Thunder Bay, Ont. -
Garry Peterson isn't expecting to see too many familiar faces in the crowd when the Guess Who take to the stage in Minnesota.
And that's OK, Peterson said.
As fondly as the drummer and founding member recounts the band's performances in the Lakehead back in those early days decades ago, and as much as he appreciates the fans that came out to those shows and stuck with them, he also realizes that things change.
"I'll be 65 in (a few weeks)," Peterson said in an interview this week ahead of Friday's show in Carlton, Minn., pointing out that those early fans are going to be in a similar age bracket now. "Sometimes those people are not going out too much anymore."
"I would guess our average (fan) is more in the 30s and younger."
So it's not like there's a dearth of Guess Who fans out there.
There's been a shift, is all. Peterson said that the Internet and classic rock radio have introduced the Guess Who to a whole new generation of fans.
"It's ageless, I believe," he said of the band's music. "That's what they want to hear. ... In the States, they don't really worry about who's in the band as much as coming to see the music, you know? And I would hope one year we'll be able to play some dates in Canada.
"We've come close a few times, but I think because it's not the entire original band, they get cold feet. But let me tell you something - this is the best Guess Who band I've ever played in, and I should know."
When he says it's not the entire original band, Peterson is, of course, alluding to Burton Cummings and Randy Bachman, both founding members who are currently playing solo. Peterson and Jim Kale are the only original Guess Who members still with the band - Laurie MacKenzie, Leonard Shaw and Derek Sharp round out the current lineup.
"The Guess Who's really part of Canadiana," Peterson continued. "And it's almost like sacrilege that Randy Bachman and Burton Cummings are not there for some people.
"But Jim and I were there for everything, and I hope one day we'll be allowed to play in our native country," he said, laughing.
"It's like we're second-class citizens of the band - how dare they play in Canada without the other two guys. The other two guys certainly have played enough in Canada without us, wouldn't you say? It doesn't seem equitable, but you know. I wish them all the luck in the world. I have no problem.
"There's enough audience out there for everyone."
All that being said, a full-on Guess Who reunion doesn't sound too likely.
"I've done two of them with the band, and it's not been successful, to my way of thinking," Peterson said. "I guess there's too many differences of ideologies amongst the original members of the band. ... Randy and Burton were just back together, and now they're not doing anything together. They're broken up again.
"The two biggest downfalls of the Guess Who, the original band, were greed and ego, OK, to put it bluntly," he said. "I'm not saying that maliciously. I'm just merely stating 'this is the way I see it.' And I'm the drummer. The drummer sits at the back of the band, and everything's in front of him.
"He sees everything. He doesn't often have a say in everything, but he certainly does see what should and shouldn't be done."
The Guess Who, though, aren't slowing down.
Peterson said they've been doing some recording, something the band had resisted for a while simply because radio stations aren't keen on playing new music by a classic rock band.
"But now, with the advent of the new delivery system for music, which is the Internet ... it kind of gives us an outlet to do some of that," Peterson said.