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Remembering Peter Principle of Tuxedomoon

Posted by Billyjam, July 18, 2017 05:05am | Post a Comment
A lot of fans and friends of Tuxedomoon member Peter Principle were surprised and saddened yesterday to learn of the passing of the bassist/guitarist born Peter Dachert. Some expressed hope that the news, announced via Facebook yesterday morning, might have been a fake story. But sadly the death from "natural causes" was confirmed of the 63 year old  whose group came to fame in San Francisco in the late 70's in the post punk era. Tuxedomoon, who got major play on college stations at the time especially on hometown station KUSF, often got lumped in with all of the other local emerging new wave and post-punk acts of that era. However they were truly a unique act with a distinctive sound, as well as visuals in their live shows. Their more avant-garde sound was electronic experimental, comprised of electric violin and synths in addition to guitars, and hence unlike the traditional guitar driven sound of most of their peers at the time. Amoeba bio writer Marcus Kagler described Tuxedomoon's sound as a melding of "avant-garde soundscapes, jazz fusion, and electronic wizardry with performance art gaining much deserved notoriety throughout art circles in the U.S. and Europe."

Tuxedomoon formed in San Francisco in 1977 by Blaine Reininger and Steven Brown with Peter Principle joining the group two years later. That was after they'd released (for The Residents' original record label Raplh Records) their debut album No Tears and before the recording of their second album Half-Mute that was released in 1980 (Note: reissued on vinyl/LP just earlier this year). Soonafter the release of their third album, Desire in 1981, Tuxedomoon had relocated to Europe where they founded the record label Crammed Discs out of Brussels in Belgium. Following a hectic prolific 1980's, the following decade was one of inaction for the group. But by 2000 they regrouped and began recording and touring again.  As noted in their Amoeba bio Tuxedomoon’s 30th anniversary was observed by the release of their first box set, 7707tm: 30th Anniversary Box (2007 Cramboy) that combined their release Vapour Trails with remastered rarities and b-sides stretching back to their inception in 1977. In addition to Tuxedomoon albums, Principle also contributed to side releases by the band members Blaine L. Reininger and Winston Tong.

After years of living in Europe, Principle returned to his native New York City. An impassioned record collector and sometime eclectic music DJ with refreshing diverse tastes in music he became friendly with many of my fellow DJs at WFMU, the NJ radio station known for many by its annual record fair at which Peter Principle was a regular. WFMU DJ Gaylord Fields, who joined me for a WFMU Save KUSF radio broadcast at Amoeba San Francisco six years ago, recalled how, "I got to know Peter when I DJ'd with him (pretty much lounge/exotica functions) and marveled at his love of sounds of all sorts. He was a friendly fellow who was always eager to proclaim his love for and openness to a lot of music that is on the margins, whether outré 20th-century classical or literal Muzak played in supermarkets."  Meanwhile WFMU DJ Fabio and owner of NYC record store Earwax Records reacted, "Terrible! He was a friend for many years. [I] lost touch with him once he left New York. He'd had a rough patch after returning to the states in the '90s. I hope this is fake news and not a reality. He was a super nice and decent person, and had an amazing collection and interest in all types of music."


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Tuxedomoon (1), Peter Princlple (1)