Pete Sears (Jefferson Starship, Moonalice)

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“It’s like a tear in the hands of a western man… tell you about salt, carbon, and water…”

Pete Sears, who also distinguished himself as an in-demand session keyboardist, was the perfect choice to succeed the legendary Jack Casady in Paul Kantner’s ever-changing Jefferson Starship collectives.  Though Pete’s tone and approach to the instrument were in direct contrast from Jack – he is also an exemplary accompanist, soloist, and improviser.

A prolific plinker, composer, producer, and solo recording artist, Pete forged major contributions on seminal sides by Rod Stewart (Gasoline Alley, Every Picture Tells a Story, Never A Dull Moment, Smiler), Hot Tuna, Grace Slick, Nick Gravenites, Papa John Creach, Robert Hunter, Quicksilver Messenger Service, Kathi McDonald, and Starship to cite a very, very select few.

As a bassist – most notably in Jefferson Starship – Pete’s grooves and upper register forays cleverly merged the band’s multi-dimensional vocal arrangements as rendered by Marty Balin, Grace Slick, Paul Kantner, David Freiberg, and Mickey Thomas in various configurations. Sears’ extended bass solo was a highlight at many a Starship show as I was witness.

Dig Pete’s fingers close up on a modified Fender Jazz thanks to Ruper Coles

Dig Pete workin’ a funk groove on  “Crusin’

Weapons of choice: a master pocket and melodic player Pete utilized a custom instrument created by one of Jerry Garcia’s favored craftsman, Doug Irwin (which went missing for 40 years and was recently returned), along with Fender Jazz and Rickenbacker instruments.

Pete with his Doug Irwin bass - Pete Sears Facebook Pete with his Doug Irwin bass - Pete Sears Facebook

Pete with his Doug Irwin bass – Pete Sears Facebook

Dig Pete on “Hot Water”

Pete continues to play his craft(s) in the studio and on the bandstand with Moonalice, and Harvey Mandel, among other ensembles.

Dig Pete with Moonalice “Goin’ Down The Road…”

Pete Sears – Producer – Kathi McDonald / Insane Asylum

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Her stage and studio credits include Long John Baldry, Ike & Tina Turner, Dave Mason, Joe Cocker’s Mad Dogs & Englishmen, the Rolling Stones’ Exile on Main Street, and Leon Russell & The Shelter People among others.

The late Kathi McDonald’s lost gem of a slab Insane Asylum (1974) is a magnificent mélange of blues, hard rock, and soul. Produced and arranged by renowned keyboardist/bassist Pete Sears, Kathi’s esteemed collaborators include Ronnie Montrose, Nils Lofgren, Neil Schon, John Cipollina, and Papa John Creach.  

Dig the title track to Insane Asylum with Pete cutting the bass and keyboard tracks