September 2010 – Hot Rize featured in Bluegrass Unlimited

The band’s history from the 70s to the present, with interviews with all members. (full story)

February 2010 – Article on Pete and Steve Martin on

Steve Martin

Pete Wernick, Steve Martin to Get Their Banjo On in Denver

Pete Wernick proved to be the ideal choice to welcome Steve Martin to the stage Oct. 1 when the banjo master and his Hot Rize bandmates co-hosted the International Bluegrass Music Awards. (full story)

August 2008 – Pete’s Jam Camp featured in Reader’s Digest

Music Man

Try something new—especially when you’re no longer a kid—and you may have to feel funny before you can have any fun… (full story)

November 2007 – Banjo Newsletter “What The” Review

“What The” by Pete Wernick and Flexigrass

Over the years, there have been many attempts to combine the sound of bluegrass banjo with different instruments in non-bluegrass settings, with varying degrees of success. But there is no question that Pete Wernick has found a formula that works with his band Flexigrass. (full story)

March/April 2007 – Making Music Magazine

The Grass is Always Bluer on the Other Side

Pete Featured in Making Music Magazine. See the whole Jam Camp article with pics of Pete’s jam at Steve Martin’s house. (full story)

Fall 2006 – Michigan Sociological Review

Pete Wernick: A Sociologist of Note(s)!

“Pete Wernick, driven by the struggle for human rights in the 1960’s, earned his doctorate in sociology from Columbia in 1973. He left his position at Cornell in 1978 in order to play full time in the award winning band, Hot Rize (named after the special ingredient in Martha White Flour). Several years thereafter he happened to play a concert in my town upon which he graciously hung around to jam with a local gang of juvenile bluegrass musicians after the show. As one of those miscreants I stood in disbelief at his amazing mastery of the five-string banjo. What I didn’t expect that evening, however, was to learn what a sociologist can do and how important it is to develop the sociological imagination.” (full story)

September 2006 – by Kathy Foster-Patton, Pow’r Pickin

The FLEXIGRASS Experience

“Flexigrass is one of the longest running acoustic bands in Colorado, having been together longer than Pete Wernick’s other “band” Hot Rize. In Flexigrass, Wernick, also known as Dr. Banjo, is joined by his wife Joan on vocals, Bill Pontarelli on clarinet, drummer Kris Ditson, bassist Roger Johns, and Greg Harris on vibraphones. Wernick took time out from a hectic fall schedule to talk with Pow’r Pickin’ about the evolution of Flexigrass, their upcoming gigs, and the songs that get him excited.” (full story)

May, 2006 – by Sean McCormick, Bluegrass Bulletin

10 Questions with Pete “Dr. Banjo” Wernick

Sean: What inspired you to start your very popular Jam Camps?

Pete: “So many people have wanted to start playing and have been spoon-fed an exact way to play a variety of instrumental pieces, as though instrumental reciting were what it’s all about. So at my banjo camps, I would teach jamming skills, and then one time I decided to invite people playing instruments besides banjos. A lot of people showed up. So I tried an entire camp for all instruments, and a lot of people showed up. It was a hit. Now I’m doing ten a year, and a lot of people are still showing up! I’m kind of surprised how long it took me to catch on that in Bluegrass, jam skills have to be learned just like teamwork in any endeavor. It’s not just a matter of solo study. I’ve got three Jamming videos now, and hopefully other teachers will catch on that they need to be teaching jamming, not just soloing.” (full story)

April 2006 – by Erin Frustaci,

Pete Wernick is Dr. Banjo

The world-renowned musician, who got his start in 1971 with the band Country Cooking and has since earned the moniker Dr. Banjo, has made a lasting impact on the industry through his talent, instructional books, CDs and banjo camps. He began playing the banjo as a teen, listening to the likes of Earl Skruggs and Bill Monroe.

“The original pioneers had a powerful urgency to the music that is easy to lose in the translation of the music,” Wernick said. “I hope whoever picks up bluegrass will take it seriously and work for mastery and soulfulness. I don’t worry that it would die out, but that the most essential aspects of it might get diluted.” (full story)

November 2005 – by Ed Will, Denver Post Staff Writer

Picking the bluegrass life

“Dr. Banjo” Pete Wernick left an ivory-tower job for a rural musical style more in tune with his spirit.

Americans seem to have a knack for living lives that take them all over the map. But a journey that carries someone from the Bronx to Niwot, from a brilliant university career to the top echelon of bluegrass music, is a tale worthy of Mark Twain.That the man also walks away unscathed from a mangled airliner in Iowa seems to stretch even the bounds of fiction.

Wernick, 59, has lived in Colorado for 29 years and probably is best known here as the founding father of the seminal bluegrass band Hot Rize. Bluegrass binds his life together, taut as a banjo’s D string. (full story)

Summer 2005 – by Jeffrey Anzevino, Jamboree Newsletter

Hone those Jam Skills with Pete Wernick

“Closet players often end up self-destructing,” says Wernick, “losing interest because it’s not what they expected. The crowning blow is when they attend a jam and find that they don’t know how to fit in.” The Jam Camp teaches the budding musician how to navigate this new subculture: the head nod (ready for your solo?), the lifted foot (let’s end the song), etc. Once this language is learned, you’ll have the keys to unlock what turns out to be a not so complicated puzzle. (full story)

May 2005 – by Brenda Hough, Bluegrass By The Bay Magazine

Jam Camp Review
Dr. Banjo’s Closet Picker Cure!

“Pete believes in starting with simple two chord songs and our first play-along was “You Are My Sunshine.” From the beginning, he stressed keeping in time and watching the guitar player’s chord changes. His encouraging words about singing and developing an ear to hearing the notes of a song led to matching notes to chord changes.” (full story)

January 2005 – Bluegrass Music Profiles Magazine

“I believe I’m the first person to ever do a music camp in bluegrass starting back in 1980 in Oregon. I was asked to be a part of a summer studies program that involved week-long classes and they decided they wanted a banjo class and asked me, which led to me hosting my own in Colorado, which I’ve been doing since 1984. That was my entire focus as a teacher until I started realizing how many people were just not getting the right kind of instruction to just be able to play simple music together.” (full story)

December 2004 –

Dr. Banjo interviewed on XM Fan

“I grew up in The Bronx, and quite a few of my friends were getting into folk music at the time. Several of them had their own guitars and banjos, and I happened to have a banjo in the house. One day someone showed me something on it, and within a month or so I was playing music with my friends at an easy level for folk music. I saw Earl Scruggs shortly thereafter and really wanted to learn what he was doing.” (full story)

November 2004 – by Claire Chase, Left Hand Valley Courier

“Home On The Grange with Pete and Joan Wernick”

“[Pete] recalled playing a show in Colorado in August 1975 and said, “I remember thinking I’d be a happy guy if I could live around here, and one year later I was here. I feel fortunate.” Almost 28 years later, the Left Hand Valley is richer for having the Wernicks call it home.” (full story)

May 2004- by Dean Barnett

Jamming for a Cause

“On March 4, 2002, banjoist Mark Vann co-founder of Leftover Salmon, lost his valiant struggle with cancer. On December 14, 2003, band mates Vince Herman and Bill McKay brought together musicians, friends and admirers to launch the Mark Vann Foundation; a not-for-profit 501′(3) charity established ‘to serve community non-profit organizations bringing light, love and laughter into lives of those in need’ ” (full story)

March 2004 – by Patrick Ferris,

“So Long of a Journey – Interview with Pete Wernick”

“I call it Jamgrass because it’s based on the principles of jam rock and roll, not just based on bluegrass. It usually has a progressive edge to it like The Newgrass Revival, which is a Newgrass band whatever that is it’s hard to define, but it’s all based on bluegrass technique, bluegrass consciousness, the bluegrass band format, and then taking material or ideas that have evolved past where Flatt and Scruggs brought it.” (full story)

Febuary 2004 – by Bill Donaldson, Pow’r Pickin’ Magazine

Dr. Banjo – An Interiew with Pete Wernick

“So, if home was “da Bronx,” you may wonder why his vocal inflection doesn’t remind you of Tony Soprano. “I made it a point to lose the accent when I was in junior high school because people thought it sounded awful.” Wemick tells of listening to people down south. ‘I liked Elvis. I liked rock-a-billy. I liked Fats Domino. All these guys are from the south, and a lot of our best music comes from the south. Language is more musical down south.’ ” (full story)

2004 Pete Named Top Local Instrumentalist

by Denver’s Rocky Mountain News

in their Top of the Rocky Awards. (full story)

July 2003 – by Brad Weissman, Colorado Daily Newspaper

Dr. Banjo to the Rescue

“Speaking with a rapid-fire intelligence that’s a mirror of his playing style, Wernick touched on a constellation of subjects, beginning with his affection for the annual Lyons hoedown – ‘It’s my favorite,” he says. “There’s goodness in all of it. I’m immersed in the bluegrass community, and there’s certainly a good one here in Colorado.” (full story)

May 2003 – by Caroline Wright, Bluegrass Now Magazine

Joan Speaks! Joan Wernick on Commitment and Respect

“Joan Wernick has probably thought a lot about how to make a successful marriage with a bluegrass musician. After all, she’s been married to the legendary Pete Wernick for almost three decades. She plays guitar and sings with Pete Wernick’s Live Five, and for the past 13 years, she and her husband have performed as a duet.” (full story)

April 2001 – by Dan “Buck” Buckner, Bluegrass Unlimited Magazine

Pete Wernick, Phd. – Bridge Builder

“If Pete Wernick’s first recording with Country Cooking in May of 1971 marks the beginning of his music career, then May of 2001 will be Pete’s 30th anniversary in the music business.” (full story)

April 1997 – by Steve Lipsher, The Denver Post

“From his home near Longmont, Wernick, a 51-year-old with a doctorate in sociology, talked about life after Hot Rize, how beliefs in humanism helped him cope with being in the 1989 crash of United Airlines Flight 232 in Iowa and why bluegrass hasn’t gained mainstream popularity.” (full story)

September 1996 – by Bill McKay, Banjo Newsletter

“Pete Wernick has “been there, done that,” and these days has higher goals. Being a creative master of the five-string in one of the freshest-sounding bands in bluegrass history was not enough.” (full story)

July 1979 – by Tony Trischka, Banjo Newsletter

“Neither the subject of this interview nor the questioner need any introduction to the readers of BNL. Peter Wernick and Tony Trischka have been in the forefront of banjo playing and also banjo instruction for some time now and are both known for their serious approaches to the instrument.”
(full story)