Quine, Robert and Fred Maher

Band members               Related acts

- Fred Maher -- guitars, bass, drum machine

- Robert Quine (RIP 2004) -- guitars, bass, drum machine




- Jody Harris and Robert Quine

- Richard Hell and the Voidoids (Robert Quine)

- Material (Fred Maher)





Genre: rock

Rating: 4 stars ****

Title:  Basic

Company: EG Editions

Catalog: EGED 36
Year: 1984

Country/State: Akron, Ohio

Grade (cover/record): NM / NM

Comments: still  in shrink wrap

Available: 1

GEMM catalog ID: 5596

Price: $25.00


The late Robert Quine was an interesting guy.  A famously talented guitarist, his initial brush with success came as a member of Richard Hell and the Voidoids.  Unlike most of his punk competitors Quine could play anything and everything resulting in an awe inspiring list of sessions work covering everyone and everything from Marianne Faithful to Matthew Sweet, with stops along the way for Eno, Lou Reed and Tom Waits. 


Born in Akron, Ohio by the time he was in his teens Quine was playing guitar in various local cove bands.  By the late 1960s he'd earned a law degree from Washington University and was working as a tax lawyer.  Failing the California bar exam he enrolled in Berklee School of Music, but dropped out after a semester.  The early-1970s found Quine in New York City where he started writing tax law textbooks.  He then took a job at New York's famous Cinemabilia movie memorabilia store where he became friends with fellow store employees Richard Hell and Tom Verlaine.  Hell subsequently kicked off Quine's professional musical career by asking him to join the newly formed Richard Hell and the Voidoids.  When the Voidoids collapsed Quine became a sessions player, joining Lou Reed studio and touring bands in 1982 and sticking it for three years.

Quine's second collaborative effort came out in 1984.  Recorded with former Voidoid and Material drummer Fred Maher, the aptly titled "Basic" reflected a series of ten instrumental tracks recorded at Quine's New York home studio.  All ten tracks were jointly written by the principles, but anyone expecting to hear something commercial like his work with Matthew Sweet was probably going to be disappointed by the results as the emphasis was clearly on Quine's more experimental side. Without sounding too simplistic imagine early career Brian Eno had he played guitar (say "Taking Tiger Mountain By Storm") and you'd have a rough feel for the sound.  Propelled by Quine's spidery leads and occasional outbursts of Fender Stratocaster frenzy tracks like 'Bluffer', 'Fala' and the bluesy 'Despair' were full of recognizable rhythms and melodies, though the main emphasis seemed to be on exploring different musical textures ('Dark Place').  That said, several of the tracks were almost funky - check out the lead off song 'Pickup' or Stray''.  While you probably wouldn't walk away humming any of these songs (okay, I'll admit that ''65' was catchy), the album should have immense appeal to anyone considering themselves a real guitarist.  It's one of those albums that rewards the listener the more you play it.  Not that anyone cases, but it's also one of the few sets I've uploaded in its entirety to my IPod. 


"Basic" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Pickup (instrumental)  (Robert Quine - Fred Maher) - 5:18

2.) Bluffer (instrumental)   (Robert Quine - Fred Maher) - 5:48

3.) Fala (instrumental)   (Robert Quine - Fred Maher) - 3:53

4.) Stray (instrumental)   (Robert Quine - Fred Maher) - 3:49

5.) Summer Storm (instrumental)   (Robert Quine - Fred Maher) - 4:04


(side 2)
1.) '65 (instrumental)   (Robert Quine - Fred Maher) - 6:00

2.) Bandage Bait (instrumental)   (Robert Quine - Fred Maher) - 6:11

3.) Dark Place (instrumental)   (Robert Quine - Fred Maher) - 2:34

4.) Despair (instrumental)   (Robert Quine - Fred Maher) - 4:1

5.) Villager (instrumental)   (Robert Quine - Fred Maher) - 7:52


Quine's wife Alice died unexpectedly in August 2003, leaving Quine deeply depressed.  A Spring 2004 suicide attempt was unsuccessful, but in May 2004 he succeeded via a heroin overdose.  He was only 52.



For anyone interested there's a nice Quine fans site at:




I've looked across the web for a Quine solo performance clip.  No luck.  There's a ton of stuff showing him supporting other artists and since I'm a big Matthew Sweet fan, here's great early 1990s David Letterman segment, the man simply devastating Sweet's 'Girlfriend':