For all booking inquiries please contact Bill Peterson.
The White Tornado is the piano-playing, songwriting alter ego of the mild-mannered Dr. Bill Peterson, and was born in the blues jams and funkin' jazz jams of Iowa City. His music is a blend of piano-driven nerd rock and jazz-funk instrumentation, with bouncing, grooving organ, piano and synth filling out each song. Though his lyrics are often complex and philosophical, the end purpose of his music is to hit that sweet spot in the amygdala that keeps people wanting more. He was the kid in your class that drew comic books with himself as the hero and tightrolled his jeans even though you told him he wasn't cool enough.
"[Peterson]'s got a knack for writing songs whose accessibility belies their underlying rhythmic and harmonic complexity." --Kent Williams, Little Village
A native of Marshalltown, Iowa, Peterson began learning piano at age 10 and played in jazz band through high school. He obtained his moniker “The White Tornado” in the fertile Eastern Iowa blues jam scene. He has loaned his keyboard, vocal and songwriting talents to many notable local outfits, including The Johnny Kilowatt Band, Public Property, Collectible Boys, Jumbies, and the Diplomats of Solid Sound. While fostering his musical skills Peterson simultaneously earned a Ph. D. in Physics, and often incorporates scientific ideas as metaphors in his lyrics, although the subjects are still the hallowed songwriting mainstays of sorrow, struggle and love.
on Seek Shelter: "a solid, ambitious outing that offers multiple, inventive treats while marking the artist as a bona-fide talent to watch." --Jim Musser, Iowa City Press-Citizen
Peterson released "Seek Shelter" in May of 2009. Recorded at Flat Black Studios in Iowa City, the album is ten original songs composed by Peterson and featuring a range of talented musicians from the Iowa City area. The album represents the range of The White Tornado's style, from the solid piano rock of "Bigger Pond" to the quirkiness of "Yet Again My Brother Saved Me (From Destroying the World)" to the funkiness of "Cop Show" to the soul of "Bicycle". The album incorporates a solid, enjoyable debut that has been well-received by fans and reviewers alike. A 5-song EP, "Wrecker", was released in November 2013, focused on the "talky, rolling pop-song" style of Peterson's music while including a couple outliers, such as the Waits-esque, showtune-style "Monster". Save for drums and bass guitar, Peterson provided all vocals and instrumentation on the EP. A live album from a 2011 show, "Strikes", was released in 2012, featuring as-yet-unreleased compositions and covers of well known songs such as Ben Folds' "Army" and "Sledgehammer" by Peter Gabriel.