Henry Peck, L.A. music scene pioneer has died

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Henry Peck, a legend in the 1980’s underground rock & roll scene, one he had a substantial role in creating, has died after a long battle with liver cancer. He was not only passionate about rock & roll but also for the art and fashion it created and the lifestyle it provided. While some call him an influencer or luminary, Peck would tell you it was all for the love of the music.

He ran the iconic and influential record store Vinyl Fetish on Melrose, which fueled the growth of many L.A. dance clubs and radio shows, of which he became an important part.

Henry Peck from
his Facebook page

“Henry was the most colorful, authentic person I ever knew. He was just — himself,” his partner, Joseph Brooks recollected.Brooks met Peck at Humboldt State University in 1975. “He’d walk down the street in Eureka, California, in a wild Ian McLagan shag, hot sequin pants, and glittery platform shoes, oblivious to the fact that lumberjacks were staring at him, wanting to kill him.”

Brooks and Peck soon began following big acts like Patti Smith and The Ramones around the country and considered it the best education they could have gotten.

The Fetish Club and The Veil

In addition to being a hairstylist at Goo, Peck ran the popular nightclubs The Veil and the Fetish Club. The Fetish Club is now the Hollywood Athletic club. It was the home of the then-burgeoning punk and Goth scenes. After a brief stay in London where they made new friends Adam Ant and Siouxsie Sioux, they wound up in Los Angeles where Peck began his hair styling career, and Brooks found work as a billboard painter. They saved as much as they could until they had enough to open Vinyl Fetish. It featured in-store appearances by then unknown artists like Billy Idol, Duran Duran, and Depeche Mode, and soon counted Bono and John Belushi among their many customers. They also began appearing on KROQ’s The Import Show and are credited with offering support to acts and giving them their first big breaks into the American market; such stars included Duran Duran and Culture Club.

Longtime friend Mare Meyer said, “He wasn’t just ‘Party Henry.’ He saw the best in everyone and was a loyal friend and a true light. He wanted to move to India. He was absolutely in love with Indian culture. Before he knew he was sick, he used to tell me that he wanted to die there.”

Peck lost his battle with liver cancer on May 8th. He was 67 and leaves behind many friends and fans. Memorial services are pending.

Top photo by Bruno Cervera on Unsplash