Iron Butterfly Drummer Ron Bushy Dies at 79

Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Photo of Iron Butterfly (circa 1970)

Ron Bushy, drummer with psychedelic rock band Iron Butterfly, died Sunday (Aug. 29) at UCLA Santa Monica Hospital after a bout of ill health. He was 79.

Bushy “passed away peacefully,” surrounded by his wife Nancy and three daughters, reads a statement from the band’s official social accounts. “He was a real fighter,” the message continues. “He will be deeply missed.”

Born in Dec. 23, 1941 in Santa Monica, CA, Bushy was the only member of Iron Butterfly to perform on all six of its studio albums, from 1968’s Heavy to 1975’s Sun and Steel.

He made his mark with an extended drum solo on the band’s epic hit "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida," from 1968, the full cut of which runs to 17 minutes.

“In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida” peaked at No. 30 on the Billboard Hot 100, one of four Iron Butterfly titles to impact the chart. Its parent album hit No. 4 on the Billboard 200, while 1969’s Ball went to No. 3.

Though the band would pause on several occasions, and reunite with different lineups, Bushy was a constant.

In an interview with Vinyl Writer, published in February of this year, Bushy hinted at several songs that were never fleshed out in the studio. “Actually we had three new songs that were never recorded,” he explained. “Unfortunately, some of the band members did not want to do music anymore. Now, some of our I.B. members have passed away and we are all older, and have retired with our great memories of our accomplishments within the music industry and our personal lives.”

Bass player Lee Dorman (2012) and lead guitarist Erik Brann (2003) have also passed.

In recent months, Bushy agreed to donate his iconic clear drum kit to the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland. The custom set, build by Bill Zickos, was well-traveled, hitting the road with the likes of The Doors, Cream, and The Who.

Iron Butterfly is scheduled to perform three nights in Park City, Utah, Oct. 22-24.