Dickie Peterson, bassist/vocalist and founding member of legendary 60s proto-metal group Blue Cheer passed away early this morning in Germany. He was 61 years old. Peterson had reportedly been battling prostate and liver cancer, and according to Blue Cheer's message board, had developed a fatal infection following a surgical procedure to help alleviate his fight.

Originally hailing from San Francisco, American psychedelic blues-rock band Blue Cheer have been credited for pioneering heavy metal (among other off-shoots of rock 'n' roll) with their slow, down-tuned rendition of Eddie Cochran's 'Summertime Blues.' Released in 1967 on the band's debut album 'Vincebus Eruptim,' the song charted as a Top 20 hit, and single-handedly influenced the direction of heavy blues-based rock for generations to come.

Dickie Peterson had relocated to Germany nearly 20 years ago, and had been playing on and off with Blue Cheer among other projects like Peterbilt, Mother Ocean, Hank Davison Band and Dos Hombres, always playing bass in what Peterson has referred to in an interview as "the love affair that's lasted my whole life."

In this same interview from 2005, Peterson further explains his life-long devotion to making music, saying, "Music is a place where I get to deal with a lot of my emotion and displaced energy. I always only wanted to play music, and that's all I still want to do."