Pete was recruited as a replacement to Echo and the Bunnymen’s drum machine. De Freitas proved quickly that he was much more than an average drummer. Opting for tribal rhythms and shunning excessive cymbal use, de Freitas established himself as an original rock drummer in the reverb-drenched eighties music scene. He was the backbone of Crocodiles, Porcupine, Heaven Up Here, and the brush-laden Ocean Rain.
In early 1986, Pete de Freitas left for New Orleans where he set a new record in rock ‘n’ excess. He consumed vast quantities of LSD, molly, cocaine, and booze while pretending to create music with his new band The Sex Gods. Instead of creation it was a macabre display of destruction. De Freitas totaled two cars, two motorcycles, and nearly himself. He stayed manically awake for eighteen days straight. The party ended when his money ran out and his compadres-in-excess drifted home. Pete de Freitas returned to Liverpool like a burnt-out shell and asked for a second chance. The Bunnymen took him back in, albeit on a salary, but the Bunnymen never found the way back to its creative glory (not just because of Pete). Vocalist Mac left and the three started recording with a new singer. In 1989, Pete de Freitas died on his Dukati motorcycle on the way to the studio in a head-on accident with a car.
Here’s Julian Cope’s 1989 music video for “China Doll.” Pete de Freitas plays his natural role as the mysterious motorcycle man who rides into town and grabs the girl: