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A Virtual Landslide


PETE MOLINARI was born into a large Maltese/ Italian/ Egyptian family in Chatham, Kent, where he was discovered by Billy Childish. Molinari had an odd childhood. While his friends were listening to Nirvana and Oasis he developed a deep infatuation with the Billie Holliday, John Coltrane, Leadbelly and Bob Dylan records of his much older brothers.' We had a sideboard unit with a record player', he remembers. 'I would sit and stare at these records going round while my brothers were out playing football'. Discovering himself to be lacking in the academic and athletic departments, Pete devoted his life to art. 'My parents came to this country to work and found my decision hard to accept. And I've had hundreds of jobs, from working in a factory to digging potatoes, that have only lasted two or three days because I'm only ever thinking about songs.' With a head full of songs and his trusty guitar he went out to New York for a month, which turned into two years travelling round the USA. There he honed his unique vocal style playing the bars and cafes of New York's Greenwich Village like the Bitter End, the Gaslight, Cafe Wha?, Café Del Artista -- places where Jack Kerouac and his beat poets read and also the likes of Woody Guthrie, Leadbelly, Ramblin' Jack Elliot and Dylan all played. On his travels, Pete got to play with some of the best players that were part of Dylan/ Phil Ochs scene like Justin Devereaux and Eric Fransen who was later invited by Dylan to join his Rolling Thunder Revue. Pete says: "They thought it was real strange that a kid of my age from England could play this kind of music in a more authentic way than any of the Americans they normally see in the Village." Pete built up a cult following and also won fans like actor/ musician Vincent Gallo and legendary photographer Louis Stettner, who filmed him.