Col Bruce Hampton, Rest in Peace

Col Bruce Hampton, Rest in Peace

1947-2017

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From the video channel of PatHatcher

Jam band pioneer Col Bruce Hampton passed away in the early morning hours after collapsing on stage during the encore of his own 70th birthday show.  The band was performing Lovelite and it seems as if the other band members were not aware that he was in distress.  He passed away shortly thereafter.

Hampton was credited with altering the landscape of the modern jam band with his band Aquarium Rescue Unit which included and introduced to the world amazing musicians like Oteil Burbridge (Dead and Company, Allman Brothers band), Jimmy Herring (The Dead, Widespread Panic, Jazz is Dead and many other projects), Jeff Sipe (Leftover Salmon), and so many more.

Hampton’s early projects toured with the Grateful Dead and his later projects sculpted a modern jam band scene with major improvisation and heaps of spirit.  He was an elder statesman of the scene, a man who was admired by the heaviest of hitters in the touring scene, including Susan Tedeschi and Derek Trucks.  The Tedeschi Trucks band shared this statement from the Hampton family,  “After collapsing on stage surrounded by his friends, family, fans and the people he loved Col. Bruce Hampton has passed away. The family is asking for respect and privacy at this difficult time.”

His final appearance was a star studded event-  he was center stage playing guitar and singing.  Members of major bands from the Allman Brothers to Widespread Panic, Karl Denson, Tedeschi Trucks- all were all in attendance to celebrate with Hampton at the Fox Theatre in Atlanta, GA.

We got a report from Barb Tucker who was at the show, “I was at his 70th birthday tribute show last night at the Fox. Great show, groovy scene, lots of luminaries. Early on, one of the performers said something like “70 years ago, a spaceship brought Colonel Bruce Hampton to this planet, and someday will come again to take him to the stars” (not an exact quote by any means, but something to that effect). With seats near the rear of the orchestra, we didn’t notice an abrupt ending. The stage was crammed with all the musicians who had participated all night. The Lovelight encore was coming to a close and seemed to end normally. But I noticed a group of people surrounding something, walking out in unison, apparently carrying someone on a stretcher. There was no long extended final applause; the emcee said good night folks, thanks for coming, we’ll be taking care of business backstage. I asked my friend what happened, were they carrying someone off stage? but he hadn’t noticed anything.

Apparently Bruce had an old habit of lying down on the floor at the end of shows as if dead or sleeping, then hopping up at the last minute. (Perhaps he’d had a long-ago premonition or knowledge that that was what would happen to him.) So people thought this was just another one of his antics. Until he didn’t get back up. Maybe he just decided this was the perfect time to check out.”

From the video channel of PatHatcher

Jonathan Schwartz (of Sirius XM radio, and manager of Southern Avenue, a great band out of Memphis)had this amazing story to tell:  “Col. Bruce Hampton Ret. is a legend. I remember being with John Popper on Jim Breuer’s radio show on Sirius about 10 years ago or so. Jim was talking with John about the Jammy’s that they co-hosted one year, and mentioned this sage like mystical person backstage speaking in philosophy and telling people (correctly) what their birthdays were.

This man was Col. Bruce, and John tried to explain the profound significance musical and otherwise that was the great, Col. Bruce Hampton. Jim said he’d love to get him on the air…our publicist had his number in her cell phone (which had a 303 area code) from when they worked together years before.

Ariel proceeded to call Col. Bruce from the STUDIO LANDLINE in NYC…and he answered the phone, “HELLOOOOO COLORADO!!!”

We were all in shock…except for John. He didn’t expect anything less from the Colonel.”

 

Rest in Peace, or in craziness and mayhem as you enjoyed life.  Thank you for all of the musical memories.

If anyone would like to contribute thoughts or memories of the Colonel, please just email us at lmnandr@gmail.com and we will include your thoughts here on this story.

 

To submit a review or story for consideration hit us at lmnandr@gmail.com

Check out the Live Music News and Review.com Facebook page for updates and announcements.

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