This may date me, but to reflect on this man’s life and legacy,
it really doesn’t matter. I met Pete Kleinow at Premivison/Suasilito,
CA in 1987 when I joined the crew on Gumby Adventures TV series.
Our time there overlapped briefly as he was just leaving the project
as I was coming in. He had already been there months before
helping Art Clokey get the studio set up.
I met him again a few years later in Los Angeles through a mutual
friend on the set of “Army of Darkness” a sequel of Sam Raimi’s
“Evil Dead” film. Pete was stop motion effects animaion supervisor.
I was in awe and totally inspired.
Again years later around 2000, Pete tracked me down through the same
mutual friend and we worked on a proposed stop motion animated
short film series that would revolve around his other great talent and
love – music. The project essentially was shelved we lost touch and
then Tuesday morning I got the news from a studio mate that he had
passed away over the weekend. I wish I had had the fortune to run
into him again recently, if anything to hang out with him just a little
while longer. He was a very generous and thoughtful man.
We’ll miss you Pete.
Here’s an SF Gate write up on his passing:
“Sneaky” Pete Kleinow
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — “Sneaky” Pete Kleinow, a steel guitar prodigy who
rose to fame as one of the original members of the Flying Burrito Brothers,
died Saturday. He was 72.
Kleinow, who also worked in film as an award-winning animator and special
effects artist, died at a Petaluma convalescent home. He had been living with
Alzheimer’s disease since last year, his daughter Anita Kleinow said.
During a musical career that spanned six decades, Kleinow helped define the
country-rock genre in the late 1960s and 1970s by taking the instrument he
had picked up as a teenager in South Bend, Ind., to California. His prowess
with the pedal steel guitar influenced a generation of rock-and-rollers, including
the Eagles, the Steve Miller Band and Poco.
Besides co-founding the Flying Burrito Brothers with the Byrds’ Chris Hillman
and Gram Parsons in 1968, he enjoyed a steady gig as a session musician,
recording with such singer-songwriters as John Lennon, Jackson Browne,
Linda Ronstadt and Joni Mitchell, and bands as varied as the Bee Gees
and Sly and the Family Stone.
He played and recorded regularly with Burrito Deluxe, a band he founded
in 2000 following the rebirth of alt-country music and fronted until
Alzheimer’s was diagnosed.
Before, during and after his steady run as a Burrito Brother, Kleinow
won acclaim as an animator, special effects artist and director of
commercials in the television and film industries. His credits ranged
from the original “Gumby” series — he wrote and performed the theme
music as well as designed cartoons — and the relaunched “The Twilight
Zone” to the movies “Under Siege,””Fearless” and “The Empire Strikes Back.”
He won an Emmy Award in 1983 for his work on the miniseries,
“The Winds of War.”