Ron Bushy, the longtime drummer of pioneering hard rock act Iron Butterfly, has died at age 79. According to the band, he passed away early Sunday morning (August 29th) surrounded by family at UCLA Santa Monica Hospital. TMZ reports that he had been battling cancer.
Best known for his epic drum solo on the band’s signature song, the 17-minute “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida,” Bushy joined the San Diego band in 1966. He had still been considered a member of the group up until his passing, but he had retired from regular performing in recent years due to his health. However, he did make the occasional guest appearance at select concerts.
Bushy was the only member of Iron Butterfly to appear on all six of the band’s studio albums, which were all released between the years of 1968 through 1975. The acid-rock group’s second full-length effort, also titled In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida, has been certified quadruple platinum for 4 million units sold in the United States alone.
A statement from Iron Butterfly on Facebook reads as follows:
“Ron Bushy our beloved legendary drummer of Iron Butterfly has passed away peacefully, with his wife Nancy by his side, at 12:05am on August 29th at UCLA Santa Monica Hospital. All three of his daughters were also with him. He was a real fighter. He was born Dec 23, 1941. He will be deeply missed!”
Sadly, two other members of the band’s classic In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida lineup have also passed away. Singer-guitarist Erik Brann died in 2003 at age 52, while singer-bassist Lee Dorman died in 2012 at age 70.
Earlier this year, Bushy donated one of his classic drum sets to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. It was the very first set built by Bill Zickos, best known for inventing clear drum kits.
Condolences go out to Ron Bushy’s family, friends, and bandmates during this difficult time. Relive his playing on “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida” in the video below.