Robert Quine - 1942 - 2004 - RIP
Robert Quine RIP
Robert Quine - 1942 - 2004 - RIP

Robert Quine was born in Akron, Ohio, on 30th December 1942 - roughly smack in the middle of WWW2.

Bitten by the excitement of 50s rock n roll, Quine bough his 1st guitar, a Danelectro, in his early teens. His hero was rocker Ritchie Valens, & he soon traded the Danelectro for a Fender Stratocaster. Self-taught, Quine was initially influenced by the likes of Chuck Berry, Ike Turner, Jimmy Reed & James Burton. Quine became a massive fan of Hank Marvin & the music of The Shadows during an educational sojourn in the UK during 1963 before returning to Indiana University. By 1965, Quine was studying law in St Louis, dodging the draft & playing covers in pick up bands. He loved the Ventures, Duane Eddy, Link Wray & The Byrds - but by 1967, his favourite group was the Velvet Underground.

Quine passed his bar exams in 1969 & moved to San Francisco where he continued to follow the VU & began taping their shows. He became friendly with Reed & his cohorts - they would talk for hours after shows, listening to the tapes Quine had made of their performances (Now Available as - "The Bootleg Series Vol 1 - The Quine Tapes").

After failing the San Francisco bar exams several times, Quine moved to New York in 1971 to write tax law for Prentice Hall Publishing. Quine found the work boring, however, & sought alternative employment - ending up working in a Greenwich Village memorabilia shop where he eventually met Richard Hell & Tom Verlaine, who had a group called Television.

By 1976 Quine had formed the Voidoids with TV defector, Hell. Augmented by Ivan Julian & Marc Bell, the Voidoids soon captured the spirit of the zeitgeist with their punk anthem, "Blank Generation". In 1977 the Voidoids signed to Sire Records - the home of the Ramones - & joined the doyens of the elite new NYC scene.

During their brief life, the Voidoids recorded two of the greatest Punk Rock LPs ever, toured the UK - & split in a hail of opiates following their second LP, "Destiny Street", in 1982.

Following the break up of the Voidoids, Quine was invited to dinner by Lou Reed's second wife, Sylvia. Reed was so impressed he signed Quine up to play guitar on the "Blue Mask" LP - a performance that would eventually be regarded as Quine's finest body of work. By 1985, Quine's relationship with Reed had deteriorated to the point that Quine felt he was nothing more than a sidekick. He quit in 1985.

The rest of the 80s & the early 90s were spent working with Matthew Sweet & Lloyd Cole. Quine was becoming less inclined to tour, & collaborated with the likes of Tom Waits guitarist, Marc Ribot, & avant-garde saxophonist, John Zorn.

In 2003 Quine's wife, Alice, passed away, leaving him with a broken heart & severe depression. It was to be a black hole he would never find his way out of. He was found dead in his Manhattan apartment following a suspected heroin overdose on 31st May 2004.

Jean Encoule - tMx 15 - 06/04

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