Robert Quine (called Rob by family and Bob by fans) has also been called one of the most original, innovative guitarists in 25 years. He was one of the original members of the Voidoids and had played with Lou Reed, Brian Eno, John Zorn, Matthew Sweet, Tom Waits, Lloyd Cole, They Might Be Giants and Marianne Faithful. He appeared on 54 albums, including a tribute album to the Beatles and Lou Reed's famous The Blue Mask.

Quine was born December 30, 1942 in Akron, Ohio. By the age of four or five, his exposure to music had begun with Brazilian folk music, Gene Autry and Django Reinhardt. In the early 1950s, his piano lessons took the back burner to the sounds of rock and roll. Taking guitar lessons from teachers who "despised" rock and roll was frustrating, so he began teaching himself on his second guitar, a Fender Stratocaster (he bought it after seeing Ritchie Valens holding one on the cover of his first album). After rock and roll's descent into being a "teeny-bopper phenomenon," he turned to blues which would also lead him into the jazz of Lester Young, John Coltrane and others. He started his first band in college, playing covers of the Ventures, Link Wray and others, and continued playing in law school (1965) in a Stones-inspired band.

He moved to San Francisco after passing the Missouri bar in 1969, where he cultivated his interest in the Velvet Underground by attending shows at the Matrix and making bootlegs with a crappy tape recorder (those recordings have just been released, 32 years later, as a VU box set called Bootleg Series, Vol. 1: The Quine Tapes). Three years after coming to New York City in August of 1971, he dropped his law career (he worked for Prentice Hall Publishing, writing tax law for those three years) to pursue music. In 1975 he got a job at a music memorabilia shop where he met Richard Hell, with whom he put together a band including Marc Bell (better known as Marky Ramone of the Ramones) and Ivan Julian. They called themselves Richard Hell and the Voidoids, and released Blank Generation in 1977, making history for the world of punk music.

Quine's career was relatively quiet career after that, except for the collaboration with Lou Reed on The Blue Mask in 1982. He hated touring, so maybe that had something to do with it. Of course, his sound and style are incredibly unique but impossible to describe, so I'll let Lester Bangs do it:

"Someday Quine will be recognized for the pivotal figure that he is on his instrument — he is the first guitarist to take the breakthroughs of early Lou Reed and James Williamson and work through them to a new, individual vocabulary, driven into odd places by obsessive attention to On the Corner-era Miles Davis."

From Bangs' 1977 article on the Clash tour

He is easily identified in a group: he's the pensive-looking one who's always wearing sunglasses — in fact, I've only seen him without sunglasses in one picture (excluding one portrait), and it was from 1968. Also, there is a character in William Gibson's Neuromancer named after Quine; the character is creatively named Bobby Quine. He is also the nephew of the philosopher Willard van Orman Quine.

Rob was found dead in his apartment in New York City on June 5, 2004; he was 61. His death is believed to be a suicide by heroin overdose. His wife, Alice, had passed away the previous August.


  • 1977: Richard Hell & the Voidoids, Blank Generation
  • 1979: Lydia Lunch, Queen of Siam
  • 1981: Material, Temporary Music 1
  • 1981: Robert Quine (with Jody Harris), Escape
  • 1982: Richard Hell & the Voidoids, Destiny Street
  • 1982: Lou Reed, The Blue Mask
  • 1982: Material, Red Tracks
  • 1983: Get Crazy, film soundtrack
  • 1983: Lou Reed, Legendary Hearts
  • 1984: Lou Reed, Live in Italy
  • 1984: John Zorn, The Big Gundown
  • 1984: Richard Hell & the Voidoids, R.I.P.: The ROIR Sessions
  • 1984: Robert Quine (with Fred Maher), Basic
  • 1985: Tom Waits, Rain Dogs
  • 1985: Scritti Politti, Cupid & Psyche 85
  • 1986: Wiseblood, Dirtdish
  • 1986: John Zorn, Spillane
  • 1987: Marianne Faithfull, Strange Weather
  • 1989: Matthew Sweet, Earth
  • 1990: Richard Hell & the Voidoids, Funhunt (Live at CBGB & Max's)
  • 1990: Lloyd Cole, Lloyd Cole
  • 1991: Lloyd Cole, Don't Get Weird On Me Babe
  • 1991: Matthew Sweet, Girlfriend
  • 1992: Dim Stars, Dim Stars
  • 1992: Brian Eno, Nerve Net
  • 1992: Lou Reed, Between Thought and Expression
  • 1992: Suzanne Rhatigan, To Hell With Love
  • 1992: John Zorn, Film Works 1986–1990
  • 1992: Hal Willner, Weird Nightmare: Meditations on Mingus
  • 1993: The Odds, Bedbugs
  • 1993: Matthew Sweet, Altered Beast
  • 1993: Sion, I Don't Like Myself
  • 1994: Matthew Sweet, Son of Altered Beast
  • 1994: They Might Be Giants, John Henry
  • 1995: Lloyd Cole, Love Story
  • 1995: Mike Mainieri, Come Together: Guitar Tribute to the Beatles, vol. 2
  • 1995: Richard Hell, Go Now
  • 1995: Matthew Sweet, 100% Fun
  • 1995: Matthew Sweet, We're the Same
  • 1995: Mikel Erentxun, El Abrazo Del Erizo
  • 1996: John Zorn, Film Works V: Tears of Ecstacy
  • 1996: Material, Secret Life
  • 1997: Corin Curschellas, Valdun — Voices of Rumantsch
  • 1997: Ikue Mori (with Marc Ribot), Painted Desert
  • 1997: John Zorn, Film Works III
  • 1997: John Zorn, Film Works IV: S&M
  • 1997: John Zorn, Film Works VII: Cynical Hysterie Hour
  • 1997: John Zorn, Great Jewish Music: Burt Bacharach
  • 1998: Reiss, Vibe of Life
  • 1998: John Zorn, Bribe
  • 1999: Material, Best of Material
  • 1999: John Zorn, Godard/Spillane
  • 2000: Richard Hell & the Voidoids, Oh
  • 2000: Kazuyoshi Saito, Cold Tube
  • 2000: The Odds, Singles — Individually Wrapped
  • 2000: Sion, Songs
  • 2001: Wayne Kramer presents Beyond Cyberpunk
  • 2001: Andre Williams, Bait and Switch
  • 2001: The Velvet Underground, Bootleg Series Volume 1: The Quine Tapes
  • 2001: Lloyd Cole, Etc.
  • 2002: Richard Hell, Time
  • 2002: Michael DuCLos, Lustro
  • 2002: Tom Clark and the High Action Boys, Cross-Eyed and Bow-Legged

Personal knowledge
Robert Quine (not an official site):
ARTISTdirect:, thanks wertperch

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