RIP: Terry Dolan of Terry & the Pirates

photo © Eric Predoehl /

This week of musical casualties began with the death of a pirate.

Terry Dolan, of the band Terry & the Pirates, passed away on January 15 at the age of 67.

My first exposure to Terry & the Pirates came about via a record store I used to frequent during my high school years. Steve Bailey, owner-operator of “Phonograph Records” in Sunnyvale, told me about a new group featuring John Cipollina of Quicksilver Messenger Service. I used to love the band Quicksilver Messenger Service, especially John’s guitar skills, but I was too young to see them during their prime, and they’d broken up ages ago. This new band with John didn’t really sound like Quicksilver to me, but they had a rootsy-blues vibe I appreciated. It was an interesting group of musicians that featured some other San Francisco veteran players like Greg Douglass, David Hayes and Greg Elmore, who was another alumni from Quicksilver.

photo © Eric Predoehl /

When Steve hired Terry & the Pirates for a very special show at the Country Store in Sunnyvale, I volunteered to shoot some photos of the event. From that point on, I wound up going to a lot of their shows, including some that included their part-time keyboardist Nicky Hopkins, who recorded with the Rolling Stones, John Lennon, George Harrison, and numerous other rock ‘n’ rollers whose music were a big part of my musical upbringing.

Ten or so years after my initial exposure to Terry & the Pirates, I reconnected with the universe of Terry & the Pirates, thanks to my new pal Jesse Block, another video production guy that had a great passion for music. With the death of John Cipollina in 1989, Jesse and I produced video of his memorial concert at the Fillmore Auditorium, which led to production of the John Cippolina documentary that Jesse co-directed with Jim Draper.

As Jesse and I worked on the John Cippolina documentary “Electric Guitarslinger,” we captured some great stories about John, and his adventures with Terry.

Terry was proud to call himself a “pirate.” He embraced the swashbuckling, carefree, loose approach to life and music.

For that want to pay respects to Terry, there will be a public service for Terry at Our Lady Of Loretto Church in Novato CA. on Thursday January 26, 2012 at 11:00 AM at 1806 Novato Blvd.

Gonna miss that guy…

(As far as I know, he never performed LOUIE LOUIE)


Terry & Pirates page at

San Francisco Music and Beyond – home to Keeper of the Flame

3 comments to RIP: Terry Dolan of Terry & the Pirates

  • Nino Cefalu

    Saw the show Steve put on with Terry @ The Bold Night. Still have the original Concert Bill in my Studio. My brother John was asked to sit in with them. Turned it down. What a great Show !

  • Nino Cefalu


    John is my brother. He is five years younger than me. Now lives in San Rafael.


  • moses

    i remember the shows at the bold knight and the show in boulder creek,,loved phonograph records and terry and the pirates

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