Monday, January 23, 2017

Maggie & Pete, R.I.P.



I must have seen The Roches perform at least three dozen times during the 80's. I'm a sucker for harmony, and few voices blended so perfectly together as Maggie, Terre and Suzzy Roche. There was that special sibling thing, just like Brian, Carl and Dennis or Phil and Don, and like the Wilsons and the Everlys, it wasn't just about singing thirds and fifths. The Roches arrangements boggled the mind.



On stage, The Roches were more than singing sisters. It seemed almost impossible to take your eyes and ears off of them for any period of time. If you sipped your drink, or simply turned your head for a few seconds to gawk at your fellow concertgoers, you could miss a highlight in the form of a snide but loving remark from sister to sister, or banter that was so brilliant and hilarious, you would have been just as happy not hearing any music at all.

Maggie Roche lost her cancer battle over the weekend. She was 65. This one hit pretty hard. Their Christmas shows became tradition, and because The Roches never hit superstar status, you were never too far away from them. Another huge loss in my music world.





If that wasn't enough, Peter "Overend" Watts, bassist for Mott The Hoople, lost his battle with fucking cancer at the age of 69. The rhythm section of one of the most important bands of my youth, gone within a year of each other. (Mott drummer, Dale "Buffin" Griffin died almost a year ago to the day, after a long battle with Alzheimer's.)

Mott The Hoople came into my life at the same time as David Bowie and T.Rex. This was a seismic shift in my listening habits after being schooled on all things Beatles for years. "One Of The Boys" from the classic "All the Young Dudes" album might as well as have been death metal to my young ears, and I can remember a feeling of liberation, while blasting that loud, chaotic finish to "Violence" from the "Mott" record. What the hell did I just discover? Rest in peace, Pete.







12 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'm also a long-time Roches fan from the first album with all three sisters.
They had amazing harmonies and a wicked sense of humor. - Stinky

Charlie Messing said...

OH man....I loved Maggie since back before I knew she could sing, and she was a bartender at Folk City in the mid-70s. When I heard them, I was amazed they weren't signed yet. My band had the privilege of having them as an opening act one night - for our five nights, each of us had the opportunity to invite a local act, and I chose the Roches, who of course were stupendous. And it was a whole year more before Fripp got them signed and produced their first classic album! Low voice, master arranger, the hub of the trio, Maggie was a wonderful talent. I'm sad. Sorry we couldn't have been closer, Maggie. RIP. XO

Anonymous said...

Hello all...no, please remain seated,

Maggie Roche (sigh). Seeing the Roches at the Bottom Line in the early 80's was one of my live musical highlights.


The Scorpion's Lament...one of my favorite songs by Maggie Roche.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x9meg7IW5mg


RichD

Anonymous said...

Touched on The Roches a little - sure liked what I heard. Need to go further. Mott, what a band. At least we still have Ian rockin' the joint. Not meaning to be Dr. Doom here, but to all of those who voiced being happy 2016 was finally over because of all of the passings, I'm afraid from here on out for the next decade it's going to keep happening, so get ready, we're going to keep losing our heroes. Just appreciate these great artists as much as you can and their spirit and music will be with us forever. Randy

Shriner said...

"The Hammond Song" -- one of my absolute favorite songs of all time. Exquisitely produced, the best Fripp solo ever (IMO) and that arrangement is breathtaking.

richeye said...

It's all too much.....

Ken D said...

The Roches' "Another World" and "A Dove," although not as well received as some of their albums, are two of my all-time favorites.
Such a beautiful voice silenced. I hope she teams up with Kate McGarrigle...

Anything Should Happen said...

Great as always Sal. We do thinks so alike.

dogbreath said...

I'm glad Pete Overend Watts has got a mention (Overend is his real middle name btw) as some very good bass players don't always get the credit they deserve. I'll be digging out some old Mott stuff to give him a listen again. Nice typically Hunter-ish quote from Ian Hunter on Pete's passing.

Noam Sane said...

When i was in college they opened up for - i think - the NG Dirt Band. So - three women with acoustic guitars, faced with a bunch of drunk/stoned college kids and fratboys. They got A LOT of shit from the audience, and they gave as good as they got. It was really funny, and their music was, of course, remarkable. If I recall, they got a decent ovation when they were done, probably more for the fact that they didn't take any shit than their singing. But I thought they were amazing.

I saw that picture of Maggie, white hair and kinda haggard, looking like she was 100 years old and thought of my sister, who went through the same thing and passed a few years back. Fucking cancer.

Bill said...

Happened to be on the Rolling Stone site earlier today, looking for a mention of either of these deaths. And saw nothing.

Sigh...

Clarence E. Jones III said...

I had the same reaction to "Violence". Rest in Peace.