Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Peter Joyce (a.k.a. Freaky Pete): Rest In Peace

Today, I was informed that a dear friend of mine has died of a suspected overdose. It’s the sort of news that doesn’t exactly sink in properly immediately.


When I was about 18, I was participating in an open mic night at The Black Sheep Bar in Croydon. A scruffy young gentleman wielding a saxophone approached me about halfway into my set and asked if he could play the next song with me. I’d never done a duet in such a manner before but I hesitantly agreed. The song was called “When I Wish” and it is my mum’s favourite song that I’ve written. I’ve never recorded it as it always sounds best with Pete’s sax. In a selfish way, it saddens me greatly that I will never get to hear it in all its glory again.


After the gig, Pete and I were chatting, when Bob (another mate of ours, also playing at that same gig) introduced him as “Freaky Pete”, because he’s freaky on the sax. Pete and I subsequently did a fair few gigs together (there was even a brief spell when I was in a band with him and Bob, and Bob’s cousin Jon, playing Irish folk music!).


When I came back from uni, I’d heard the details of some of the problems he’d had with depression, but that he sought help for it and he had the support of all his friends and family, so I guess it never troubled me. I only ever knew Pete as a really wonderful guy, great to hang out with, very snappy sense of humour, and excellent musician.


My first thought, and the main thought that has been circling round my head all afternoon is “Pete, you fucking idiot”. I’m really angry that he chose to get a grip on his life by removing himself from it completely, and if I’m honest, part of that anger is directed at myself for not being there when he needed someone the most.


As clichéd as it sounds, I will only remember the good times, because between Pete and I there were only good times. I hope that wherever he is, they have a saxophone and spare reeds.


Pete, I’m really going to miss you.


Lots of love,


Carmen x x x


  1. Pete had bi polar also known as manic depression. You suffer massiver highs as well as really bad lows which include going pretty much mad. Peter more than likely had no idea what he was doing. I've had to search the streets with our friends when he went missing during many of his lows and after he had no memory of what happened. He's dealt bravely with mental illness for many years and i just hope he's found peace now. It's just really sad to loose such a talented and intelligent guy.

  2. I am upset to hear this news as I filmed Pete playing his saxophone in May 2007 in a park close to London City Hall.

    He features at the end of this episode:

    Thank you for letting me film you, Pete. Rest in peace.

    Best regards
    Nick Lansley
    producer, London Landscape TV