Paul Barrere, the longtime singer and guitarist of funk and jazz band Little Feat, has died at the age of 71.
According to a statement released by the band, Barrere passed away Saturday, October 26th, at UCLA Hospital, due to complications from liver disease.
“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,” the band added. “We are grateful for the time we have shared.”
Barrere joined Little Feat in 1973 prior to the recording of their third full-length, Dixie Chicken. Compared to the Southern roots rock featured on the band’s first two albums, Dixie Chicken marked a drastic change in sound, incorporating elements of New Orleans funk. Their follow-up album, 1975’s The Last Record Album, proved a further deviation in sound, reflecting Barrere and bandmate Bill Payne’s interest in jazz-fusion. That same year, Little Feat contributed to Robert Palmer’s album, Pressure Drop.
Little Feat broke up in 1979 following the death of founding member Lowell George. Barrere subsequently pursued a solo career and released a pair of albums. In 1987, however, the surviving members of Little Feat reformed alongside Craig Fuller. Their first release with this lineup, 1988’s Let It Roll, contained the band’s first No. 1 single, “Hate to Lose Your Lovin'”. The success of Let it Roll also led to renewed interest in the back’s catalog — Dixie Chicken was certified gold in 1989. During this era, Little Feat also appeared on Saturday Night Live.
Little Feat released two more albums with Fuller before quitting in 1993. The band continued to record music, recruiting singer Shaun Murphy to replace Fuller. Murphy released five albums with the band prior to her own departure in 2009. The band released one last album, Rooster Rag, in 2012.
Barrere was diagnosed with Hepatitis C in 1994 and took a brief leave of absence in order to undergo treatment. In 2015, he was diagnosed with liver cancer.
Little Feat’s Bill Payne discussed the legacy of Little Feat in a recent episode of Kyle Meredith With… Revisit it below.