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    Kleinow, “Sneaky” Pete (20 August 1934 – 6 January 2007)

    Animator, songwriter, special-effects developer, and steel guitarist from South Bend, Indiana, who began playing his signature instrument when he was seventeen years old.  Upon graduation, he went to work for the state highway department of Michigan, where he repaired roads for about ten years. 

     

    In the early ‘60s, he went west to L.A. where he worked as a jingle-writer and then got into the business of creating animations and special effects for films such as The Seven Faces of Dr. Lao and The Wonderful World of Brothers Grimm and television programs like Davey and Goliath, Gumby, and The Outer Limits.  (On Davey and Goliath and Gumby, he used a technique known as stop-motion animation.) 

     

    Evenings frequently found him performing on the local club circuit, and this is how he met up with Chris Hillman and Gram Parsons.  His first credit as a studio musician was The Ventures’ 1965 recording of “Blue Star”.  In the late ‘60s, he briefly hooked up with The Byrds, but his inclusion in the group was snuffed by their leader, Roger McGuinn.  Instead, Chris and Gram quit the band and asked Pete to join The Flying Burrito Brothers in time for their debut LP, The Gilded Palace of Sin, in 1969.  Other albums on which he appeared included Burrito Deluxe and The Flying Burrito Brothers, in 1970 and 1971, respectively. 

     

    He ended his tenure with the group in April of 1971, then joined Arizona, a group that comprised David Atwood, Steve Ewards, Laramy Smith, and Andrew Way.  It did not keep him out of the studios, where he contributed his steel-guitar stylings to albums such as The Bee Gees’ Life in a Tin Can, Linda Ronstadt’s Heart Like a Wheel, and John Lennon’s Mind Games.  He did a quick stint with Cold Steel and then signed on with a new incarnation of The Flying Burrito Brothers, appearing on Airborne and Live in Tokyo.  In 1978, he released a self-titled debut album, Sneaky Pete. 

     

    His swan song with FBB was 1981’s Hearts on the Line, after which he concentrated on his special-effects work in the film industry.  Some of the movies on which he worked included Caveman, The Empire Strikes Back, Gremlins, The Right Stuff, The Terminator, and Under Siege.  He also received an Emmy for his work on the TV mini-series, The Winds of War. 

     

    Eventually, he returned to the music studio to record his long-awaited sophomore album, The Legend and the Legacy, in 1994.  Once again bitten by the music bug, he started up another version of FBB, this time known as Burrito Deluxe, along with Jeff “Stick” Davis, Garth Hudson, Rick Lonow, and Carlton Moody.  They released a trio of CDs:  Disciples of the Truth, Georgia Peach, and The Whole Enchilada. 

     

    Unfortunately, he suffered from Alzheimer’s and spent his last days in a nursing home in the town of Petaluma, California, where he passed away in 2007.  His music lives on in CD form on re-packagings such as Meet Sneaky Pete, Sacred Hearts and Fallen Angels:  The Gram Parsons Anthology, and The Very Best of Jackson Browne.

     

    The Burrito Brothers recordings

    She’s a Friend of a Friend (John Beland/Gib Guilbeau)

     

    Sources:

    1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sneaky_Pete_Kleinow
    2. http://www.answers.com/topic/sneaky-pete-kleinow
    3. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/obituaries/sneaky-pete-kleinow-431462.html
    4. http://www.cduniverse.com/search/xx/music/artist/Kleinow,+Sneaky+Pete/a/Sneaky+Pete+Kleinow.htm

     

      

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     



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