Hal "Boise Bob" Spector, musician: "We met while he was playing in Gay Cowboys in Bondage. I was working at Sync as an engineer and doing things around town, live shows, and I met him through gigs. We just started doing recordings. We were involved in a few projects together: Gay Cowboys in Bondage, F, the Stand-Still Dance Band. We worked together for a while and then decided to put together a band called We're Not Psychedelic -- a joke band, really, with people from other bands playing different instruments. Then we decided to write songs together [as Boise and Moss], and we wound up playing for about ten years, at Churchill's mostly.
"He played in a lot of different bands. He played with everyone. He's played with the Goods in the Cherry Bombs, Rooster Head -- just so many bands. He could play any instrument you gave him. We recorded a tape once and we needed a tuba on one song, and Pete Moss played a tuba and he did it good. That's the kind of musician he was. He had this music encyclopedia in his mind. You could be sitting around and bring up a song -- any song -- and he could play it. He was affected by everything musically. He liked jazz, the Monkees. He'd like the new Madonna album and he'd also like the new HYsker DY. Basically anything out there he pretty much liked. That was his whole life.
"We played at Churchill's [May 16], the last time, I guess. We were outside rehearsing since we hadn't rehearsed in about six months, and we were making plans to finish a tape we'd started about two years earlier but had to put on the back burner. He had just bought a new car so he was excited about that. He was doing great. Really, really great. I mean he was joking around, he was as much fun as he ever was.
"It was a real shock. I still haven't really come to terms with it at this moment. I guess people deal with things like this in different ways. But we got to be really good friends over the years. We hung out a bunch. We were roommates for two or three years. Just really good friends. He was the reason I'm playing music right now -- or that I was, at least. Before I met him I was just an engineer. I would've never done any of this without him."
Dave Daniels, owner of Churchill's: "He was a part of the local scene for a long time and was always doing interesting things. He was held in good regard. It was kind of weird -- on Friday [May 16] he played here with Boise and Moss and I said to Charlie [Pickett] and someone else that he seemed very subdued. Charlie agreed that he was not all that bubbly. Usually he was always telling us about his latest venture or whatever, and this time he wasn't. He came in and just gave a very superficial greeting. Normally he would buttonhole me for the next ten minutes, telling me all the things he was going to do."
Charlie Pickett, musician: "I'd known Pete for about seventeen years. I think he was underage when he started playing at the clubs. From day one Pete was a tremendous drummer. Most people who play drums in rock bands are not very good, to be honest. But he had it. He had this late slap hit on the snare that made for that tumbling, rolling type of beat. He was always dead-on, never sped up or slowed down. He was just a hellish drummer. He was very talented as a guitar player. He was a passable singer. He knew he didn't have a voice to carry a band as a lead singer, but he was a fine harmony singer and could sing lead on the occasional song.
"He had a lot of bands. He was that kind of guy, who lived for music and loved it. There was nothing else he could do or wanted to do. His influences were wide-ranging. He loved the Beatles but he also loved Black Sabbath. That was him.
"I think from about '88 on he was just playing with all these different people, trying to make projects work. And Pete was always with these people who just really liked music, but nobody in the band would take the business reins and do all the work. Pete wanted to make a career out of it, but he was just a pure musician. As much as I would say that I've never been good at the business side of it, Pete was nearly oblivious about it. He might call Dave [Daniels] and say, 'Hey, I need a show,' but that would be about it.
"There are people who love music, and a smaller number of people who know music, and then there's an even smaller number of people who know it and love it. That was Pete."
Got a really nice fanzine in the mail the other day: the third issue of Semigloss, a one-time NYC-based, slick-cover rag put out by Rick and Maria Granados, a pair of recently returned Miami natives. Nice art on the outside, some nice features inside, including pieces on Crash Worship, Cul De Sac, God Lives Underwater, and a disturbing but interesting true story by Tamar Ichilov with the self-explanatory title "Me and My Stalker." And of course you get a slew of album and seven-inch reviews. If you can't find a copy at the local record stores or nightclubs, drop the Semigloss folks a line at 255 Atlantic Isle, North Miami Beach, FL 33160.
Reason to be Cheerful: The Coral Gables Congregational Church has announced the lineup for its '97 summer concert series, and for the most part it's full of stuff I'm not exactly wild about. (I may have finally found room in my ears for Townes Van Zandt, but I'm not about to embrace a puffball like Livingston -- brother of James -- Taylor, who is playing at the church on July 24.) The last night of the series, however, will see an August 21 performance by Milt Jackson, the brilliant vibraphonist who helmed the Modern Jazz Quartet for more than four decades while releasing a slew of fine solo recordings with everyone from John Coltrane and Lucky Thompson to Coleman Hawkins and Wes Montgomery. Unlike Lionel Hampton (his only real peer on the vibes), Jackson's style is tougher, harder -- with the wail and bite of a saxophone rather than the percussive swing of a piano. If you've never experienced Jackson's genius, look for a copy of the Modern Jazz Quartet's Dedicated to Connie (an epic live set) and the 1988 tribute For Ellington, as well as the solo discs Jackson's-Ville and The Jazz Skyline, both on Savoy.
The Coral Gables Congregational Church's summer concert series runs June 12 through August 21, and in addition to Taylor and Jackson features Jeroen and Maarten Van Veen, Mark Murphy, Sandra Lopez, and Quartetto Gelato. Shows are held at the church, 3010 DeSoto Blvd. Tickets are $20 per event, or you can pick up deals on various multiticket purchases. Call 448-7421 if you'd like to know more.
-- By John Floyd