Favorite

Peter Read: Musicians’ friend 

What: Nightflying 25th Anniversary Party
Where: Juanita’s and Midtown Billiards
Time: 7 p.m.
Performing: Juanita’s show headlined by Trout Fishing in America and the Schwag. Also appearing will be Bob Hayes, Barbara Raney, Dean Agus and Seth Freeman, John Lee, Andy Panas, Big John Miller, Mojo Depot, Tony Nardi and Co., Jeff Coleman and the Feeders, Salty Dogs and the Amy Garland Band. Aces Wild starts Grand Jam Band session at Midtown about midnight.
Admission: $10.


It’s funny how life for some folks circles back on itself. Peter Read, a touring musician living in Fayetteville at the time, decided 25 years ago to put his heart and soul into an all-music publication for Arkansas. Two-and-a-half-years ago, many of those musicians Read had covered all these years stepped up when Read’s life took a sudden turn and he spent 39 days the hospital. The benefits those musicians held for Read in 2003 helped him with massive medical bills following a brain aneurysm and subsequent stroke.

These days, a recovered Read admits, the holiday anniversaries of “Nightflying” are even more special. On Thursday, Dec. 15, Read and company will celebrate No. 25 at Juanita’s Cantina Ballroom and Midtown Billiards, in the 1300 block of Main Street (they convened for the Fayetteville portion of the celebration on Wednesday).

“My father can’t believe I worked for the same person for 25 years,” the 51-year-old Read joked last week. “I fire myself from time to time, but I’m a softy and I give myself a sob story and always hire myself back.”

I knew Read through his publication many years before he walked up to me at a Musicians Showcase early in my Times career and introduced himself. I long had enjoyed the publication with its local record reviews, features of unsung bands, concert listings from throughout the region, and those candid tiny snapshots of club-goers lining the tops of nearly every page. Though his illness in 2003 forced Read and his small Nightflying crew (he has six employees and shares writing duties with Jennifer McClellan and assorted free-lancers) to miss four issues, the normal run is an issue a month with an average of 40,000 copies printed.

“We’ve had a remarkable run,” he said.

The odds were against Nightflying from the start. But Read and his sister took opposite sides of Dickson Street and went door to door to sell it in Fayetteville in late 1980, and it was embraced. Two years later, Nightflying was covering the state and by 1990 was available in five states surrounding Arkansas. In 1989, he relocated from the Ozarks to Morrilton, where his family had settled after moving from Seattle years earlier. Read proudly notes that though he never had any personal money to put into the paper, Nightflying has been in the black, if only slightly, since before the first issue was published.

“To me, it shows how much people in this part of the country value music, especially live music,” he said. “I think that’s very cool.”

Read’s motivation, he says, was questioned by some musicians, who thought he was just starting the paper to publicize his own gigs. His reasoning, rather, was that not only was he being ignored by the press, so were other musicians.

“Every time I looked around I’d see these fantastic musicians just gigging on their front porch,” Read said. “I thought, ‘These people need support. Maybe if we had an all-music publication, maybe they’d get that support.’ ”

Dec. 8, 1980. It’s known the world over as the day John Lennon was killed. It was also the day Read was putting Nightflying “to bed,” in newspaper terms, for the first time. At the last second, as news broke, Read remade his cover to get in the news that Lennon had died. “We in effect scooped all the media in the area about that,” he said.

A quarter-century ago, he says, he was playing piano and guitar “and being a smartass and hassling the crowd.” The Lennon killing made him take pause. So did a full-time newspaper gig. Nightflying and showing up at various clubs five nights a week then made him a household name among musicians and contemporary music lovers in Arkansas.

Favorite

From the ArkTimes store

Comments

Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

More by Jim Harris

  • Review: Postmodern Jukebox at Clear Channel Metroplex

    The band’s shows cover most of the songs that have either been Youtube viewing sensations or are already album classics with that PMJ touch, such as Taylor Swift’s “Shake, Shake, Shake” and Radiohead’s “Creep.” Consider us blown away though by the show’s main set concluding number of The Postal Service/Ben Gibbard-penned “Such Great Heights” done as if by the Jackson 5 in an “I Want You Back” styling.
    • May 6, 2017
  • Review: Boston at Verizon Arena

    As it was, nobody left the arena and into a suddenly chilly April night saying, “I wished they’d played [song name].” Boston played it all, whether you wanted it or not.
    • Apr 27, 2017
  • Review: Journey, The Doobie Brothers and Dave Mason at Verizon Arena

    The senior high classes of 1969, ’75 and ’86 and all in between and around were entertained with a completely satisfying four-plus hours of “San Francisco Fest 2016” featuring Bay area natives Journey and The Doobie Brothers, with special guest Dave Mason.
    • Aug 18, 2016
  • More »

Most Shared

  • Trump unfit

    Even as an oligarch, President Trump turns out to be breathtakingly incompetent. Is there any reason to suppose he's even loyal to the United States? Does he even understand the concept? Trump is loyal to Trump, and to his absurdly swollen ego. Nothing and nobody else.
  • You want tort reform? Try this.

    The nursing home industry and the chamber of commerce finally defeated the trial lawyers in the 2017 legislature. The Republican-dominated body approved a constitutional amendment for voters in 2018 that they'll depict as close to motherhood in goodness.
  • Goodbye, Mr. Trump

    It is hard to escape the feeling that the fortunes of President Trump and the country took a decisive, and for Trump a fatal, turn May 9-10, when the president fired the director of the FBI over its investigation of Russian efforts to swing the presidential election to him and the very next day shared top-secret intelligence with Russian officials in an Oval Office meeting closed except to a Kremlin press aide toting electronic gear to capture the intimate session for Russians but not Americans.
  • Raw feelings in the Arkansas Justice Building over workload, pay

    Strained relations between the Arkansas Supreme Court and the Arkansas Court of Appeals broke into public view this week. I expect more to come.

Latest in Jim Harris

  • What a great, fast eight years

    Eight years. I’ve really been “at the job” of newspapers for much longer, it just focused on entertainment during these past eight years. Starting next week, it will focus on sports. Again. Where I started eons ago.
    • May 4, 2007
  • Mickelson goes by the numbers

    It's all in the short game, Phil Mickelson says s at Alotian.
    • Apr 26, 2007
  • Back to what I really love

    Where was I, the sports lover, the guy who couldn’t wait for Dickey-Stephens to open, a few of you may ask? I was checking out one of my other loves: a local, original music show at Juanita’s that the University of Central Arkansas Honors College had pull
    • Apr 23, 2007
  • More »

Visit Arkansas

New Entrance and North Forest to debut with Chihuly exhibit opening at Crystal Bridges

New Entrance and North Forest to debut with Chihuly exhibit opening at Crystal Bridges

Dual Chihuly exhibit opening also brings culmination of year-plus forest project

Event Calendar

« »

May

S M T W T F S
  1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
28 29 30 31  

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: Tollywood tumble

    • Thank you for sharing.
      Telugu Film Actress Gallery
      http://www.moviemanthra.com/english/category/actress/

    • on May 22, 2017
  • Re: A Q&A with Bob Dorough

    • like Rodney replied I'm taken by surprise that you able to profit $9659 in four…

    • on May 20, 2017
 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation