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30 August 2021

Ron Bushy, Iron Butterfly Drummer, Dies Aged 79

Ron Bushy Iron Butterfly Dies 79
Ron Bushy (second left): Photo: Pictorial Press/Alamy Stock Photo
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According to TMZ, long time Iron Butterfly drummer Ron Bushy has died at the age of 79. The only member of the band’s to appear on all six of the band’s albums, he passed away this morning at UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles after a battle with esophageal cancer.

“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,” the band said in a statement. “All three of his daughters were also with him. He was a real fighter … He will be deeply missed!”

Pioneering American hard rock/psychedelic band Iron Butterfly were best known for the 1968 hit In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida, which features a punishing heavy drum solo from Bushy at its core.

Last year Bushy told It’s Psychedelic, Baby about the making of the song, saying, “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida was written as a slow country ballad, about one and a half minutes long. I was making a pizza at the Galaxy on Sunset Blvd., where we were playing to help support the band. We lived in Laurel Canyon off of Kirkwood Drive. I came 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 he had been playing a slow ballad on his Vox keyboard.

“It was hard to understand him because he was so drunk… so I wrote it down on a napkin exactly how it sounded phonetically to me… In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida. It was supposed to be In The Garden Of Eden. About a year later with a whole new line up, Erik Braunn and Lee Dorman we took it to rehearsal and started to actually put the song together. After many months and three months of opening for Jefferson Airplane the song got longer and longer, taking on a life of its own.”

In July of 1968, Iron Butterfly released their debut LP, Heavy, and went on the road with the likes of The Doors, Cream and The Who, while the album stayed on the Billboard chart for nearly a year. Their second release in July 1968 was the monumental In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida. The 17-minute title track helped the album sell more than 30 million copies, and a three-minute version of the song became a Top 40 hit.

Bushy rejoined the band when they regrouped in 1974, playing on their fifth and sixth albums, Scorching Beauty and Sun and Steel, which were both released in 1975.

Even after a second breakup of the band took place, Bushy continued to drum for Iron Butterfly when they reformed again, despite various other member change ups.

Back in 2012, guitarist Larry “Rhino” Reinhardt, who was in Iron Butterfly during the 1970s and 1980s, died. Later that year, Lee Dorman, who played bass on their seminal records, also passed away.

Bushy is survived by his wife, Nancy, their three daughters and six grandchildren.

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