Blue Cheer’s Peterson Dies

Richard Allan “Dickie” Peterson, bass player and lead singer for legendary San Francisco band Blue Cheer died in Germany Oct.12 after a long fight with cancer. He was 63.

As one of the founding members of Blue Cheer, Peterson occupied a unique position in rock history. Founded in 1966 amid San Francisco’s psychedelic music scene, Blue Cheer roared out of the gate with a cover of Eddie Cochran’s “Summertime Blues,” which appeared on the band’s debut album – Vincebus Eruptum – establishing the band as heavy metal pioneers.

As the years progressed, later bands would hail Blue Cheer as inspiration for their own success stories.

“He loved the younger musicians,” said Blue Cheer guitarist Andrew “Duck” MacDonald. “He thought of all of them as his children.”

Blue Cheer was planning a 2009 tour to support the band’s “Blue Cheer Rocks Europe” DVD release when Peterson was diagnosed with cancer. Although the tour was postponed, the DVD was released and featured voiceover commentary by Peterson as well as an interview with the influential bassist.

Peterson and his Blue Cheer cohorts loved their fans, dubbed “1%ers” and often considered them to be a collective fourth member of the band.

“Without you, what we do is completely pointless,” Peterson told a 2006 audience. “You’ve got to take care of each other, you’re all you’ve got.”

Blue Cheer’s MacDonald may have summarized Peterson’s relationship with Blue Cheer fans best.

“The people loved him and he loved them right back,” MacDonald said. “It was the best relationship he had in his life.”

Peterson is survived by his wife Ilka, ex-wife Marilyn (Peterson) Stephens, daughter Corrina Peterson-Kaltenrieder and a grandson.