Little Feat guitarist and singer Paul Barrere died at the age of 71 on Saturday morning, October 26th. Born in July 1948 in Burbank, CA, Barrere joined Little Feat in 1972 and would go on to provide notable contributions to the rock band’s catalog throughout the rest of the 1970s and again with their eventual reunion, in addition to outside collaborations with other artists ranging from Phil Lesh to Carly Simon.
Barrere’s death was confirmed with a statement shared to Little Feat’s social media accounts on Saturday evening, which reads:
“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.”
As previously reported, Barrere was forced to miss a number of the band’s fall tour performances due to complications from liver disease. Larry Campbell and Teresa Williams filled in for Barrere throughout much of October, with former Gregg Allman Band musical director Scott Sharrard also stepping in to help close the remainder of the band’s ongoing 50th-anniversary tour.
Barrere’s attitude seemed rather optimistic at the time of his initial break from the tour, which he explained in a statement open the announcement earlier this month.
“As many of you know, for the past several years I have been dealing with liver disease,” Barrere bravely stated back in early October. “When we finished the second leg of our ’50th Anniversary Tour,’ I was beginning to develop some edema, which has been making some things a little more difficult. It has been a bit of a roller coaster as I go through the treatments my medical team has prescribed, and I have had good days and not so good days. Lately, the not so good days have been more common. I have met with my team at UCLA and they have told me that what I am experiencing is common and treatable. However, the timing is not ideal, as they have directed me to stay home in October while they fine-tune the treatment in order to get me back to where the good days are the norm.”
Sadly, Barrere would never return to his “good days,” as his liver disease progressed over the past few weeks to the point where his body could no longer cope. His liver disease came as a result of a Hepatitis C diagnosis in 1994.
Little Feat was in Huntington, NY on Saturday night, where the band delivered an emotion performance for their fans at The Paramount. The opening song of Saturday’s performance, “Tripe Face Boogie”, was dedicated to Barrere’s memory.
Watch the band’s entire recent performance at Portland, OR’s Revolution Hall this past spring with Barrere in full below.
Little Feat – Revolution Hall – 5/31/19
[Video: Jim Becker]
Fare thee well Paul – Thank you for the music and all the fun!
For a full list of upcoming Little Feat tour dates, head here.