Little Feat guitarist Paul Barrere has died at 71 following complications with liver disease. The band announced his passing in a note on their official website. Barrere recently pulled out of a Little Feat 50th anniversary tour because of his illness — that tour went on as scheduled, and is supposed to wrap up tonight in Wilkes Barre, PA.
Barrere joined Little Feat in 1972, three years after it began, and had been with the band since then through their many permutations. Among his contributions to the band were “Skin It Back” and the title track from their 1974 album Feats Don’t Fail Me Now, The Last Record Album’s “All That You Dream,” and the title tracks from 1977’s Time Loves A Hero and 1979’s Down On The Farm.
Here’s the band’s note on Barrere’s death:
It is with great sorrow that Little Feat must announce the passing of our brother guitarist, Paul Barrere, this morning at UCLA Hospital. We ask for your kindest thoughts and best wishes to go out especially to his widow Pam and children Gabriel, Genevieve, and Gillian, and to all the fans who were his extended family.
Paul auditioned for Little Feat as a bassist when it was first being put together — in his words, “as a bassist I make an excellent guitarist”—and three years later joined the band in his proper role on guitar. Forty-seven years later, he was forced to miss the current tour, which will end tomorrow, due to side effects from his ongoing treatment for liver disease.
He promised to follow his doctor’s orders, get back in shape, and rock on the beach at the band’s annual gathering in Jamaica in January 2020. “Until then,” he wrote, “keep your sailin’ shoes close by…if I have my way, you’re going to need them!”
As the song he sang so many times put it, he was always “Willin’,” but it was not meant to be. Paul, sail on to the next place in your journey with our abiding love for a life always dedicated to the muse and the music. We are grateful for the time we have shared.
Yours in music,
Little Feat: Bill Payne, Sam Clayton, Fred Tackett, Kenny Gradney, and Gabe Ford