Lee Dorman , original Iron Butterfly Bassist , who played on their first four albums , and a Live LP , up until their breakup , returning to play in many , legitimate , versions of the band (Several touring bands used the name , sometimes with no original or even mk 2 or 3 lineup members , before the law was tightening up on such actions.), was found dead in his car. No foul play is suspected , as it turns out he had a history of heart trouble.
Dorman played in the classic lineup of Captain Beyond , shortly after Iron Butterfly's breakup (Larry "Rhino" Rhinehart , also in the mk3 , and later versions, of The Butterfly, joined Dorman on all three Captain Beyond LPs.), and produced Black Oak Arkansas' outstanding debut. The last major tour Iron Butterfly did (Before reforming in various lineups.) was a slew of budget - priced double bills with Black Oak Arkansas. Similarly , in the Late 70's , Iron Butterfly and Captain Beyond did a club tour where both bands shared members (That sounds BAD , sorry.). The "Inna Gadda Da Vida" lineup eventually reformed in '86 OR '87 , toured , and played The Atlantic Records Retrospective TV special. Iron Butterfly refused to whittle down "Vida" to a shorter version , and were subsequently shown on Televeision for a matter of seconds (Lee getting the lion's share of what little that was.) , while a reconstituted Led Zeppelin had cart blanche. It's eerily similar to the notorious double bill where a then lesser - known Zeppelin reportedly blew Iron Butterfly off the stage. Dorman maintained that this was not true. He said it was an exceptional night for both bands , and the cameraderie was good .
In 1996 , the "Vida" lineup , barring Guitarist , Erik Baunn , who declined to participate (Though he lead the first revamped lineup , starting in 1974 -5.) , did a club tour , and played Europe (A DVD from said tour was released. It's quite good.). I saw them on this tour , perfectly willing to accept a few shortcomings. THEY BLEW MY MOTHERFUCKIN' HEAD OFF !!!
I met Dorman , who turned out to be a very funny , goodnatured fellow. "Rhino" passed away recently , as did Erik Braunn , a few years ago. To my knowledge , Dorman and Bushy were still playing out together as Iron Butterfly , at the time of his death.
Dorman's replacement , from 1974 to 1977 , Phil Kramer , died under what were , undoubtedly , the most bizarre set of circumstances in Rock 'n'Roll . After the unsuccessful first comeback attempt , Kramer returned to his studies , from which emerged a remarkable hidden talent in aerodynamics. He actually developed a means to harness the atom. In '95 OR '96 , he was supposed to meet with Ron Bushy at LAX Airport , before catching a plane. He never showed , but he sent several cell phone calls that could have been interpreted as suicide messages , but , were never confirmed as such. At any rate , he was never seen again. Some people said The Russians were after his formula , and had sent spies to apprehend him en route to LAX. Others believed he was abducted by aliens. It became more and more apparent that he'd been murdered and his body was carefully disposed of. A van was found , several years later , containing Kramer's skeleton , in a canyon. It was a mystery on par with Bobby Fuller's brutal murder that was ruled a suicide. Because of the high visibility of the mystery surrounding Phil Kramer , many people believed he was the original Bassist with Iron Butterfly. That would be Lee Dorman , who was also found in his vehicle , but , we're led to believe , he went out in a manner far more dignified , and , comparitively , bereft of pain.