2003 – Iron Butterfly guitarist Erik Braunn dies of heart failure. He was 52.
Erik Brann aka Erik Braunn aka Erik Braun (born August 11, 1950 – died July 25, 2003), American musician, was a guitarist with the 1960s heavy metal band Iron Butterfly. He is featured on the band’s greatest hit, the legendary 17-minute piece In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida (1968), recorded when he was just 17.
A Boston, Massachusetts native and a brilliant violinist, Brann was accepted as a child into the prodigy program at the Boston Symphony Orchestra, but was soon lured away to become a rock guitarist, joining Iron Butterfly at 16. He played with Ron Bushy, Lee Dorman and Doug Ingle from 1967 to 1969. In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida sold over 20 million copies, went platinum and stayed on Billboard magazine’s charts for over a year. With arrangement assistance from Lee Dorman, Brann wrote the song “Termination,” which was featured on the In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida album.
The album’s mini-bio, written when he was 17, tells of an acting ambition he once had, clothing and food preference and the ease with which rock ‘n roll artists were able to arrange sexual encounters (usually with groupies). It reads: “Although music has always been his one great love, Erik studied drama and before joining the Butterfly, his acting ability had landed him the lead role in a local play. …Erik hopes to, one day, continue in the acting field. Right now, however, his only concern is the Iron Butterfly, turtleneck sweaters, bananas and the fairer sex.”
After 1969 Brann disappeared from view, apparently an ex-rock star at 19. In 1974, he reunited with Ron Bushy to form a new version of Iron Butterfly. The 1975 LP “Scorching Beauty” featured Brann on lead guitar and vocals, Bushy on drums, Philip Taylor Kramer on bass and Howard Reitzes on keyboards. A year later, the band released “Sun and Steel” early 1976 with Bill DeMartines replacing Reitzes on keyboards. Neither album sold well, and the band disbanded shortly afterward (around summer 1977).
Brann occasionally reunited with Iron Butterfly for concerts, and was working diligently on his solo debut when he died of a heart attack in 2003. This followed an ongoing struggle with complications from a birth defect that Braunn had battled for years.
See also: http://www.thisdayinrock.com/?p=2798