Peter Griesar: Life in his own superfast lane

Put musician Peter Griesar alone under the glaring lights of the Hot Seat, and he clams up. But in a one-on-one interrogation, the words pour out of him more like a flood than a stream of consciousness. In fact, Griesar, who released his album Superfastgo last February, has so much to say.

Between swallows of margarita, and waving a tortilla chip for emphasis, Griesar jumps from discussing how UVA's fraternity system no longer deserves derision, to declaring he has great hopes for the Bush twins' political future, to complaining about the New York blackout hype, given that his own power goes out a few times a day.

Suddenly, he stops mid-sentence and gestures toward a gray-haired woman in a purple dress who's carrying a huge red-feathered hat. "Where do you think," he exclaims, "she's coming from?"

This is classic Griesar. He revels in the here and now. Talking about the past is relevant only in the context of the present. When Griesar explains how he originally came to Charlottesville in 1987 as a first-year UVA student from Dobb's Ferry, New York, he quickly points out, "I was in the same school system as Puff Daddy and Moby."

Currently consumed with recording a new album at his Esmont home studio, Griesar wants to revisit making Superfastgo about as much as he wants to discuss ancient history. He's oblivious to how much airplay the CD is getting.

"It was playing in March on 130 or some such radio stations," he says, "but beyond that I don't really know." He hasn't even heard WNRN's "It's Peter Griesar!" promotion, asking wide-eyed, "No, do they really say that?"

Forgive his ignorance; Griesar isn't getting out much these days. Skinny like someone whose energy needle stays in the red zone, he's wrapped up in writing every lyric, playing every instrument, and mixing every rough cut for his new album.

"Honestly, I could not live this way my whole life. It's definitely too obsessive, and it's not healthy," he admits. "I will forget to eat, drink, piss, shit, do sort of normal bodily activities, maintain relationships with people who are important to me, all kinds of things."

Although his self-absorbed approach to music is draining, Griesar views it as a lost art. "What I do is not unnatural or dangerous or wrong," he says. "It's just an anachronism in this modern American society, where most people don't give themselves the opportunity to follow their heart for days, weeks, months."

Griesar speculates he's about two-thirds of the way through his current project. When will it be done? "When I feel like I have to hit the reset button on my brain or my body for survival's sake," he says, laughing. "At that point it's probably over."


Age: 34

What brought you here? Wahoowa

What's worst about living here? Dirty air

Favorite hangout? Home

Most overrated virtue? Virtue

What would people be surprised to know about you? I have four chickens: Curtis, Wifey, Booty, and Ecstasy.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? I'd like to be able to fly. That would be cool.

What accomplishment are you proudest of? Learning to do what I wish.

What do people find most annoying about you? I do what I wish.

Favorite book? Telephone

What thrills you about life in the 21st century? Anything can happen.

What creeps you out about life in the 21st century? I won't survive it.

What do you drive? 1983 Mercedes Benz 300D

What's in your car CD/tape player right now? Yeah Yeah Yeah's Fever to Tell

What's your next journey? Tomorrow

What's the most trouble you've ever gotten in? It's still a secret.

What do you regret? Regret

Favorite comfort food? Coffee

What's always in your refrigerator? An unopened jar of mayonnaise

Must-see TV? The O.C., nip/tuck

Favorite cartoon? G.W. Bush

Describe a perfect day. Today

Most embarrassing moment? Same as every guy

Best advice you ever got? Breathe