Local musician puts on ‘big man shoes’ for latest EP

By Carl Nadig

After a humid summer performance in Waterman, local singer and songwriter Pete Jive performed again on the House Cafe stage, 263 E. Lincoln Highway, Thursday.

Spinning a hula hoop between songs, occasionally telling one-liners and chuckling at his own playful humor with or without the audience’s approval, Jive’s on-stage persona resembles a playful adolescent free of a world with responsibility. Contradictory to his animated showmanship, lyrics from his most recent EP, “Sleep When I Die,” evoke a keen despondency.

“Last year my bones turned 25,” Jive sang, “I took a deep look inside and I heard… ‘Put on your big man shoes.’”

With lyrics like “I will never have my face on a $100 bill,” and “I aim to have a son. I’ll teach him to be a better man than the one I have become,” anyone listening to Jive’s EP can sense the juxtaposition between self-reflexive pragmatism and yearning for a simple lifestyle in a materialistic world.

Northern Star: “It seems like your lyrics have an economical, young working class tone to them.”

Jive: “Yeah, good call. All of the songs that I’ve written are me talking to myself. Yeah, that’s all my songs are, are me trying to teach myself a lesson…. It’s just me trying to be as honest as I can.”

Watching one of Jive’s upbeat showmanship, one cannot ignore his wiggling, Chuck Berry-style, beat-keeping knees. Jive still tries to captivate the audience even while singing with his back toward the crowd.

Jive: “It’s not intentional. I love doing that. If I was watching somebody play acoustic, singer/songwriter type of thing, I’d rather watch them have fun and not worry.”

NS: “Do you have any plans for any future shows around the DeKalb area?”

Jive: “Yeah, I’m supposed to do a tour to Colorado next month and we’re going to do the kickoff show at The House Cafe, on Sept. 8… I’ll be playing at 7 p.m.”