Iron Butterfly Drummer Ron Bushy Dead at 78
Longtime Iron Butterfly drummer Ron Bushy, the percussionist behind the psychedelic rockers’ signature 1968 hit, "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida," died at the age of 78 on Sunday (Aug. 29), his bandmates confirmed.
Bushy, who in 1966 first joined the San Diego-born act based around Doug Ingle's electric organ and vocals, is the only Iron Butterfly member to have contributed to all six of their studio albums released from 1968–1975. That includes the multiplatinum In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida, the album centered on the 17-minute-long title track that contains an extended drum solo from Bushy.
Although he stepped back as the band's main drummer over the last several years, Bushy continued to frequently perform with the act as a guest.
"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 group shared on Facebook. "All three of his daughters were also with him."
They added, "He was a real fighter."
Bushy, born on Dec. 23, 1941, in Washington, D.C., died in Los Angeles after being previously diagnosed with some form of cancer, according to TMZ. Classic Rock identified it as esophageal cancer.
In a 2021 interview with Vinyl Writer Music, Bushy remembered picking up the drums in college in San Diego before falling in with Iron Butterfly in 1966 — they had just formed earlier that year. "We were a community of musicians and friends," the drummer recalled. "We [later] all lived in the same house in [Los Angeles'] Laurel Canyon and everyone hung out together. Us and all the other guys, like The Doors, Buffalo Springfield and many more greats from this time period."
Though he was the band's longest-tenured drummer, Bushy did spend time away from Iron Butterfly over the years, including brief stints out of the band in the '70s and '80s, before a 1993 return that led to many more performances. Drummer Ray Weston is currently backing Iron Butterfly.