Pete Pashoukos – A Friend to All, Needs Our Help Today
SCHUYLERVILLE – During the period of my life that I now call the ‘great insanity’ – that is, when I was booking music, filling calendars at various venues and festivals – occasionally moments came along when it all became worthwhile.
I think back to the day when Raymond Pashoukos came to me at a Tuesday open mic at Gaffney’s. He told me that he had a son who was coming back home and wanted to play. This was the first time Ray had ever asked me for anything, though he did recommend several great original artists for my showcases, so of course I told him I’d be glad to chat with his son.
In truth, I wasn’t expecting much. But I learned that you don’t find the next big deal without keeping an open mind, and so it came to be that a week or so later, I met with Pete Pashoukos. There was something that was solid and impressive – that ramrod straight Navy bearing, good-natured humor, and his willingness to fit in wherever. “I just want to play,” he told me.
This was another open mic. So, eventually it was his turn to play. And then, it was all over.
This is as good an example of his ability as any:
Eventually, Pete was tabbed to be the Host of Gaffney’s open mic. He also earned other prestigious slots in all sorts of groupings. For instance, when Garland Nelson debuted Soul Session, Pete was tabbed as his lead guitarist.
But, as I said, for me this was the age of the great insanity. But even in an insane age, people are capable of bursts of genius perhaps. And one such burst, a moment I am quite proud of, a moment when I earned my stripes as a talent scout, was the day I suggested that Pete, and another proficient newcomer to town, George Fletcher, start playing together.
I must have been out of my mind. Two alpha-guitarists? The train-wreck potential was indeed massive. But, I heard something… and felt something.
This is what it became, in short order. The Tequila Mockingbirds. Crowd Pleasers, ladies and gents:
The credit is all theirs, for they made it happen.
More recently, Pete formed a pairing with delightful, mega-cheerful Songbird Emily Pick. Their duo, In Spite Of Ourselves, has become a regular staple at venues like the Diamond Club and Grill, Cantina, and others… It’s not hard to see why.
What I didn’t know, until recently, was that the optimistic joyful guitarist who had become a cherished friend and colleague – indeed, a community asset – was spending his time on stage and his days in great pain. What I did know, and know for years, is that Pete, in whatever group he was with at the time, was always there. There for charity gigs and fundraising CD’s. Automatic, every time. He was there for every good cause. He was there for everyone.
And today, I ask everyone to be there for him.
His sister Wendy will take it home from here. She has so eloquently stated the situation on a GoFundMe page set up for Pete, that I ask you to read her thoroughly and do what you can to help. Even if it’s just a little.
It can be one note that leads to a symphonic masterpiece of support.
Facebook will tell you that Pete Pashoukos is a musical artist like no other, and it’s true! Peter is a brilliant musician that pours his soul into his music. He is dedicated to his emotional, fervent practice and savors the time he gets to perform.
But, what many of you may not know is that Pete has been suffering from a debilitating and severely painful spinal defect called Spondylolisthesis. And although his public performances seem like he is playing free and easy, it is quite the opposite; he has been pushing through the pain, often grimacing throughout trying to redirect his focus on the music.
On a “normal day” Pete and Joy’s home life is complicated and challenging. Joy has Lupus , an autoimmune disease. Most days she suffers from a slew of symptoms that includes muscle and joint pain, fatigue, anxiety, migraines, and general malaise.
Grace, their 14 year old has Autism and needs constant care. Rose, their 16 year old was born with a heart defect that has required scary and stressful surgeries.
None of this scared Pete away. He swept in 4 years ago and took care of his new family, supporting Joy, Rose, and Grace as if he was always there. Doing this and still being a very engaged and loving father to his daughter Mia , now 10 years old. And it’s hard and frustrating and he knows their life together will never be easy, yet he wouldn’t have it any other way. He loves his life.
His state of being right now makes it impossible to care for his family and financially support them;the pain has taken its toll and he needs surgery to mend his back. A Surgery that will undoubtedly put him in a state of pain like no other, a surgery that will threaten his mental health, and put stress on him as well as his family and home life. But he needs it and it will make him stronger in the end.
Pete will be out of work for at least 3 months. And, as many of you know, starving artists don’t get paid if they don’t play. Summer in Saratoga Springs is the bread and butter for a whole year for a musician, and Pete will be unable to work the entire summer. He will be unable to provide for his family. These burdens are enough to break anyone.
He needs your help! His family: Joy, Mia, Rose, and Grace need your help.
He not only needs monetary help, but emotional support. Send him a message, sing him a song and post it, and don’t stop at one. Continue to keep his spirits up and help him heal. Help his family survive and heal too.
His music touches so many people around the world as well as in his hometown. We need him to continue to create great music.
–Wendy Pashoukos Daniels
To donate visit Pete’s GoFundMe pages – Donations in any amount, even $5 or $1 are welcomed and gratefully accepted.
June 10, 2017