Lee Dorman dies at 70, was psychedelic rock band Iron Butterfly's bassist
Lee Dorman, bass guitarist for the 1960s psychedelic rock band Iron Butterfly, recently died at age 70.
On Friday, December 21, the musician was found dead in his car, parked near his home in the Southern California town of Laguna Niguel. Coroner's officials said he died of natural causes, adding that he was under the care of a doctor and may have been on his way to an appointment before he passed away, the Associated Press reported.
Dorman was born in St. Louis, Missouri in 1942. He moved to California in the 1960s. He then joined the San Diego-based band Iron Butterfly, which rose to fame in the later part of the decade with singles such as the 1968 song "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" -- the group's biggest hit, as well as "Soul Experience" and "Easy Rider." The band, including Dorman, had been performing regularly as recently as May.
Iron Butterfly was supposed to perform at the famed 1969 Woodstock music festival, but ran into transportation problems, according to drummer Ron Bushy, who still plays with the band.
"Basically, we were in New York City at the Americana Hotel, waiting and waiting. Our semi with all of our equipment was in the parking lot, but we couldn't get it onto that little highway up to Woodstock. So we spoke to The Who, and they said we could use their equipment," he told Drum Head magazine.
"But what happened was, because so many babies were being born and with all the health problems, they commandeered all the helicopters, which was the only way for us to get up there," he said. "We were scheduled to play on the last day, but we couldn't get up there. We went down to the Port Authority three times and waited for the helicopter, but it never showed up."
In the 1970s, Dorman also performed with the metal and jazz band Captain Beyond, along with original Deep Purple singer Rod Evans and Iron Butterfly guitarist Larry "Rhino" Reinhardt, who died in January at age 63.
Iron Butterfly's "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" has been featured on a variety of hit TV shows.
In a 1995 episode of the FOX animated series "The Simpsons," titled "Bart Sells His Soul," the Simpson family and others sing along to the song as a woman plays it on a pipe organ in church."
"Hey Marge, remember when we used to make out to this hymn?" Homer Simpson says to wife Marge during the service.
"Wait a minute, this sounds like rock and or roll," Reverend Lovejoy says.
The song was also featured on shows such as "Seinfeld," "Home Improvement, "The Wonder Years," "Rescue Me" and "House," whose main character, the edgy Dr. Gregory House, and the actor who portrayed him, Hugh Laurie, are classic rock fans and musicians.
In the "House" episode, the song is played for a patient who was given psychedelic mushrooms to treat a cluster headache.
"In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" was also used in a Fidelity Investments commercial titled "Flower Power."
"Songs like ours and 'Light My Fire' by the Doors were anthems of the times," Dorman told the San Diego Union in 1994.
The names of Dorman's family members were not revealed publicly. Funeral services for the musician have not been announced.
(Pictured above: L to R: Iron Butterfly members Erik Brann, Ron Bushy, Lee Dorman and Doug Ingle appear in an April 9, 1969 photo. Credit: Bettmann/ Corbis / AP Images)
Check out a video of Lee Dorman performing "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" with Iron Butterfly at the Mt. Tabor Theater in Portland, Oregon in May, courtesy of Rock Steady Video Productions.