Flying Burrito Brothers Co-Founder “Sneaky” Pete Kleinow Passes

“Sneaky” Pete Kleinow
Pedal steel guitarist “Sneaky” Pete Kleinow, who co-founded 1960s country rock group the Flying Burrito Brothers, died from complications of Alzheimer’s disease, on Saturday, January 6. He was 72.

Kleinow spent the last few years living in a nursing facility in Petaluma, California, about 40 miles north of San Francisco.

The Flying Burrito Brothers, led by Gram Parsons and Chris Hillman, formed in 1968 and focused on soulful country music with a heavy dose of rock & roll.

Although the band never reached star status, they would influence such luminaries as the Rolling Stones and the Eagles. After releasing two albums Parsons was fired in 1970 and Kleinow quit soon after pursuing session work on albums by John Lennon (Mind Games), Fleetwood Mac (Heroes are Hard To Find) and Joni Mitchell (Blue).

After finding success in music, Kleinow later returned to his original passion as a visual effects artist in film and television. Before the Burritos Brothers, Kleinow had worked on NBC’s “The Gumby Show.” His later credits included the first two “Terminator” movies, and he shared an Emmy for his work on the TV miniseries “The Winds of War.”

In 2000, he founded Burrito Deluxe, named after the Flying Burrito Brothers’ second album. His last public performance was in October 2005 at a Gram Parsons festival in Georgia.