Monday, October 12, 2009

supremely depressing

- Oct. 12, 2009
Dickie Peterson, the bassist/vocalist and founding member of BLUE CHEER, passed away this morning (Monday, October 12) at 5 a.m. in Germany.

He was 61 years old. Peterson had reportedly been battling prostate and liver cancer, and according to BLUE CHEER's message board, had developed a fatal infection following a surgical procedure to help alleviate his fight.

BLUE CHEER was an American blues-rock band that initially performed and recorded in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and has been sporadically active since. Based in San Francisco, BLUE CHEER played in a psychedelic blues-rock style, and was also credited for pioneering heavy metal (their cover of "Summertime Blues" is sometimes cited as the first in the genre), punk rock, stoner rock, doom metal and grunge.

Throughout his life, Peterson's relationship to music has been all-consuming. He was quoted as saying, "I've been married twice, I've had numerous girlfriends, and they'll all tell you that if I'm not playing music I am an animal to live with. . . Music is a place where I get to deal with a lot of my emotion and displaced energy. I always only wanted to play music, and that's all I still want to do."

Despite the fact that BLUE CHEER was considered a pioneer in many different genres, Peterson downplayed the band's influence, stating in an interview, "People keep trying to say that we're heavy metal or grunge or punk, or we're this or that. The reality is we're just a power trio and we play ultra-blues, and it's rock 'n' roll. It's really simple what we do."

Peterson spent much of the past two decades based in Germany, performing with BLUE CHEER and with other groups as well. In 1998 and 1999, he played a number of dates in Germany with the HANK DAVISON BAND and as an acoustic duo with Hank Davison under the banner DOS HOMBRES.

Blue Cheer was a major influence on me ever since I first heard them and I still listen to them regularly. Peterson's vocals and bass playing led the band and kept them anchored as Leigh Stevens went off on sonic tangents.

He will be missed...

More from Dan Epstein at La Vie En Robe.