Monday, January 18, 2016

Mott The Hoople drummer Dale Griffin dead at 67

Mott The Hoople drummer and founding member Dale “Buffin” Griffin died Sunday at the age of 67 after a lengthy battle with Alzheimer’s.

The Hereford Times reports band manger Pete Purnell confirmed Griffin passed away in his sleep Sunday evening.

"I can't believe it - Dale was like family, we were very close - we went through a lot together," said keyboardist Verden Allen. “I got a call from our manager Pete Purnell this morning and he told me. Dale was a nice, well-spoken man and a brilliant drummer, it's unbelievable that he's gone."

Griffin was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s at the age of 58 and was living in a care home near Brecon.

The drummer last performed with Moot The Hoople during a series of five 40th anniversary shows in 2009. Griffin played during the show’s encores while Pretenders sticksman Martin Chambers handled the main set.

"He played three songs with us, including All The Young Dudes," explains Allen. "I suppose in some ways it's a release for him now - he had suffered for many years."

Mott The Hoople formed from a pair of early 1960s Herefordshire bands, cementing their lineup with the addition of singer Ian Hunter in 1969 – the same year they issued their self-titled debut album.

Three more records followed in 1970 and 71 to low sales before the group discussed breaking up, which caught the attention of fan David Bowie. The singer persuaded the band to stay together and offered them his song, "Suffragette City", for their next album; Mott turned the tune down and Bowie provided them with “All The Young Dudes” instead.

Bowie produced the 1972 album “All The Young Dudes” and the title track hit No. 3 on the UK charts, becoming the band’s signature song and biggest hit of their career.

More singles and lineup changes followed by the time Hunter exited in 1974, with the group moving forward to record and perform as Mott and then British Lions before disbanding in 1980.

Griffin went on to a second career as a producer on numerous BBC Radio 1 John Peel sessions throughout the 80s and early 90s.