The Hippo


Nov 19, 2019








Paul Barrere, Fred Tackett and the New Orleans Suspects. Courtesy photo.

Paul Barrere & Fred Tackett / New Orleans Suspects

When: Saturday, April 9, 8 p.m.
Where: Flying Monkey, 39 Main Street, Plymouth
More: $35 & $5 at

Rad gumbo
Little Feat members perform with New Orleans Suspects

By Michael Witthaus

 The absence of Little Feat from the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame is a glaring omission for many music fans, but Paul Barrere takes it in stride.  

Speaking from his home in Southern California, Barrere, who wrote  “All That You Dream” and played signature slide guitar on hits like “Dixie Chicken” and “Oh Atlanta,” recalled a years-ago golf course conversation.
“It was a tournament for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and people from the board were there,” Barrere said. “I told them, ‘You guys obviously know that I bet on baseball — that’s why you don’t put us in, right?’”
He laughed at his Pete Rose joke, and then continued. “Some guys in the band said they don’t care, but I would love to be in,” he said. “It’s not something that will make or break a career, though — our music has stood the test of time. Obviously, politics are involved; I’m not sure who we pissed off.”
Is he surprised that Little Feat still excites fans after four-plus decades? 
“I’m just happy I survived the ’60s and ’70s,” Barrere said. “The mere fact of playing music has always been the hook for me. … When you’re onstage playing well, the band is tight and you’re just rippin’ it, two hours goes by like it’s five minutes. If it turns you on, you hope it turns the audience on, but it’s all in just playing.”
Barrere and fellow Feat mate Fred Tackett perform as an acoustic duo; in 2013, they began doing shows with New Orleans Suspects, an all-star band that includes members of the Radiators, Dirty Dozen Brass Band and the Neville Brothers, among others. The ensemble returns on Saturday, April 9, to Plymouth’s Flying Monkey Movie House and Performance Center.
The long-term pairing was a fortunate accident. 
“In Fort Lauderdale, some booking agent asked if we’d like to sit in and we said sure,” Barrere said. “They had this great funk thing going on and it fit perfect with us. The only thing that was bad is that we were playing acoustic guitars and they were playing electric. From then on out when we were doing gigs with them, we’d do our sets on electric guitars turned down; then when we played with them, we’d crank it up and get it going.”
Due to health issues, Barrere limits his touring these days. He took a year off in 2013 to successfully battle hepatitis C, then last fall he was diagnosed with liver cancer. He keeps fans up on his treatment progress via his Facebook page. Little Feat became an early adopter of the Internet after first being alarmed by tape trading in the 1990s, and then realizing it was really free advertising for the band’s shows. 
“We started getting into computers and social media to expand the base, and that started a whole grass roots of teams,” Barrere said. “It was a very useful tool, though little did we know that it was also going to be the death of actual record sales.” 
Barrere reports cancer treatments are going well. 
“They did a heavy metal sort of radioactivity procedure … they put it right into the liver and then boost it with a pill that’s chemo but not where you’re sick all the time; it’s more a fatigue factor,” he said. “We used to do a month on the road; I can’t physically do that anymore, but for the most part I feel good. Naps are good; I dream about my next baseball bet.”
It’s true. Barrere is a rabid baseball fan, and he’s the kind most New Englanders will appreciate. Like his New York-born and -raised father, Barrere is a lifetime Giants supporter. 
“Try living in L.A. and doing that,” he said with a laugh. “In the ’50s, I’m watching the World Series on a black and white TV, rooting for the Yankees because I hated the Dodgers. My dad says, ‘You can’t root for either one of those teams; you’re a Giants fan.’”
The father-son lesson endures to this day. Red Sox fans will be pleased to know that Barrere still can’t stand the Yankees. 

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