Peter "Spud" Siegel

Peter "Spud" Siegel has played folk, jazz, classical, bluegrass, rock, blues, musical theater, and in a number of square dance and contra dance bands on both the east and west coasts. Performing professionally on fiddle, piano, banjo, trumpet, guitar, accordion, and bass, and his favorite, mandolin.

black and white image of Peter "Spud" Siegel
Peter "Spud" Siegel, 1996 | Photo by Jim Stoffer

Born into a New Jersey family of six boys, all musicians, Peter started picking out melodies on the piano at an early age. At 9, he added the trumpet to his musical repertoire and became active in local musical theater. By 11, he was playing gigs with Rock & Roll bands. In high school, he performed with the orchestra, dance band, marching band, and concert band. 

Spud has always enjoyed relationships with musicians all over the US. In his teens, he came west to the fruit orchards of Hood River, Oregon, to join his brother, Kidd, then worked briefly for the Forest Service. Their band, the Famous Potatoes, an Oldtimey String band (from whence 'Spud' got his nickname), with Joseph Stevenson on bass and dobro, was formed during a visit to the '77 Weiser (Idaho) Fiddle Festival. The band mounted an extended tour from Alaska and British Columbia to Maine, and back again, with stops in such places such as Chicago and Deadwood, South Dakota. They repeated this undertaking for the next two summers before going on to other musical endeavors.

Over the next few years, Spud revisited those places, putting down musical roots along the way. In Maine, he played with The Northern Valley Boys, The Maine Country Dance Orchestra, and Bob Childs & the Moosetones, touring New England and the West, while also presenting workshops. In Sitka, Alaska (where he returned to work in the commercial fishery for three summers), he joined Barb & the Lonely Boys, and also acquired his broadcasting license, hosting a weekly show at KCAW Raven Radio called "Folk View." Joining some of the Lonely Boys bandmates In Butte, Montana, Spud recorded with Baila Ruffo and the Dulci Dance Band on Kicking Mule Records.

Image of Spud in 1986
Peter "Spud" Siegel, 1986 | Photo by Steve Lawrence
image of band playing on stage
BBQ Orchestra, October 1993 | Photo by Steve Lawrence

Back in Oregon, Spud moved to Cannon Beach and became a regular at Bill's Tavern's weekly jam, where he met Turtle VanDemarr and formed Meloddity, along with Joseph Stevenson, Kevin Healy, and Retta Christie. Also played a duo with Classical Guitarist David Crabtree(Known as “Crabo”) “Spud and Crabo” was born! Then came the Barbeque Orchestra with Fritz Richmond, and eventually, touring and recording with Jim Kweksin's Jug Band.

While studying voice and Jazz improv at Clatsop Community College in Astoria, he was cast as Teen Angel in their production of "Grease," while also playing trumpet and guitar in the pit band. Later, he played tenor banjo for the college's production of the musical, "The Boyfriend."

Spud was part of the Green County Dance Band with Joseph Stevenson. He was a lead member of the Beerman Creek String Band from Cannon Beach and can still be heard with them once a year during the Fisher Poets Gathering in Astoria, Oregon. He played tenor banjo two years for the Pacific Jazz Band in the Seaside Dixieland Festival.

black and white newspaper image of The Pacific Jazz Band
The Pacific Jazz Band performing at Dixieland Festival, circa 1991
Image of the band, The Snakeskinners
The Snakeskinners | Photo by Heather Penk

Now based in Portland, Spud often performs with Joel Marshall as The Columbians and, until recently, with the late Bill Uhlig. Spud and Mick Doherty can be seen and heard around Portland, often accompanied by Steve Einhorn and/or George Penk(Dance fiddler extraordinaire)

He, Mick Doherty, and Bill Uhlig formed the Snake Skinners, playing Irish folk music also featuring Sandy Bradley (of NPR's "Sandy Bradley's Potluck") Mostly on St. Patty's Day performances.

He can also be seen with many newer, and notable folks, and well-established collaborations, including: Mary Flower’s, BBQ Boys, Doc Stein, Roland H. White, Michael Shay, Lauren Sheehan, Heather Christie, J.T. Trawlick, Lynne Conover and Dave Reisch.

Spud is a member of The Musicians union, Local 99.

Image of Spud and Michael Shay with blue sky backdrop
Peter "Spud" Siegel and Michael Shay
black and white image of the original members of the band BBQ Orchestra
The Original Members of The BBQ Orchestra | Photo by Valerie Davis

Spud taught both piano and mandolin as a staff member at the annual Festival of American Fiddle Tunes in Port Townsend. He was also involved with the Oregon Mandolin Orchestra in Hillsboro, a 30-piece orchestra composed of mandolins, mandolas, mandocellos, string basses, and featuring various visiting soloists and accompanists.

In the late 80's, Spud joined Astoria-based Bond Street Blues Band, with Joey Patenaude, Tom Peake, Mike Metzner, and father and son, the late Bill and Calen Uhlig, performing steadily up and down the West Coast and Portland area until about 2015. BSBB opened the Portland Blues Festival the first three years of its existence while also holding down a monthly spot at the White Eagle. With BSBB, he played piano, trumpet, accordion, and mandolin. Fronted at different times by Ron Baldwin, the late Maggie Kitson, and Johnnie Ward, the band (with one or more of the three) continued to perform at least once a year until 2023.

Image of Bond Street Blues Band
Bond Street Blues Band
Image of the band, Floating Glass Balls on the Oregon Coast
Floating Glass Balls | Photo by Myrna Uhlig

Bond Street Blues Band introduced Spud to Bill Uhlig, and The “Crackpots” introduced Mike Metzner with whom they formed the Latin acoustic trio Los Comotosos (often joined by Brigido Eduardo on Congas). Spud formed the Floating Glass Balls along with others from the Bill's Tavern jam such as Gary Keiske, Joel Marshall, Bill Uhlig, and Dan Conner. Local writer and late wise man, Michael Burgess, dubbed their music "Beachgrass." The late Reverend Billy Hults (Rastafied Church of the Cowboy Buddha) most often sat in on those many Thursday evenings at Bill's Tavern, also appearing on some FGB recordings.

The 2007 "Jugband Extravaganza" was recorded live at the Great American Music Hall, San Francisco, during a concert to celebrate the film "Chasin' Gus' Ghost." Spud with the BBQ Orchestra joined Jim Kweskin, Geoff Muldaur, John Sebastian, David Grisman, Dan Hicks and Maria Muldaur.

Spud and friends appeared briefly -- playing a French Canadian medley -- in the school carnival scene of the 1990 movie, "Kindergarten Cop," filmed at Ecola State Park.

Spud has visited Mexico, many countries in Europe, and spent a good amount of time on St. Croix in the Virgin Islands, always building musical relationships with the locals and bringing home new songs to share back home. 

illustration of a pileated woodpecker sitting on a mandolin