Paul Barrere, guitarist and singer for Little Feat, dies at 71

Paul Barrere of Little Feat performs at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival last May.
(Amy Harris / Invision/Associated Press)

Paul Barrere, guitarist and singer for the Los Angles rock group Little Feat, has died at a hospital in Westwood. He was 71.

Barrere’s death was announced Saturday by surviving members of the band, who honored his contributions to the music world. He died Saturday morning from the side effects of a treatment for liver disease.

“Paul, sail on to the next place in your journey with our abiding love for a life always dedicated to the muse and the music,” Little Feat’s Bill Payne, Sam Clayton, Fred Tackett, Kenny Gradney and Gabe Ford said in a statement.

Little Feat’s lead guitarist, singer and main songwriter, Lowell George, died in 1979. But Barrere was a foundational part of Little Feat’s funky, blues-inflected Southern rock. He wrote or co-wrote some of the band’s most beloved songs including “Skin It Back,” “Time Loves a Hero” and “Old Folks Boogie.”


After initially auditioning as a bassist, Barrere joined the band three years after its founding in 1969. The band would carve out a distinct, danceable American sound of its own that melded blues, rockabilly, country, gospel and funk.

Barrere was born in Burbank on July 3, 1948, the son of Paul Bryar and Claudia Bryar, both actors. Over his career he recorded or toured with Taj Mahal, Jack Bruce and Carly Simon, among others.

Little Feat is on a 50th anniversary tour that Barrere sat out because of his health. It was set to wrap up Sunday in Wilkes-Barre, Pa.

Bonnie Raitt, with whom Barrere also played, remembered the guitarist Sunday, calling him “a cornerstone of one of the greatest bands of all time.”

“We will hold him in our hearts and celebrate his life and music always,” Raitt said.

Barrere is survived by his wife, Pam, and three children, Gabriel, Genevieve, and Gillian.

A Times staff writer contributed to this report.