Robert Quine

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from a friend of mine:

Was found dead in his apartment in NYC yesterday, he committed suicide. He was sixty years old and had played with Richard Hell & the Voidoids, Lou Reed, Matthew Sweet, Lloyd Cole, Materia, Eno and others, he also cut an LP with Jody Harris (Escape), and one with Fred Maher (Basic). He was depressed over the death of his wife Alice last August. He also recorded the Velvet Underground on a hand held cassette deck, the highlights were issued last year as The Quine Tapes a three CD set.

maria tessa sciarrino (theoreticalgirl), Monday, 7 June 2004 01:36 (seventeen years ago) link

oh god, that's horrible.

poop (poop), Monday, 7 June 2004 01:38 (seventeen years ago) link

still nothing on google news.

Johnny Fever (johnny fever), Monday, 7 June 2004 01:39 (seventeen years ago) link

awww shit i hope this isn't true.

stockholm cindy (Jody Beth Rosen), Monday, 7 June 2004 01:43 (seventeen years ago) link

What will (would) happen to the rest of the supposedly substantial archives??

frankE (frankE), Monday, 7 June 2004 01:46 (seventeen years ago) link

oh, lord, this is bad

Morley Timmons (Donna Brown), Monday, 7 June 2004 01:48 (seventeen years ago) link

it's true. a friend who knew him emailed me earlier. RIP.

Matos W.K. (M Matos), Monday, 7 June 2004 01:58 (seventeen years ago) link


Mr Mime (Andrew Thames), Monday, 7 June 2004 01:59 (seventeen years ago) link

Very good guitarist. Good friend of Lester Bangs', by the way. Sad.

Tim Ellison, Monday, 7 June 2004 02:08 (seventeen years ago) link

Awful news. RIP.

Barry Bruner (Barry Bruner), Monday, 7 June 2004 02:14 (seventeen years ago) link

I wrote something really maudlin about him here one time. There was always something melancholy about him to me. He inspired feelings that I guess it was really hard for me to write about.

Tracer Hand (tracerhand), Monday, 7 June 2004 02:18 (seventeen years ago) link

im seriously upset about this. robert's guitar playing holds a special place in my heart.

maria tessa sciarrino (theoreticalgirl), Monday, 7 June 2004 02:22 (seventeen years ago) link

He was awesome on The Big Gundown. RIP.

sundar subramanian (sundar), Monday, 7 June 2004 02:38 (seventeen years ago) link


np quine/maher "basic"

msp, Monday, 7 June 2004 02:56 (seventeen years ago) link

This is really terrible. Quine was a unique guitarist.

While doing some recording a couple weekends back we got stumped trying to figure out a guitar part on one song. I played the solo on 'Love In Spurts' to explain the feel for my friend to try on the part and it ended up influencing what we recorded.


earlnash, Monday, 7 June 2004 03:39 (seventeen years ago) link

they are discussing his loss on the marquee moon list as well. apparently his wife passed earlier this year.

there is quite an informative site here.

william (william), Monday, 7 June 2004 03:59 (seventeen years ago) link

Aw man. This is just like the McGeoch thread, I click on it not knowing what to expect and then this.

Even if he hadn't been a damn good guitarist, for the VU set last year alone he deserves credit. RIP.

Ned Raggett (Ned), Monday, 7 June 2004 04:16 (seventeen years ago) link

That's a goddamn shame, he was one of the greats. Those Richard Hell LPs would've been worth little without Quine's (and to a lesser extent, Ivan Julian's) tightly coiled riffs and sproingy solos.


Myonga Von Bontee (Myonga Von Bontee), Monday, 7 June 2004 05:34 (seventeen years ago) link

oh man, this sucks. RIP.

hstencil (hstencil), Monday, 7 June 2004 05:39 (seventeen years ago) link

This is sad, bad news. I did not know about his wife's passing away. Rest in peace. [Destiny Street will be played loud tonight]

willem (willem), Monday, 7 June 2004 06:18 (seventeen years ago) link

That's so depressingly sad. I don't really know what else I can say.

NickB (NickB), Monday, 7 June 2004 08:06 (seventeen years ago) link

Weird - I was just talking to my guitarist friend Mark abt Robert Quine last night, I was on about this Lou Reed live concert w/Quine playing, that got filmed. A really astonishingly powerful performance, and Quine's playing is up there w/the best. Now I read this. Damn, what a fuckign shame...

Pashmina (Pashmina), Monday, 7 June 2004 08:49 (seventeen years ago) link

Sad news indeed, RIP

mentalist (mentalist), Monday, 7 June 2004 08:58 (seventeen years ago) link

...used to see him on the street every day when i lived in the east village, i think he was in the building next door. he was friendly in a gruff, no-bullshit way, and seemed genuinely surprised that somebody would know who he was. A genius guitar player (and also a lawyer). RIP.

lovebug starski, Monday, 7 June 2004 09:33 (seventeen years ago) link

oh man. this actually makes me sad.

tom cleveland (tom cleveland), Monday, 7 June 2004 09:34 (seventeen years ago) link

its never too early to listen to Blank Generation.

tom cleveland (tom cleveland), Monday, 7 June 2004 09:51 (seventeen years ago) link

One of my greatest inspirations.

His squeals and weals, his steers off-road and up-neck. His lurches and car crashes of sound; his conjured explosions and high twang drifters.

the quinefox, Monday, 7 June 2004 10:09 (seventeen years ago) link

Sad news - he was a truly great and inspirational guitarist. RIP.

Stewart Osborne (Stewart Osborne), Monday, 7 June 2004 10:38 (seventeen years ago) link

Not at all what I was expecting when I opened the thread. I thought this was going to be a thread about how great Robert Quine is ....

Terrible news...

dave225 (Dave225), Monday, 7 June 2004 11:12 (seventeen years ago) link

This is heartbreaking news. Robert Quine was my favorite guitarist with my favorite sound: "The Blue Mask" and "Destiny Street" are among my top LPs ever simply because Quine's stuff sounded so great. Then when he and Richard Lloyd both turned up on "Girlfriend" I was in tone heaven. RIP man.

briania (briania), Monday, 7 June 2004 11:17 (seventeen years ago) link

I thought this was going to be a thread about how great Robert Quine is ....

it is.

stockholm cindy (Jody Beth Rosen), Monday, 7 June 2004 11:17 (seventeen years ago) link

Robert Quine was so great!

Mr Mime (Andrew Thames), Monday, 7 June 2004 11:18 (seventeen years ago) link

This confirms it sadly. :-((((

jesus nathalie (nathalie), Monday, 7 June 2004 11:47 (seventeen years ago) link

quine and elvin gone practically in the same month... :-((((((

Marcello Carlin, Monday, 7 June 2004 12:11 (seventeen years ago) link

I have several records in my collection I refuse to weed out simply because Quine plays on them. A few Lou Reed, Matthew Sweet, the Mori/Ribot collab "Painted Desert." Not that these albums are bad, by any stretch, but it's really his playing that makes them. Sad news.

Anyway, let the anecdotes begin: anyone else hear the story of the '74 or '75 Richard Hell tour with the Ramones in the UK, where - older and crankier than his tourmmates - Quine allegedly throttled whatever gobbers dared spit on his nice guitar?

Josh in Chicago (Josh in Chicago), Monday, 7 June 2004 12:13 (seventeen years ago) link

If you like his work for others, buy Lloyd Cole's solo LPs: or at least the first one, whose magnificence is in large part - but not only - Quine's.

the quinefox, Monday, 7 June 2004 12:20 (seventeen years ago) link

Quine and Lacey in the fuckin' WEEK, man...

Colin Meeder (Mert), Monday, 7 June 2004 12:23 (seventeen years ago) link

oh, man. i just found out 'bout this on another website. i had no idea. this is...quite shocking, to say the least. To an incredible guitarist, RIP.

Fr4ncis W4tlingt0n (Francis Watlington), Monday, 7 June 2004 13:22 (seventeen years ago) link


(message ends)

mark grout (mark grout), Monday, 7 June 2004 13:24 (seventeen years ago) link

a great, great guitarist - love the voidods and what he did with zorn and waits and reed. what a sad way to go.

Marco Damiani (Marco D.), Monday, 7 June 2004 13:27 (seventeen years ago) link

This really sucks. Damn. What to say? I'm really saddened by this.

kjoerup, Monday, 7 June 2004 16:35 (seventeen years ago) link

I think what makes it sad is that not enough people knew who he was. He seemed like the kind of guy who was too talented and too cool to ever be famous or fully appreciated. I mean, if someone like Axl Rose had died, I wouldn't really care - I'd think of it as an ending to fit his personality .. and yet, there would be nonstop articles and MTV specials about it. And with Quine, you hope that at least there's a memorial/benefit concert that comes out of it - whatever.. he won't get all that he deserves.

dave225 (Dave225), Monday, 7 June 2004 17:14 (seventeen years ago) link

RIP. that's all I have.

Hurlothrumbo (hurlothrumbo), Monday, 7 June 2004 18:05 (seventeen years ago) link

Wow-- he'd been dead for a week before he was found.

King Kobra (King Kobra), Monday, 7 June 2004 18:07 (seventeen years ago) link

That link says that he defined the possibilities of punk guitar. Maybe. But I don't think of him in terms of punk: no - of sounds and drama, combustion and voyage, beyond what that word suggests.

the quinefox, Monday, 7 June 2004 18:10 (seventeen years ago) link

Favourite Quine solos?

'Don't Look Back', 'Sweetheart' (1990)

'Tell Your Sister (The "L" Word) (1991)

'Like Lovers Do' (1995)

'Man on the Verge' (2000)

or many others.

the quinefox, Monday, 7 June 2004 18:12 (seventeen years ago) link

"Yes It Is" Quine/Harris beautiful.

thomas de'aguirre (biteylove), Monday, 7 June 2004 19:22 (seventeen years ago) link

my day just went to shit

Anthony Miccio (Anthony Miccio), Monday, 7 June 2004 20:12 (seventeen years ago) link

haha not only will have to explain to my co-workers who Robert Quine is but I'm going to have to explain why his suicide might make me cry

Anthony Miccio (Anthony Miccio), Monday, 7 June 2004 20:13 (seventeen years ago) link

Try again, with http instead of https:

Albee Thousand (James Redd and the Blecchs), Monday, 31 December 2012 00:21 (eight years ago) link

i still don't know his subsequent work very well, but even just the first voidoids album is enough to make him one of my all-time favorites.

it burns when 1p3 (goole), Monday, 31 December 2012 00:29 (eight years ago) link

he was able to take the contradictory impulses of (what became) punk rock -- to revisit earlier forms of rock music and to wreck them all -- and make them materially real, as a player. he could play the whole corpus of traditional american guitar playing upside down and backwards. and so, he did.

it burns when 1p3 (goole), Monday, 31 December 2012 00:34 (eight years ago) link

Total throw down by Quine here:

john. a resident of chicago., Monday, 31 December 2012 00:37 (eight years ago) link

Also, wow! Had no idea he was on Scritti Politti's Cupid and Psyche.

john. a resident of chicago., Monday, 31 December 2012 00:43 (eight years ago) link

dennis miller is the most annoying man on the entire planet

"reading specialist" (Z S), Monday, 31 December 2012 01:04 (eight years ago) link

His cousin Tim Quine has a good blog, Rubber City Review, where he posted a couple commentaries on Bob several years ago--this one is about the music, incl mp3s of several things I hadn't heard; think they all still work, but haven't checked the l0u lately (most likely to be removed?)

dow, Monday, 31 December 2012 01:20 (eight years ago) link

Here's Tim's first post: close encounters and some music links as well:

dow, Monday, 31 December 2012 01:23 (eight years ago) link

ha pretty sure the drummer in that clip is the guy from Mr Mister

Big session dude IIRC

Master of Treacle, Monday, 31 December 2012 04:22 (eight years ago) link

Def the Mr. Mister guy, who has spent the past 15 years or so in king crimson. Bassist is sara lee, who played in gang of four and b-52s. Dunno the other guy.

Quine is on the Scritti Polliti because the band was basically Material. That album was produced by Fred Maher, who also produced girlfriend.

Josh in Chicago, Monday, 31 December 2012 05:32 (eight years ago) link

those blog posts are great, thanks for sharing...
quine was known for a certain type of guitar playing, but he really was super versatile -- as those blog posts note about his solo on that reed's "betrayed" (from live in italy), he was an amazing country rock guitarist, too.

tylerw, Monday, 31 December 2012 15:43 (eight years ago) link

Oh yea, forgot Quine was in Material--did he ever play on a track w Sharrock? Or Frith?

dow, Monday, 31 December 2012 16:19 (eight years ago) link

I don't think so. Not sure Quine was a Material regular, either, but he was in the same orbit as Laswell. I know Quine and Maher did an album together called Basic.

Josh in Chicago, Monday, 31 December 2012 21:09 (eight years ago) link

Those Manhattan bohos of the mid to late eighties all knew each other. Maher and Matthew Sweet played on Lloyd Cole's good 1990 eponymous record; he returned the favor by playing on Girlfriend.

He makes just one appearance on C&P '85 but he makes it count: a solo on "Don't Work That Hard"

the little prince of inane false binary hype (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Monday, 31 December 2012 21:17 (eight years ago) link

Yeah I've got Basic, and I used to buy everything I could find w Quine in the credits. Haven't heard the first Cole, but got the second, Don't Get Weird On Me, Babe, with Quine-Sweet-Maher. He and Maher are always worth hearing, though he did do a lot of one-offs, like C&P 85. Consult your local yard sale.

dow, Monday, 31 December 2012 22:23 (eight years ago) link

He had a good column in Guitar World (or was it Guitar Player). Thought of that recently when Mickey Baker died.

dow, Monday, 31 December 2012 22:24 (eight years ago) link

Is that his solo on "She's a Girl and I'm a Man"?

the little prince of inane false binary hype (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Monday, 31 December 2012 22:26 (eight years ago) link

sounds like it. Love that song.

the little prince of inane false binary hype (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Monday, 31 December 2012 22:26 (eight years ago) link

Think so, yeah.

dow, Monday, 31 December 2012 22:27 (eight years ago) link

That whole album is good! I'm a Lloyd Cole apologist, but I would like to know who encouraged his sleazy makeover right before the first solo album.

passion it person (La Lechera), Monday, 31 December 2012 22:30 (eight years ago) link

long bangs and stubble!

He did look dissolute by mid decade though.

the little prince of inane false binary hype (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Monday, 31 December 2012 22:33 (eight years ago) link

btw I asked my mom about the woman in the picture and her relationship to Robert Quine and we decided she was probably his aunt. I knew her before I ever knew who he was. Akron's a small place!

passion it person (La Lechera), Monday, 31 December 2012 22:35 (eight years ago) link

Do you know Tim Quine? He's also like the uncle or something of Dan Auerbach, who wrote about finally meeting Bob, during a family get-together. He was shy at first, but then they got into talking about guitar music. Some thought of asking him to play on a Black Keys album, but then he died. (Patrick Carney's Uncle Ralph, of Afterbirth of the Cool etc., did play on a Black Keys record, I think--small world indeed!)

dow, Monday, 31 December 2012 22:59 (eight years ago) link

Oh yeah, Ralph was in Tin Huey too!

dow, Monday, 31 December 2012 23:00 (eight years ago) link

Not personally, but I'm sure friends of mine do -- it's a pretty small town when you avoid all of the boring people. Jane is Dan A's grandmother, so I think she is related to Robert through her husband's side of the family, which would make her his aunt I think? I'm awful with family tree terminology -- I don't even know what a second cousin is tbh.

passion it person (La Lechera), Monday, 31 December 2012 23:07 (eight years ago) link

<3 Tin Huey!
Rubber City 4 eva

passion it person (La Lechera), Monday, 31 December 2012 23:07 (eight years ago) link

>I don't even know what a second cousin is tbh.

Put simply, your second cousin is the son/daughter of your mom/dad's first cousin.

Poliopolice, Monday, 31 December 2012 23:09 (eight years ago) link

so a stranger, then? ;)

passion it person (La Lechera), Monday, 31 December 2012 23:19 (eight years ago) link

A friend of mine just told me that Robert's uncle was William Van Orman Quine.

Whoa. That's the big time. Maybe one of these days I will read a fraction of what I want to read, including Quine.

_Rudipherous_, Monday, 31 December 2012 23:26 (eight years ago) link

Willard Van Orman Quine >>>> Robert Quine.

_Rudipherous_, Tuesday, 1 January 2013 00:06 (eight years ago) link

ten months pass...

listening to a lot of Lou Reed in the last week has made me miss Quine as well. his strangled, gasping, desperate tone was a big gateway drug for me in terms of sonics - when I was in high school I found a copy of Richard Hells' Blank Generation LP based solely on Lester Bangs' 5-star RS record guide interview, and the solos were what resonated with me first. his album with Fred Maher is also good, and he is probably on a shitload of records I don't even know about like that Ribot/Mori one.

also just his contribution to that whole NY scene, his recordings of the VU getting released, and that great long interview quote from the Lou Reed RIP thread about playing guitar with Lou... can't find it now.

sleeve, Saturday, 2 November 2013 16:30 (seven years ago) link

Did you check those Tim Quine blog links upthread? And this is Bob central, or close as we've gotten, I think:

dow, Sunday, 3 November 2013 00:08 (seven years ago) link

Also The Hound's blog (but his claims about his longtime running buddy RQ's demise are---well, you might not wanna go to that part)

dow, Sunday, 3 November 2013 00:14 (seven years ago) link

That interview at Perfect Sound Forever with Quine is the best thing ever, especially his comments about the late Lou Reed.

Blecch Dreieinigkeitsmoses (James Redd and the Blecchs), Sunday, 3 November 2013 01:04 (seven years ago) link

six months pass...

Looking again for his own columns in that guitar magazine, found instead another interview with RQ, re even more stuff I didn't know he did:

dow, Monday, 19 May 2014 22:30 (seven years ago) link

Thanks. Listening to those Lloyd Cole songs he singled out now. Miss this guy and am always happy to read any interview with him.

Pentatonic's Rendezvous Band (James Redd and the Blecchs), Tuesday, 20 May 2014 01:31 (seven years ago) link

awesome. i made a playlist:

TracerHandVEVO (Tracer Hand), Tuesday, 20 May 2014 11:23 (seven years ago) link

Recently read an interview with Ivan Julian in which he said that he, Quine and Richard Lloyd were never around except singly with Matthew Sweet- he could only handle one of these characters at a time.

Pentatonic's Rendezvous Band (James Redd and the Blecchs), Tuesday, 20 May 2014 12:15 (seven years ago) link

seven years pass...

This finally appeared on xgau's site:

Robert Quine
To me the most striking thing that Robert Quine has done in two decades is to die. I liked him tremendously and, as an uxorious man, think the story of his last year unspeakably tragic. We got to know each other in the wake of Lester Bangs's death, always as mutually respectful casual acquaintances. I ran into him on the street every few years, although it occurs to me that the last time I saw him something in me held back and I didn't greet him; I don't know whether he saw me, but his body language must have told me not to approach. So the last time I spoke to him was in the Village two or three years ago, I think his wife was with him, and he told me nobody wanted to play with him anymore. I said I'd spread the word to the few musicians I know, and I did, but nothing came of it. When I first heard of his death I wondered whether he'd even get an obituary anywhere. Yet here two days later is a big one with a photo in the Times, and the next day someone on Fresh Air is playing "Waves of Fear" and telling listeners what DVD's they can buy to see him in action. I think Quine would have been astonished by this response, and sardonic about it. But it's clear that those who were touched by him were touched deeply. I would say that his tiny body of work makes him one of the great rock guitarists, kind of like Pete Cosey's work with Miles, and that many many people know that. Moreover, quite a few of them are intelligent and articulate people with media connections. So he won't pass unnoticed. Good.

The other thing I would mention is that Quine, while a very decent man, was also a very dour one--more dour than I think the state of music or the world ever fully justified. He was bitter with me about both Richard Hell and Lou Reed. And indeed, these were and are difficult and egotistical men, as artists with something to say tend to be. To make your mark as a sideman, which was clearly Quine's appointed role, you have to be able to shrug off the temperament and selfishness of those whose role is to be leaders. Quine couldn't do this. On one level you say, Good for him, he was better than them anyway. But on another level it's also temperament, and an important part of why he left this world the way he did. Now the way is open for him to become a legend. Oddly enough, he may just make it.

Postscript Notes:

For the rest of Perfect Sound Forever's Robert Quine tribute, see the index.

Perfect Sound Forever, 2004

dow, Wednesday, 8 September 2021 17:33 (one week ago) link

Surely he'd been around the neighborhood---starting as a tax preparer, for other musos, for inst---long enough to be well aware of Hell's and Reed's reps as employers (and colleagues), but I guess figured they were worth a shot, as who would not. I think the filmed concert mentioned on here several times was where I saw Reed actually throw back his head and laugh, as Quine played some succinctly outrageous interjection---"I saw my head laughing, rolling on the ground"--but also remember a quote from Fernando Saunders, re Reed taking away his solo in "New Age," after it was mentioned in concert reviews---and another quote from somebody about Reed's insecurity about Cale's musical proficiency, why they kept falling out, supposedly--maybe this had something to with his treatment of Quine as well.

dow, Wednesday, 8 September 2021 17:44 (one week ago) link

Given Quine's fruitful tenure with the likes of Reed, Lloyd Cole, Matthew Sweet, Laswell, Zorn, etc., I find it hard to believe that no one wanted to work with him, unless he was truly hard to work with.

Josh in Chicago, Wednesday, 8 September 2021 18:02 (one week ago) link

Maybe he just got that way, or more that way, toward the end; the drug problem got pretty bad, judging by his running buddy The Hound's account, still posted maybe.

Just came across this recently!

dow, Wednesday, 8 September 2021 18:08 (one week ago) link

I saw him around pretty consistently for 20 years, as I lived a few streets over from him, and his body language was always "do not approach," which is also true of fucking Xgau, Jarmusch, Glass and nearly every single notable person to live the East Village from 1975 to 2000.

veronica moser, Wednesday, 8 September 2021 18:20 (one week ago) link

Given Quine's fruitful tenure with the likes of Reed, Lloyd Cole, Matthew Sweet, Laswell, Zorn, etc., I find it hard to believe that no one wanted to work with him, unless he was truly hard to work with.

not hard to imagine him being too proud to chase after work in those later years as well, the kind of person who laments that no one calls but never picks up the phone

nobody like my rap (One Eye Open), Wednesday, 8 September 2021 18:34 (one week ago) link

yeah, he didn't have a management/PR structure of any kind that would get his name out there…and not that I knew him, but certainly I knew enuff people who knew him to attest that his pride, combined with his dogged belief that Raw Power and Agharta were the last remotely good records ever made, would have prevented him from working steadily… he was surly as fuck, and Lou Reed (or Sylvia) signs the checks, so he would have been the one that gets to be surly… I don't imagine Mike Rathke would get awfully testy…

veronica moser, Wednesday, 8 September 2021 18:45 (one week ago) link

xpost - one eye open i bet that is exactly right

Blues Guitar Solo Heatmap (Free Download) (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Wednesday, 8 September 2021 19:05 (one week ago) link

I fucking love that Harris/Quine LP, very cool and unique sound

definitely one of my favorites, I didn't know the ending of the story was this sad though.

sleeve, Wednesday, 8 September 2021 19:32 (one week ago) link

I sold my copy of "Escape" back when it was way out of print and going for good money, it was interesting but kinda not my thing, but different strokes.

Three Rings for the Elven Bishop (Dan Peterson), Wednesday, 8 September 2021 20:09 (one week ago) link

Basic and Escape sound a heck of a lot more contemporary to me now than they did when I heard them back in the late 90s for the first time. Back then I kept thinking - you know this would sound so much better with a full band - now it kinda just sounds like how more like how music is made. You got to pay to get sample packs that sound that grungy, that's an upgrade now.

earlnash, Thursday, 9 September 2021 16:21 (one week ago) link

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