Skip to comments.Spirit Drummer Ed Cassidy Dead at 89
Posted on 12/08/2012 11:56:43 AM PST by the scotsman
'Ed Cassidy, the drummer for the classic rock band Spirit, died in San Jose, Calif. on Thursday (Dec. 6) of undisclosed causes. Notable for his shaved head (which inspired the nickname Mr. Skin), head-to-toe black wardrobe and massive drum kit, Cassidy was considered very influential on other drummers of the 60s rock era. He was 89 years old at the time of his death.
Born on May 4, 1923 in a rural town outside of Chicago, Cassidy began his career at an early age in 1937, after his family moved to Bakersfield, Calif. He served in the Navy during World War II and thereafter held a series of jobs before returning to music full-time in the 40s, working steadily in a succession of show bands, country and western acts, and big bands. He also worked on film soundtracks and played briefly with the San Francisco Opera.
Cassidy spent the 50s working primarily in jazz in California, playing with such historically important performers as Art Pepper, Roland Kirk and Gerry Mulligan. He played with Taj Mahal and Ry Cooder briefly in a band called Rising Sons before forming a new group, the Red Roosters, in 1965. That group comprised Cassidy, his stepson Randy California on guitar, Mark Andes on bass, and singer Jay Ferguson.
Changing their name to Spirit with the addition of keyboardist John Locke, that ensemble created a sound that was an amalgam of jazz, hard rock, and psychedelic influences. Signed by 60s L.A. music impresario Lou Adler, the group released their self-titled debut album in 1968. They followed it up with The Family That Plays Together later that year, which featured their highest-charting single, I Got a Line on You'.
(Excerpt) Read more at ultimateclassicrock.com ...
And that would definitely be nature’s way of telling you something’s wrong. Great group.
Wow, he was already halfway through his forties when Spirit got hot.
“I Got A Line On You.”
I like Spirit a lot and saw them in concert a couple of times.
Tonight I’ll be playing ‘Watching The World Through Our Topanga Window’.
Still have that song in my music library, right along with Blackfoot’s version...
I found this live version a few weeks ago (thinking that “American Horror Story” really missed the boat by not using it on the show):
Ed Cassidy was Randy’s step-father, and Randy drowned while to rescue his son. Sad.
RIP Ed, you showed us hair did not make the man way before it was cool!
Stairway to Heaven was ripped note for note from Spirit.
A really gifted, but unappreciated band.
I have a recollection from the 70’s, of him getting out from behind his drum kit
and walking around the stage drumming on whatever was available.
It was pretty cool to watch.
I figured it must be the bald guy. He was the one who stood out in that group. I Got a Line on You. So long ago. RIP.
The song in question is "Taurus," a very good, very mellow instrumental well ahead of its time.
Spirit was an opening act for LZ.
Back when drummers knew how to hold drum sticks properly and play with heart AND skill.
Wiki says that Cassidy was a WWII vet (Navy).
This came up on Randy California: “He was 15 years old when his mother Bernice Pearl and new stepfather, Ed Cassidy (later to become a founding member of the band Spirit, with Randy), moved to New York City in the summer of 1966 because Cassidy had a number of jazz gigs lined up. It was there, at Manny’s Guitars, that Randy met Jimi Hendrix. He played in Hendrix’s band The Blue Flame that summer. California, Cassidy and Pearl lived in an apartment building in Forest Hills (Queens), New York called the Balfour, whose other residents included future Steely Dan co-founder Walter Becker, who cites California’s blues-based guitar style as an influence on his own playing.
The stage name “Randy California” was given to him by Hendrix to distinguish him from another Randy in the band (who Hendrix dubbed “Randy Texas”).”
What might sound like angels bowling now could be the sound of Ed Cassidy drumming.
Thanks for the music. RIP.