Pete Quaife Dead at 66
Pete Quaife would be the first to admit he wasn't the greatest bass player in the world. When I interviewed him 20 years ago on the occasion of the Kinks' induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame he joked that he became famous for playing the same two notes over and over on You Really Got Me, but he was a vital part of a band that survived the '60s with its legacy virtually untainted (so help me, I love those Preservation albums from the '70s). He just seemed a perfect fit between the sibling rivalry of Ray and Dave Davies, deftly handling the rapid shift from teen rage to middle age wistfulness, only to bow out when the pressures of the musical money-go-round overwhelmed the pleasure of playing those two notes and providing the rhythmic anchor chain to Mick Avory's drums on Ray's visions of England's vanished golden age.
In 1990, Pete was more than generous with his time for an overwhelmed young Kinks kultist--he was living in Canada at the time, working as a freelance graphic artist and playing music when the mood struck him--later sending me a long handwritten letter expressing his thanks for my interest in his life and career and eventually a VHS tape of his personal home movies shot while on tour with the Kinks in the U.S. (the highlight is probably a shot of Dave giving a big hug to an uncomfortable-looking Annette Funicello on the set of Hullaballoo). Aside from actually meeting Ray himself a few years ago, it remains one of my fondest experiences of being a fan.
Pete passed away in Denmark on Thursday after a decade of struggling with kidney disease. You can read a CBC obit here, or just do what I'm going to do and put on The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society and quietly mourn the loss of a well respected man.
for the series: Obits