Ron Bushy, the drummer of the hard rock group Iron Butterfly, died this past Sunday at the age of 79 from esophageal cancer, as confirmed by the band in a statement. Our beloved and legendary drummer passed away peacefully, with his wife Nancy by his side, at 12:05 am on August 29 at UCLA Santa Monica Hospital. His three daughters were also with him. He was a true fighter … We will miss him very much!
Bushy was the only original member to play on all six of the band’s albums, from 1968’s ‘Heavy’ to 1975’s ‘Sun and Steel’. On the second album, he achieved drum icon status thanks to his solo on the very famous. The 17-minute song ‘In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida’, a song that would give the album its title. Bushy is the third member of that line-up to die after Erik Brann and Lee Dorman, who passed away in 2003 and 2012 respectively.
The musician explained the funny origin of the song’s title last year, in It, ‘s Psychedelic Baby Magazine: “’In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida’ was written as a slow country ballad, about a minute and a half long. . I got home late one night and Doug Ingle had been drinking a whole gallon of Red Mountain wine. I asked him what he had done while playing a slow ballad on his Vox keyboard, and he gave me a title. It was hard to understand because I was so drunk … so I wrote it on a napkin exactly what it sounded like to me: ‘In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida’. It was supposed to be ‘In the Garden of Eden’ … ».
The song was recorded at Ultrasonic Studios in Hempstead, Long Island. “We set up our equipment and sound engineer Don Caselle told us, ‘Guys, why don’t you start playing and let me adjust the mic levels?” He told Vinyl Writer magazine earlier this year. “We decided to do ‘In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida’ … we played the whole song non-stop. To make a long story short, when we finished, he said, ‘Guys, go to the control room. We listened to it and were impressed. ‘ The album ‘In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida’ sold more than eight million copies in the United States in its first year of release, a record in the history of music recorded up to that point.
Bushy, who also worked as a graphic designer for Iron Butterfly, creating various album covers and merchandising products, recalled a few months ago how much the theme hit at the time (largely thanks to the shortened version edited for the radio), influencing colleagues as illustrious as the Beatles themselves. “Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney came to see us at the Royal Albert Hall. Ringo invited me to dinner and a drink and said: ‘I hope you don’t mind that I stole a part of your drum solo’ on ‘In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida’ for the song ‘The end’ of the album ‘ Abbey Road. ” I told him that I didn’t care at all. I took it as a compliment coming from him. ‘
The song is an icon of rock, which has been covered by groups of the most diverse, from The Residents to Slayer or the Incredible Bongo Band, and sampled in songs like ‘Thief’s Theme’ or ‘Hip Hop Is Dead’. He also starred in a hilarious scene in an episode of the television series The Simpsons, in which Bart substitutes the church organist’s sheet music to make it sound.
Born in Washington DC on September 23, 1945, Ron Bushy grew up in a military family and learned to play the drums on a self-taught basis. In fact, he never learned to write or read music: “I only play what I feel, that’s my style,” he told Vinyl Writer. His first professional experience as a musician was in a band called Voxmen, which he left in 1966 to join Iron Butterflyafter his move from San Diego to Los Angeles, replacing former drummer Bruce Morse.
He continued to play with Iron Butterfly for decades in different formations of the group. In 2015 the band unveiled a lineup made up of Bushy and other new members, but shortly after he fell ill and was replaced by Ray Weston, who played until January 2020, when he was replaced by Bernie Pershey, very inactive due to the arrival. of the pandemic. Earlier, Bushy made a surprise appearance that would become his farewell at a concert in California.
He also had other musical projects aside from Iron Butterfly. From 1977 to 1978 he played in the rock band Magic alongside vocalist and guitarist Ron ‘Rocket’ Ritchotte, former Iron Butterfly bassist Philip Taylor, and keyboardist and vocalist Bill Demartines. Between 1978 and 1980 he was part of the Gold group, along with the same guitarist and vocalist Ron ‘Rocket’ Ritchotte (whose place would be replaced by Stuart Young), Philip Taylor, and guitarist John Koehring. They made a record that was never released.