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Peter Ball R.I.P 1949-2015


Peter Ball

Peter Ball R.I.P.

Today is the memorial gathering for Peter Ball (1949-2015) who died on Saturday. You are welcome to join us to share memories of his life at 4pm today August 28, at Judson Manor, 1890 E 107th, Cleveland, in the Loegler Lounge, (216) 791-2555.

I met Peter in the Warfarin mines beneath the Cleveland Warehouse District in 1982. I was serving time for bad taste, while Peter was the entertainment director. He needed a monkey to front his tin whistle band, I applied and got the job.

For 20 years he tried to get me to record with him and finally in 2002 I agreed. Took me 6 months to get loose enough to make a fool of myself and start making maybe 200 odd recordings that don’t sound like anything else. Peter made all the music and handled recording and mixing while I wrote the words and did vocals, though I more growl groan grunt than sing — sort of werewolf roll.

His recording me changed my reading style once I heard how boring I sounded, and I wrote a lot more poems to jam with him, so I owe him for that. Plus Peter’s voracious and eclectic reading habits combined with his amazing memory made for 33 years of fascinating conversations, and I met quite an interesting stream of odd characters over the decades with him.

Last time we talked was the day before he died, we agreed to get together this week to jam. Guess I’ll have to sue him for breach of schedule.

Again odd — When he had his stroke July last year, we had jammed the day before, and as I left he mentioned how good or lucky we’d gotten the past 2 years with our songs. We’ve had six jams since he got out of physical rehab in December, and 4 of them are online. Somehow I thought he’d always be a 2 mile bicycle ride away.

101 Ball & Smith songs can be heard and freely downloaded at, while 200 of Peter’s Apartment One song collaborations with me and dozens of other musicians and poets are at

Here’s my best song with him.

Strange . . . a month before Peter Ball died and ended our collaboration, Billy Clarksville of Billy Clarksville & the Sinsations (who has recorded off and on with Peter for decades) contacted me and asked if I’d write lyrics and attempt to sing on some of his instrumentals. One door closes, reality opens another.

Here’s Billy Clarksville’s website

Next few¬†days I’ll post our 1st two unedited recording attempts, then post smoother edits when they’re done.


2 Responses to “Peter Ball R.I.P 1949-2015”

  1. the SpanishFly says:

    I met a guy who bought an appliance from me a friend of mine who plays drums and guitar also helped me deliver it we had no clue really who he was , it was a couple years ago , it was nice he was super cool he had instruments and a music set up he gave us us a cd said “Apartment One ” on the cd it was written in marker Peter Ball 2-2013 Cleveland its a great work and nice music

  2. smith says:

    thanks. Peter was a good, bit strange of course, but then most of us are. probably some of me on that cd.

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