I got word yesterday that Pete Quaife, the first bass player for the Kinks, has passed away. He was a great guy who seemed to me to really know how to enjoy life. I’d say RIP, but I don’t really believe in the after-life, so. I was lucky enough to meet Pete in the fall of 2002 in a crazy mission with a friend so make some sort of Kinks documentary whose theme was… I don’t actually remember… but Pete actually let us interview him on video and even crash in his home for a night.
My friend lived in Toronto, Canada near where Pete was living with his then wife Hanne and their 2 non-intimidating, friendly German Shepherds. She had purchased some sort of professional video camera, but we didn’t know enough to bring professional lighting with us, so the whole video was just not usable as it was fatally under-exposed. So what we gained was fond memories and a few stills.
Anyway, we drove up there into rural Belleville, Ontario and squealed with girlish (middle-aged) fan excitement as we pulled into the driveway of his modest house. We had prepared some questions and brought wine to loosen inhibitions (mostly ours).
What I do remember mostly was how cheeky and funny Pete was. And so very charming. I had brought some sort of Kinks illustrated book with me and Pete annotated many of the pics with clever and/or bawdy little drawings and captions, as he was an artist by training. He did regale us with some Kinks tales most of which are too embarrassing/revealing to relate publicly but I was so impressed with how much of a soul-mate he considered brother Dave Davies of the Kinks to be, and how exasperated yet awed by the talent of brother Ray Davies he was. I emailed to Dave Davies this list of funny tales, and Dave replied that Pete likes to be dramatic and to embellish the truth a bit. Pete was at that time doing dialysis treatment 4x a week, kidney failure brought on by chronic, (perhaps untreated?) high blood pressure. He played his acoustic guitar for us, and showed my friend his famous bass riff from “Wicked Annabella”. One scary anecdote I can relate:
“Brush With Death”
Ca 1964: Kinks attend party in home of small-time music promoter in northern Illinois. Host seems to be after young Dave all evening. Party mainly attended by young men. Noticing that party is totally lacking in female guests, Kinks decide to split. Group later finds out identity of solicitous host: JOHN WAYNE GACY.
I later fell out with Toronto friend due to some foolishness from me that I don’t want to think about but I understand she has found happiness, and I’m glad. Actually, Hanne and Pete had an acrimonious parting of ways soon after our interview. But they seemed devoted at the time, and obviously very gracious to host 2 crazy but well-intentioned Kinks fans.
Here are some scans from my book.