Rock Legend Dickie Peterson, Co – Founder Of Blue Cheer Succumbs To Cancer At 61
It is with a sad, heavy heart that we report that Rock ‘n’ Roll lost a true legend today, as Dickie Peterson, the singer and bassist for pioneering metal/psychedelic band Blue Cheer, died in Germany this morning, October 12th. He had been battling liver cancer for several months. He recently turned 61 on September 12th.
Inspired by the heavy blues improv of Cream and Hendrix, legendary proto metal gods Blue Cheer roared forth from the San Francisco Bay area onto the national scene in a big way in early 1968 with their debut album ‘Vincebus Eruptum’. Completely at odds with almost all of what was coming up from the hippie flower power underground, they were the antithesis of bands such as The Grateful Dead, as subtle as a jackhammer and louder than a 747.
Named for the particularly potent “Blue Cheer” acid, incredibly they hit paydirt with both the album and the single culled from it, the classic cover of Eddie Cochran’s “Summertime Blues” soaring towards the upper reaches of the Billboard charts, peaking at #14 and #11 respectively. Contemporaries of Hendrix, Joplin and The Doors, their powerhouse performances elicited Jim Morrison to pronounce them, “The single most powerful band I’ve ever seen”.
The first American band to use Marshall amps, the power trio, initially consisting of bassist/vocalist Dickie Peterson, drummer Paul Whaley and guitarist Leigh Stephens were undoubtedly the heaviest and loudest band of the time. So loud in fact that due to said loudness, these pure volume dealers had to, for their Eddie Kramer engineered sophomore release ‘Outside Inside’, record the basic track sessions outside on Pier 57 in Manhattan.
Live, they were the first band ever listed in the Guinness Book Of World Records as “Loudest Band In The World”, establishing a precedent which was eventually eclipsed by Ritchie Blackmore and Deep Purple.
After a long recording hiatus, the beast was defiantly back with their first new studio release in 15 years, 2007’s ‘What Doesn’t Kill You…’. Not the usual cash grab by veteran rockers attempting to pad their retirement fund, it showed that after 40 years the band hadn’t lost a step.
Last year I had the wonderful opportunity to talk with Peterson at length and in depth, covering the entire career of the band. That interview can be accessed at this location.
Our deepest sympathy and condolences to Dickie’s family, and multitude of friends throughout the world. RIP, you will be sorely missed, but never forgotten.
Blue Cheer “Parchment Farm” Live at Rockpalast, Bonn Germany 2008