“I’m like a less-pissed-off Steve Earle,” says homespun singer/songwriter Peter Bolland. “I write songs that have three, maybe four chords. I like lyrics that make sense the first time through but reveal more and more every time you go back. I avoid like the plague songs that preach or try to teach you something. Pedantry belongs on the pulpit, not in music. Instead of telling me how war is bad or cajoling me into universal brotherhood, sing me a story of a life cut short and let me find my way there myself.”
Bolland hadn’t even entered grade school yet when his Dutch parents relocated to the U.S. “I was born in New Jersey after my parents emigrated there from Holland. My oldest brother was born in Holland, and mom was pregnant with another brother on the boat.”
“In 1962 I was four years old, that last year before they send you off to school and chain you to a desk for the rest of your life. It was a golden time of endless wonder, every day a wide open mystery of make believe and utter simplicity. JFK was in the White House and most Americans had never heard of a place called Vietnam. Not that I was aware of any of that. I was just playing with my big brothers down at the lake and looking forward to a grilled cheese sandwich and Campbell’s tomato soup for lunch...I grew up as a vegetarian and didn’t taste meat until I was 17, when I snuck out for a taco and never went back.”
He spent his teen years in Ventura, later earning an M.A. in philosophy and serving as a professor of philosophy and humanities at Southwestern College in Chula Vista. “After college, I was a marijuana farmer up in Santa Barbara. We did it mostly as a hobby, and people started coming around — first friends and then people we’d never seen before. It got super creepy in a hurry. Suddenly, it became far more pleasant to not be a marijuana farmer.”
He co-founded the Coyote Problem in 2002, but has since gone back to his solo singer/songwriter roots. “My music gets classified as Americana or alt-country, which I think means folk, rock, and country all smashed together...I don’t know any jazz chords, not even one.”
In February 2009, Bolland announced “The Coyote Problem is on hiatus. We’re taking a break. Maybe a long one...being the front man in a rock and roll band doesn’t hold the same joy for me as it once did. Instead, I feel my joy pulling me in other directions. Artists are restless by nature.” In March 2009, he went to Washington D.C. to sing “Martin King & Coretta” and “The Darkness in Me” at the national conference of the Peace Alliance and Americans for a Department of Peace.
After the Covid pandemic of 2020-2022, Bolland expressed his joy at being able to play live gigs again, although he had concerns about the long term effects of the shutdown on aspiring players. "All these TikTok/Instagram/YouTube/Facebook videos of young musicians shredding on their guitars/basses/drums leave me worried," says Bolland. "A new zeitgeist of music-making is emerging, the odd notion that virtuosity is a gymnastics exercise performed in solitary isolation. It also helps if you have affluent parents who can set you up with tens of thousands of dollars of gear and tech...we make our environments, and then our environments make us. A whole generation of kids is coming up who think that making music is something you do alone with a laptop."