October 26, 2019 – Paul Barrere was born on July 3, 1948, the son of Hollywood actors Paul Bryar and Claudia Bryar. He joined celebrated cult band Little Feat in 1973, before the band recorded their third full-length LP, the gold-certified ‘Dixie Chicken’. For the recording of its fourth album, Feats Don’t Fail Me Now (1974), he wrote the title track. As Barrere stayed with the group, he took, along with keyboard player Bill Payne, an increasing role in singing, playing, and writing, as bandleader/founder Lowell George slowly retreated. When the group fragmented following George’s death in 1979, Paul led the group Chicken Legs.
Barrere then did sessions and recorded solo in the 1980s until the re-formation of Little Feat in 1988.
Barrere contracted Hepatitis C in 1994, but had managed to keep it under control, after he took a brief leave of absence. In 2015, he was diagnosed with liver cancer. Earlier this month, Barrere announced he was taking a medical leave of absence, but planned to be back on stage this upcoming January 2020, for the band’s headlining performance at Jamaica’s Ramble on the Island.
In a statement the members of Little feat announced:
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.
Little Feat released 16 studio albums over a span of 41 years, the last being ‘Rooster Rag’, in 2012. Barrere released three solo albums: ‘On My Own Two Feet’ (1983), ‘Real Lies’ (1984) and ‘If the Phone Don’t Ring’ (1986).
He also worked with Robert Palmer, Bob Dylan, Taj Mahal, Jack Bruce, Carly Simon and Nicolette Larson. That is his guitar work on Nicolette’s cover of Neil Young’s ‘Lotta Love’.
Barrere was a swing man as a guitarist who played a wide variety of styles of music including blues, rock, jazz, and cajun music and was proficient as a slide guitarist.
Barrere also recorded and toured as an acoustic duo with fellow Little Feat member Fred Tackett.
Barrere played several concerts with Phil Lesh and Friends in October 1999 and from March to June 2000. He also toured with Bob Dylan, and had most recently been writing and recording with Roger Cole.
Paul wrote Little Feat’s ‘Feats Don’t Fail Me Now’, ‘All That You Dream’, ‘Time Loves A Hero’ and ‘Down On The Farm’. He joined the band for their third album ‘Dixie Chicken’ was had been a member ever since.
Little Feat guitarist Paul Barrere passed away at the age of 71 on October 26, 2019