Pete Perrone, former owner of Mohawk Place, has died, according to a friend of the family, a post on the Mohawk Place Facebook page, and a flood of tweets and Facebook postings from Perrone’s former employees and members of the Buffalo independent music scene.
No official cause of death has been made public, and there is no word from the Perrone family yet. Perrone suffered a heart attack several years ago and has reportedly been ill for some time.
Longtime family friend Marty Boratin, who worked with Perrone as talent buyer for Mohawk Place for many years, said Perrone died Wednesday evening with his wife and members of his family by his side. “He went peacefully, thankfully,” Boratin said.
Perrone started Mohawk Place as a haven for the rockabilly, blues and roots music he loved. Gradually, Mohawk Place became a haven for touring Americana, punk and indie bands. Perrone was highly regarded by members of the Buffalo independent music scene as an enthusiastic booster of local bands.
“Everyone thought of Pete as their dad, or their uncle, or their grandfather, depending on their age,” Boratin said. “The punk and hardcore kids would think of Pete as a kindly grandfather. With Pete at the door of Mohawk, there were no situations, there were no fights. He came off to everyone at the club as a friend, as someone who was concerned with you as a person, and cared about the music, even if it wasn’t something that he knew that much about, which happened sometimes.”
Local bands that frequented Mohawk Place as both performers and fans benefitted from Perrone’s kindness, and members of touring bands who passed through the club repeatedly over the years never forgot him, either.
“When I was down in Austin, Texas, for SXSW recently, I ran into a ton of touring bands who asked about Pete,” recalled Boratin. “They really never forgot the kindness he showed them. Even on a bad night, Pete would empty out the till to make sure the bands were paid their guarantee, no matter what. With Pete at the door, Mohawk was a place you could feel comfortable, at home, and welcome. It was not like other places. When he left, it was never the same again.”
Perrone passed away in South Carolina, where he had been living for most of the year, Boratin said. The family is organizing a memorial service for Buffalo friends and family to be held in June.