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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