Pete Sears

Born: May 27, 1948
Bromley, Kent, England
gemini

In Pete Sears' thirty-four years as a musician, he has played Keyboards or Bass Guitar with a large variety of artists, including the classic Rod Stewart albums, "Gasoline Alley", Every Picture Tells a Story", "Never a Dull Moment" and "Smiler".

Pete was with the Jefferson Starship from 1974 to 1987 and currently plays in the "Jorma Kaukonen Trio" with Jorma and Michael Falzarano, recently releasing the C.D, 'Too Many Years". He also plays with Jorma and Michael along with Jack Casady and Harvey Sorgen in "Hot Tuna". Recently, he performed at the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame tribute to "John Lee Hooker" at Stanford University as one of John's guests. Footage was shot at the show to be included in a documentary film about John Lee's life. In 1999, Pete and Jorma Kaukonen performed with Phil Lesh in a "Phil and Friends" show with Steve Kimock at the Warfield Theater in San Francisco. A live C.D. of the show called, "And Love Will See You Through" is available on Grateful Dead Records.

For many years Pete has traveled back and forth between the US and England...touring, recording and doing session work on over one hundred albums. He has played with many artists including John Lee Hooker, Alvin Youngblood Hart, Warren Haynes, Steve Kimock, Ron Wood, Jerry Garcia, Peter Rowan, Los Lobos, Government Mule, Tracy Nelson, Rich Kirch, Dave Sharp, Zakiya Hooker, Harvey Mandel, Nick Gravenites, Taj Mahal, Mickey Hart, Mark Naftalin, Bob Weir, Nicky Hopkins, Leftover Salmon, Mark Unobsky, Smokey Smothers, Lester ( Mad Dog) Davenport, Mark Benno, John Popper, Craig Horton & The Scratchin Dogs, Rusted Root, Eric Burdon, Zero, Sons of Fred, Steamhammer, Long John Baldry, Rod Stewart, Silver Metre, the original Stoneground, the original Sam Gopals Dream with Mick Hutchinson, Fleur de Lys, British beat poet Mike Hart with fellow poet and Cream lyricist Pete Brown, Leigh Stephens, Jackie McCauley and Judy Dyble, Betty Davis, Copperhead with John Cipollina, Chris Jagger, Mike Bloomfield, Roy Harper, Steve Gillete, Robert Hunter, Ike and Tina Turner, Papa John Creach, Steve Cropper, Neil Schon, Derek Trucks, David Lindley, Buddy Cage and Stir Fried, Tim Rose, Brewer & Shipley, Merrell Fankhauser, Maria Muldaur, Alex Harvey, Wavy Gravy, Kim Fowley, Freddy Roulette, Kathi McDonald, Sly Stone, Chet Nichols, The Pointer Sisters, Nils Lofgren, Big Brother, Shana Morrison, and Quicksilver Messenger Service.

He has also sat in or jammed with such people as, Jimi Hendrix, Carlos Santana, Tray Anastasio of Phish, Warren Haynes, The Allman Brothers, Graham Bond, Sam Bush, , Hubert Sumlin, Vasser Clements, Elvis Costello, David Crosby, Johnny Johnson, Paul Butterfield, Pinetop Perkins, Blues Traveler, Grateful Dead, and many more.

Pete has just finished a new Piano blues C.D. called "The Long Haul" with special guests including Charlie Musselwhite, Levon Helm, Shanna Morrison, Davy Pattison, Wavy Gravy, and John Lee Hooker who co-wrote and performed a song on the album with Pete. "The "Long Haul" will be released on 33rd Street Records during the Summer of 2001.

Pete wrote the original score for a documentary film on Cesar Chavez of the Farm Worker's Union. ''The Fight in the Fields'', was aired on National PBS on April 16, 1997, and was the recipient of the "Cine Golden Eagle" award, 1st place "National Education Film Festival", 1st place "San Antonio Film Festival", "Chicago Film Festival Award", amongst others. Pete has just released a solo improvisational piano CD in Japan called Millennium, and introduced the work with a solo piano concert in Tokyo.

He wrote and recorded the music for a documentary on religious oppression in Tibet called, "Tibet's Stolen Child" with Star Trek's Patrick Stewart narrating. Pete also wrote original scores for the documentaries, "A Test Of Courage", a National P.B.S. special on the Oakland Fire Department, "Store Wars", a PBS special on small town America verses Wall Mart and most recently, "The Eye On The Universe" for the Discovery International Network. Pete was recently featured in "Film and Tape World" and has been interviewed for Keyboard, and Guitar Player magazines. He was given a "Bay Area Music" Award in the Bassist category, and was also nominated in the Keyboard category. He was also a recipient of the, "Golden Reel Award", and was nominated for a, "Grammy" with the Starship.

Pete began his musical career in London in the mid-sixties. Born in Bromley, Kent, England. He grew up playing piano and listening, through his older brother John, to blues, Jazz and R&B artists like Champion Jack Dupree, Memphis Slim, Dave Brubeck, Oscar Peterson, Jimmy Reed, Big Bill Broonzy and Robert Johnson. At age thirteen, he started playing guitar and at sixteen began playing in clubs, recording in 1965 at EMI studios on Abbey road, and touring Britain and Europe playing bass guitar with the "Sons of Fred." The Sons of Fred recorded four singles and performed on several popular television shows, including "Thank Your Lucky Stars" and "Ready Steady Goes Live". He later joined "Fleur de Lys" on piano and recorded several songs with them including the Gospel tune "Amen," with Jimi Hendrix sitting in on Guitar. After finishing with "Fleur de Lys," Pete teamed up with Mick Hutchinson and Sam Gopal in the underground band called "Sam Gopal's Dream." The band played classic 60's venues like "The Electric Garden" in Covent Garden, London, later to become "Middle Earth," "Alexander Palace," "The Roundhouse", "Happening 44" and the "Christmas on Earth Show" at Olympia in London on the same bill with Traffic, Jimi Hendrix and Pink Floyd. While playing with Sam and Mick at the Middle Earth Club in London, he became friends with Graham Bond. Graham, who taught Pete about playing the Hammond B3, later asked Mick and Pete to join his band. Jimi Hendrix, later sat in with Pete, Mick and Sam , at a London club called the Speakeasy. Pete later started touring and doing sessions for Folk and Blues artists such as Marion Segal, "Steamhammer," and the "Long John Baldry" blues band.

Pete formed his own band called "Giant", playing lead guitar and performing several shows including one at the "Roundhouse" in Chalk Farm, London. The following day, their show was given a favorable mention by the Rock and Roll D.J. John Peel on his radio show. Pete spent some time with his friend beat Poet, "Pete Brown", who introduced him to people like sax player, "Dick Heckstal Smith" and "Auther Brown". Pete Brown once asked Pete to play guitar with a band Brown was throwing together for a one-off gig. It turned out to be a bizarre event in the middle of an old Victorian foot tunnel that stretched under the river Thames in London. It turned out they had been hired by an Italian film director, and they were joined by a bunch of naked hippies dancing around. Pete who often tours Italy with "Hot Tuna," has tried unsuccessfully to track down the name of the film and director. Around 1969, Mitch Mitchell talked to Pete about playing bass in a band he was thinking of starting, but the group never materialized. He hung out with John Mark from the John Mayal band for a while and rehearsed with "John Hisemans Coliseum". But decided to come to the United States in 1969 to form the band, "Silver Metre" with Leigh Stephens and Micky Waller. Tom Donahue, the founder of alternative FM radio format, became the group's manager, and later managed another band Pete was in called "Stoneground," who traveled with "Wavy Gravy and the Hog Farm." For many years Pete traveled back and forth between the US and England...touring, recording and doing session work with many bands, including "Rod Stewart," "Long John Baldry," "Copperhead," and a power trio band he formed with Neil Schon and Greg Errico called,"Sears-Schon-Errico". In the United States, Pete arranged, co-produced, and played on Kathi McDonald's critically acclaimed album, Insane Asylum, using artists like the Pointer Sisters, Sly Stone, John Cipollina, Aynsley Dunbar, Nils Lofgren and Neil Schon. During those sessions, Pete met Grace Slick of the "Jefferson Airplane," and ended up playing bass and piano on her solo album, Manhole, collaborating with her on the song, Better Lying Down.

In 1974, Grace Slick and Paul Kantner phoned Pete, who was back in England, urging him to return to the States and join a band they were forming called the "Jefferson Starship." Pete played bass and keyboards with the "Jefferson Starship" for thirteen years, contributing several songs on each album. He collaborated on many songs with Grace Slick as his lyricist. In 1978, he began working with lyricist, Jeannette Sears, and over the years they have written many of "Jefferson Starship's" songs, including Stranger, Be My Lady, Awakening, Save Your Love, and Winds of Change. Several of these songs were made into music videos and were put into heavy rotation on MTV. During this time, Pete recorded with various other people including, Maria Muldaur, Robert Hunter, Norton Buffalo, and Nick Gravenites. Pete was nominated for a Grammy with "Starship," and is a recipient of the Golden Reel award.

Jefferson Starship played many benefits during the 70s & early 80s, including shows for the "Vietnam Veterans", "Cambodia" during which he Jammed with the, "Grateful Dead", and the "Save the San Francisco Cable Cars" fund raisers.

Long an environmentalist and peace activist, Pete couldn't stand the mid eighties version of the "Starship" any longer and left the band in 1987 to record a concept album. This album, Watchfire, originally released by Redwood Records in 1988, and re-released in 1993 at Jerry Garcia's urging on Grateful Dead Records, featured Pete on vocals, keyboards, and slide guitar. He was joined by Jerry Garcia, Mimi Farina, David Grisman, Micky Hart, Babatunde Olatunji, Holly Near, and many others. Jeannette Sears wrote the majority of the lyrics while Pete composed and arranged the music.

Pete has performed at, and organized and assembled the musicians for numerous benefits, including the 1988 "Soviet American Peace Walk" concert in San Francisco, which attracted twenty thousand people and featured Jerry Garcia, Grace Slick, Mickey Hart, John Cipollina, and many other notable musicians. He organized a benefit for the Native American "Inter Tribal Bison Co-op," featuring Bob Weir, Jorma Kaukonen, and Chris Whitley. Pete regularly plays piano for Wavy Gravy's SEVA benefits, including a 1994 concert in which "Hot Tuna" performed with Bob Weir and David Crosby. For several years Pete and Jeannette organized a successful radio drive in San Francisco to raise food and clothing for refugees of El Salvador and Guatemala residing in the Bay Area.

In 1988, he and Jeannette received awards from the California Institute of Integral Studies for ongoing humanitarian contributions to the Bay Area community. Pete has also received awards from the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Very Special Arts for the Handicapped, and from, Bread and Roses.

In 1989, he and Jeannette formed a non-profit video production company with director-producer Ray Telles, along with several other prominent Bay Area film people. The production company, called "Watchfire Productions", produced a music video on human rights abuses in Guatemala, a country he and Jeannette have visited several times since their first visit there in 1979. Watchfire Productions sends out free copies of the video to organizations and individuals working for human rights in Central America and around the world. Jerry Garcia and the Rex Foundation, Tides, and several other prominent foundations funded the video. Thousands of free copies have been sent to organizations working for human rights in Guatemala.

Pete serves on the Board of N.A.S.A.F.O.N.A., a joint Hopi Indian and University of Arizona based organization, working to restore ancient garden terracing on the Hopi reservation in Arizona.

He is also on the board of "The Endangered Peoples Project," an organization headed by ethnobotonist, Dr. Wade Davis, author of Serpent and the Rainbow, Penan, One River, Shadows in the Sun, and many other books.

This biography was taken with permission from Pete Sears' Official Website.



Instruments Played / Skills:
Guitar Bass Guitar Keyboards Songwriter

Genres:
Pop/Top40 Psychedelic Rock Hard Rock

Bands That Pete Sears Has Played For:
Jefferson Starship Starship Hot Tuna (1992-present) Giant Sears-Schon-Errico

Pete Sears Has Worked With:
Jack Casady Donny Baldwin Craig Chaquico Aynsley Dunbar Grace Slick Mickey Thomas John Barbata Paul Kantner Jorma Kaukonen Neal Schon Greg Errico Sly Stone Anita Pointer June Pointer Ruth Pointer Jimi Hendrix
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"I believe that the life of a rock 'n' roll band will last as long as you look down into the audience and can see yourself and your audience looks up at you and can see themselves - and as long as those reflections are human, realistic ones."

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