (from Friday sundown to Saturday evening) – a practice that has resulted in countless missed career opportunities, and may in large part explain why he’s still a fringe artist. His songs cut to the heart of faith and the pursuit of God. His newest album was composed entirely during a 25 hour religious holiday of fasting. It’s too convenient to label him an enigma and leave it at that. Closer to the truth would be a man who takes his faith seriously.
It’s a telling irony that a Chassidic Jew addresses issues of faith boldly, in a way that puts much of what is released in the Contemporary Christian Music scene to shame.
Steve Stockman, a Presbyterian Chaplain and author of Walk On: The Spiritual Journey of U2, and The Rock Cries Out: Discovering Eternal Truth in Unlikely Places, has described Himmelman’s music as almost transcendent: “It is the spiritual vigor of his writing that sets him apart. He wraps his earthy vocal around clever poetry that reports back from the war weary frontline of all the world’s ills and then tops and tails it with heavenly insight.”
Himmelman was unaware – and pleasantly surprised – to learn he has a following in the Christian community, acknowledging that “there are certainly a lot of shared values.” How would he like his beliefs described in a Christian publication? “I don’t really know what the audience knows (about me). I’m an observant Jew who keeps the Sabbath, and keeps kosher. My life is very structured in that way. Ideally I put God before everything that I do. I say ideally because – well, that is an ideal. It’s something that I strive for -continuity with the Jewish people, and Israel. There’s a very strict moral code which I try to abide by. In some ways, ironically, I think it’s that structure – that obedience to the structure that allows me to be as free as I am on stage.”
He cites as an example, a recent trip to Israel: “There’s these young secular Israeli guys, with tattoos and nipple rings and all that stuff, and I come on there, and they’re pretty much in disbelief asking ‘How can this guy be so structured in one part of his life, and so utterly untethered onstage?’ And some of that might just be that I proceed from a certain axiom or framework that’s almost like a lifeline that lets me stretch way, way out. Drugs or wild hedonism to me is more of a boring ritual than a statement of freedom or independence. Having experienced part of that myself, it’s not a very revolutionary mode of operation.”
As a man of faith, he’s not impressed with ‘watered down’ religions, especially the current popularity of Kabbalah, as endorsed by celebrities like Madonna, Ashton Kutcher and Britney Spears. “It’s like trying to become Jascha Heifetz (greatest violinist of the 20th century) in a week. It’s an absolute joke. Trying to have utter mastery of an instrument without even learning how to open the case· it’s impossible, it’s a sham, and it’s ridiculous. I’m sure everybody’s having a lot of fun, but it has nothing to do with Kabbalah. If a kid can turn on a transistor radio, and make music, in some sense he is making music, but·you know what I’m saying.”
Just as Christians are often portrayed in a negative light by the media – as reactionary, ignorant and quick to judge, Himmelman agrees there’s a corresponding problem with how the Jewish faith is represented. “We were talking about movies and film – the people who are in those things usually lead pretty wild and hedonistic life-styles. And just like everyone else, there’s a certain agenda to promote that – and anybody that has a God-fearing perspective is somehow anachronistic or certainly the whole thing’s outmoded and certainly could never teach anybody about freedom of expression because they’re painted as narrow-minded. It all works – everybody has an agenda. Somebody at a rock concert will go ‘George Bush sucks’ and everyone automatically screams and loves it – they’ll make some kind of comment about any number of left-wing causes, and immediately the whole place is alight with delight and praise. And to me it’s just all sorts of dogma on all sides. At least if I have dogma I’ll call it exactly what it is. I’m not going to call it some sort of posturing for freedom.”
Regardless of the size of his ego, there’s a sense of humility in Himmelman’s songs that is all too rare in popular culture; “·I think I have a certain cognitive of being in possession of a rare gift…Ideally, and I keep using that word ideally just so you won’t thing I’m trying to promote myself as someone who’s arrived at some place – I mean, I’m just a struggling clown – but ideally there is a sense of duty that is bound up with that idea of talent, that gift. Certainly if there is a gift there’s a giver, and the giver is God.”
Himmelman grew up in a nominally Jewish home; “We identified strongly with being Jewish, but our knowledge of all the laws and things was pretty limited.” After moving to New York, a music business acquaintance, Kenny Vance, once of the doo-wop group Jay & the Americans, helped steer him to a deeper level of faith in 1985; “He introduced me to a Rabbi in Crown Heights in Brooklyn. He said ‘I know Woody Allen, I know Diane Keaton, but tonight I’m going to take you to my main connection.” That night he met Rabbi Simon Jacobson, who would have a profound effect on Peter’s journey back to Judaism.
Beyond Dogma, subtitled What Do Two Chassidic Rabbis have to say to a Modern World – A Dialogue with the Jacobson Brothers, Simon and Yosef Yitzchak, and Peter Himmelman, is a fascinating double disc set released this year through the Meaningful Life Center. It’s two hours of Himmelman and the brothers discussing the Jewish faith for those outside of the faith. He poses hard questions, including “do you ever doubt God’s existence” – (Yes, everyday) and asks, “Do you suppose that God cries” in relating to his sister’s recent death in a car accident.
Some have called the music industry a spiritually dangerous environment. In an upcoming interview Country Rock legend Chris Hillman (Byrds/Flying Burrito Brothers/Desert Rose Band) told CanadianChristianty.com that he considers it to be the ‘Devil’s playground.’ Himmelman disagrees; “For me music is something I love to do. Like any other business it has it’s challenges. I could imagine that teaching at a university is the Devil’s playground, too. It all depends on your perspective. Without disregarding the obvious pitfalls of the rock business, a guy that’s a traveling salesman would have the same temptations.”
On Beyond Dogma he admits that when he started out the music business was like a god to him. “It had a powerful pull on a young kid. That was where my head was totally at. Music is still super important to me.” Music or music business success? “All of it. I enjoy making music. And I know that if people don’t listen to it and aren’t familiar with it then I’m not going to be able to continue making it. You have to think about the business part of it, too. Thank God I’ve been able to pull it off pretty well.
This year alone there are five releases – three albums of new material, and two anthologies. His latest album, Imperfect World is as powerful as anything he’s ever done. Pristine is the fourth release from the ongoing Himmelvaults collection, with collects previously unreleased material. His fourth children’s disc is slated for later this year. This month his first ever career retrospective, Mission of My Soul – the Best of Peter Himmelman (Shout Factory September 6) will be released. The disc samples 19 tracks from all eleven of his official solo albums, and is an excellent introduction to his formidable catalogue. Himmelman was involved in choosing the songs and writing the liner notes. The Complete Sussman Lawrence (1979-1985) is a double disc set that collects everything by the band he led immediately prior to going solo.
Growing up in Minneapolis, Himmelman played funk, reggae and rock, and assimilated seemingly everything he was exposed to. A live medley of 70′s hits released on a promo single a few years back attests to this fact, with rapid fire covers of everything from Black Sabbath to the Carpenters. While still in high school Peter and his cousin were the only white members in an early incarnation of R & B legend Alexander O’Neal’s band. He then played Caribbean and reggae with Shangoya, a popular local act, before assembling his longest running group, Sussman Lawrence, who built a significant following throughout the region before relocating to New York. He wrote all the material, and while there are hints of the introspective work to come – and a few exceptional songs – the band leaned toward a new wave sound, closer in approach to Elvis Costello or Joe Jackson. While totally appropriate for the era, much of the material sounds dated today.
His first solo release, 1985′s This Fathers’ Day was a huge leap in quality. Himmelman kept all of the Sussman Lawrence players, but they now went under his name. Songs like ‘Eleventh Confession,’ ‘The Jokes On You’ and ‘Tremble’ made it obvious he was a major talent. The title track was a standout. Written and recorded in the early morning after arriving home from a late night gig on the eve of Father’s day, it was written as a gift to his father, who was dying of cancer. One of the most moving songs of love from a son to his father, the song was only ever performed once for the tape, which his dad carried with him until he died. The album was released on a small independent label, and picked up the next year by Island Records, who would release his next two albums, Gematria (1987) and Synesthesia (1989). While they garnered strong reviews, sales were not as hoped for, and he moved to Epic Records for 1991′s From Strength To Strength which was a tour de force, easily his strongest material yet. The following year brought the equally impressive Flown This Acid World.
His 1994 release Skin was a concept album concerning the reincarnation of a rather unlikable individual. Asked if he subscribes to that particular belief, Himmelman told Canadian Christianity “It’s not my belief· it’s actually a very central part of normative Jewish belief. Not that anyone really knows anything about it or how it works· I guess you could consider it a central tenant. It is my belief but I can’t say that I could tell you anything about it. These things are beyond the reach of normal mortal minds. There is something in Judaism that’s very fundamental. It’s called ‘revival of the dead’·that’s so central to the belief that it’s in the prayers three times a day. So it kind of tends to inform my thinking.”
Terry Mattingly writes the syndicated column, ‘On Religion’ which appears in 350 newspapers. He states: “There’s a directness in the religious language of Strength to Strength, which by the time you get to Skin, has pretty radically changed. And a lot of people that were very attracted to Strength to Strength kinda freaked out (because of the reincarnation) I realized to some degree he’s going deeper into some forms of Jewish mysticism but he lost his connection to that audience because the language and imagery changed. It went from a kind of hunger for God, search for God, and this fascinating kind of Messiah – of course it’s a Jewish concept of Messiah, or I should say a Jewish acceptable concept of Messiah – Christians of course would argue that their concept of Messiah is a Jewish concept as well, but you can debate that all day long. The key was a hunger for an apocalyptic vision. That fascinated Christian listeners. It was in language that they could understand.”
While the theme of Skin may have been problematic for some Christian listeners, it was only one album. Even so, Mattingly argues Himmelman lost many Christian listeners; “I’m not sure they came back. You lost a connection.” Mattlingly admits that until last month he hadn’t heard any new Himmelman material since Skin. Upon hearing a recent children’s album he was impressed; “That sounded to be much more of a return to a style that the Christian audience that was intrigued with him would have appreciated.”
Nama Frenkel, a publicist with expertise in ‘cross-over’ religion books worked as Peter’s publicist between 1991 and 1994. She had no experience in the music industry, but felt that his music could appeal to a far wider range of people than the record companies were used to dealing with. She maintains Epic decided against resigning him after too many missed opportunities due to his refusal to play Friday nights. He had been offered the Tonight Show four times, refusing on every occasion until they found a weeknight spot he would play. “It ended his record career for awhile. Fortunately he started getting the TV work and film work. What he found, is that if you keep your eye on God, and your eye on your responsibilities as a person, then the music will follow.”
Stage Diving was released two years later on the independent Plumb label. Documenting Himmelman solo at the Bottom Line in New York City, it gives the listener a taste of what can happen at a live show. One of the most entertaining musicians performing today, to miss him live is to only get half the story. Like jazz players, there’s a great deal of improvisation during each performance. “First of all, I don’t go to many shows, and I don’t find that form all that entertaining. I find that whole concert thing to be so highly dogmatic – so ritualized. Very, very seldom do I enjoy it. By the same token, I don’t really have that many preconceptions of what can and can’t be done.”
Anything can happen at a show. He’s been known to lead audiences en masse to new locations. The first time he performed at Seattle’s Bumbershoot Festival he had fifteen audience members on stage dancing and drumming before the first number was over. “I don’t know what’s going to happen. The person that likes the shows the best, is me. It might sound like an egomaniac, but in a way, I really do it for myself. I keep myself amused and entertained.” And if he can’t connect with an audience? “You know, it always works. I never have faith that it’s going to work, but in fact, it always does. I’m like a pilot, he never flies with an assumption of anything else, and historically, obviously he’s alive, and it’s always worked.”
Songs are composed and performed on the spot. The quality is such that someone unaware might think these were already written, but it’s hardly the case. “Obviously I’m using chords. I’m using words from the English language. There’s a certain control there. It’s a craft. The only thing I have going that (others may not) have, is that I’ve done it so many times, and I’ve also failed doing it, and the failure isn’t so painful.” And the failure can be turned around; “The failure just isn’t that bad. It’s not brutal. And consequently, I don’t fail that much, because I realize that the pain isn’t so severe·there’s nothing much to get nervous about. And those things for me are sort of a context for my other songs that were pre-written. I think that without that, the shows get a little too self serious and maudlin. And without the songs it would be veering off into some crazy, nebulous world. One keeps the other aloft, the other keeps the other grounded.”
His first children’s album, My Best Friend is a Salamander was issued in 1997. Since then he’s released My Fabulous Plum (2000) and My Lemonade Stand (2004). My Green Kite is finished and awaiting release. “I think that may be the real big frontier for me. There’s something about them that’s so liberating for me. Some of my best work is in those kid’s records. And I don’t look at them as some sort of little glib offering. They’re very nuanced, and very musical. I’m very proud of them – most proud of any of my music.” He’s very conscious when writing whether it’s for the kids or his peers. “It comes from two different places. I can’t really describe how I do it, but for every time I sit down and write I always follow a very objective – this is kinda why I’m doing this. I’m writing for a new record, or I’m writing because someone is paying me or I’m writing to show off for somebody. I don’t most days just write. Sometimes I write because I just want to be on a schedule of writing. A lot of times like now I’m refraining from writing because I have a lot of stuff gestating and I don’t want it to come out yet. I’ll know when it’s ready.”
Years before the Children’s albums, Peter had composed music for Spinoza Bear, a large stuffed teddy bear with a tape deck hidden inside. It’s used to help children deal with difficult circumstances, including terminal disease, trauma, and the death of a loved one. The toy was created by child psychologists and hospice professionals, and Peter performed all the music and narration. In many instances parents have claimed their child had not responded to anything except the bear.
In 1998 he was back with Island Records through their Six Degrees imprint for Love Thinketh No Evil. A typically strong outing, it was his last release of new material for a few years. He began to focus on composing for film and television, and in 1999 was hired to write music for the hit TV series Judging Amy. He scored an Emmy nomination for his work, and stayed with the show throughout it’s six season run. Judging Amy ceased production this year, and Himmelman is now scoring for the Fox series Bones, which premieres this month on the 13th.
Is the TV work enjoyable in and of itself? “Yeah. I’m glad you asked. It’s enjoyable like puzzle solving. Very much like gardening or ordering chaos. And it’s very lucrative. So you have that incentive. And you use your musical chops to create these little puzzles, and to complete them. It’s not on the level of being on stage and having these improvised moments, or writing a song that’s deep enough to make me cry, but it’s very, very enjoyable.”
After a six year break, last year saw a return to new material with Unstoppable Forces, which came with a bonus disc of Himmelvaults Vol 3, together offering over 90 minutes of new or previously unreleased music. It was another typically strong outing, with powerful new songs like ‘The Deepest Part’ and ‘Discipline of Rain.’
His latest album, Imperfect World was written on a religious holiday. “I wrote the record on a holiday called Tishah b’Ab which may be of interest to you from a Christian faith. It’s a holiday mourning the destruction of the holy temple. Both the first and the second and also the start of the inquisition, the start of the crusades. Things happened in Nazi Germany on that day. It’s a holiday of mourning. One of the things you do is fast – you refrain from food and water for 25 hours. Last year I had just gotten back from Israel which I always find really inspiring·I just felt like all these songs were pouring out. I just started writing them one every two hours. Most of them that day, a few more the next day. Most of them were really good.” The album is harder-edged than earlier efforts, with Himmelman shining on guitar. As always, the songs reflect his faith, and the day-to-day travails of balancing the secular with the eternal.
Stray tracks occasionally end up in a series called The Himmelvaults. Now on the fourth volume, they might not have made the official albums, but are every bit as strong as what makes it onto the ‘proper’ releases. Other songs leak out through fans or on his web site. A song left off of the new album ‘The Curse Comes Down’ is a powerful read on the historical plight of the Jews, with the chorus ‘And who are you to teach us morals/you with your hands dripping blood/ Don’t interfere with our survival/The curse comes down with a thud.” It’s a stunning piece, but according to comments on the website, “I yanked (it) at the last minute. A little too strident I thought.”
In addition to the huge volume of work he’s created, anyone can add to the Himmelman catalogue by ordering a ‘Song Portrait’ through his website. You can purchase “a personal song created specifically for you, a loved one, a co-worker, or bitter enemy.” Available with or without band accompaniment, these are well-crafted efforts that he takes pride in doing properly, right down to Cd artwork. Examples are available online, and are, as with all his work, quite moving; “They’re very powerful. When people get them, they go crazy.”
His fans – ‘Himmelheads’ – try to spread the word.
Ellen Berman feels a kinship; “When I first read Peter’s lyrics·I realized that like me, he was interested in the big questions — both from a philosophical and Jewish perspective. This was an idea I had been thinking about for a very long time and had never put into words, and yet suddenly I was reading these thoughts in Peter’s lyrics. I felt an instant connection with Peter and fell in love with the music·” Later she heard him performing material from Flown This Acid World on a live radio broadcast: “·on a whole different album, I found myself completely connected with Peter once again…” Inspired, she created a member site on AOL for fans who participated on the Himmelmaniac message board. A year later she started the official fan site. “I’ve been listening to Peter Himmelman’s music for 17+ years, and I re-affirm my commitment to him and his music with every album because he consistently writes songs that matter and capture my attention on various levels: musically, philosophically, and spiritually.” She’s seen Peter perform live thirty five times, and claims each show has been completely unique.
Tom Mullen is longtime fan who’s never been to a Himmelman performance. Based in Florida, he’s amassed an impressive collection of outtakes, rarities and live shows, and happily sent this writer over 30 Cds and DVDs to make sure I got the whole picture.
While the quality of his releases remains consistent, airplay has diminished in the last few years. He’s no longer on a major record label, and the Triple A radio format – popular in the nineties, and a strong supporter – is dying out. Never a huge star to begin with, today Peter feels fortunate to still be able to draw a crowd, however modest. “I’m lucky to be hanging on.” In addition, his audiences are getting older – “it’s the same group of people. It kinda bothers me·not that I mind those people at all. It’s kinda sad, because I think young kids would really dig it – and they do when they come to the show. I don’t really know how to deal with it. But it does bother me. It’s something I’ve thought about on this last tour.”
He’s tough to sell. “It’s a marketing problem – I mean, I’m a marketing problem. You know, what am I gonna do·change?” What he does can’t be put down to a simple sentence, and when they do, all too often writers focus on the fact that he’s Bob Dylan’s son-in-law. While that’s a fascinating bit of trivia – and Peter does a dynamite impersonation of his father-in-law – it does a great disservice to his talent to focus on that fact alone. Himmelman once responded to a query regarding influence; “I am a folk musician. I am on planet Earth. I have been influenced by Dylan.” Simply put, Bob Dylan has influenced every contemporary folk musician working today. Peter just happened to marry his daughter. Appearing on Late Night With David Letterman a few years back, he was asked about the Dylan connection, and responded “You’re into top ten lists. If you can name the Ten Commandments, I’ll answer that question.” Letterman couldn’t, and the interview was cut from the show’s subsequent broadcast.
Managers couldn’t really help, either; “I was the most difficult guy in the world to manage. I mean, some guys are hard to manage because they’re on drugs. I’m a guy, for better or worse, with a vision I think that supercedes marketing. I’m trying to speak objectively here, and it’s not necessarily favorable, certainly in terms of the rock industry, but I do consider myself pretty unique. I don’t know of a lot of parallels, and it doesn’t fit in any easy slotting·I don’t know what they saw me as, like a Jackson Browne kind of guy, even (my) musical style is all over the place· It is what it is. If I could change it, if I could get a hit, maybe if Britney Spears covers one of my tunes I’d do it in a second.” “I never had any pressure to conform image wise, or record wise. It’s kind of interesting, maybe to my detriment, but people signed me because they liked what I did. Certain things – I don’t play on the Sabbath and all that – that couldn’t have helped the marketing scheme, but I never really got any pressure. I stayed with the major labels for ten years, which is really long.”
“I think of myself more in terms of a person with a certain story to tell, and the music is supportive of that. As opposed to a guy who’s got a string of hits, and goes on the road and gets high. I kind of created this person that I would be interested in…had his own vision, did his own thing, and a lot of the stuff worked, some of it sucked. He’s on stage, and at least I set up a place where there’s a potential for brilliance·I look at myself almost like a jazz musician – certainly not in terms of the music, because I don’t play jazz. But in terms of the ethos, there’s a structure, that’s pretty highly defined. Maybe the structure is my ideological outlook. My faith in God. My sense that divine providence and human will work together in this strange way, and that kind of is the underpinnings of everything that I do. And that’s a structure. And that hopefully remains extremely oblique. That’s what underlies everything. Sometimes it’s music, sometimes it’s kid’s music. Sometimes it’s stories. It’s very difficult to market that stuff.”
For all of his seriousness, Himmelman is one of the funniest people on stage. His humour can be sharp – if deserved. During a recent show he compared the stress factor in dealing with rude drivers to dealing with self-professed super-evolved ‘spiritual’ people. Deciding that an obscenity spewing motorist is less offensive – he quipped “f— off . . . and I say that as a God fearing man” to the ‘spiritual guy.’
Centuries ago, Aristotle said that tragedy portrays human beings as better than they really are, and comedy as worse. We strive for the nobility of the characters in the tragedy, but all to often resemble more closely those in the comedy. One school of thought argued that comedy was among the most moral of art forms, as it ridicules vice, causing the audience to look down upon bad behavior. Himmelman, asked to list who inspires him, included rappers: “I like Nas. Tupac. I love Eminem.” Eminem? “Maybe just his sense of humor. I see Eminem the same way I used to see Andrew Dice Clay. Strangely moralistic. He’s looked at as this purveyor of pure evil and decadence. I see him as portraying this absurdist character. Painting a caricature of the ills of society, because it’s so over the top. In a sense almost a cautionary tale·a reverse moralist.” For the record, he also mentioned novelists Saul Bellow and John Steinbeck as inspirations. Musically; “I like Bob Marley. I like what I think I know of Jimi Hendrix.”
Publicist Frenkel has continued to work sporadically with Peter over the years, arranging kosher food and Shabbos accommodations (homes that honor the Jewish Sabbath) when he’s on tour. She describes a typical backstage scenario; “When Pete plays on the East Coast, the minute he goes off stage he gets on his cell phone to say goodnight to his kids. That is the ritual. You see Pete in the dressing room, and people are standing around waiting to talk to him, but he has to first call home and you hear this extensive discussion with the three year old – ‘You did what? Oh! You made on the toilet? Yeah! Did you do your homework?’ He has four kids and his wife, and before he’ll see the fans or talk to a reporter, because of the time difference, he has a chance to talk with the kids before they go to bed. And you cannot get near him until he calls home. You have the New York Times waiting around, and it’s like ‘I’ll be right with you soon as I say goodnight to my three-year-old and ask him if he made on the toilet.’
“You go to a Pete concert and there in the corner standing a little bit away from the women is a guy with a white shirt and a long black coat, and standing three feet away is a woman wearing braids and Birkenstocks, and her kid is with her, and her husband has longer hair than her, and standing next to them is a very nice Christian family that you can see are church people, and standing next to them is an African American with an afro groovin’ to the reggae, and next to them is a Japanese family. And they’re all cool·
“If I had to make a title for what the Pete Himmelman business is, I would say Reclaiming Goodness. [National Jewish Book Award winner exploring the connection between education and spiritual issues].And it isn’t an ethnic goodness, although he is proud of his ethnicity· it’s your tribe, it’s your family. But nobody’s better than anybody else. Decency rules. It’s a very good way of meeting the challenges of modernity. And why I think he has such an appeal, that paradoxically, you wouldn’t think a fundamentalist Christian and a new age person who believes herself the center of the universe·it’s hard to picture those people agreeing. Then you put an orthodox Jew in there with a big black hat and you wonder what on earth are these people doing in the same room.”
Balancing family and career is an ongoing struggle; “I just got of the road after two weeks. It’s very difficult. I don’t have a balance. I’d like to say ‘yea, I got it all figured out.’ But I don’t.” It’s something he continues to struggle with; “Yes. There are little challenges. I haven’t been out on the road for two weeks straight in years. It’s very painful for me. I’m constantly asking myself ‘What am I doing here’ I went to Israel – as you might have read – and what am I doing in this sweaty rehearsal hall filled with smoke and they’re smoking pot. I’m jet-lagged – ‘What am I doing this for?’ And I don’t really have an answer. The only thing I can say is I’m trying to fill my story tank. It runs a little bit dry after six years of a TV show.”
What makes Peter Himmelman so likeable – as an artist and a person – is a bold willingness to expose his self consciousness. Awareness of his shortcomings make the journey that much more easy for the listener to relate to.
“The person that I am on stage – because now I’m talking to you – I’m like almost on stage. So you have a stagey guy talking to you right now. But the normal person at home is a little bit dull and shy. Speaking of myself in the third person, at the risk of sounding psychotic.”
© John Cody 2005