Pete Sears and Chet Helms. Article from Haight Street Music News — 2005


Pete Sears and Chet Helms.

Arti­cle from Haight Street Music News — 2005

I always liked and admired Pete Sears, a par­a­digm in the para­dox­i­cal world of music and spent sev­er­al years tak­ing images of him dur­ing the sev­en year run of The Gath­er­ing On The Moun­tain in Blakeslee, Penn­syl­va­nia, i.e., The Poconos. Pete was then the key­boardist for the leg­endary, Elec­tric Hot Tuna, along with Jack Casady, Jor­ma Kauko­nen, Har­vey Sor­gen and Michael Falzara­no. Amidst that back­drop of Amer­i­cana , I also man­aged to pho­to­graph Pete dur­ing the apex of pop­u­lar­i­ty of The Fur­ther Fes­ti­vals that began after the demise of Jerome John Gar­cia in 1995.

A prod­uct of The British Inva­sion, Pete has a musi­cal resume that is inclu­sive of Rod Stew­art, John Lee Hook­er, years with Jef­fer­son Star­ship, guest appear­ances with most, if not all the bay area icons and one of the most unher­ald­ed yet great bands that lan­guished in vir­tu­al obscu­ri­ty, Cop­per­head. It is with this band that the vir­tu­os­i­ty of Pete on var­i­ous instru­ments would com­pli­ment the gifts of John Cip­poli­na and though they lan­guished in vir­tu­al obscu­ri­ty, they are one of the most beloved bands of The Gold­en Era of “rock” along with The Dinosaurs.

With that lega­cy already a foot­note in the pan­theons of west coast musi­cal roy­al­ty, Pete’s great­est accom­plish­ments are that of well known Samar­i­tan and doc­u­ment­ed human­i­tar­i­an for musi­cians who have been in need of finan­cial help.

My friend Chet Helms often referred to Pete as one of the great peo­ple on this plan­et, along with David Freiberg and Ter­ry Hag­ger­ty. Soft spo­ken, yet assertive in his endeav­ors, Pete has been respon­si­ble for many ben­e­fits in the last few years, most notable being The Spencer Dry­den and Chet Helms memo­r­i­al Ben­e­fits and concerts.

As great as his skills may be and the accom­plish­ments that mir­ror his ded­i­ca­tion to the genre, the tire­less hours of prepa­ra­tion for giv­en events always seems to pass into the recess­es of most minds with­out the cred­it due to those respon­si­ble for these Her­culean evenings of giv­en mag­ni­tude and popularity.

Years from now, the name Pete Sears will be syn­ony­mous with many of the rock n’ roll icons of the past forty years but few if any of his per­son­al accom­plish­ments will ever rival his gift as a great human being.

I can still hear Chet as he expound­ed on the work eth­ic of Pete when oth­ers of the musi­cal com­mu­ni­ty were in need of finan­cial help. His posi­tion in the hier­ar­chy of musi­cal celebri­ty is much deserved but ulti­mate­ly, it’s his pres­ence as a friend and ambas­sador of good will that will out­live all the kudos and acco­lades of a life long career.

Cheers to you Pete…and thanks….from all of us.

Don Aters

Haight Street Music News — 2005

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