Category: Dead Drummers

  • Dead Kennedys Drummer Has Died

    Man, it’s almost Halloween, the very best holiday ever, and now it totally blows this year because we just lost D. H. Peligro. He held down the throne for punk icons Dead Kennedys from ’81 to ’86 and then did a long, long second stint with the band throughout the 2000s. He was also in Red Hot Chili Peppers for about a minute (before Chad Smith), but he’ll always be most remembered and loved for hammering thick and fast punk beats with the Kennedys.

    He died on October 28 from head trauma due to an accidental injury, which is particularly galling because the dude was only 63 and in outstanding shape. Check out his superb playing posture for example.

    So I’ve decided to take away the candy bowl this year and hand out homemade copies of Frankenchrist instead. The little knobtards in my neighborhood could do with less sugar and more music-muscle anyway.

    Photo credit: Stefan Müller on Flickr

  • Anton Fier Is Dead

    Way back in 1989, I was still pretty much a cymbal-destroying metalhead when one day some of my musically hipper friends made me listen to Bob Mould’s Workbook. The main single from the album, “See a Little Light,” turned me into a bona fide fanboy for indie alt-pop, and it’s not too far off to say that my musical life was completely changed. Anton Fier played drums on that track, and now Anton Fier is dead.

    In addition to Bob Mould, Fier played with the Feelies, the Lounge Lizards, Pere Ubu, and the Voidoids, and he also founded the Golden Palominos. If you were in a punk-flavored indie-alt-rock band, Fier was the dude you wanted driving your sound, a genuinely great drummer.

    He died, age 66, on September 14 in Switzerland by assisted suicide. He did not have a life-ending illness, but he reportedly did decide that he had “completed life.”

    Mortality is always a complicated, slippery, tricky affair. Speaking selfishly as a fan, I’m just glad we had Fier for as long as we did.

  • John Hartman Is Dead

    Doobie Brothers drummer and co-founding member John Hartman died yesterday. He was 72.

    The Doobie dude played on the hits you remember blastin’ in your friend’s dilapidated and duct-taped Firebird back in the day, especially “Listen to the Music” and “China Grove.”

    The band eulogized Hartman on their Twitter feed.

    Little John, we’d light up a proper large-ass doobie to salute you and send you on your way, but it’s still illegal here in the mossback ATL. So let’s watch YouTube instead.

    [via USA Today]

  • Drummer Uriel Jones Is Dead

    Motown legend and Funk Brother Uriel Jones died today after suffering complications from a heart attack. The 74-year-old drummer had created the beats behind just about every classic tune you ever wished you could have played on, including “I Heard it Through the Grapevine,” “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” and “Ain’t Too Proud To Beg.” Jones and the rest of the Funk Brothers were featured in the excellent 2002 documentary Standing in the Shadows of Motown. A little bit of Jones in action:

  • Drummer Louie Bellson Has Died

    Elder drumming statesman, double bass pioneer, all-around great showman, and a totally nice dude, Louie Bellson died two days ago at the age of 84. Click on over to the Telegraph for an excellent obituary on this excellent drummer. Condolences and cards, should you wish to send any, can be addressed as follows:

    Mrs. Louie Bellson
    c/o Remo, Inc.
    28101 Industry Drive
    Valencia, CA 91355

  • Michael Lee Update

    Michael Lee died last week of then-unknown causes, but Blabbermouth is now reporting that the 39-year-old drummer suffered a fatal seizure. A funeral service for Lee will be held on December 3 at 10:45 a.m. in Darlington, England. Cards and flowers can be sent to the following address:

    John Meynell Funeral Service
    150 North Road
    County Durham, DL1 2EJ
    United Kingdom

  • Loudness Drummer Is Dead

    Munetaka Higuchi, the drummer for ’80s metal band Loudness, died today at a hospital in Osaka, Japan. He had been battling liver cancer since April of this year. Sadly, Higuchi was only 49 years old.

  • Drummer Michael Lee Is Dead

    He played drums for Robert Plant, Jimmy Page, Thin Lizzy, Lenny Kravitz, and The Cult, but now the incredible Michael Lee is no more. He died Monday morning at the age of 39. Cause of demise is not yet known.

  • Mitch Mitchell Is Dead

    Sad, sad day, fellow thumpers. Mitch Mitchell, the legendary skinsman behind Jimi Hendrix, is no more. He was found dead in a Portland hotel room earlier today. At this time, it appears the 61-year-old drummer died of natural causes, though an autopsy is planned. We’ll keep you updated as details become available.

    Update [11/13/08]: The accolades for Mitch Mitchell are deservedly hitting the Web today. DRUM! has kindly posted a feature the magazine did on Mitchell in 1998. Modern Drummer also posted an excerpt about him from the “Drum Gods” series. Ratt drummer Bobby Blotzer remembers Mitchell here.

    Update [11/14/08]: Matt Sorum also pays tribute to Mitchell.

    Mitch Mitchell obituaries:

  • Jimmy Carl Black Is Dead

    Jimmy Carl Black, the original drummer in Frank Zappa’s Mothers of Invention, died on Saturday at the age of 70. Cancer was the culprit. Along with stick wielding, Black also handled some vocals in Mothers. He continued to perform (and sometimes had to resort to “real” jobs) throughout his fairly long life. Here he is on stage in 2007. [Update 2022: Ugh, this vid is gone, and there isn’t much of anything of him playing drums left on YouTube.]

  • Earl Palmer Is Dead

    It’s been a tough few days for all drummerkind. We almost lost Travis Barker this weekend, and sadly we did lose drumming legend Earl Palmer. After a “lengthy illness,” he died last Friday at his home in Los Angeles. Palmer is the guy you’ve heard a thousand times on hits by Little Richard, Fats Domino, B. B. King, and many others. Instead of reading any woefully inadequate eulogy we might cobble together, you should instead click over to Drummer Talk Dave’s four-part retrospective on Palmer. Along with providing a good bit of bio information, it traces Palmer’s musical legacy and in effect celebrates his life—an excellent tribute for a great drummer.

  • Traci Michaelz Is Dead

    Drummer Traci Michaelz of glam-prunk outfit The Peppermint Creeps is no more. Last Friday (June 13), he was found dead in his Texas hotel room under “mysterious circumstances.” Official cause of demise will take a couple of weeks to determine, but Michaelz reportedly went to bed very drunk the night before his body was discovered. As always, we’ll keep you updated as the details become available.

  • Mickey Waller, Dead at 66

    Veteran session drummer Mickey Waller died of liver cancer yesterday. Just a few of the notable folks he kept time for: Jimi Hendrix, Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Rod Stewart, and Jeff Beck.

    In lieu of reading a cobbled together eulogy from us here at BDT, have a gander at Waller’s excellent obituary in the Guardian. We’re betting he would have been pleased.

  • Rush’s Founding Drummer Is Dead at 55

    John Rutsey, the drummer who played on Rush’s self-titled debut album, died this weekend at the age of 55. The band’s management company made the announcement yesterday, but cause of death has not yet been specified. Rutsey did suffer from diabetes (the main reason he left Rush in 1974), so it’s possible the disease played a part in his demise. We’ll keep you updated as more details follow. Until then, by way of remembrance, here’s a pic of the trio with Rutsey in the middle.

    Update 5/13/08: the source site above is having trouble loading. Similar information on Rutsey’s death can be found at Blabbermouth and BW&BK. [The source links have been changed as of 2022]

    Update 5/14/08: still no official word on Rutsey’s cause of death, but Wikipedia is reporting today that he died of a heart attack in his sleep.

    Update 5/21/08: Rutsey’s family has confirmed that the drummer died due to complications from diabetes. Donations may be made in Rutsey’s memory to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson remembered Rutsey by saying, “Those years spent in our teens dreaming of one day doing what we continue to do decades later are special….Although our paths diverged many years ago, we smile today, thinking back on those exciting times and remembering John’s wonderful sense of humour and impeccable timing.”

  • Anything on Fire Drummer Is Dead

    Tripp Joye, drummer for the band Anything on Fire, died in a car crash Friday last night in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. As always, details are sketchy at this point, but it appears the 25-year-old Joye swerved his vehicle off the road.

    Update: the fatal accident occurred around 4:09 a.m., very close to Joye’s parents’ house. “The car hit the corner of a driveway, then crossed over several yards before hitting a cable television box….Joye’s car was turning over when it then hit a tree and broke in two.” The investigation is ongoing.

    Update 5/6/08: Tripp’s obituary appeared today in the Winston-Salem Journal. Condolences can be left here.