Adam Roth, NYC Guitarist & Composer, Dies at 57

Roth was a staple of the underground scene in the Lower East Side since the '70s, where he formed longstanding friendships with Denis Leary and Matt Dillon, among others.

New York City guitarist and composer Adam Roth died on Wednesday, following a battle with cancer. He was 57. 

Roth was known as a staple to then New York underground scene in the Lower East Side since the late 1970s when, as well as his work as a TV composer, frequently collaborating with his friend Denis Leary

Roth moved to New York in 1979 and, with his brother Charles, played in a number of bands that frequented iconic venues of the scene such as CBGB and Max's Kansas City. Some of those groups included Del Fuegos, Hoy Boy and the Doys and band fronted by the poet John Giorno. Most recently, the two had been playing with a hard rock and soul fusion group called the Liza Colby Sound.

Leary and Roth's relationship spans four decades, when they were students at Emerson College -- where they founded the school's comedy workshop together. 


"He was one of the funniest people on the planet," Leary told the Daily News. "And that's what I'll always remember about him."

From there, they continued to work together musically on albums and other projects. Roth wrote the music for Leary's hit drama series Rescue Me and his comedy show Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll more recently, for which he also served as John Corbett's guitar "voice" and the show's tech adviser. 

“I’m not going to mourn the time I didn’t get to have with him,” Leary told the Daily News. “I’m just so grateful for the 40 years I got to spend with him.”

Roth held longstanding relationships with plenty of Hollywood stars, including Matt Dillon, Chloë Sevigny and Orange is the New Black star Natasha Lyonne, all of whom remembered him fondly to the Daily News

Lyonne was by Roth's side when he passed and told the outlet her friend died while listening to the Beatles' "Norwegian Wood."

Roth was diagnosed with stage four bile duct cancer in October. He is survived by his partner Marta Maletz, their son Charlie Ringo, his brother and his parents.

Maletz told the Daily News Roth will be cremated and his ashes will be spread at Prospect Park with a memorial held for him early next year.