Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Sneaky Pete Klienow

Sneaky Pete Klienow
Peter E. "Sneaky Pete" Kleinow (August 20, 1934 – January 6, 2007) was an American country-rock musician, songwriter, and a motion picture special effects artist. He is best known as a member of the band the Flying Burrito Brothers and as a session musician for such artists as Joan Baez, Jackson Browne, The Byrds, Joe Cocker, Rita Coolidge, The Eagles, The Everly Brothers, George Harrison, The Steve Miller Band, Joni Mitchell, The Rolling Stones, Stevie Wonder, Spencer Davis, Linda Ronstadt and many others.

Kleinow was born in South Bend, Indiana. Before his musical career, he originally worked as a special effects artist and stop motion animator for movies and television, including the Gumby, Outer Limits, and Davey and Goliath series, as well as movies such as 7 Faces of Dr. Lao (starring Tony Randall and Barbara Eden) and The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm.

At night, Kleinow would frequently sit in with Bakersfield Sound-oriented combos and early country-rock aggregations playing the pedal steel guitar. Through this scene he became acquainted with Chris Hillman and Gram Parsons of The Byrds, helping the group to replicate their newly country-oriented sound onstage with banjoist Doug Dillard.[1] He lived in Albuquerque for a brief period of time.

After leaving the Byrds, in 1968, Parsons and Hillman invited Kleinow to join their new band, the Flying Burrito Brothers.[1] Subsequently, Kleinow left behind his career in visual effects and spent the next thirteen years as a professional musician.

One of the first pedal steel players to work in a rock context, Kleinow incorporated liberal use of electronic innovations like the fuzzbox and backwards recording techniques. As such, his style of playing was immediately influential upon second-generation players such as Jerry Garcia, Buddy Cage of the New Riders of the Purple Sage and sessionman Al Perkins.

Finding session work to be more lucrative, he left the Flying Burrito Brothers in 1971 and played for an eclectic range of artists, including Joe Cocker (Joe Cocker!, 1969), Delaney, Bonnie and Friends (To Bonnie from Delaney, 1970) and Little Feat (many albums including Sailin' Shoes, 1972).[1]

He also added steel guitar to records by Frank Zappa (Waka/Jawaka, 1972). 

After two more Burritos LPs -- 1976's Airborne and 1978's Live in Tokyo -- Kleinow cut his first solo record, Sneaky Pete, in 1978. Following one final Burritos album, 1981's Hearts on the Line, he gradually withdrew from the music industry to focus on creating special effects; the films he worked on included The Empire Strikes Back, The Right Stuff, Gremlins, and both Terminator features. Nevertheless, he occasionally returned to music, performing with diverse artists like Leonard Cohen, Medicine, and the Golden Palominos. In 1994, he released the solo effort The Legend and the Legacy and led a new Burritos lineup on a tour of Europe.
Sneaky Pete with his Dinosaur Shirt that he used to wear all the time

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